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COURT

Then, oh! what omen, dark and high,
When Douglas wets his manly eye !"

XVII. Displeased was James, that stranger viewed And tampered with his changing mood. “ Laugh those that can, weep those that may," Thus did the fiery Monarch say,... “ Southward I march by break of day; And if within Tantallon strong, The good Lord Marmion tarries long, Perchance our meeting next may fall At Tamworth, in his castle-hall.”— The haughty Marmion felt the taunt, And answered, grave, the royal vaunt : “ Much honoured were my humble home, If in its halls King James should come; But Nottingham has archers good, And Yorkshire men are stern of mood; Northumbrian prickers wild and rude.

On Derby Hills the paths are steep;
In Ouse and Tyne the fords are deep; .
And many a banner will be torn,
And many a knight to earth be borne,
And many a sheaf of arrows spent,
Ere Scotland's King shall cross the Trent :
Yet päuse, brave prince, while yet you may.”-.
The Monarch lightly turned away,
And to his nobles loud did call,—
“ Lords, to the dance,-a hall ! a hall !"*
Himself his cloak and sword flung by,
And led Dame Heron gallantly;
And minstrels, at the royal order,
Rung out_“ Blue Bonnets o'er the Border."

XVIII. Leave we these revels now, to tell What to Saint Hilda's maids befel,

• The ancient cry to make room for a dance, or pageant.

Whose galley, as they sailed again
To Whitby, by a Scot was ta’en.
Now at Dun-Edin did they bide,
Till James should of their fate decide ; .

And soon, by his command,
Were gently summoned to prepare
To journey under Marmion's care,
As escort honoured, safe, and fair,

Again to English land. . The Abbess told her chaplet o’er, Nor knew which Saint she should implore ; For, when she thought of Constance, sore

She feared Lord Marmion's mood. And judge what Clara must have felt ! The sword, that hung in Marmion's belt,

Had drunk De Wilton's blood.
Unwittingly, King James had given,

As guard to Whitby's shades,
The man most dreaded under heaven

By these defenceless maids; .

Yet what petition could avail,
Or who would listen to the tale
Of woman, prisoner and nun,
Mid bustle of a war begun ?
They deemed it hopeless to avoid
The convoy of their dangerous guide.

XIX. Their lodging, so the King assigned, To Marmion's, as their guardian, joined ; And thus it fell, that, passing nigh, The Palmer caught the Abbess' eye,

Who warned him by a scroll, She had a secret to reveal, That much concerned the Church's weal,

And health of sinners' soul; .. isti
And, with deep charge of secrecy,

She named a place to meet,
Within an open balcony, -
That hung from dizzy pitch, and high,

Above the stately street ;

To which, as common to each home,
At night they might in secret come.

XX.

At night, in secret, there they came,
The Palmer and the holy dame. '
The moon among the clouds rode high,
And all the city hum was by.

Upon the street, where late before
Did din of war and warriors roar,

You might have heard a pebble fall,
· A beetle hum, a cricket sing,
An owlet flap his boding wing

On Giles's steeple tall. 'jon
The antique buildings, climbing high,
Whose Gothic frontlets sought the sky,

Were here wrapt deep in shade;'.
There on their brows the moon-beam broke,
Through the faint wreaths of silvery smoke,

And on the casements played.

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