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So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung, So light to the saddle before her he sprung! “She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and
scaur; They'll have fleet steeds that follow," quoth young
Lochinvar, There was mounting 'mong Græmes of the Netherby
Fosters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and
they ran :
There was racing, and chasing, on Cannobie Lee,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see.
So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?
The Monarch o'er the syren hung,
And beat the measure as she sung ;
And, pressing closer, and more near,
He whispered praises in her ear.
In loud applause the courtiers vied;
And ladies winked, and spoke aside.
The witching dame to Marmion threw
A glance, where seemed to reign
The pride that claims applauses due,
And of her royal conquest too,
A real or feigned disdain :
Familiar was the look, and told,
Marmion and she were friends of old.
The King observed their meeting eyes,
With something like displeased surprise ;
For monarchs ill can rivals brook,
Even in a word, or smile, or look.
Strait took he forth the parchment broad,
Which Marmion's high commission showed :
“Our Borders sacked by many a raid,
Our peaceful liege-men robbed,” he said ;
“ On day of truce our Warden slain,
Stout Barton killed, his vessels ta'en-
Unworthy were we here to reign,
Should these for vengeance cry in vain;
Our full defiance, hate, and scorn,
Our herald has to Henry borne.”—
He paused, and led where Douglas stood,
And with stern eye the pageant viewed :
I mean that Douglas, sixth of yore,
Who coronet of Angus bore,
And, when his blood and heart were high,
Did the third James in camp defy,
And all his minions led to die
On Lauder's dreary flat :
Princes and favourites long grew tame,
And trembled at the homely name
Of Archibald Bell-the-Cat.
The same who left the dusky vale
Of Hermitage in Liddesdale,
Its dungeons, and its towers,
Where Bothwell's turrets brave the air,
And Bothwell bank is blooming fair,
To fix his princely bowers.
Though now, in age, he had laid down
His armour for the peaceful gown,
And for a staff his brand,
Yet often would flash forth the fire,
That could, in youth a monarch's ire
And minion's pride withstand ;
And even that day, at council board,
Unapt to sooth his sovereign's mood,
Against the war had Angus stood,
And chafed his royal lord,
His giant-form like ruined tower,
Though fallen its muscles' brawny vaunt,
Huge-boned, and tall, and grim, and gaunt, Seemed o'er the gaudy scene to lower :
His locks and beard in silver grew;
His eye-brows kept their sable hue.
Near Douglas when the monarch stood,
His bitter speech he thus pursued :-
“Lord Marmion, since these letters say
That in the North you needs must stay,
While slightest hopes of peace remain,
Uncourteous speech it were, and stern.
To say--Return to Lindisfarn,
Until my herald come again. -
Then rest you in Tantallon Hold,
Your host shall be the Douglas bold,--
A chief unlike his sires of old.
He wears their motto on his blade,
Their blazon o'er his towers displayed;
Yet loves his sovereign to oppose,
More than to face his country's foes.
And, I bethink me, by Saint Stephen,
But e'en this morn to me was given
A prize, the first-fruits of the war,
Ta'en by a galley from Dunbar,
A bevy of the maids of heaven.
Under your guard, these holy maids
Shall safe return to cloister shades,
And, while they at Tantallon stay,
Requiem for Cochran's soul may say:",
And, with the slaughtered favourite's
Across the monarch's brow there came
A cloud of ire, remorse, and shame.
In answer nought could Angus speak;
His proud heart swelled well-nigh to break :
He turned aside, and down his cheek
A burning tear there stole.
His hand the monarch sudden took,
That sight bis kind heart could not brook :
“Now, by the Bruce's soul,
Angus, my hasty speech forgive !
For sure as doth his spirit live,
As he said of the Douglas old,
I well may say of you,-
That never king did subject hold,
In speech more free, in war more bold,
More tender, and more true : *
Forgive me, Douglas, once again."-
And, while the King his hand did strain,
The old man's tears fell down like rain.
To seize the moment Marmion tried,
And whispered to the King aside :-
“Oh! let such tears unwonted plead
For respite short from dubious deed !
A child will weep a bramble's smart,
A maid to see her sparrow part,
A stripling for a woman's heart :
But woe awaits a country, when
She sees the tears of bearded men.
Then, oh! what omen, dark and high,
When Douglas wets his manly eye!"-
Displeased was James, that stranger viewed
And tampered with his changing mood.
“ Laugh those that can, weep those that may,"
Thus did the fiery monarch say,
“Southward I march by break of day;
And if within Tantallon strong,
The good Lord Marmion tarries long.
Perchance our meeting next may fall
At Tamworth, in his castle-hall.”-
The haughty Marmion felt the taunt,
And answered, grave, the royal vaunt:
“Much honoured were my humble home,
If in its halls King James should come ;
But Nottingham has archers good,
And Yorkshire men are stern of mood;
Northumbrian prickers wild and rude.
On Derby Hills the paths are steep;
In Ouse and Tyne the fords are deep ;
* 0, Dowglas! Dowglas!
Tendir and Trew.
And many a banner will be torn,
And many a knight to earth be borne,
And many a sheaf of arrows spent,
Ere Scotland's King shall cross the Trent:
Yet pause, brave prince, while yet you may.”—
The monarch lightly turned away,
And to his nobles loud did call, —
“Lords, to the dance,-a hall ! a hall !"*
Himself his cloak and sword flung by,
And led Dame Heron gallantly ;
And minstrels, at the royal order,
Rung out—" Blue Bonnets o'er the Border."
Leave we these revels now, to tell
What to Saint Hilda's maids befell,
Whose galley, as they sailed again
To Whitby, by a Scot was ta’en.
Now at Dun-Édin did they bide,
Till James should of their fate decide ;
And soon, by his command,
Were gently summoned to prepare
To journey under Marmion's care,
As escort honoured, safe, and fair,
Again to English land.
The Abbess told her chaplet o'er,
Nor knew which Saint she should implore;
For, when she thought of Constance, sore
She feared Lord Marmion's mood.
And judge what Clara must have felt!
The sword, that hung in Marmion's belt,
Had drunk De Wilton's blood.
Unwittingly, King James had given,
As guard to Whitby's shades,
The man most dreaded under heaven
By these defenceless maids ;
Yet what petition could avail,
Or who would listen to the tale
Of woman, prisoner and nun,
Mid bustle of a war begun ?
They deemed it hopeless to avoid
The convoy of their dangerous guide.
Their lodging, so the King assigned,
To Marmion's, as their guardian, joined;
And thus it fell, that, passing nigh,
The Palmer caught the Abbess' eye,
Who warned him by a scroll,
She had a secret to reveal,
That much concerned the Church's weal,
And health of sinners' soul;
* The ancient cry to make room for a dance, or pageant.
Within an open balcony,
That hung from dizzy pitch, and high,
Above the stately street;
To which, as common to each home,
At night they might in secret come.
At night, in secret there they came,
The Palmer and the holy dame.
The moon among the clouds rode high,
And all the city hum was by.
Upon the street, where late before
Did din of war and warriors roar,
You might have heard a pebble fall,
A beetle hum, a cricket sing,
An owlet flap his boding wing
On Giles's steeple tall.
The antique buildings, climbing high,
Whose Gothic frontlets sought the sky,
Were here wrapt deep in shade;
There on their brows the moon-beam broke,
Through the faint wreaths of silvery smoke,
And on the casements played. And other light was none to see,
Save torches gliding far,
Before some chieftain of degree,
Who left the royal revelry
To bowne bim for the war. -
A solemn scene the Abbess chose ;
A solemn hour, her secret to disclose.
XXI. “0, holy Palmer !” she began,“For sure he must be sainted man, Whose blessed feet have trod the ground Where the Redeemer's tomb is found ;For his dear Church's sake, my tale Attend, nor deem of light avail, Though I must speak of worldly love. ---How vain to those who wed above ! De Wilton and Lord Marmion wooed Clara de Clare, of Gloster's blood; (Idle it were of Whitby's dame, To say of that same blood I came;). And once, when jealous rage was high, Lord Marmion said despiteously, Wilton was traitor in his heart, And had made league with Martin Swart,* When he came here on Simnel's part;