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And, Warrior, I could say to thee
The words that cleft Eildon hills in three,
And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone:
But to speak them were a deadly sin ;
And for having but thought them my heart within,
A treble penance must be done.
" When Michael lay on his dying bed,
His conscience was awakened ;
He bethought him of his sinful deed,
And he gave me a sign to come with speed :
I was in Spain when the morning rose,
But I stood by his bed ere evening close.
The words may not again be said,
That he spoke to me, on death-bed laid ;
They would rend this Abbaye's massy nave,
And pile it in heaps above his grave.
XV. “I swore to bury his Mighty Book, That never mortal might therein look; And never to tell where it was hid, Save at his Chief of Branksome's need: And when that need was past and o'er, Again the volume to restore. I buried him on St. Michael's night, When the bell tolled one, and the moon was bright, And I dug his chamber among the dead. When the floor of the chancel was stained red, That his patron's cross might over him wave, And scare the fiends from the Wizard's gravé.
XVI. “ It was a night of woe and dread, When Michael in the tomb I laid ! Strange sounds along the chancel past, The banners waved without a blast, -Still spoke the Monk, when the bell tolled one ! I tell you, that a braver man Than William of Deloraine, good at need, Against a foe ne'er spurred a steed; Yet somewhat was he chilled with dread, And his hair did bristle upon his head.
“Lo, Warrior ! now, the Cross of Red
Points to the grave of the mighty dead ;
Within it burns a wonderous light,
To chase the spirits that love the night:
That lamp shall burn unquenchably,
Until the eternal doom shall be."
Slow moved the Monk to the broad flag-stone,
W lich the bloody cross was traced upon:
He pointed to a secret nook;
An iron bar the Warrior took;
And the Monk made a sign with his withered hand,
The grave's huge portal to expand.
With beating heart to the task he went ;
His sinewy frame o'er the grave-stone bent;
With bar of iron heaved amain,
Till the toil-drops fell from his brows, like rain.
It was by dint of passing strength,
That he moved the massy stone at length.
I would you had been there, to see
How the light broke forth so gloriously,
Streamed upward to the chancel roof,
And through the galleries far aloof!
No earthly flame blazed e'er so bright:
It shone like heaven's own blessed light,
And, issuing from the tomb,
Shewed the Monk's cowl, and visage pale,
Danced on the dark-browed Warrior's mail,
And kissed his waving plume.
Before their eyes the Wizard lay,
As if he had not been dead a day.
His hoary beard in silver rolled,
He seemed some seventy winters old;
A palmer's amice wrapped him round,
With a wrought Spanish baldric bound,
Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea;
His left hand held his Book of Might;
A silver cross was in his right;
The lamp was placed beside his knee:
High and majestic was his look,
At which the fellest fiends had 'shook,
And all unruffled was his face:
They trusted his soul had gotten grace.
Often had William of Deloraine
Rode through the battle's bloody plain,
And trampled down the warriors slain,
And neither known reniorse or awe;
Yet now remorse and awe he owned;
His breath came thick, his head swam round,
When this strange scene of death he saw.
Bewildered and unnerved he stood,
And the priest prayed fervently and loud:
With eyes averted prayed be;
He might not endure the sight to see,
Of the man he had loved so brotherly.
XXI, And when the priest his death-prayer had prayed, Thus unto Deloraine he said :
“Now, speed thee what thou hast to do,
Or, Warrior, we may dearly rue;
For those, thou may'st not look upon,
Are gathering fast round the yawning stone !"-
Then Deloraine, in terror, took
From the cold band the Mighty Book,
With iron clasped, and with iron bound:
He thought, as he took it, the dead man frowned ;
But the glare of the sepulchral light,
Perchance, had dazzled the Warrior's sight.
When the huge stone sunk o'er the tomb,
The night returned, in double gloom;
For the moon had gone down, and the stars were
And, as the Knight and Priest withdrew,
With wavering steps and dizzy brain,
They hardly might the postern gain.
'Tis said, as through the aisles they passed,
They heard strange noises on the blast;
And through the cloister-galleries small,
Which at inid-height thread the chancel wall,
Loud sobs, and laughter louder, ran,
And voices unlike the voice of man;
As if the fiends kept holiday,
Because these spells were brought to-day.
I cannot tell how the truth may be ;
I say the tale as 'twas said to me.
XXIII. “Now, hie thee hence,” the Father said, “ And when we are on death-bed laid, O may our dear Ladye, and sweet St. John, Forgive our souls for the deed we have done !”The Monk returned him to his cell,
And many a prayer and penance sped ;
When the convent met at the noontide bell-
The Monk of St. Mary's aisle was dead !
Before the cross was the body laid,
With hands clasped fast, as if still he prayed.
The Knight breathed free in the morning wind,
And strove his hardihood to find;
He was glad when he passed the tombstones grey,
Which girdle round the fair Abbaye;
For the mystic Book, to his bosom prest,
Felt like a load upon his breast;
And his joints, with nerves of iron twined,
Shook, like the aspen leaves in wind.
Full fáin was he when the dawn of day
Began to brighten Cheviot grey;
He joyed to see the cheerfui light,
And he said Ave Mary, as well as he mighty
The suu had brightened Cheviot grey,
The sun had brightened the Carter's side;
And soon beneath the rising day
Smiled Branksome Towers and Teviot's tide. The wild birds told their warbling tale,
And wakened every flower that blows; And peeped forth the violet pale,
And spread her breast the mountain rose. And lovelier than the rose so red,
Yet paler than the violet pale,
She early left her sleepless bed,
The fairest maid of Teviotdale.
Why does fair Margaret so early awake,
And don her kirtle so hastilie;
And the silken knots, which in hurry she would make,
Why tremble her slender fingers to tie;
Why does she stop, and look often around,
As she glides down the secret stair;
And why does she pat the shaggy blood-hound,
As he rouses him up from his lair;
And, though she passes the postern alone,
Why is not the watchman's bugle blown?
The Ladye steps in doubt and dread,
Lest her watchful mother hear her tread;
The Ladye caresses the rough blood-hound,
Lest his voice should waken the castle round;
The watchman's bugle is not blown,
For he was her foster-father's son;
And shé glides through the greenwood at dawn of light,
To meet Baron Henry, her own true knight.
The Knight and Ladye fair are met,
And under the hawthorn's boughs are set.
A fairer pair were never seen
To meet beneath the hawthorn green.
He was stately, and young, and tall ;
Dreaded in battle, and loved in hall:
And she, when love, scarce told, scarce hid,
Lent to her cheek a livelier red;
When the half-sigh her swelling breast
Against the silken ribband prest;
When her blue eyes their secret told,
Though shaded by her locks of gold —
Where would you find the peerless fair,
With Margaret of Branksome might compare!
* A mountain on the border of England, above Jedburgh
And now, fair dames, methinks I see
You listen to my minstrelsy;
Your waving locks ye backward throw,
And sidelong bend your necks of snow:
Ye ween to hear a melting tale,
Of two true lovers in a dale;
And how the Knight, with tender fire,
To paint his faithful passion strove;
Swore, he might at her feet expire,
But never, never cease to love;
And how she blushed, and how she sighed,
And, half consenting, half denied,
And said that she would die a maid ;-
Yet, might the bloody feud be stayed,
Henry of Cranstoun, and only he,
Margaret of Branksome's choice should be.
Alas! fair dames, your hopes are vain!
My harp has lost the enchanting strain;
Its lightness would my age reprove:
My hairs are grey, my limbs are old,
My heart is dead, my veins are cold :
· I may not, must not, sing of love.
Beneath an oak, mossed o'er by eld,
The Baron's Dwarf his courser held,
And held his crested helm and spear:
That Dwarf was scarce an earthly man,
If the tales were true, that of him ran
Through all the Border, far and near.
'Twas said, when the Baron a-hunting rode
Through Reedsdale's glens, but rarely trod,
He heard a voice cry, “Lost! lost! lost!”
And, like tennis-ball by racket tossed.
A leap, of thirty feet and three,
Made from the gorse this elfin shape,
Distorted like some dwarfish ape,
And lighted at Lord Cranstoun's knee. Lord Cranstoun was some whit dismayed ; 'Tis said that five good miles he rade,
To rid him of his company;
But where he rode one mile, the dwarf ran four,
And the Dwarf was first at the castle door.
Use lessens marvel, it is said :
This elvish Dwarf with the Baron staid ;
Little he ate, and less he spoke,
Nor mingled with the menial flock:
And oft apart his arms he tossed,
And often muttered, “Lost! lost ! lost !"