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Glad was the Abbess, you may guess,
And thanked the Scottish Prioress;
And tedious were to tell, I ween,
The courteous speech that passed between.
But when fair Clara did intend,
Like them, from horse-back to descend, Fitz-Eustace said, " I grieve, Fair lady, grieve e'en from my heart,
Such gentle company to part:
Think not discourtesy,
That you must wend with me. Lord Marmion hath a letter broad, Which to the Scottish Earl he shewed, Commanding, that, beneath his care, Without delay, you shall repair, To your good kinsman, Lord Fitz-Clare." The startled Abbess loud exclaimed;
But she, at whom the blow was aimed,
Grew pale as death, and cold as lead,
She deemed she heard her death-doom read.
“ Cheer thee, my child !" the Abbess said,
“ They dare not tear thee from my hand,
To ride alone with armed band."
“ Nay, holy mother, nay.” Fitz-Eustace said, “ the lovely Clare Will be in Lady Angus' care,
In Scotland while we stay;
And, when we move, an easy rid
Female attendance to provide
Befitting Gloster's heir ;
Nor thinks, nor dreams, my noble lord,
To harass Lady Clare.
Nor sue for slightest courtesy
That e'en to stranger falls,
Till he shall place her, safe and free,
Within her kinsman's halls.".
He spoke, and blushed with earnest grace; His faith was painted on his face,
And Clare's worst fear relieved.
The Lady Abbess loud exclaimed
On Henry, and the Douglas blamed,
Entreated, threatened, grieved ;
To curse with candle, bell, and book,
Her head the grave Cistertian shook : “ The Douglas, and the King," she said,
« In their commands will be obeyed;
Grieve not, nor dream that harm can fall
The maiden in Tantallon hall.”
The Abbess, seeing strife was vain,
For much of state she had,
Composed her veil, and raised her head,
And—“ Bid,” in solemn voice she said,
“ Thy master, bold and bad,
The records of his house turn o'er,
And, when he shall there written see,
That one of his own ancestry
Drove the Monks forth of Coventry,
Bid him his fate explore !
Prancing in pride of earthly trust,
He died his band before.
God judge 'twixt Marmion and me; He is a chief of high degree,
And I a poor recluse ;
Yet oft, in holy writ, we see
Even such weak minister as me
May the oppressor bruise :
The mighty in his sin,
Here hasty Blount broke in : “ Fitz-Eustace, we must march our band;
St. Anton' fire thee! wilt thou stand
All day, with bonnet in thy hand,
To hear the Lady preach?
Will sharper sermon teach.
The Dame must patience take perforce.”
“ Submit we then to force," said Clare;
“ But let this barbarous lord despair
His purposed aim to win;