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Their's was the glee of martial breast,
And mingle in the mirth they made :
For though, with men of high degree,
Yet, trained in camps, he knew the art
They love a captain to obey,
With open hand, and brow as free,
Lover of wine, and minstrelsy;
Ever the first to scale a tower,
As venturous in a lady's bower :
From India's fires to Zembla's frost.
Resting upon his pilgrim staff,
Right opposite the Palmer stood;
His thin dark visage seen but half,
Half hidden by his hood.
Still fixed on Marmion was his look,
Which he, who ill such gaze could brook,
Strove by a frown to quell; But not for that, though more than once Full met their stern encountering glance,
The Palmer's visage fell.
By fits less frequent from the crowd
Was heard the burst of laughter loud ;
For still, as squire and archer stared
On that dark face and matted beard,
Their glee and game declined.
Thus whispered forth his mind :“ Saint Mary! saw'st thou e'er such sight?
How pale his cheek, his eye how bright,
Glances beneath his cowl !
Full on our Lord he sets his
For his best palfrey would not I
Endure that sullen scowl."
But Marmion, as to chase the awe
Which thus had quelled their hearts, who saw The ever-varying fire-light shew
That figure stern, and face of woe,
Now called upon a squire :
“ Fitz-Eustace, know'st thou not some lay, To speed the lingering night away ?
We slumber by the fire.”
“ So please you,” thus the youth rejoined,
Our choicest minstrel's left behind.
Ill may we hope to please your ear,
Accustomed Constant's strains to hear.
The harp full deftly can he strike,
To dear Saint Valentine, no thrush
Sings livelier from a spring-tide bush;
Or duller monks of Lindisfarn.
Now must I venture, as I may,
A mellow voice Fitz-Eustace had,
The air he chose was wild and sad;
Such have I heard, in Scottish land,
Rise from the busy harvest band,
When falls before the mountaineer,
On lowland plains, the ripened ear.
Now a wild chorus swells the song:
Oft have I listened, and stood still,
As it came softened up the hill,
And deemed it the lament of men
Who languished for their native glen;
And thought how sad would be such sound,
Where heart-sick exiles, in the strain,
Recalled fair Scotland's hills again!
Whom the Fates sever,
From his true maiden's breast
Parted for ever?