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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.
THE CASTLE. Day set on Norham's castled steep, And Tweed's fair river, broad and deep,
And Cheviot's mountains lone:
In yellow lustre shone.
Seemed forms of giant height:
In lines of dazzling light.
Less bright, and less, was flung;
So heavily it hung.
The Castle gates were barred;
Above the gloomy portal arch,
The warder kept his guard;
Beneath a pennon gay;
Before the dark array.
His bugle-horn he blew;
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.
ALONG the bridge Lord Marmion rode,
But more through toil than age;
In camps, a leader sage.