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XXVIII.

Encouraged thus, the Aged Man, Unchallenged, thence past Deloraine

After meet rest, again began. To ancient Riddell's fair domain, 20

Where Aill, from mountains freed, Down from the lakes did raving come,

CANTO II. Cresting each wave with tawny foam,

Like the mane of a chestnut steed. In vain! no torrent, deep or broad,

ly thou would'st view fair Melrose amga, Might bar the bold mosstrooper's road.

Go visit it by the pale moonlight;
XXIX.

For the gay beams of lightsome day
At the first plange the horse sunk low,

Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray.

When the broken arches are black in digute And the water broke o'er the saddle-bow:

And each shafted oriel glimmers white; Above the foaming tide, I ween,

When the cold light's uncertain shower Searce half the charger's neck was seen;

Streams on the ruined central tower: For he was barded from counter to tail,

When buttress and buttress, alternately, And the rider was armed complete in mail;

Seemed framed of ebon and ivory:
Never heavier man and horse

When silver edges the imagery,
Stemmed a midnight torrent's force.
The warrior's very plume, I say,

And the scrolls that teach thee to live and dieis Was daggled by the dashing spray;

When distant Tweed is heard to rave,

And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave, Yet, through good heart, and our Ladye's grace,

Then go-but go alone the while
At length he gained the landing place.

Then view Saint David's ruined pile;
XXX.

And, home returning, soothly swear,
Nov Bowden moor the marchman won,

Was never scene so sad and fair! And sternly shook his plumed head,

II.
As glanced his eye o'er Halidon, 21

Short halt did Deloraine make there;
For on his soul the slaughter red
Ot that anhallowed morn arose,

Little recked he of the scene so fair:
When first the Scott and Car were foes;

With dagger's hilt, on the wicket strong, When royal James beheld the fray,

He struck full loud, and struck full long. Prize to the vietor of the day;

The porter hurried to the gate When Home and Douglas, in the van,

“ Who knocks so load, and knocks so late!” Bore down Buccleuch's retiring clan,

“ From Branksome 1,” the warrior cried; Till gallant Cessford's heartblood dear

And straight the wicket opened wide:

For Branksome's chiefs had in battle stood, Reeked on dark Elliot's border spear.

To fence the rights of fair Melrose;
XXXI.

And lands and livings, many a rood,
In bitter mood he spurred fast,

Had gifted the shrine for their soul's repose. And soon the hated heath was past;

in. And far beneath, in lustre wan,

Bold Deloraine his errand said; Old Melros' rose, and fair Tweed ran;22

The porter bent his humble head;
Like some tall rock, with lichens gray,

With torch in hand, and feet unshod,
Rose, dimly huge, the dark abbaye.
When Hawick he passed, had curfew rung,

And noiseless step, the path he trod;

The arched cloisters, far and wide,
Now midoight laudst were in Melrose sung.
The sound, upon the fitful gale,

Rang to the warrior's clanking stride;

Till, stooping low his lofty crest, In solemn wise did rise and fail,

He entered the cell of the ancient priest,
Like that wild harp, whose magic tone

And lifted his barred aventayle,
Is wakened by the winds alone.
But when Melrose he reached, 'twas silence all;

To hail the monk of Saint Mary's aisle.
He meetly stabled his steed in stall,

IV. And sought the convent's lonely wall.

“The Ladye of Branksome greets thee by me;

Says, that the fated hour is come, Here paused the harp; and with its swell

And that to-night I shall watch with thee, The master's fire, and courage fell:

To win the treasure of the tomb.” Dejectedly, and low, he bowed,

From sackcloth couch the monk arose, And, gazing timid on the crowd,.

With toil his stiffened limbs he reared; He seemed to seek, in every eye,

A hundred years had flung their snows
If they approved his minstrelsy:

On his thin locks and floating beard.
And, diffident of present praise,
Somewhat he spoke of former days,

And strangely on the knight looked he,
And how old age, and wandering long,
Had done his hand and harp some wrong.

And his blue eyes gleamed wild and wide;

“And, darest thou, warrior! seek to see The duchess and her daughters fair, And every gentle ladye there,

What heaven and hell alike would hide? Each after each, in due degree,

My breast, in belt of iron pent,

With shirt of hair and scourge of thorn: Gave praises to his melody; His hand was true, his voice was clear,

For three-score years, in penance spent,

My knees those flinty stones have worn; And much they looged the rest to hear.

Yet all too little to atone
Barded, or barbed, applied to a horse accoutred with For knowing what should n'er be known.
defensive armour.
Louds, the midnight service of the Catholic church. I

Aventayle, visor of the helmet,

Would'st thou thy every future year

In many a freakish knot, had twined; In ceaseless prayer and penance drie,

Then framed a spell, when the work was done, Yet wait thy latter end with fear

And changed the willow wreaths to stone. Then, daring warrior, follow me!”

The silver light, so pale and faint,
VI.

Showed many a prophet, and many a saint “ Penance, father, will I none;

Whose image on ihe glass was died; Prayer know I hardly one;

Full in the midst, his cross of red

Triumphant Michael brandished,
For mass or prayer can I rarely tarry,
Save to patter an Ave Mary,

And trampled the apostate's pride.
When I'ride on a Border foray:4

The moonbeam kissed the holy pane, Other prayer can I none;

And threw on the pavement a bloody stain. So speed me my errand, and let me be gons

XII.
VII.

They sate them down on a marble stone;
Again on the knight looked the churchman old,

(A Scottish monarch slept below;)" And again he sighed heavily;

Thus spoke the monk, in solemn tone; For he had himself been a warrior bold,

“I was not always a man of wo; And fought in Spain and Italy.

For Paynim countries I have trod, And he tho't on the days that were long since by,

And fought beneath the cross of God: When his limbs were strong, and his courage

Now, strange to my eyes thine arms appear, was high

And their iron clang sounds strange to my ear. Now, slow and faint, he led the way,

XIN.
Where, cloistered round, the garden lay: “In these far climes, it was my lot
The pillard arches were over their head,

To meet the wondrous Michael Scott;!!
And beneath their feet were the bones of the dead.5 A wizard of such dreaded fame,
VIN.

That when, in Salamanca's care, 12
Spreading herbs, and flow'rets bright,

Him listed his magic wand to wave, Glistened with the dew of night;

The bells would ring in Notre Dame!13

Some of his skill he taught to me;
Nor herb, nor flow'ret, glistened there,
But was carved in the cloister'd arches as fair.

And, warrior, I could say to thee

The words that cleft Eildon hills in three, The monk gazed long on the lovely moon,

And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone;l* Then into the night he looked forth; And red and bright the streamers light

But to speak them were a deadly sin;

And for having but thought them my heart within.
Were dancing in the glowing north.
So had he seen, in fair Castile,

A treble pedance must be done.
The youth in glittering squadrons start;

XIV
Sudden the flying gennet wheel,

“When Michael lay on his dying bed, And hurl the unexpected dart.6

His consience was awakened;
He knew, by the streamers that shot so bright, He bethought him of his sinful deed,
That spirits were riding the northern light. And he gave me a sign to come with speed;

I was in Spain when the morning rose,
IX.

But I stood by his bed ere evening close.
By a steel-clenched postern door,

The words may not again be said, They entered now the chancel tall:

That he spoke to me, on death-bed laid: The darkened roof rose high aloof

They would rend this abbaye's massy nave, On pillars, lofty, and light, and small;

And pile it in heaps above his grave.
The keystone, that locked each ribbed aisle,
Was a fleur-de-lys, or a quatre-feuille:

XV.
The corbells* were carved grotesque and grim;

“I swore to bury his mighty book, And the pillars, with clustered shafts so trim,

That never mortal might therein look; With base and with capital flourished around,

And never to tell where it was hid, Seemed bundles of lances which garlands had

Save at the chief of Branksome's need; bound.

And when that need was past and o'er,
X.

Again the volume to restore.

I buried him on Saint Michael's night, Full many a scutcheon and banner, riven,

When the bell tolled one, and the moon roze Shook to the cold nightwind of heaven,

bright; Around the screened altar's pale;

And I dug his chamber among the dead, And there the dying lamps did burn,

When the floor of the chancel was stained red, Before thy low and lonely urn,

That his patron's cross might o'er him wave, O gallant chief of Otterburne!“

And scare the fiends from the wizard's grave. And thine, dark knight of Liddesdale !!

XVI. O fading honours of the dead!

“ It was a night of wo and dread, O high ambition, lowly laid !

When Michael in the tomb I laid!
XI.

Strange sounds along the chancel past;
The moon on the east oriel shone9

The banners waved without a blast:"Through slender shafts of shapely stone,

- Still spoke the monk, when the bell tolled one By fóliaged tracery combined:

I tell you, that a braver man Thou would'st have thought some fairy's hand Than William of Deloraine, good at need, 'Twixt poplars straight the osier wand,

Against a foe ne'er spurred a steed;

Yet somewhat was he chilled with dread, *Corbells, the projections from which the arches spring,

And his hair did bristle upon his head Usually cut in a fantastic face or mask.

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XVI.

But the glare of the sepulchral light # Lo, warrior! now, the cross of red

Perchance, had dazzled the warrior's sight. Points to the grave of the mighty dead;

XXII.
Within it burns a wondrous light,
To chase the spirits that love the night;

When the huge stone sunk o'er the tomb, That lamp shall barn unquenchably, 16

The night returned in double gloom;

For the moon had gone down, and the stars were Until the eternal doom shall be.”

few: Slow moved the monk to the broad flag-stone, Which the bloody cross was traced upon;

And, as the knight and priest withdrew,

With wavering steps and dizzy brain,
He pointed to a secret nook;

They hardly might the postern gain.
An iron bar the warrior took;
And the monk made a sign with his withered

Tis said, as through the aisles they passed,

They heard strange noises on the blast; hand,

And through the cloister-galleries small, The grave's huge portal to expand.

Which at midheight thread the chancel wall, XVIII.

Loud sobs, and laughter louder, ran,
With beating heart, to the task he went;

And voices unlike the voice of man;
His sinewy frame o'er the grave-stone bent; As if the fiends kept holiday,
With bar of iron heaver amain,

Because these spells were brought to day.
Till the toil drops fell from his brows, like rain. I cannot tell how the truth may be;
It was by dint of passing strength,

I say the tale as 'twas said to me.
That he moved the massy stone at length.
I would you had been there, to see
How the light broke forth so gloriously,

“ Now, bie thee hence,” the father said; Streamed upward to the chancel roof,

" And, when we are on death-bed laid, And through the galleries far aloof!

O may our dear Ladye, and sweet Saint John, No earthly flame blazed e'er so bright;

Forgive our souls for the deed we have done!” It shone like heaven's own blessed lights

The monk returned him to his cell, And, issuing from the tomb,

And many a prayer and penance sped; Showed the monk's cowl and visage pale,

When the convent met at the noontide bell, Danced on the dark-browed warrior's mail,

The monk of Saint Mary's aisle was dead!

Before the cross was the body laid, And kissed his waving plume,

With hands clasped fast, as if still he prayed. XIX. Before their eyes the wizard lay,

XXIV. As if he had not been dead a day.

The knight breathed free in the morning wind, His hoary beard in silver rolled,

And strove his hardihood to find; He seemed some seventy winters old;

He was glad when he passed the tombstones gray A palmer's amice wrapped him round,

Which girdle round the fair Abbaye; With a wrought Spanish baldric bound,

For the mystic book, to his bosom prest, Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea;

Felt like a load upon his breast; His left hand held his book of might;

And his joints, with nerves of iron twined, A silver cross was in his right;

Shook, like the aspen leaves in wind. The lamp was placed beside his knee:

Full fain was he when the dawn of day High and majestic was his look;

Began to brighten Cheviot gray; At which the fellest fiends had shook,

He joyed to see the cheerful light, And all unruffled was his face

And he said Ave Mary, as well as he might. They trusted his soul had gotten grace.

XXV.
XX.

The sun had brightened Cheviot gray,
Often had William of Deloraine

The sun had brightened the Carter's* side, Rode through the battle's bloody plain,

And soon beneath the rising day And trampled down the warriors slain,

Smiled Branksome towers and Teviot tide, And neither known remorse nor awe;

The wild birds told their warbling tale; Yet now remorse and awe he owned:

And awakened every flower that blows; His breath came thick, his head swam round, And peeped forth the violet pale, When this strange scene of death he saw.

And spread her breast the mountain rose: Bewildered and unnerved he stood,

And lovelier than the rose so red, And the priest prayed fervently, and loud:

Yet paler than the violet pale, With eyes averted, prayed he;

She early left her sleepless bed, He might not endure the sight to see,

The fáirest maid of Teviotdale.
Of the man he had loved so brotherly.

XXVI.
XXI.

Why does fair Margaret so early awake,
And when the priest his death-prayer had pray'd.

And don her kirtle so hastilie: Thas unto Deloraine he said,

And the silken knots, which in hurry she would “Now, speed thee what thou hast to do,

make, Or, warrior, we may dearly rue;

Why tremble her slender fingers to tie! For those, thou may'st not look upon,

Why does she stop, and look often around, Are gathering fast round the yawning stone!" As she glides down the secret stair; Then Deloraine, in terror, took

And why does she pat the shaggy blood-bound, From the cold hand the mighty book,

As he rouses him up from his lair: With iron clasped, and with iron bound; He thot, as he took it, the dead man frown'd:16. A mountain on the border of England, above Jedburgh

And, though she passes the postern alone, But where he rode one mile, the dwarf ran four, Why is not the watchman's bugle blown? And the dwarf was first at the castle door. XXVII.

XXXII.

Use lessens marvel, it is said: The Ladye steps in doubt and dread,

This elfish dwarf with the baron staid Lest lier watchful mother hear her tread;

Little he ate, and less he spoke, The Ladye caresses the rough blood-hound,

Nor mingled with the menial flock: Lest his voice should waken the castle round;

And oft apart his arms he tossed, The watchman's bugle is not blown,

And often muttered, Lost! lost! lost!” For he was her foster-father's son;

He was waspish, arch, and litherlie, And she glides through the greenwood at dawn

But well lord Cranstoun served he; of light,

And he of his service was full fain;
To meet baron Henry, her own true knight.

For once he had been ta'en or slain,
XXVIII.

An' had it not been his ministry.
The knight and ladye fair are met,

All, between Home and Hermitage, And under the hawthorn's boughs are set.

Talked of lord Cranstoun's goblin page. A fairer pair were never seen

. XXXIII. To meet beneath the hawthorn green.

For the baron went on pilgrimage, He was stately, and young, and tall,

And took with him this elish page, Dreaded in battle, and loved in hall:

To Mary's chapel of the Lowes; And she, when love, scarce told, scarce hid, For there, beside our Lady's lake, Lent to her cheek a livelier red;

An offering he had sworn to make, When the half sigh her swelling breast

And he would pay his vows. Against the silken riband prest;

But the Ladye of Branksome gathered a band When her blue eyes their secret told,

Of the best that would ride at her command;18 Though shaded by her locks of gold,

The trysting place was Newark Lee, Where would you find the peerless fair

Wat of Harden came thither amain, With Margaret of Branksome might compare! And thither came John of Thirlestane, XXIX.

And thither came William of Deloraine;

They were three hundred spears and three. And now, fair dames, methinks I see You listen to my minstrelsy:

Through Douglas-burn, up Yarrow stream, Your waving locks ye backward throw,

Their horses prance, their lances gleam. And sidelong bend your necks of snow:

They came to saint Mary's lake ere day; Ye ween to hear a melting tale

But the chapel was void, and the baron away.

They burned the chapel for very rage,
Of two true lovers in a dale;
And how the knight, with tender fire,

And cursed Lord Cranstoun's goblin page. To paint his faithful passion strove;

XXXIV. Swore, he might at her feet expire,

And now, in Branksome's good green wood, But never, never cease to love;

As under the aged oak he stood,
And how she blushed, and how she sighed, The baron's courser pricks his ears,
And, half consenting, balt denied,

As if a distant noise he hears;
And said that she would die a maid;

The dwarf waves his long lean arm on high, Yet, might the bloody feud be stayed,

And signs to the lovers to part and fly; Henry of Cranstoun, and only he,

No time was then to vuw or sigh. Margaret of Branksome's choice should be. Fair Margaret, through the hazel grove, XXX.

Flew like the startled cushat dove:* Alas! fair dames, your hopes are vain!

The dwarf the stirrup held and rein;

Vaulted the knight on his steed amaio,
My harp has lost the enchanting strain;
Its lightness would my age reprove:

And, pondering deep that morning's scene, My hairs are gray, my limbs are old,

Rode eastward through the hawthorns green My heart is dead, my veins are cold;

WAILE thus he poured the lengthened tale, I may not, must not, sing of love.

The Minstrel's voice began to fail;
XXXI.

Full slyly smiled the observant page,

And gave the withered hand of age Beneath an oak, mossed o'er by eld,

A goblet, crowned with mighty wine, The baron's dwarf his courser held, 17

The blood of Velez' scorched vine. And held his crested helm and spear:

He raised the silver cup op high, That dwarf was scarce an earthly man,

And, while the big drop filled his eye, If the tales were true, that of him ran

Prayed God to bless the duchess long, Through all the Border, far and near.

And all who cheered a son of song.
Twas said, when the baron a hunting rode, The attending maidens smiled to see,
Through Redesdale's glens, but rarely trod,

How long, how deep, bow zealously,
He heard a voice ery, “Lost! lost! lost!”
And, like tennisball by racquet tost,

The precious juice the Minstrel quaffed;

And he, emboldened by the draught, A leap, of thirty feet and three,

Looked gayly back to them, and laughed. Made from the gorse this elfin shape,

The cordial 'nectar of the bowl Distorted like some dwarfish ape,

Swelled his old veins, and cheered his soul; and lighted at lord Cranstoun's knee.

A lighter, livelier prelude ran,
Lord Cranstoun was somewhit dismayed; Ere thus his tale again began.
Tis said that five good miles he rade,
To rid him of his company;

*Wood-pigeon.

CANTO III.

Still sate the warrior saddle fast,
Till, stumbling in the mortal shock,

Down went the steed, the girthing broke,
And said I that my limbs were old;

Hurled on a heap lay man and horse. And said I that my blood was cold,

The baron onward passed his course; And that my kindly fire was fled,

Nor knew, so giddy rolled his brain,
And my poor withered heart was dead,

His foe lay stretched upon the plain.
And that I might not sing of love!
How could I to the dearest theme,

. VIJ. That ever warmed a Minstrel's dream,

But when he reined his courser round, So foul, so false a recreant prove!

And saw his foeman on the ground How could I Dame love's very name,

Lie senseless as the bloody clay, Nor wake my harp to notes of flame!

He bade his page to stanch the wound,

And there beside the warrior stay,
II.

And tend him in his doubtful state.
In peace, Love tunes the shepherd's reed,

And lead him to Branksome castle-gate. In var, he mounts the warrior's steed;

His noble mind was inly moved lo halls, in gay attire is seen;

For the kinsman of the maid he loved. In hamlets, dances on the green.

" This shalt thou do without delay; Lore rules the court, the camp, the grove,

No longer here myself may stay; And men below and saints above;

Unless the swifter I speed away,
For love is heaven, and heaven is love.

Short shrift will be at my dying day."
Ill.

VIII.
So thought lord Cranstoun, as I ween,

Away in speed lord Cranstoun rode;
While, pondering deep the tender scene,
He rode through Branksome's hawthorn green.

The goblin-page behind abode:
But the page shouted wild and shrill,

His lord's command he ne'er withstood, And scarce his helmet could he don,

Though small his pleasure to do good. When downward from the shady hill

As the corslet off he took,

The dwarf espied the mighty book!
Astately knight came pricking on.

Much he marvelled, a knight of pride,
That warrior's steed, so dapple-gray,
Was dark with sweat, and splashed with clay:

Like a book-bosomed priest should ride:

He thought not to search or stanch the wound, His armour red with many a stain:

Until the secret he had found.
He seemed in such a weary plight,
As if he had ridden the livelong night;

IX.
For it was William of Deloraine.

The iron band, the iron clasp,
IV.

Resisted long the elfin grasp;
Bat no whit weary did he seem,

For when the first he had undone, When, dancing in the sunny beam,

It closed as he the next begun. He marked the crane on the baron's crest;1

Those iron clasps, that iron band, For his ready spear was in his rest.

Would not yield to unchristened hand, Fer were the words, and stern, and high,

Till he smeared the cover o'er That marked the foemen's feudal hate;

With the borderer's curdled gore; For question fierce, and proud reply,

A moment then the volume spread, Gave signal soon of dire debate.

And one short spell therein he read.

It had much of glamour might, 3
Their very coursers seemed to know,
That each was other's mortal foe;

Could make a ladye seem a knight;

The cobwebs on a dungeon wall, And snorted fire, when wheeled around,

Seem tapestry in lordly hall; To give each knight his vantage ground.

A nutshell seem a gilded barge, v.

A sheeling* seem a palace large, In rapid round the baron bent;

And youth seem age, and age seem youth;
He sighed a sigh, and prayed a prayer: All was delusion, nought was truth.
The prayer was to his patron saint,

The sigh was to his ladye fair.
Stout Deloraine nor sighed, nor prayed,

He had not read another spell,
Nor saint nor ladye called io aid;

When on his cheek a buffet fell, But he stooped his head, and couched his spear,

So fierce, it stretched him on the plain, And spurred his steed to full career.

Beside the wounded Deloraine. The meeting of these champions proud

From the ground he rose dismayed, Seemed like the bursting thunder-cloud.

And shook his huge and matted head;

One word he muttered, and no more
VL

“Man of age, thou smitest sore!"Stern was the dint the borderer leut;

No more the elfin page durst try The stately baron backwards bent;

Into the wonderous book to pry; Bent backwards to his horse's tail,

The clasps, though smeared with Christian gore, And his plumes went scattering on the gale; Shut faster than they were before, The tough ash spear, so stout and true

He hid it underneath his cloak.foto a thousand Binders flew.

Now, if you ask who gave the stroke, Bat Cranstoun's lance, of more avail,

I cannot tell, so mot I thrive;
Pierced through, like silk, the borderer's mail:

It was not given by man alive.
Through shield, and jack, and acton past,
Deep in his bosom, broke at last.

• A shepherd's hute

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