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And revellers, o'er their bowls, proclaim
Douglas or Dacre's conquering name.
Less frequent heard, and fainter still,
At length the various clamours died; And you might hear, from Branksome hill,
No sound but Teviot's rushing tide;
Save, when the changing centinel
The challenge of his watch could tell;
And save, where, through the dark profound,
The clanging axe and hammer's sound -
Rung from the nether lawn;
For many a busy hand toiled there,
The list's dread barriers to prepare,
Against the morrow's dawn.
Margaret from hall did soon retreat,
Despite the Dame's reproving eye;
Nor marked she, as she left her seat,
Full many a stifled sigh.
For many a noble warrior strove
To win the Flower of Teviot's love,
And many a bold ally.
With throbbing head and anxious heart,
All in her lonely bower apart,
In broken sleep she lay;
By times, from silken couch she rose,
While yet the bannered hosts repose;
She viewed the dawning day.
Of all the hundreds sunk to rest,
First woke the loveliest and the best.
She gazed upon the inner court,
Which in the tower's tall shadow lay; Where coursers' clang, and stamp, and snort,
Had rung the live-long yesterday. Now still as death—till, stalking slow—
The jingling spurs announced his tread— A stately warrior passed below;
But when he raised his plumed head—
Blessed Mary! can it be?
Secure, as if in Ousenam bowers,
He walks through Branksome's hostile towers,
With fearless step, and free.
She dare not sign, she dare not speak—
Oh! if one page's slumbers break,
His blood the price must pay !
Not all the pearls Queen Mary wears,
Not Margaret's yet more precious tears,
Shall buy his life a day.
Yet was his hazard small—for well
You may bethink you of the spell
Of that sly urchin page;
This to his Lord he did impart,
And made him seem, by glamour art,
A knight from Hermitage.
Unchallenged, thus, the warder's post,
The court, unchallenged, thus he crossed,
For all the vassalage:
But, O what magic's quaint disguise
Could blind fair Margaret's azure eyes |
She started from her seat;
While with surprise and fear she strove,
And both could scarcely master love—
Lord Henry's at her feet.
Oft have I mused what purpose bad
That foul malicious urchin had
To bring this meeting round;
For happy love's a heavenly sight,
And by a vile malignant sprite
In such no joy is found: And oft I’ve deemed, perchance he thought Their erring passion might have wrought
Sorrow, and sin, and shame; And death to Cranstoun's gallant Knight, And to the gentle Ladye bright,
Disgrace, and loss of fame.
But earthy spirit could not tell
The heart of them that loved so well;
True love's the gift which God has given
To man alone beneath the heaven.
It is not Fantasy's hot fire,
Whose wishes, soon as granted, fly;
It liveth not in fierce desire,
With dead desire it doth not die;
It is the secret sympathy,
The silver cord, the silken tie,
Which heart to heart, and mind to mind,
In body and in soul can bind.
Now leave we Margaret and her Knight,
To tell you of the approaching fight.
XIV. Their warning blast the bugles blew, The pipe's shrill port” aroused each clan; In haste, the deadly strife to view,
The trooping warriors eager ran.
* A martial piece of music, adapted to the bagpipes.