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The child, amidst the forest bower,
Stood rooted like a lily flower;
And when at length, with trembling pace,
He sought to find where Branksome lay, He feared to see that grisly face
Glare from some thicket on his way.
Thus, starting oft, he journeyed on,
And deeper in the wood is gone, -
For aye the more he sought his way,
The further still he went astray,-
Until he heard the mountains round
Ring to the baying of a hound.
XV. And hark ! and hark! the deep-mouthed bark
Comes nigher still, and nigher:
Bursts on the path á dark blood-hound,
His tawny muzzle tracked the ground,
And his red eye shot fire.
Soon as the wildered child saw he,
He flew at him right furiouslie.
I ween you would have seen with joy
The bearing of the gallant boy,
When, worthy of his noble sire,
His wet cheek glowed 'twixt fear and ire !
He faced the blood-hound manfully,
And held his little bat on high ;
So fierce he struck, the dog, afraid,
At cautious distance hoarsely bayed,
But still in act to spring;
When dashed an archer through the glade,
And when he saw the hound was stayed,
He drew his tough bow-string;
But a rough voice cried, “Shoot not, hoy!
“Ho! shoot not, Edward—'Tis a boy!"
The speaker issued from the wood,
And checked his fellow's surly mood,
And quelled the ban-dog's ire :
He was an English yeoman good,
And born in Lancashire.
Well could he hit a fallow deer
Five hundred feet him fro;
With hand more true, and eye more clear,
No archer bended bow.
His coal-black hair, shorn round and close,
Set off his sun-burned face :
Old England's sign, St. George's cross,
His barret-cap did grace ;
His bugle-horn hung by his side,
All in a wolf-skin baldric tied';
And his short falchion, sharp and clear,
Had pierced the throat of many a deer,
His kirtle, made of forest green,
Reached scantly to his knee;
And, at his belt, of arrows keen
A furbished sheaf bore be;
His buckler scarce in breadth a span,
No longer fence had he;
He never counted him a man,
Would strike below the knee ;
His slackened bow was in his hand,
And the leash, that was his blood-hound's band.
He would not do the fair child harm,
But held him with his powerful arm,
That he might neither fight nor flee;
For when the Red-Cross spied he,
The boy strove long and violently.
“Now, by St. George," the archer cries,
“Edward, methinks we have a prize !;
This boy's fair face, and courage free,
Shows he is come of high degree.”
« Yes! I am come of high degree,
For I am the heir of bold Buccleuch ;
And, if thou dost not set me free,
False Southron, thou shalt dearly rue !
For Walter of Harden shall come with speed,
And William of Deloraine, good at need,
And every Scott, from Esk to Tweed;
And, if thou dost not let me go,
Despite thy arrows, and thy bow,
I'll have thee hanged to feed the crow 1"-
“Gramercy, for thy good-will, fair boy!
My mind was never set so high;
But if thou art chief of such a clan,
And art the son of such a man,
And ever comest to thy command,
Our wardens had need to keep good order;
My bow of yew to a hazel wand,
Thou'lt make them work upon the Border,
Meantime, be pleased to come with me,
For good Lord Dacre shalt thou see;
I think our work is well begun,
When we have taken thy father's son.”-
Although the child was led away,
In Branksome still he seemed to stay,
For so the Dwarf his part did play;
And, in the shape of that young boy,
He wrought the castle much annoy.
The comrades of the young Buccleuch
He pinched, and beat, and overthrew;
Nay, some of them he well-nigh slew.
He tore Dame Maudlin's silken tire,
And, as Sym Hall stood by the fire,
He lighted the match of his bandelier, *
And woefully scorched the hackbutteer. +
It may be hardly thought or said,
The mischief that the urchin made,
Till many of the castle guessed,
That the young Baron was possessed !
Well I ween, the charm he held
The noble Ladye had soon dispelled;
But she was deeply busied then
To tend the wounded Deloraine.
Much she wondered to find him lie,
On the stone threshold stretched along; She thought some spirit of the sky
Had done the bold moss-trooper wrong;
Because, despite her precept dread,
Perchance he in the Book had read;
But the broken lance in his bosom stood,
And it was earthly steel and wood.
She drew the splinter from the wound,
And with a charm she staunched the blood; She bade the gash be cleansed and bound:
No longer by his couch she stood; But she has ta’en the broken lance,
And washed it from the clotted gore,
And salved the splinter o'er and o'er. William of Deloraine, in trance,
Whene'er she turned it round and round,
Twisted as if she galled his wound.
Then to her maidens she did say,
That he should be whole man and sound,
Within the course of a night and day.
Full long she toiled ; for she did rue
Mishap to friend so stout and true.
xxiv. So passed the day, the evening fell, 'Twas near the time of curfew bell; The air was mild, the wind was calm, The stream was smooth, the dew was balm; E’en the rude watchman, on the tower, Enjoyed and blessed the lovely hour.
Far more fair Margaret loved and blessed
The hour of silence and of rest.
On the high turret sitting lone,
She waked at times the lute's soft tone;
Touched a wild note, and all between
Thought of the bower of hawthorns green.
Her golden hair streamed free from band,
Her fair cheek rested on her hand,
Her blue eyes sought the west afar,
For lovers love the western star.
Is yon the star, o'er Penchryst Pen,
That rises slowly to her ken,
And, spreading broad its wavering light,
Shakes its loose tresses on the night?
Is yon red glare the western star ?
Oh, 'tis the beacon-blaze of war!
Scarce could she draw ber tightened breath,
For well she knew the fire of death!
The Warder viewed it blazing strong,
And blew his war-note loud and long,
Till, at the high and haughty sound,
Rock, wood, and river, rung around.
The blast alarmed the festal hall.
And startled forth the warriors all;
Far downward, in the castle-yard,
Full many a torch and cresset glared ;
And helms and plumes, confusedly tossed,
Were in the blaze half-seen, balf-lost;
And spears in wild disorder shook,
Like reeds beside a frozen brook,
The Seneschal, whose silver hair
Was reddened by the torches' glare,
Stood in the midst, with gesture proud,
And issued forth his mandates loud.-
“ On Penchryst glows a bale* of fire,
And three are kindling on Priesthaughswire;
Ride out, ride out,
The foe to scout!
Mount, mount for Branksome,t every man !
Thou, Todrig, warn the Johnstone clan,
That ever are true and stout.-
Ye need not send to Liddesdale ;
For when they see the blazing bale,
Elliots and Armstrongs never fail. -
Ride, Alton, ride, for death and life!
And warn the warden of the strife.
* Bale, beacon-faggot. + Mount for Branksome was the gathering word of the Scots.
Young Gilbert, let our beacon blaze,
Our kin, and clan, and friends, to raise."-
Fair Margaret, from the turret head,
Heard, far below, the coursers' tread,
While loud the harness rung,
As to their seats, with clamour dread,
The ready horsemen sprung;
And trampling hoofs, and iron coats,
And leaders' voices, mingled notes,
And out! and out!
In hasty route,
The horsemen galloped forth;
Dispersing to the south to scout,
And east, and west, and north,
To view their coming enemies,
And warn their vassals and allies.
The ready page, with hurried hand,
Awaked the need-fire's * slumbering brand,
And ruddy blushed the heaven:
For a sheet of flame, from the turret higb,
Waved like a blood-flag on the sky,
All flaring and uneven;.
And soon a score of fires, I ween,
From height, and hill, and cliff, were seen;
Each with warlike tidings fraught;
Each from each the signal caught;
Each after each they glanced to sight,
As stars arise upon the night.
They gleamed on many a dusky tarn,+
Haunted by the lonely earn;I
On many a cairn's & grey pyramid,
Where urns of mighty chiefs lie hid;
Till high Dunedin the blazes saw,
From Soltra and Dumpender Law;
And Lothian heard the Regent's order,
That all should bowne|| them for the Border,
The livelong night in Branksome rang
The ceaseless sound of steel;
The castle-bell, with backward clang,
Sent forth the larum peal;
Was frequent heard the heavy jar,
Where massy stone and iron bar
Were piled on echoing keep and tower,
To whelm the foe with deadly shower;