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His men-at-arms bear mace and lance,
And plumes that wave, and helms that glance.
Thus fair divided by the King,
Centre, and right, and left-ward wing,
Composed his front; nor distant far
Was strong reserve to aid the war.
And 'twas to front of this array,
Her guide and Edith made their way.

XIII.

Here must they pause; for, in advance
As far as one might pitch a lance,
The Monarch rode along the van,
The foe's approaching force to scan,
His line to marshal and to range,
And ranks to square, and fronts to change.

Alone he rode from head to heel

Sheathed in his ready arms of steel ;
Nor mounted yet on war-horse wight,

But, till more near the shock of fight,
Reining a palfrey low and light.
A diadem of gold was set
Above his bright steel bassinet,
And clasp'd within its glittering twine
Was seen the glove of Argentine ;
Truncheon or leading staff he lacks,
Bearing, instead, a battle-axe.
He ranged his soldiers for the fight,
Accoutred thus, in open sight
Of either host.-Three bowshots far,
Paused the deep front of England's war,
And rested on their arms awhile,

To close and rank their warlike filc,

And hold high council, if that night
Should view the strife, or dawning light.

XIV.

O gay, yet fearful to behold,

Flashing with steel and rough with gold,
And bristled o'er with bills and

spears,

With plumes and pennons waving fair,
Was that bright battle-front! for there

Rode England's King and peers :

And who, that saw that monarch ride,

His kingdom battled by his side,

Could then his direful doom foretell!

Fair was his seat in knightly selle,
And in his sprightly eye was set
Some spark of the Plantagenet.
Though light and wandering was his glance,
It flash'd at sight of shield and lance.
6 Know'st thou," he said, “ De Argentine,

Yon knight who marshals thus their line ?”—

6 The tokens on his helmet tell

The Bruce, my Liege : I know him well.”

“ And shall the audacious traitor brave

The presence

where our banners wave ?".

“ So please my Liege,” said Argentine,
66 Were he but horsed on steed like mine,
To give him fair and knightly chance,
I would adventure forth my lance."-

“ In battle-day,” the King replied, “ Nice tourney rules are set aside.

-Still must the rebel dare our wrath ?

Set on him-sweep him from our path !”-
And, at King Edward's signal, soon
Dash'd from the ranks Sir Henry Boune.

XV.

Of Hereford's high blood he came,
A race renown'd for knightly fame.
He burn'd before his Monarch's eye
To do some deed of chivalry.
He spurr'd his steed, he couch'd his lance,
And darted on the Bruce at once.

-As motionless as rocks, that bide
The wrath of the advancing tide,
The Bruce stood fast..Each breast beat high,
And dazzled was each gazing eye-
The heart had hardly time to think,
The eye-lid scarce had time to wink,

While on the King, like flash of flame,
Spurr’d to full speed the war-horse came!
The partridge may the falcon mock,
If that slight palfrey stand the shock-
But, swerving from the Knight's career,
Just as they met, Bruce shunn'd the spear.

Onward the baffled warrior bore

His course—but soon his course was o'er !

High in his stirrups stood the King,
And
gave

his battle-axe the swing. Right on De Boune, the whiles he pass’d, Fell that stern dint-the first, the last !

Such strength upon the blow was put,

The helmet crash'd like hazel-nut;

The axe-shaft, with its brazen clasp,
Was shiver'd to the gauntlet grasp. -
Springs from the blow the startled horse,
Drops to the plain the lifeless corse;
- First of that fatal field, how soon,

How sudden, fell the fierce De Boune!

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