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He knows the passes of the North,
And seeks far shrines beyond the Forth;
Little he eats, and long will wake,
And drinks but of the stream or lake.
This were a guide o'er moor and dale ;
But, when our John hath quaffed his ale,
As little as the wind that blows,
And warms itself against his nose,
Kens he, or cares, which way he goes.”—
tl Gramercy !” quoth Lord Marmion,
“ Full loth were I that Friar John,
That venerable man, for me,
Were placed in fear or jeopardy.
If this same Palmer will me lead
From hence to Holy-Rood,
Like his good saint, I'll pay his meed,
Instead of cockle-shell, or bead,
With angels fair and good.
I love such holy ramblers; still They know to charm a weary hill, . With song, romance, or lay; Some jovial tale, or glee, or jest, Some lying legend at the least,
They bring to cheer the way.”—
XXVI. “ Ah! noble sir," young Selby said, And finger on his lip he laid, “ This man knows much, perchance e'en more Than he could learn by holy lore. Still to himself he's muttering, And shrinks as at some unseen thing. Last night we listened at his cell; Strange sounds we heard, and sooth to tell, He murmured on till morn, howe'er. No living mortal could be near. Sometimes I thought I heard it plain, As other voices spoke again.
I cannot tell—I like it not-
Friar John hath told us it is wrote,
No conscience clear, and void of wrong,
Can rest awake, and pray so long.
Himself still sleeps before his beads
Have marked ten aves, and two creeds.”—
“—Let pass,” quoth Marmion ; “ by my fay, - This man shall guide me on my way,
Although the great arch-fiend and he
Had sworn themselves of company;
So please you, gentle youth, to call
This Palmer to the castle-ball.”—
The summoned Palmer came in place;
His sable cowl o'erhung his face ;
In his black mantle was he clad,
With Peter's keys, in cloth of red,
On his broad shoulders wrought;
The scallop shell his cap did deck;
The crucifix around his neck :
Was from Loretto brought;
His sandals were with travel tore,
Staff, budget, bottle, scrip, he wore;
The faded palm-branch in his hand,
Shewed pilgrim from the Holy Land.
Whenas the Palmer came in hall,
Nor lord, nor knight, was there more tall,
Or had a statelier step withal,
Or looked more high and keen;
For no saluting did he wait,
But strode across the hall of state,
And fronted Marmion where he sate,
As he his peer had been.
But his gaunt frame was worn with toil ;
His cheek was sunk, alas the while !
And when he struggled at a smile,
His eye looked haggard wild.
Poor wretch! the mother that him bare,
If she had been in presence there,
In his wan face, and sun-burned hair,
She had not known her child.
Danger, long travel, want, or woe,
Soon change the form that best we know-
For deadlly fear can time outgo,
And blaunch at once the hair;
Hard toil can roughen form and face,
And want can quench the eye's bright grace,
Nor does old age a wrinkle trace,
More deeply than despair.
Happy whom none of these befal,
But this poor Palmer knew them all.
Lord Marmion then his boon did ask;
The Palmer took on him the task,