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BEHIND him rode two gallant squires,
Of noble name and knightly sires ;
They burned the gilded spurs to claim;
For well could each a war-horse tame,
Could draw the bow, the sword could sway,
And lightly bear the ring away;
Nor less with courteous precepts stored,
Could dance in hall, and carve at board;
And frame love ditties passing rare,
And sing them to a lady fair.
FOUR men-at-arms came at their backs,
With halbert, bill, and battleaxe:
They bore Lord Marmion's lance so strong,
And led his sumpter mules along,
And ambling palfrey, when at need
Him listed ease his battle-steed.
The last, and trustiest of the four,
On high his forky pennon bore ;
Like swallow's tail, in shape and hue,
Fluttered the streamer glossy blue,
Where, blazoned sable, as before,
The towering falcon seemed to soar.
Last, twenty yeomen, two and two,
In hosen black, and jerkins blue,
With falcons broidered on each breast,
Attended on their lord's behest.
Each, chosen for an archer good,
Knew hunting-craft by lake or wood;
Each one a six-foot bow could bend,
And far a cloth-yard shaft could send;
Each held a boar-spear tough and strong,
And at their belts their quivers rung.
Their dusty palfreys, and array,
Showed they had marched a weary way.
'Tis meet that I should tell you now,
How fairly armed, and ordered how,
The soldiers of the guard, With musket, pike, and morion, To welcome noble Marmion,
Stood in the Castle-yard ; Minstrels and trumpeters were there, The gunner held his linstock yare,
For welcome-shot prepared :
Entered the train, and such a clang,
As then through all his turrets rang,
Old Norham never heard.
THE guards their morrice-pikes advanced,
The trumpets flourished brave,
The cannon from the ramparts glanced,
And thundering welcome gave.
A blythe salute, in martial sort,
The minstrels well might sound,
For, as Lord Marmion crossed the court,
He scattered angels round.
6 Welcome to Norham, Marmion!
Stout heart, and open hand !
Well dost thou brook thy gallant roan,
Thou flower of English land !”
Two pursuivants, whom tabarts deck,
With silver scutcheon round their neck,
Stood on the steps of stone,
By which you reach the Donjon gate,
And there, with herald pomp and state,
They hailed Lord Marmion:
They hailed him Lord of Fontenaye,
Of Lutterward, and Scrivelbaye,
Of Tamworth tower and town;
And he, their courtesy to requite,
Gave them a chain of twelve marks weight,
All as he lighted down. “Now largesse, largesse, Lord Marmion,
Knight of the crest of gold !
A blazoned shield, in battle won,
Ne'er guarded heart so bold.”—
Taey marshalled him to the Castle-hall,
Where the guests stood all aside,
And loudly flourished the trumpet-call,
And the heralds loudly cried :“ Room, lordings, room for Lord Marmion,
With the crest and helm of gold !
Full well we know the trophies won
In the lists at Cottiswold :
There, vainly, Ralph de Wilton strove
Gainst Marmion's force to stand;
To him he lost his lady-love,
And to the King his land. Ourselves beheld the listed field,
A sight both sad and fair;
We saw Lord Marmion pierce his shield,
And saw his saddle bare ;
We saw the victor win the crest,
He wears with worthy pride;
And on the gibbet-tree, reversed,
His foeman's scutcheon tied.
Place, nobles, for the Falcon-Knight!
Room, room, ye gentles gay,
For him who conquered in the right,
Marmion of Fontenaye !”
Then stepped to meet that noble lord
Sir Hugh the Heron bold,
Baron of Twisell and of Ford,
And Captain of the Hold.
He led Lord Marmion to the deas,
Raised o'er the pavement high,
And placed him in the upper place-
They feasted full and high :
The whiles a northern harper rude
Chanted a rhyme of deadly feud, -
“ How the fierce Thirlwalls, and Ridleys all,
And Hard-riding Dick,
And Hughie of Hawdon, and Will o' the Wall,
Have set on Sir Albany Featherstonhaugh, 15
And taken his life at the Deadman's-shaw."
Scantly Lord Marmion's ear could brook
The harper's barbarous lay;
Yet much he praised the pains he took,
And well those pains did pay;
For lady's suit, and minstrel's strain,
By knight should ne'er be heard in vain.
“Now, good Lord Marmion,” Heron says,
“Of your fair courtesy,
I pray you bide some little space,
In this poor tower with me.
Here may you keep your arms from rust,
May breathe your war-horse well;
Seldom hath passed a week but giust
Or feat of arms befell :
The Scots can rein a mettled steed,
And love to couch a spear;
Saint George ! a stirring life they lead,
That have such neighbours near.
Then stay with us a little space,
Our northern wars to learn;
I pray you for your lady's grace.” —
Lord Marmion's brow grew stern.
THE Captain marked his altered look,
And gave a squire the sign;
A mighty wassail-bowl he took,
And crowned it high with wine.
“Now pledge me here, Lord Marmion:
But first I pray thee fair,
Where hast thou left that page of thine,
That used to serve thy cup of wine,
Whose beauty was so rare ?
When last in Raby towers we met,
The boy I closely eyed,
And often marked his cheeks were wet
With tears he fain would hide :
His was no rugged horse-boy's hand,
To burnish shield, or sharpen brand,
Or saddle battle-steed;
But meeter seemed for lady fair,
To fan her cheek, or curl her hair,
Or through embroidery, rich and rare,
The slender silk to lead :
His skin was fair, his ringlets gold,
His bosom—when he sighed,
The russet doublet’s rugged fold
Could scarce repel its pride!
Say, hast thou given that lovely youth
To serve in lady's bower ?
Or was the gentle page, in sooth,
A gentle paramour ? "-
LORD MARMION ill could brook such jest ;
He rolled his kindling eye,
With pain his rising wrath suppressed,
Yet made a calm reply:
“ That boy thou thought'st so goodly fair,
He might not brook the northern air.
More of his fate if thou wouldst learn,
I left him sick in Lindisfarne:
Enough of him.-But, Heron, say,
Why does thy lovely lady gay
Disdain to grace the hall to-day?
Or has that dame, so fair and sage,
Gone on some pious pilgrimage ?”–
He spoke in covert scorn, for fame
Whispered light tales of Heron’s dame.