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Himself still sleeps before his beads,
Have marked ten aves, and two creeds.”—
“LET pass," quoth Marmion ;“ by my fay,
This man shall guide me on my way,
Although the great archfiend and he
Had sworn themselves of company;
So please you, gentle youth, to call
This Palmer to the Castle-hall.”—
The summoned Palmer came in place;
His sable cowl o'erhung his face;
In his black mantle was he clad,
With Peter's keys, in cloth of red,

On his broad shoulders wrought;
The scallop-shell his cap did deck
T'he crucifix around his neck

Was from Loretto brought;
His sandals were with travel tore,
Staff, budget, bottle, scrip, he wore
The faded palm-branch in his hand,
Shewed pilgrim from the Holy Land.
WHENAS the Palmer came in hall,
Nor lord, nor knight, was there more tall,
Or had a statelier step withal,

Or looked more high and keen;
For no saluting did he wait,
But strode across the hall of state,
And fronted Marmion where he sate,

As he his peer had been.
But his gauut frame was worn with toil;
His cheek was sunk, alas the while !
And when he struggled at a smile,

His eye looked haggard wild :
Poor wretch! the mother that him bare,
If she had been in presence there,
In his wan face and sunburnt hair,

She had not known her child.

xxvii

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Danger, long travel, want, or woe,
Soon change the form that best we know-
For deadly fear can time outgo,

And blanch at once the hair;
Hard toil can roughen form and face,
And want can quench the eye's bright grace,
Nor does old age a wrinkle trace,

More deeply than despair.
Happy whom none of these befal,
But this poor Palmer knew them all.
LORD MARMION then his boon did ask;
The Palmer took on him the task,
So he would march with morning tide,
To Scottish Court to be his guide.
_“But I have solemn vows to pay,
And may not linger by the way,

To fair Saint Andrews bound,
Within the ocean-cave to pray,
Where good Saint Rule his holy lay,
From midnight to the dawn of day,

Sung to the billow's sound;
Thence to Saint Fillan's blessed well,
Whose spring can frenzied dreams dispel,

And the crazed brain restore :
Saint Mary grant that cave or spring
Could back to peace my bosom bring,

Or bid it throb no more !”-
And now the midnight draught of sleep,
Where wine and spices richly steep,
In massive bowl of silver deep,

The page presents on knee.
Lord Marmion drank a fair good rest,
The Captain pledged his noble guest,
The cup went through among the rest,

Who drained it merrily;
Alone the Palmer passed it by,

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Though Selby pressed him courteously.
This was the sign the feast was o'er;
It hushed the merry wassail roar,

The minstrels ceased to sound.
Soon in the Castle nought was heard,
But the slow footstep of the guard,

Pacing his sober round.
WITH early dawn Lord Marmion rose :
And first the chapel doors unclose;
Then, after morning rites were done,
(A hasty mass from Friar John,)
And knight and squire had broke their fast,
On rich substantial repast,
Lord Marmion's bugles blew to horse :
Then came the stirrup-cup in course ;
Between the Baron and his host,
No point of courtesy was lost;
High thanks were by Lord Marmion paid,
Solemn excuse the Captain made,
Till, filing from the gate, had past
That noble train, their Lord the last.
Then loudly rang the trumpet-call;
Thundered the cannon from the wall,

And shook the Scottish shore ;
Around the Castle eddied slow,
Volumes of smoke as white as snow,

And hid its turrets hoar;
Till they rolled forth upon the air,
And met the river breezes there,
Which gave again the prospect fair.

10

CANTO II.

THE CONVENT. The breeze, which swept away the smoke,

Round Norham Castle rolled,
When all the loud artillery spoke,
With lightning-flash and thunder-stroke,

As Marmion left the Hold.
It curled not Tweed alone, that breeze,
For, far upon Northumbrian seas,

It freshly blew, and strong,
Where, from high Whitby's cloistered pile,
Bound to Saint Cuthbert's Holy Isle,

It bore a bark along.
Upon the gale she stooped her side,
And bounded o'er the swelling tide,

As she were dancing home;
The merry seamen laughed, to see
Their gallant ship so lustily

Furrow the green sea-foam.
Much joyed they in their honoured freight;
For, on the deck, in chair of state,
The Abbess of Saint Hilda placed,
With five fair nuns, the galley graced,
'Twas sweet to see these holy maids,
LIKE birds escaped to greenwood shades,

Their first flight from the cage,
How timid, and how curious too,
For all to them was strange and new,
And all the common sights they view,

Their wonderment engage.

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One eyed the shrouds and swelling sail,

With many a benedicite;
One at the rippling surge grew pale,

And would for terror pray;
Then shrieked, because the sea-dog, nigh,
His round black head and sparkling eye,

Reared o'er the foaming spray:
And one would still adjust her veil,
Disordered by the summer gale,
Perchance lest some more worldly eye
Her dedicated charms might spy;
Perchance, because such action graced
Her fair-turned arm and slender waist.
Light was each simple bosom there,
Save two, who ill might pleasure share,
The Abbess, and the Novice Clare
THE ABBESS was of noble blood,
But early took the veil and hood,
Ere upon life she cast a look,
Or knew the world that she forsook.
Fair too she was, and kind had been
As she was fair, but ne'er had seen
For her a timid lover sigh,
Nor knew the influence of her eye;
Love, to her ear, was but a name,
Combined with vanity and shame;
Her hopes, her fears, her joys, were all
Bounded within the cloister wall:
The deadliest sin her mind could reach
Was of monastic rule the breach;
And her ambition's bighest aim,
To emulate Saint Hilda's fame.
For this she gave her ample dower,
To raise the Convent's eastern tower;
For this,'with carving rare and quaint,
She decked the chapel of the Saint,

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