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Weak fence wert thou 'gainst foeman's spear,
That hath made fatal entrance here,
As these dark blood-gouts say.-
Thus Wilton !-Oh! not corslet's ward,
Not truth, as diamond pure and hard,
Could be thy manly bosom's guard,
On yon disastrous day!”–
She raised her eyes in mournful mood,
WILTON himself before her stood !
It might have seemed his passing ghost,
For every youthful grace was lost;
And joy unwonted, and surprise,
Gave their strange wildness to his eyes.-
Expect not, noble dames and lords,
That I can tell such scene in words:
What skilful limner ere would choose
To paint the rainbow's varying hues,
Unless to mortal it were given
To dip his brush in dyes of heaven?
Far less can my weak line declare
Each changing passion's shade;
Brightening to rapture from despair,
Sorrow, surprise, and pity there,
And joy, with her angelic air,
And hope, that paints the future fair,
Their varying hues displayed :
Each o'er its rival's ground extending,
Alternate conquering, shifting, blending,
Till all, fatigued, the conflict yield,
And mighty Love retains the field.
Shortly I tell what then he said,
By many a tender word delayed,
And modest blush, and bursting sign,
And question kind, and fond reply:-
“ FORGET we that disastrous day,
When senseless in the lists I lay.
Thence dragged,—but how I cannot know,
For sense and recollection fled,
I found me on a pallet low,
Within my ancient beadsman's shed. Austin,-remember'st thou, my Clare,
How thou didst blush, when the old man,
When first our infant love began,
Said we would make a matchless pair ?--
Menials, and friends, and kinsmen fled
From the degraded traitor's bed,
He only held my burning head,
And tended me for many a day,
While wounds and fever held their sway.
But far more needful was his care,
When sense returned to wake despair;
For I did tear the closing wound,
And dash me frantic on the ground,
If e'er I heard the name of Clare.
At length, to calmer reason brought,
Much by his kind attendance wrought,
With him I left my native strand,
And, in a Palmer's weeds arrayed,
My hated name and form to shade,
I journeyed many a land ;
No more a lord of rank and birth,
But mingled with the dregs of earth.
Oft Austin for my reason feared,
When I would sit, and deeply brood
On dark revenge, and deeds of blood, Or wild mad schemes upreared.
My friend at length fell sick, and said,
God would remove him soon;
And, while upon his bying bed,
He begged of me a boon-
If ere my deadliest enemy
Beneath my brand should conquered lie,
Even then my mercy should awake,
And spare his life for Austin's sake.
STILL restless as a second Cain,
To Scotland next my route was ta’en.
Full well the paths I knew;
Fame of my fate made various sound,
That death in pilgrimage I found,
That I had perished of my wound, -
None cared which tale was true :
And living eye could never guess
De Wilton in his Palmer's dress ;
For now that sable slough is shed,
And trimmed my shaggy beard and head, I scarcely know me in the glass. A chance most wondrous did provide, That I should be that Baron's guide
I will not name his name!-
Vengeance to God alone belongs ;
But, when I think on all my wrongs,
My blood is liquid flame!
And ne'er the time shall I forget,
When, in a Scottish hostel set,
Dark looks we did exchange:
What were his thoughts I cannot tell;
But in my bosom mustered Hell
Its plans of dark revenge.
A WORD of vulgar augury,
That broke from me, I scarce knew why,
Brought on a village tale;
Which wrought upon his moody sprite,
And sent him armed forth by night.
I borrowed steed and mail,
And weapons, from his sleeping band ;
And passing from a postern-door, We met, and 'countered, hand to hand,
He fell on Gifford Moor. For the death-stroke my brand I drew, (Oh then my helmed head he knew,
The Palmer's cowl was gone,) Then had three inches of my blade The heavy debt of vengeance paid, My hand the thought of Austin staid,
I left him there alone.
Oh, good old man! even from the grave,
Thy spirit could thy master save :
If I had slain my foeman, ne'er
Had Whitby's Abbess, in her fear,
Given to my hand this packet dear,
Of power to clear my injured fame,
And vindicate De Wilton's name.
Perchance you heard the Abbess tell
Of the strange pageantry of Hell,
That broke our secret speech :
It rose from the infernal shade,
Or featly was some juggle played,
A tale of peace to teach.
Appeal to Heaven I judged was best,
When my name came among the rest.
Now here, within Tantallon Hold,
To Douglas late my tale I told,
To whom my house was known of old.
Won by my proofs, his falchion bright
This eve anew shall dub me knight.
These were the arms that once did turn
The tide of fight on Otterburne,
And Harry Hotspur forced to yield,
When the dead Douglas won the field.
These Angus gave : his armourer's care,
Ere morn, shall every breach repair ;
For nought, he said, was in his halls,
But ancient armour on the walls,
And aged chargers in the stalls,
And women, priests, and grey-haired men;
The rest were all in Twisel Glen.
And now I watch my armour here,
By law of arms, till midnight's near;
Then, once again a belted knight,
Seek Surrey's camp with dawn of light.
THERE soon again we meet, my Clare !
This Baron means to guide thee there :
Douglas reveres his King's command,
Else would he take thee from his band.
And there thy kinsman, Surrey, too,
Will give De Wilton justice due.
Now meeter far for martial broil,
Firmer my limbs, and strung by toil,
Once more "- "O Wilton! must we then
Risk new-found happiness again,
Trust fate of arms once more ?
And is there not a humble glen,
Where we, content and poor,
Might build a cottage in the shade,
A shepherd thou, and I to aid
Thy task on dale and moor?-
That reddening brow !-too well I know,
Not even thy Clare can peace bestow
While falsehood stains thy name :
Go then to fight! Clare bids thee go!
Clare can a warrior's feelings know,
And weep a warrior's shame; Can Red Earl Gilbert's spirit feel,