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With serf and page unfit for war,
To eye the conflict from afar.
O! with what doubtful agony
She sees the dawning tint the sky ! -
Now on the Ochils gleams the sun,
And glistens now Demayet dun;
Is it the lark that carols shrill,
Is it the bittern's early hum?
No !-distant, but increasing still,
The trumpet's sound swells up the hill,
. With the deep murmur of the drum.
Responsive from the Scottish host,
Pipe-clang and bugle-sound were toss’d,
His breast and brow each soldier cross'd, : ,
And started from the ground; Arm’d and array'd for instant fight, Rose archer, spearman, squire and knight, And in the pomp of battle bright
The dread batlalia frown'd.
Now onward, and in open view,
The countless ranks of England drew,
Dark rolling like the ocean-tide,
When the rough west hath chafed his pride,
And bis deep roar sends challenge wide
To all that bars his way!
In front the gallant archers trode,
The men-at-arms behind them rode,
And midmost of the phalanx broad
The Monarch held his sway.
Beside him many a war-horse fumes,
Around him waves a sea of plumes,
Where many a knight in battle known,
And some who spurs had first braced on,
And deem'd that fight should see them won,
· King Edward's hests obey.
De Argentine attends his side,
With stout De Valence, Pembroke's pride,
Selected champions from the train,
To wait upon his bridle-rein.
Upon the Scottish foe he gazed-
-At once, before his sight amazed,
Sunk banner, spear, and shield;
Each weapon-point is downward sent,
Each warrior to the ground is bent.
6. The rebels, Argentine, repent !
For pardon they have kneelid.”-
“ Aye !—but they bend to other powers,
And other pardon sue than ours !
See where yon bare-foot Abbot stands,
And blesses them with lifted hands!
Upon the spot where they have kneeld,
These men will die, or win the field.”-
-" Then prove we if they die or win!
Bid Gloster's Earl the fight begin.”-
XXII. Earl Gilbert waved his truncheon high,
Just as the Northern ranks arose,
Signal for England's archery
To halt and bend their bows.
Then stepp'd each yeoman forth a pace,
Glanced at the intervening space,
And raised his left hand high; To the right ear the cords they bring-- At once ten thousand bow-strings ring,
Ten thousand arrows fly! Nor paused on the devoted Scot The ceaseless fury of their shot ;
As fiercely and as fast, Forth whistling came the grey-goose wing, As the wild hail-stones pelt and ring
Adown December's blast. Nor mountain targe of tough bull-hide, Nor lowland mail, that storm may bide ; Woe, woe to Scotland's banner'd pride,
If the fell shower may last ! Upon the right, behind the wood, Each by his steed dismounted, stood
The Scottish chivalry ;
-With foot in stirrup, hand on mane,
Fierce Edward Bruce can scarce restrain
His own keen heart, his eager train,
Until the archers gain'd the plain;
Then, “ Mount, ye gallants free !" He cried; and, vaulting from the ground, His saddle every horseman found.
On high their glittering crests they toss,
As springs the wild-fire from the moss;
The shield hangs down on every breast,
Each ready lance is in the rest,
And loud shouts Edward Bruce,
6 Forth, Marshal, on the peasant foe!
We'll tame the terrors of their bow,
And cut the bow-string loose !"
XXIII. Then spurs were dash'd in chargers' flanks, They rush'd among the archer ranks.