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Let him take living, land, and life;
But to be Marmion's wedded wife
In me were deadly sin : And if it be the king's decree,
That I must find no sanctuary,
Where even a hoinicide might come,
And safely rest bis head, Though at its open portals stood, Thirsting to pour forth blood for blood,
The kinsmen of the dead'; Yet one asylum is my own,
Against the dreaded hour; A low, a silent, and a lone,
Where kings have little power.
One victim is before me there
Mother, your blessing, and in prayer Remember your unhappy Clare !"Loud weeps the Abbess, and bestows
Kind blessings many a one ;
Weeping and wailing loud arose,
Round patient Clare, the clamorous woes
Of every simple nun.
Then took the squire her rein,
To cheer her strove in vain.
But scant three miles the band had rode,
When o'er a height they passed,
And sudden, close before them showed,
His towers, Tantallon vast;
Broad, massive, high, and stretching far,
And held impregnable in war.
The fourth did battled walls inclose
And double mound and fosse.
By narrow draw-bridge, outworks strong,
Through studded gates, an entrance long,
To the main court they cross.
And towers of various form,
The gathering ocean-storm.
Here did they rest.—The princely care
Or why the tidings say,
With every varying day?
And, first, they heard King James had won
Etall, and Wark, and Ford; and then,
That Norham castle strong was ta’en. At that sore marvelled Marmion ;
And Douglas hoped his Monarch's hand
Would soon subdue Northumberland :
But whispered news there came, That, while his host inactive lay,
And melted by degrees away,
King James was dallying off the day
With Heron's wily dame.-
Such acts to chronicles I yield;
Go seek them there, and see : Mine is a tale of Flodden Field,
And not a history.
At length they heard the Scottish host
On that high ridge had made their post,
Which frowns o'er Millfield Plain;
And that brave Surrey many a band
And marched into Northumberland,
And camp at Wooler ta’en. Marmion, like charger in the stall, That hears, without, the trumpet-call,
Began to chafe, and swear :
“ A sorry thing to hide my head
In castle, like a fearful maid,
When such a field is near !.
Needs must I see this battle-day:
The Douglas, too, I wot not why,
Hath 'bated of his courtesy :
No longer in his halls I'll stay." Then bade his band, they should array For march against the dawning day.
END OF CANTO FIFTH.