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And then, he said, he would full fain
He could recall an ancient strain,
He never thought to sing again,
It was not framed for village churls,
But for high dames and mighty carls;
He had play'd it to King Charles the

good,
When he kept court in Holy-rood ;
And much he wish’d, yet fear’d, to try
The long-forgotten melody.
Amid the strings his fingers stray'd,
And an uncertain warbling made,
And oft he shook his hoary head.
But when he caught the measure wild,
The old man raised his face, and smiled ;
And lighten'd up his faded eye,
With all a poet's ecstasy!
In varying cadence, soft or strong,
He swept the sounding chords along :
The present scene, the future lot,
His toils, his wants, were all forgot :
Cold diffidence, and age's frost,
In the full tide of song were lost;

Each blank, in faithless memory void, The poet's glowing thought supplied ; And, while his harp responsive rung, Twas thus the LATEST MINSTREL sung.

Yanto First

O HE feast was over in Branksome tower, W And the Ladye had gone to her secret

bower; Her bower that was guarded by word and by

spell,
Deadly to hear, and deadly to tell —
Jesu Maria, shield us well!
No living wight, save the Ladye alone,
Had dared to cross the threshold stone.

HE tables were drawn, it was idlesse

all; Knight, and page, and household squire, Loiter'd through the lofty hall,

Or crowded round the ample fire:

The stag-hounds, weary with the chase,

Lay stretch'd upon the rushy floor, And urged, in dreams, the forest race,

From Teviot-stone to Eskdale-moor.

III.

JINE-AND-TWENTY knights of fame

Hung their shields in Branksome

Hall;t
Nine-and-twenty squires of name
Brought them their steeds to bower from

stall ;
Nine-and-twenty yeomen tall
Waited, duteous, on them all :
They were all knights of mettle true,
Kinsmen to the bold Buccleuch.

IV. EN of them were sheathed in steel, 2 With belted sword, and spur on heel :

They quitted not their harness bright,
Neither by day, nor yet by night:

They lay down to rest,

With corslet laced,
Pillow'd on buckler cold and hard;

They carv'd at the meal

With gloves of steel, And they drank the red wine through the helmet barrd.

v.
EN squires, ten yeomen, mail-clad men,

Waited the beck of the warders ten;
Thirty steeds, both fleet and wight,
Stood saddled in stable day and night,
Barbed with frontlet of steel I trow,
And with Jedwood-axe at saddle-bow it
A hundred more fed free in stall :-
Such was the custom of Branksome Hall.

vi.

T HY do these steeds stand ready dight?

Why watch these warriors, arm’d, by

night?They watch, to hear the blood-hound baying: They watch, to hear the war-horn braying ; To see St. George's red cross streaming, To see the midnight beacon gleaming : They watch, against Southern force and

guile,

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