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I too was there, and, sooth to tell,
Bedeafened with the jangling knell,
Was watching where the sunbeams fell,
Through the stained casement gleaming;
But, while I marked what next befell,
It seemed as I were dreaming.
Stepped from the crowd a ghostly wight,
In azure gown, with cincture white;
His forehead bald, his head was bare,
Down hung at length his yellow hair. —
Now, mock me not, when, good my Lord,
I pledge to you my knightly word
That, when I saw his placid grace,
His simple majesty of face,
His solemn bearing and his pace
So stately gliding on, -
Seemed to me ne'er did limner paint
So just an image of the Saint
Who propped the Virgin in her faint, -
The loved Apostle John!
“He stepped before the monarch's chair,
And stood with rustic plainness there,
And little reverence made;
Nor head, nor body, bowed nor bent,
But on the desk his arm he leant,
And words like these he said,
In a low voice, but never tone
So thrilled through vein and nerve and bone:
‘My mother sent me from afar,
Sir King, to warn thee not to war,
Woe waits on thine array ;
If war thou wilt, of woman fair,
Her witching wiles and wanton snare,
James Stuart, doubly warned, beware:
God keep thee as he may!'
The wondering monarch seemed to seek
For answer, and found none;
And when he raised his head to speak,
The monitor was gone.
The marshal and myself had cast
To stop him as he outward passed ;
But, lighter than the whirlwind's blast,
He vanished from our eyes,
Like sunbeam on the billow cast,
That glances but, and dies.”
While Lindesay told his marvel strange,
The twilight was so pale,
He marked not Marmion's color change
While listening to the tale;
But, after a suspended pause,
The Baron spoke : « Of nature's laws
So strong I held the force,
That never superhuman cause
Could e'er control their course.
And, three days since, had judged your aim
Was but to make your guest your game;
But I have seen, since past the Tweed,
What much has changed my skeptic creed,
And made me credit aught.” — He staid,
And seemed to wish his words unsaid:
But, by that strong emotion pressed
Which prompts us to unload our breast,
Even when discovery's pain,
To Lindesay did at length unfold
The tale his village host had told,
At Gifford, to his train.
Nought of the Palmer says he there,
And nought of Constance, or of Clare;
The thoughts, which broke his sleep, he seems
To mention but as feverish dreams.
“In vain," said he, "to rest I spread
My burning limbs, and couched my head:
Fantastic thoughts returned ;
And, by their wild dominion led,
My heart within me burned.
So sore was the delirious goad,
I took my steed and forth I rode,
And, as the moon shone bright and cold,
Soon reached the camp upon the wold.
The southern entrance I passed through,
And halted and my bugle blew.
Methought an answer met my ear,-
Yet was the blast so low and drear,
So hollow and so faintly blown,
It might be echo of my own.
“ Thus judging, for a little space
I listened, ere I left the place;
But scarce could trust my eyes,
Nor yet can think they served me true,
When sudden in the ring I view,
In form distinct of shape and hue,
A mounted champion rise. —
I've fought, Lord-Lion, many a day,
In single fight and mixed affray,
And ever, I myself may say,
Have borne me as a knight;
But when this unexpected foe
Seemed starting from the gulf below,-
I care not though the truth I show,-
I trembled with affright;
And as I placed in rest my spear,
My hand so shook for very fear,
I scarce could couch it right.
“Why need my tongue the issue tell ? We ran our course,
my charger fell; What could he 'gainst the shock of hell ? —
I rolled upon the plain.
High o'er my head with threatening hand
The spectre shook his naked brand, -
Yet did the worst remain :
My dazzled eyes I upward cast, -
Not opening hell itself could blast
Their sight, like what I saw!
Full on his face the moonbeams strook,
A face could never be mistook!
I knew the stern vindictive look,
And held my breath for awe.
I saw the face of one who, fled
To foreign climes, has long been dead, -
I well believe the last;
For ne'er from visor raised did stare
A human warrior with a glare
So grimly and so ghast.
Thrice o'er my head he shook the blade;
But when to good Saint George I prayed
(The first time e'er I asked his aid),
He plunged it in the sheath ;
And, on his courser mounting light,
He seemed to vanish from my sight:
The moonbeam drooped and deepest night
Sunk down upon the heath. -
'Twere long to tell what cause I have
To know his face that met me there,
Called by his hatred from the grave,
To cumber upper air:
Dead or alive, good cause had he
To be my mortal enemy."
Marvelled Sir David of the Mount;
Then, learned in story, 'gan recount
Such chance had happed of old,
When once, near Norham, there did fight
A spectre fell of fiendish might,
In likeness of a Scottish knight,
With Brian Bulmer bold,
And trained him nigh to disallow
The aid of his baptismal vow.
“And such a phantom, too, 'tis said,
With Highland broadsword, targe, and plaid,
And fingers red with gore,
Is seen in Rothiemurcus glade,