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Perchance her reason stoops, or reels;
Perchance a courage, not her own,
Braces her mind to desperate tone.-
The scattered van of England wheels;
She only said, as loud in air
The tumult roared. “Is Wilton there?"_
They fiy, or, maddened by despair,
Fight but to die.-" Is Wilton there?"-
With that, straight up the hill there rode
Two horsemen drenched with gore, And in their arms, a helpless load,
A wounded knight they bore. His hand still strained the broken brand; His arms were smeared with blood and sand: Dragged from among the horses' feet, With dinted shield, and helmet beat, The falcon-crest and plumage gone, Can that be haughty Marmion! ... Young Blount his armour did unlace, And, gazing on his ghastly face,
Said—“ By Saint George, he's gone ! That spear-wound has our master sped, And see the deep cut on his head !
Good night to Marmion.”—
“ Unnurtured Blount! thy brawling cease:
He opes his eyes,” said Eustace; “ peace!"-
When, doffed his casque, he felt free air,
Around gan Marmion wildly stare: -
“ Where's Harry Blount? Fitz-Eustace where?
Linger ye here, ye hearts of hare !
Redeem my pennon,-charge again!
Cry-'Marmion to the rescue!'- Vain!
Last of my race, on battle plain
That shout shall ne'er be heard again!
Yet my last thought is England's :-fly,
To Dacre bear my signet-ring;
Tell him his squadrons up to bring:---
Fitz-Eustace, to Lord Surrey hie;
Tunstall lies dead upon the field,
His life-blood stains the spotless shield:
Edmund is down;-my life is reft;--
The Admiral alone is left.
Let Stanley charge with spur of fire,-
With Chester charge, and Lancashire,
Full upon Scotland's central host,
Or victory and England's lost. -
Must I bid twice?-hence, varlets ! Ay!
Leave Marmion here alone--to die."-
They parted, and alone he lay;
Clare drew her from the sight away,
Till pain wrung forth a lowly moan,
And half he murmured, -" Is there nove,
Of all my halls have nurst,
Page, squire, or groom, one cup to bring
Of blessèd water, from the spring,
To slake my dying thirst !”
O, woman ! in our hours of case,
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
And variable as the shade
By the light quivering aspen made;
When pain and anguish wring the brow,
A ministering angel thou l-
Scarce were the piteous accents said,
When, with the Baron's casque, the maid
To the nigh streamlet rani
Forgot were hatred, wrongs, and fears;
The plaintive voice alone she hears,
Sees but the dying man.
She stooped her by the runnel's side,
But in abhorrence backward drew;
For, oozing from the mountain's side,
Where raged the war, a dark red tide
Was curdling in the streamlet blue.
Where shall she turn !-behold her mark
A little fountain cell,
Where water, clear as diamond-spark,
In a stone basin fell.
Above, some half-worn letters say,
Drink. wearp. pilgrim. drink. and. pray.
for. the. kind. soul. of. Sybil. Greg.
Julho, built. this, cross. and. well.
She filled the helm, and back she hied,
And with surprise and joy espied
A Monk supporting Marmion's head;
A pious man, whom duty brought,
To dubious verge of ba
To shrieve the dying, bless the dead.
XXXI. Deep drank Lord Marmion of the wave, And, as she stooped his brow to lave“ Is it the hand of Clare,” he said, “ Or injured Constance, bathes my head!"
Then, as remembrance rose, “ Speak not to me of shrift or prayer !
I must redress her woes. Short space, few words, are mine to spare; Forgive and listen, gentle Clare!”
" Alas!" she said, “ the while,
O think of your immortal weal !
In vain for Constance is your zeal;
She died at Holy Isle.”
Lord Marmion started from the ground,
As light as if he felt no wound;
Though in the action burst the tide,
In torrents, from his wounded side.
“ Then it was truth!”—he said—“I knew
That the dark presage must be true.-
I would the Fiend, to whom belongs
The vengeance due to all her wrongs,
Would spare me but a day!
For wasting fire, and dying groan,
And priests slain on the altar stone,
Might bribe him for delay.
It may not be !-this dizzy trance
Curse on yon base marauder's lance,
And doubly cursed my failing brand !
A sinful heart makes feeble hand.”_
Then, fainting, down on earth he sunk,
Supported by the trembling Monk.
With fruitless labour, Clara bound,
And strove to stanch, the gushing wound:
The Monk, with unavailing cares,
Exhausted all the Church's prayers.
Ever, he said, that, close and near,
A lady's voice was in his ear,
And that the priest he could not hear,
For that she ever sung,
“ In the lost battle, borne down by the Nying,
Where mingles war's rattle with groans of
So the notes rung
« Avoid thee, Fiend:-with cruel hand,
Shake not the dying sinner's sand.
O look, my son, upon yon sign
Of the Redeemer's grace divine;
O think on faith a
By many a death-bed I have been,
And many a sinner's parting seen,
But never aught like this." -
The war, that for a space did fail,
Now trebly thundering swelled the gale,
And-STANLEY! was the cry;-
A light on Marmion's visage spread,
And fired his glazing eye:
With dying hand, above his head
He shook the fragment of his blade,
And shouted " Victory!
Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on!"...
Were the last words of Marmion.
By this, though deep the evening fell,
Still rose the battle's deadly swell,
For still the Scots, around their king,
Unbroken, fought in desperate ring.
Where's now their victor vaward wing,
Where Huntly, and where Home
O for a blast of that dread horn,
On Fontarabian echoes borne,
That to King Charles did come,
When Rowland brave, and Oliver,
And every paladin and peer,
On Roncesvalles died !
Such blast might warn them, not in vain,
To quit the plunder of the slain,
And turn the doubtful day again,
While yet on Flodden side,
Afar, the Royal Standard flies,
And round it toils, and bleeds, and dies,
Our Caledonian pride!
In vain the wish-for far away,
While spoil and havoc mark their way,
Near Sybil's Cross the plunderers stray. -
“ 0, Lady," cried the Monk, "away!
And placed her on her steed;
And led her to the chapel fair,
Of Tilmouth upon Tweed.
There all the night they spent in prayer,
And, at the dawn of morning, there
She met her kinsman, Lord Fitz-Clare.
But as they left the dark’ning heath,
More desperate grew the strife of death.
The English shafts in volleys hailed,
In headIong charge their horse assailed;
Front, flank, and rear, the squadrons sweep,
To break the Scottish circle deep,
That fought around their king.
But yet, though thick the shafts as snow,
Though charging knights like whirlwinds go,
Though bill-men ply the ghastly blow,
Unbroken was the ring;
Each stepping where his comrade stood,
The instant that he fell.
No thought was there of dastard flight;
Linked in the serried phalanx tight,
Groom fought like noble, squire like knight,
As fearlessly and well
Till utter darkness closed her wing
O'er their thin host and wounded king.
Then skilful Surrey's sage commands
Led back from strife his shattered bands;
And from the charge they drew,
As mountain-waves, from wasted lands,
Sweep back to ocean blue.
Then did their loss his foemen know;
Their king, their lords, their mightiest, low,
They melted from the field as snow,
When streams are swoln and south winds
blow, Dissolves in silent dew.
I'weed's echoes heard the ceaseless plash,
While many a broken band,
Disordered, through her currents dash,
To gain the Scottish land;
To town and tower, to down and dale,
To tell red Flodden's dismal tale,
And raise the universal wail.
Tradition, legend, tune, and song,
Shall many an age that wail prolong :
Still from the sire the son shall hear
Of the stern strife, and carnage drear,
Of Flodden's fatal field,
Where shivered was fair Scotland's spear,
And broken was her shield !
Day dawns upon the mountain's side :-
There, Scotland ! lay thy bravest pride,
Chiefs, knights, and nobles, many a one;
The sad survivors all are gone. -
View not that corpse mistrustfully,
Defaced and mangled though it be;
Nor to yon Border castle high
Look northward with upbraiding eye;
Nor cherish hope in vain,
That, journeying far on foreign strand,
The Royal Pilgrim to his land
May yet return again.
He saw the wreck his rashness wrought;
Reckless of life, he desperate fought,
And fell on Flodden plain :
And well in death his trusty brand,
Firm clenched within his manly hand,
Beseemed the monarch slain.
But, oh! how changed since yon blithe
Gladly I turn me from the sight,
Unto my tale again.
XXXVI. Short is my tale :-Fitz-Eustace' care A pierced and mangled body bare To moated Lichfield's lofty pile; And there, beneath the southern aisle, A tomb, with Gothic sculpture fair, Did long Lord Marmion's image bear. (Now vainly for its site you look ; 'Twas levelled, when fanatic Brook The fair cathedral stormed and took ; But, thanks to heaven, and good Saint Chad, A guerdon meet the spoiler had !) There erst was martial Marmion found, His feet upon a couchant hound,
His hands to heaven upraised;