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Buckle the spurs upon thy heel,
And belt thee with thy brand of steel,
And send thee forth to fame!”-
That night, upon the rocks and bay,
The midnight moonbeam slumbering lay,
And poured its silver light, and pure,
Through loophole, and through embrasure,
Upon Tantallon tower and hall;
But chief where arched windows wide
Illuminate the chapel's pride,
The sober glances fall.
Much was there need; though, seamed with scars,
Two veterans of the Douglas' wars,
Though two grey priests were there,
And each a blazing torch held high,
You could not by their blaze descry
The chapel's carving fair.
Amid that dim and smoky light,
Chequering the silvery moonshine bright,
A Bishop by the altar stood,
A noble lord of Douglas blood.
With mitre sheen, and rocquet white.
Yet shewed his meek and thoughtful ere
But little pride of prelacy;
More pleased that, in a barbarous age,
He gave rude Scotland Virgil's page,
Than that beneath his rule he held
The bishopric of fair Dunkeld.
Beside him ancient Angus stood,
Doffed his furred gown, and sable hood :
O'er his huge form, and visage pale,
He wore a cap and shirt of mail ;
And leaned his large and wrinkled hand
Upon the huge and sweeping brand,
Which wont, of yore, in battle-fray,
His foeman's limbs to shred away,
As wood-knife lops the sapling spray.
He seemed as, from the tombs around
Rising at judgment-day,
Some giant Douglas may be found
In all his old array;
So pale his face, so huge his limb,
So old his arms, his look so grim.
THEN at the altar Wilton kneels,
And Clare the spurs bound on his heels ;
And think what next he must have felt,
At buckling of the falchion belt!
And judge how Clara changed her hue, While fastening to her lover's side A friend, which, though in danger tried,
He once had found untrue! Then Douglas struck him with his blade: 6 Saint Michael and Saint Andrew aid,
I dub thee knight.
Arise, Sir Ralph, De Wilton's heir !
For king, for church, for lady fair,
See that thou fight.”—
And Bishop Gawain, as he rose,
Said, “Wilton! grieve not for thy woes,
Disgrace, and trouble;
For He, who honour best bestows,
May give thee double.” —
De Wilton sobbed, for sob he must-
“Where'er I meet a Douglas, trust
That Douglas is my brother!”“Nay, nay,” old Angus said, “not so ; To Surrey's camp thou now must go,
Thy wrongs no longer smother. I have two sons in yonder field; And if thou meet'st them under shield, Upon them bravely-do thy worst; And foul fall him that blenches first!”
Not far advanced was morning day,
When Marmion did his troop array
To Surrey's camp to ride;
He had safe-conduct for his band,
Beneath the royal seal and hand,
And Douglas gave a guide:
The ancient Earl, with stately grace,
Would Clara on her palfry place,
And whispered, in an undertone,
“Let the hawk stoop, his prey is flown."
The train from out the castle drew,
But Marmion stopped to bid adieu :-
“ Though something I might plain,” he said,
“Of cold respect to stranger guest,
Sent hither by your King's behest,
While in Tantallon's towers I staid;
Part we in friendship from your land,
And, noble Earl, receive my hand.”—
But Douglas round him drew his cloak,
Folded his arms, and thus he spoke :-
“My manors, halls, and bowers shall still
Be open, at my Sovereign's will,
To each one whom he lists, howe'er
Unmeet to be the owner's peer.
My castles are my King's alone,
From turret to foundation-stone-
The hand of Douglas is his own;
And never shall in friendly grasp
The hand of such as Marmion clasp.”
BURNED Marmion's swarthy cheek like fire,
And shook his very frame for ire,
And_“This to me!” he said, -
“An 'twere not for thy hoary beard,
Such hand as Marmion's had not spared
To cleave the Douglas' head !
And, first, I tell thee, haughty Peer,
He, who does England's message here,
Although the meanest in her state,
May well, proud Angus, be thy mate:
And, Douglas, more I tell thee here,
Even in thy pitch of pride,
Here in thy hold, thy vassals near,
(Nay, never look upon your lord,
And lay your hands upon your sword,)
I tell thee, thou ’rt defied !
And if thou saidst I am not peer
To any lord in Scotland here,
Lowland or Highland, far or near,
Lord Angus, thou hast lied !"-
On the Earl's cheek the flush of rage
O’ercame the ashen hue of age :
Fierce he broke forth,—“And dar'st thou then
To beard the lion in his den,
· The Douglas in his hall ?
And hop'st thou hence unscathed to go ?
No, by Saint Bryde of Bothwell, no!-
Up drawbridge, grooms !-what, Warder, ho!
Let the portcullis fall.” —
Lord Marmion turned,-well was his need!
And dashed the rowels in his steed,
Like arrow through the archway sprung,
The ponderous gate behind him rung:
To pass there was such scanty room,
The bars, descending, razed his plume.
THE steed along the drawbridge flies,
Just as it trembled on the rise ;
Not lighter does the swallow skim
Along the smooth lake's level brim:
And when Lord Marmion reached his band,
He halts, and turns with clenched hand,
And shout of loud defiance pours,
And shook his gauntlet at the towers.
“ Horse ! horse !” the Douglas cried, " and chase! ” But soon he reined his fury's pace:
10 “ A royal mesenger he came, Though most unworthy of the name.A letter forged! Saint Jude to speed ! Did ever knight so foul a deed! At first in heart it liked me ill, When the King praised his clerkly skill. Thanks to Saint Bothan, son of mine, Save Gawain, ne'er could pen a line : So swore I, and I swear it still, Let my boy-bishop fret his fill.Saint Mary mend my fiery mood ! Old age no'er cools the Douglas blood, I thought to slay him where he stood. 'Tis pity of him too,” he cried ; “Bold can he speak, and fairly ride ; I warrant him a warrior tried.”With this his mandate he recalls, And slowly seeks his castle halls. THE day in Marmion's journey wore; Yet, ere his passion's gust was o'er, They crossed the heights of Stanrig Moor. His troop more closely there he scann'd, And missed the Palmer from the band.“Palmer or not,” young Blount did say, “He parted at the peep of day; Good sooth, it was in strange array.”— “In what array ? " said Marmion, quick. “My lord, I ill can spell the trick; But all night long, with clink and bang, Close to my couch did hammers clang; At dawn the falling drawbridge rang, And from a loophole while I peep, Old Bell-the-Cat came from the keep, 15 Wrapped in a gown of sables fair,