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His bugle Wat of Harden blew ;
Pensils and pennons wide were flung,
To heaven the Border slogan rung,
“St Mary for the young Buccleuch"
The English war-cry answered wide,
And forward bent each southern spear;
Each Kendale archer made a stride,
And drew the bowstring to his ear;
Each minstrel's war-note loud was blown;
But, e'er a gray-goose shaft had flown,
A horseman galloped from the rear.
XXV. “Ah, noble Lords !” he breathless said, “What treason has your march betrayed 2 What make you here, from aid so far, Before you walls, around you war? Your foemen triumph in the thought, That in the toils the lion's caught.
Already on dark Ruberslaw
The Douglas holds his weapon-schaw *;
The lances, waving in his train,
Clothe the dun heath like autumn grain;
And on the Liddle's northern strand, -
To bar retreat to Cumberland,
Lord Maxwell ranks his merry-men good,
Beneath the eagle and the rood;
And Jedwood, Eske, and Teviotdale,
Have to proud Angus come ;
And all the Merse and Lauderdale
Have risen with haughty Home.
An exile from Northumberland,
In Liddisdale I've wandered long;
But still my heart was with merry England,
And cannot brook my country's wrong;
And hard I've spurred all night, to shew
The mustering of the coming foe.”
* Weapon-schaw, the military array of a county.
"And let them come!" fierce Dacre cried;
"For soon yon crest, my father's pride,
That swept the shores of Judah's sea,
And waved in gales of Galilee,
From Branksome's highest tower displayed,
Shall mock the rescue's lingering aid—
Level each harquebuss on row;
Draw, merry archers, draw the bow;
Up, bill-men, to the walls, and cry,
Dacre for England, win or die!"
"Yet hear," quoth Howard, " calmly hear,
Nor deem my words the words of fear;
For who in field or foray slack
Saw the blanche lion e'er fall back?
But thus to risque our Border flower
In strife against a kingdom's power,
Ten thousand Scots gainst thousands three,
Certes, were desperate policy.
Nay, take the terms the Ladye made,
E'er conscious of the advancing aid :
Let Musgrave meet fierce Deloraine
In single fight; and if he gain,
He gains for us; but if he's crossed,
'Tis but a single warrior lost.
The rest, retreating as they came,
Avoid defeat, and death, and shame.”
Ill could the haughty Dacre brook
His brother-warden's sage rebuke;
And yet his forward step he staid,
And slow and sullenly obeyed :
But ne'er again the Border side
Did these two lords in friendship ride;
And this slight discontent, men say,
Cost blood upon another day.
The pursuivant-at-arms again
Before the castle took his stand;
His trumpet called, with parleying strain,
The leaders of the Scottish band;
And he defied, in Musgrave's right,
Stout Deloraine to single fight;
A gauntlet at their feet he laid,
And thus the terms of fight he said—
"If in the lists good Musgrave's sword
Vanquish the knight of Deloraine,
Your youthful chieftain, Branksome's lord,
Shall hostage for his clan remain: If Deloraine foil good Musgrave, The boy his liberty shall have.
Howe'er it falls, the English band, Unharming Scots, by Scots unharmed, In peaceful march, like men unarmed,
Shall straight retreat to Cumberland."