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No spears were there the shock to let,
No stakes to turn the charge were set,
And how shall yeoman's armour slight
Stand the long lance and mace of might?
Or what may their short swords avail,
'Gainst barbed horse and shirt of mail ? :
Amid their ranks the chargers sprung,
High o'er their heads the weapons swung,
And shriek and groan and vengeful shout
Give note of triumph and of rout!
Awhile, with stubborn hardihood,
Their English hearts the strife made good;
Borne down at length on every side,
Compell’d to flight they scatter wide.
Let stags of Sherwood leap for glee,
And bound the deer of Dallom-Lee!
The broken bows of Bannock's shore
Shall in the green-wood ring no more!
Round Wakefield's merry may-pole now,
The maids may twine the summer bough,
May northward look with longing glance,
For those that wont to lead the dance,
For the blithe archers look in vain !
Broken, dispersed, in flight o'erta’en, '
Pierced through, trode down, by thousands slain,
They cumber Bannock’s bloody plain.
The King with scorn beheld their flight.
6 Are these,” he said, “ our yeomen wight?
Each braggart churl could boast before,
Twelve Scottish lives his baldric bore !
Fitter to plunder chase or park,
Than make a manly foe their mark.-
Forward, each gentleman and knight!
Let gentle blood shew generous might,
And chivalry redeem the fight !"-
To rightward of the wild affray,
The field shew'd fair and level way;
But, in mid-space, the Bruce's care
Had bored the ground with many a pit, * With turf and brushwood hidden yet, ..!
That form’d. a ghastly snare.. rici Rushing, ten thousand horsemen came,.13 With spears in rest, and hearts on flame,
That panted for the shock!
With blazing crests and banners spread,
And trumpet-clang and clamour dread,
The wide plain thunder'd to their tread,
As far as Stirling rock.
Down ! down ! in headlong overthrow,
Horseman and horse, the foremost go,
. Wild floundering on the field!
The first are in destruction's gorge,: . Arts
Their followers wildly o'er them urge; "
The knightly helm and shield, .
The mail, the acton, and the spear, i
Strong hand, high heart, are useless here !
Loud from the mass confused the cry's,
Of dying warriors swells on high,
And steeds that shriek in agony !
They came like mountain-torrent red,
That thunders o'er its rocky bed;
They broke like that same torrent's wave,
When swallow'd by a darksome cave.
Billows on billows burst and boil,
Maintaining still the stern turmoil,
And to their wild and tortured groan
Each adds new terrors of his own !
Too strong in courage and in might
Was England yet, to yield the fight.
Her noblest all are here;
Names that to fear were never known,
Bold Norfolk's Earl De Brotherton,
And Oxford's famed De Vere.
There Gloster plied the bloody sword,
And Berkley, Grey, and Hereford,
Bottetourt and Sanzavere,
Ross, Montague, and Mauley, came,
And Courtenay's pride, and Percy's fame-
Names known too well in Scotland's war,.
At Falkirk, Methven, and Dunbar,
Blazed broader yet in after years,
At Cressy red and fell Poitiers,
Pembroke with these, and Argentine,
Brought up the rearward battle-line.
With caution o'er the ground they tread,
Slippery with blood and piled with dead,
Till hand to hand in battle set, .
The bills with spears and axes met,
And, closing dark on every side,
Raged the full contest far and wide...
Then was the strength of Douglas tried,
Then proved was Randolph's generous pride,
And well did Stewart's actions grace
The sire of Scotland's royal race !
Firmly they kept their ground;