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Was frequent heard the changing guard,
And watch-word from the sleepless ward;
While, wearied by the endless din,
Blood-hound and ban-dog yelled within.
The noble Dame, amid the broil,
Shared the grey Seneschal's high toil,
And spoke of danger with a smile;
Cheered the young knights, and council sage
Held with the chiefs of riper age.
No tidings of the foe were brought,
Nor of his numbers knew they aught,
Nor in what time the truce he sought.
Some said that there were thousands ten ; And others weened that it was nought
But Leven Clans, or Tvnedale men. Who came to gather in black-mail ; * , And Liddesdale, with small avail,
Might drive thaem lightly back agen. So passed the anxious night away, And welcome was the peep of day. CEASED the high sound-the listening throng Applaud the Master of the Song ; and marvel much, in helpless age, So hard should be his pilgrimage. Had he no friend-no daughter dear, His wandering toil to share and cheer; No son, to be his father's stay, And guide him on the rugged way? “Ay, once he had but he was dead!". Upon the harp he stooped his head, And busied himself the strings withal, To hide the tear, that fain would fall. In solemn measure, soft and slow, Arose a father's notes of woe.
Sweet Teviot! on thy silver tide
The glariug bale-fires blaze no more; No longer steel-clad warriors ride
Along thy wild and willowed shore; Where'er thou wind'st, by dale or hill, All, all is peaceful, all is still,
As if thy waves, since Time was born, Since first they rolled upon the Tweed, Had only heard the shepherd's reed,
Nor started at the bugle-horn.
* Protection-money exacted by free-booters.
Unlike the tide of human tine,
Which, though it change in ceaseless flow,
Retains each grief, retains each crime,
Its earliest course was doomed to know;
And, darker as it downward bears,
Is stained with past and present tears.
Low as that tide bas ebbed with me,
It still reflects to Memory's eye
The hour, my brave, my only boy,
Fell by the side of great Dundee.
Why, when the volleying musket played
Against the bloody Highland blade,
Why was not I beside him laid !
Enough-he died the death of fame;
Enough-he died with conquering Græme.
Now over Border dale and fell,
Full wide and far was terror spread ;
For pathless marsh, and mountain cell,
The peasant left his lowly shed.
The frightened flocks and herds were pent
Beneath the peel's rude battlement;
And maids and matrons dropped the tear,
While ready warriors seized the spear.
From Branksome's towers, the watchman's eye
Dun wreaths of distant smoke can spy,
Which, curling in the rising sun,
Showed southern ravage was begun.
Now loud the heedful gate-ward cried-
“Prepare ye all for blows and blood ! Watt Tinlinn, from the Liddel-side,
Comes wading through the flood.'
Full oft the Tynedale snatchers knock
At his lone gate, and prove the lock ;
It was but last St. Barnabright
They sieged him a whole summer night,
But fled at morning; well they knew,
In vain he never twanged the yew.
Right sharp has been the evening shower,
That drove him from his Liddel tower ;
And, by my faith,” the gate-ward said,
“ I think 't will prove a Warden-Raid."*
While thus he spoke, the bold yeoman
Entered the echoing barbican.
He led a small and shaggy nag,
* An inroad commanded by the Warden in person.
That through a bog, from hag to bag, *
Could bound like any Billhope stag.
It bore his wife and children twain :
A half-clothed serf + was all their train :
His wife, stout, ruddy, and dark-browed,
Of silver broach and bracelet proud,
Laughed to her friends among the crowd.
He was of stature passing tall,
But sparely formed, and lean withal ;
A battered morion on his brow;
A leather jack, as fence enow,
On his broad shoulders loosely hung;
A border axe behind was slung;
His spear, six Scottish ells in length,
Seemed newly dyed with gore;
His shafts and bow, of wonderous strength, His hardy partner bore.
Thus to the Ladye did Tinlinn show
The tidings of the English foe:-
“ Belted Will Howard is marching here,
And hot Lord Dacre, with many ă spear,
And all the German hack but-men, I
Who have long lain at Askerten:
They crossed the Liddel at curfew hour,
And burned my little lonely tower;
The fiend receive their souls therefor!
It had not been burned this year and more.
Barnyard and dwelling, blazing bright,
Served to guide me on my flight;
But I was chased the live-long night.
Black John of Akeshaw, and Fergus Græme,
Fast upon my traces came,
Until I turned at Priesthaugh Scrogg,
And shot their borses in the bog,
Slew Fergus with my lance outright-
I had him long at high despite :
He drove my cows last Fastern's night."-
Now weary scouts from Liddesdale,
Fast hurrying in, confirmed the tale ;
As far as they could judge by ken,
Three hours would bring to Teviot's strand Three thousand armed Englishmen
Meanwhile, full many a warlike band,
From Teviot, Aill, and Ettrick shade,
Came in, their Chief's defence to aid.
There was saddling and mounting in haste,
There was pricking o'er moor and lea ;
* The broken ground in a bog.
He that was last at the trysting-place,
Was but lightly held of his gay ladye.
From fair St. Mary's silver wave,
From dreary Gamescleuch’s dusky height, His ready lances Thirlestane brave
Arrayed beneath a banner bright.
The tressured fleur-de-luce he claims
To wreathe his shield, since royal James,
Encamped by Fala's mossy wave,
The proud distinction gratefui gave,
For faith 'mid feudal jars;
What time, save Thirlestane alone,
Of Scotland's stubborn barons none
Would march to southern wars ;
And hence, in fair remembrance worn,
Yon sheaf of spears his crest has borne ;
Hence his high motto shines revealed
" Ready, aye realy,” for the field.
An agèd knight, to danger steeled,
With many a moss-trooper, came on;
And azure in a golden field,
The stars and crescent graced his shield,
Without the bend of Murdieston.
Wide lay his lands round Oakwood tower,
And wide round haunted Castle-Ower;
High over Borthwick's mountain flood,
His wood-embosomed mansion stood;
In the dark glen, so deep below,
The herds of plundered England low;
His bold retainers' daily food.
And bought with danger, blows, and blood.
Marauding chief! his sole delight
The moonlight raid, the morning fight;
Not even the Flower of Yarrow's charms,
In youth, might tame his rage for arins;
And still, in age, he spurned at rest,
And still his brows the helmet pressed,
Albeit the blanchèd locks below
Were white as Dinlay's spotless snow:
Five stately warriors drew the sword
Before their father's band;
A braver knight than Harden's lord
Ne'er belted on a brand.
Scotts of Eskdale, a stalwart band,
Came trooping down the Todshawhill;
By the sword they won their land,
And by the sword they hold it still.
Hearken, Ladye, to the tale,
How thy sires won fair Eskdale. --
Earl Morton was lord of that valley fair,
The Beattisons were his vassals there.
The Earl was gentle, and mild of mood,
The vassals were warlike, and fierce, and rude;
High of heart, and haughty of word,
Little they recked of a tame liege lord.
The Earl to fair Eskdale came,
Homage and seignory to claim :
Of Gilbert the Galliard, a heriot* he sought,
Saying, “Give thy best steed, as a vassal ought."
_"Dear to me is my bonny white steed,
Oft has he helped me at pinch of need;
Lord and Earl though thou be, I trow,
I can rein Bucksfoot better than thou."
Word on word gave fuel to fire,
Till so highly blazed the Beattison's ire,
But that the Earl the flight bad ta’en,
The vassals there their lord had slain.
Sore he plied both whip and spur,
As he urged his steed through Eskdale muir;
And it fell down a weary weight,
Just on the threshold of Branksome gate.
The Earl was a wrathful man to see,
Full fain avenged would he be.
In haste to Branksome's lord he spoke,
Saying——“Take these traitors to Thy yoke;
For a cast of hawks, and a purse of gold,
All Eskdale I'll sell thee, to have and hold:
Beshrew thy heart, of the Beattisons' clan
If thou leavest on Eske a landed man;
But spare Woodkerrick's lands alone,
For he lent me his horse to escape upon."-
A glad man then was Branksome bold,
Down he flung him the purse of gold;
To Eskdale soon he spurred amain,
And with him five hundred riders has ta'en.
He left his merrymen in the mist of the hill,
And bade them hold them close and still;
And alone he wended to the plain,
To meet with the Galliard and all his train. -
To Gilbert the Galliard thus he said :
“Know thou me for thy liege-lord and head;
Deal not with me as with Morton tame,
For Scotts play best at the roughest game.
Give me in peace my heriot due,
Thy bonny white steed, or thou shalt rue.
If my horn I three times wind,
Eskdale shall long have the sound in mind."-
* The feudal superior, in certain cases, was entitled to the best horse of the vassal, in name of heriot, or herezeld.