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TO

THE FIRST EDITION.

It is hardly to be expected, that an Author whom the Public have honoured with some degree of applause, should not be again a trespasser on their kindness. Yet the Author of MARMION must be supposed to feel some anxiety concerning its success, since he is sensible that he hazards, by this second intrusion, any reputation which his first poem may have procured him. The present story turns upon the private adventures of a fictitious character ; but is called a Tale of Flodden Field, because the hero's fate is connected with that memorable defeat, and the causes which led to it. The design of the Author was, if possible, to apprise his readers, at the outset, of the date of his story, and to prepare them for the manners of the age in which it is laid. Any historical narrative, far more an attempt at Epic composition, exceeded his plan of a Romantic Tale; yet he may be permitted to hope, from the popularity of THE LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL, that an attempt to paint the manners of the feudal times, upon a broader scale, and in the course of a more interesting story, will not be unacceptable to the Public.

The Poem opens about the commencement of August, and concludes with the defeat of Flodden, September 9, 1513.

ASHESTIEL, 1808.

MARMION.

CANTO I.

THE CASTLE. Day set on Norham's castled steep, And Tweed's fair river, broad and deep,

And Cheviot's mountains lone:
The battled towers, the Donjon keep,
The loophole grates where captives weep,
The flanking walls that round it sweep,

In yellow lustre shone.
The warriors on the turrets high,
Moving athwart the evening sky,

Seemed forms of giant height:
Their armour, as it caught the rays,
Flashed back again the western blaze,

In lines of dazzling light.
SAINT GEORGE's banner, broad and gay,
Now faded, as the fading ray

Less bright, and less, was flung;
The evening gale had scarce the power
To wave it on the Donjon tower,

So heavily it hung.
The scouts had parted on their search,

The Castle gates were barred;

Above the gloomy portal arch,
Timing his footsteps to a march,

The warder kept his guard;
Low humming, as he paced along,
Some ancient Border gathering-song.
A DISTANT trampling sound he hears-
He looks abroad, and soon appears,
O'er Horncliff Hill a plump of spears,

Beneath a pennon gay;
A horseman, darting from the crowd,
Like lightning from a summer cloud,
Spurs on his mettled courser proud,

Before the dark array.
Beneath the sable palisade,
That closed the Castle barricade,

His bugle-horn he blew;
The warder hasted from the wall,
And warned the Captain in the hall,

For well the blast he knew; And joyfully that Knight did call, To sewer, squire, and seneschal :“Now broach ye a pipe of Malvoisie,

Bring pasties of the doe, And quickly make the entrance free, And bid my heralds ready be, And every minstrel sound his glee,

And all our trumpets blow; And, from the platform, spare ye not To fire a noble salvo-shot:

Lord Marmion waits below."Then to the Castle's lower ward

Sped forty yeomen tall, The iron-studded gates unbarred, Raised the portcullis' ponderous guard, The lofty palisade unsparred,

And let the drawbridge fall.

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ALONG the bridge Lord Marmion rode,
Proudly his red-roan charger trod,
His helm hung at the saddlebow;
Well, by his visage, you might know
He was a stalworth knight, and keen,
And had in many a battle been;
The scar on his brown cheek revealed
A token true of Bosworth field; .
His eyebrow dark, and eye of fire,
Shewed spirit proud, and prompt to ire ;
Yet lines of thought upon his cheek,
Did deep design and counsel speak.
His forehead, by his casque worn bare,
His thick moustache, and curly hair,
Coal-black, and grizzled here and there,

But more through toil than age;
His square-turned joints, and strength of limb,
Shewed him no carpet knight so trim,
But, in close fight, a champion grim;

In camps, a leader sage.
WELL armed was he from head to heel,
In mail and plate of Milan steel;
But his strong helm, of mighty cost,
Was all with burnished gold embossed;
Amid the plumage of the crest,
A falcon hovered on her nest,
With wings outspread, and forward breast;
E'en such a falcon, on his shield,
Soared sable in an azure field :
The golden legend bore aright,
“ Who checks at me, to death is dight."
Blue was the charger's broidered rein;
Blue ribbons decked his arching mane;
The knightly housing's ample fold
Was velvet blue, and trapped with gold.

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