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Then came the stirrup-cup in course;
Between the Baron and his host,
No point of courtesy was lost;
High thanks were by Lord Mármion paid,
Solemn excuse the Captain made,
Till, filing from the gate, had past
That noble train, their lord the last.
Then loudly rung the trumpet-call;
Thundered the cannon from the wall,
And shook the Scottish shore;
Around the castle eddied, slow,
Volumes of smoke as white as snow,
And hid its turrets hoar;
Till they rolled forth upon the air,
And met the river breezes there,
Which gave again the prospect fair.
INTRODUCTION TO CANTO SECOND.
TO THE REV. JOHN MARRIOT, M.A.
Ashestiel, Ettricke Forest.
The scenes are desert now, and bare,
Where flourished once a forest fair,
When these waste glens with copse were lined,
And peopled with the hart and hind.
Yon thorn-perchance whose prickly spears
Have fenced him for three hundred years,
While fell around his green com peers--
Yon lonely thorn, would he could tell
The changes of his parent dell,
Since he, so grey and stubborn now,
Waved in each breeze a sapling bough;
Would he could tell how deep the shade,
A thousand mingled branches made;
How broad the shadows of the oak,
How clung the rowan * to the rock,
And through the foliage showed his head,
With narrow leaves, and berries red;
What pines on every mountain sprung,
O'er every dell what birches hung,
In every breeze what aspens shook,
What alders shaded every brook!
“Here, in my shade," methinks he'd say,
“ The mighty stag at noontide lay:
The wolf I've seen, a fiercer game,
(The neighbouring dingle bears his name,)
With lurching step around me prowl,
And stop against the moon to howl;'
The mountain boar, on battle set,
His tusks upon my stem would whet;
While doe and roe, and red-deer good,
Have bounded by through gay green-wood.
Then oft, from Newark's riven tower,
Sallied a Scottish monarch's power:
A thousand vassals mustered round,
With horse, and hawk, and horn, and hound;
And I might see the youth, intent,
Guard every pass with cross-bow bent;
And through the brake the rangers stalk.
And falc'ners hold the rendy hawk;
And foresters, in green-wood trim,
Lead in the leash the gaze-hounds grim,
Attentive, as the brachet's * bay
From the dark covert drove the prey,
To slip them as he broke away.
The startled quarry bounds amain,
As fast the gallant grey-hounds strain ;
Whistles the arrow from the bow,
Answers the harquebuss below;
While all the rocking hills reply,
To hoof-clang, hound, and hunter's cry,
And bugles ringing lightsomely.”-
Of such proud huntings, many tales
Yet linger in our lonely dales;
Up pathless Ettricke, and on Yarrow,
Where erst the Outlaw drew his arrow.
But not more blythe that sylvan court,
Than we have been at humbler sport;
Though small our pomp, and mean our game,
Our mirth, dear Marriot, was the same.
Remember'st thou my grey-hounds true?
O'er holt, or hill, there never flew,
From slip, or leash, there never sprang,
More fleet of foot, or sure of fang.
Nor dull, between each merry chase,
Passed by the intermitted space;
For we had fair resource in store,
In Classic, and in Gothic lore:
We marked each memorable scene,
And held poetic talk between;
Nor hill, nor brook, we paced along,
But had its legend, or its song.
All silent now-for now are still
Thy bowers, untenanted Bowhill!
No longer, from thy mountains dun,
The yeoman hears the well-known gun,
And, while his honest heart glows warm,
At thought of his paternal farm,
Round to his mates a brimmer fills,
And drinks, “The Chieftain of the Hills"
No fairy forms, in Yarrow's bowers,
Trip o'er the walks, or tend the flowers,
Fair as the elves whom Janet saw,
By moonlight, dance on Carterhaugh ;
No youthful baron's left to grace
The Forest-Sheriff's lonely chase,
And ape, in manly step and tone,
The majesty of Oberon:
And she is gone, whose lovely face
Is but her least and lowest grace;
Though if to Sylphid Queen 'twere given,
To show our earth the charms of heaven,
She could not glide along the air,
With form more light, or face more fair.
No more the widow's deafened ear
Grows quick, that lady's step to hear:
At noontide she expects her not,
Nor busies her to trim the cot;
Pensive she turns her humming wheel,
Or pensive cooks her orphan's meal;
Yet blesses, ere she deals their bread,
The gentle hand by which they're fed.
From Yair,—which hills so closely bind,
Scarce can the Tweed his passage find,
Though much he fret, and chafe, and toil,
Till all his eddying currents boil, -
Her long-descended lord is gone,
And left us by the stream alone.
And much I miss those sportive boys,
Companions of my mountain joys,
Just at the age 'twixt boy and youth,
When thought is speech, and speech'is truth.
Close to my side, with what delight,
They pressed to hear of Wallace wight,
When, pointing to his airy mound,
I called bis ramparts holy ground I*
Kindled their brows to hear me speak;
And I have smiled, to feel my cheek,'
Despite the difference of our years,
Return again the glow of theirs.
Ah, happy boys! such feelings pure,
They will not, cannot long endure:
Condemned to stem the world's rude tide,
You may not linger by the side;
For Fate shall thrust you from the shore,
And Passion ply the sail and oar.
Yet cherish the remembrance still,
Of the lone mountain, and the rill;
• There is, on a high mountainous ridge above the farm of Ashestiek & fosse called Wallace's Trench.
For trust, dear boys, the time will come,
When fiercer transport shall be dumb,
And you will think right frequently,
But, well I hope, without a sigh,
On the free hours that we have spent,
Together, on the brown hill's bent.
When, musing on companions gone,
We doubly feel ourselves alone,
Something, my friend, we yet may gain,-
There is a pleasure in this pain :
It soothes the love of lonely rest,
Deep in each gentler heart impressed.
'Tis silent amid worldly toils,
And stifled soon by mental broils;
But, in a bosom thus prepared,
Its still small voice is often heard,
Whispering a mingled sentiment,
"Twixt resignation and content.
Oft in my mind such thoughts awake,
By lone Št. Mary's silent lake;
Thou know'st it well,-nor fen, nor sedge,
Pollute the pure lake's crystal edge;.
Abrupt and sheer, the mountains sink
At once upon the level brink;
And just a trace of silver sand
Marks where the water meets the land.
Far in the mirror, bright and blue,
Each hill's huge outline you may view;
Shaggy with heath, but lonely bare,
Nor tree. nor bush. nor brake is there.
Save where, of land, yon slender line
Bears thwart the lake the scattered pine.
Yet even this nakedness has power,
And aids the feeling of the hour:
Nor thicket, dell, nor copse you spy,
Where living thing concealed
Nor point, retiring, hides a dell,
Where swain, or woodman lone, might dwell;
There's nothing left to fancy's guess,
You see that all is loneliness :
And silence aids—though these steep bills
Send to the lake a thousand rills :
In summer tide, so soft they weep,
The sound but lulls the ear asleep;
Your horse's hoof-tread sounds too rude,
So stilly is the solitude.
Nought living meets the eye or ear,
But well I ween the dead are near;
For though, in feudal strife, a foe
Hath laid Our Lady's chapel low,
Yet still, beneath the hallowed soil,
The peasant rests him from his toil,
And, dying, bids his bones be laid
Where erst his simple fathers prayed.