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A herald were my fitting guide ;
Or friar, sworn in peace to bide ;
Or pardoner, or travelling priest,
Or strolling pilgrim, at the least.”—
The Captain mused a little space,
And passed his hand across his face. i L“ Fain would I find the guide you want,
But ill may spare a pursuivant,
The only men that safe can ride
Mine errands on the Scottish side :
And, though a bishop built this fort,
Few holy brethren here resort; !
Even our good chaplain, as I ween,
Since our last siege, we have not seen :
The mass he might not sing or say,
Upon one stinted meal a day;
So, safe he sat in Durham aisle,
And prayed for our success the while.
Our Norham vicar, woe betide,
Is all too well in case to ride.
The priest of Shoreswood-he could rein
The wildest war-horse in your train ;
But then, no spearman in the hall
Will sooner swear, or stab, or brawl.
Friar John of Tillmouth were the man,
A blythsome brother at the can,
A welcome guest in hall and bower,
He knows each castle, town, and tower,
In which the wine and ale is good,
'Twixt Newcastle and Holy-Rood.
But that good man, as ill befalls,
Hath seldom left our castle walls,
Since on the vigil of St. Bede,
In evil hour he crossed the Tweed,
To teach Dame Alison her creed.
Old Bughtrig found him with his wife;
And John, an enemy to strife,
Sans frock and hood Aled for his life.
The jealous churl hath deeply swore,
That, if again he ventures o'er,
He shall shrieve penitent no more.
Little he loves such risques, I know;
Yet, in your guard, perchance will go.”—
Young Selby, at the fair hall-board
Carved to his uncle, and that lord,
And reverently took up the word.
“ Kind uncle, woe were we each one,
If harm should hap to brother John.
He is a man of mirthful speech,
Can many a game and gambol teach ;
Full well at tables can he play,
And sweep at bowls the stake away.
None can a lustier carol bawl,
The needfullest among us all,
When time hangs heavy in the hall,
And snow comes thick at Christmas tide,
And we can neither hunt, nor ride
A foray on the Scottish side.
The vowed revenge of Bughtrig rude,
May end in worse than loss of hood.
Let Friar John, in safety, still
In chimney-corner snore his fill,
Roast hissing crabs, or flagons swill :
Last night, to Norham there came one,
Will better guide Lord Marmion.”-
“ Nephew,” quoth Heron, “ by my fay,
Well hast thou spoke ; say forth thy say."
“ Here is a holy Palmer come,
From Salem first, and last from Rome;
One, that hath kissed the blessed tomb,
And visited each holy shrine,
In Araby and Palestine ;
On hills of Armenie hath been,
Where Noah's ark may yet be seen;
By that Red Sea, too, hath he trod,
Which parted at the prophet's rod;
In Sinai's wilderness he saw
The Mount, where Israel heard the law,
Mid thunder-dint, and flashing levin,
And shadows, mists, and darkness, given.
He shews Saint James's cockle-shell,..
Of fair Montserrat, too, can tell ;
And of that Grot where Olives nod,
Where, darling of each heart and eye,'
From all the youth of Sicily,
Saint Rosalie retired to God.
XXIV. “ To stout Saint George 'of Norwich merry, Saint Thomas, too, of Canterbury, Cuthbert of Durham and Saint Bede, For his sins' pardon hath he prayed,