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LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.
AND said I that my limbs were old;
And that I might not sing of love?—
So foul, so false, a recreant prove'
How could I name love's very name,
In peace, Love tunes the shepherd's reed;
In war, he mounts the warrior's steed;
In halls, in gay attire is seen;
In hamlets, dances on the green.
Love rules the court, the camp, the grove,
And men below, and saints above;
For love is heaven, and heaven is love.
So thought Lord Cranstoun, as I ween,
And scarce his helmet could he don,
A stately knight came pricking on.
That warrior's steed, so dapple gray,
Was dark with sweat, and splashed with clay;
His armour red with many a stain:
For it was William of Deloraine.
But no whit weary did he seem,
When, dancing in the sunny beam,
He marked the crane on the Baron's crest;
For his ready spear was in his rest.
Few were the words, and stern, and high,
That marked the foemen's feudal hate;
Gave signal soon of dire debate.
In rapid round the Baron bent;
He sighed a sigh, and prayed a prayer: The prayer was to his patron saint,
The sigh was to his ladye fair. Stout Deloraine nor sighed, nor prayed, Nor saint, nor ladye, called to aid; But he stooped his head, and couched his spear, And spurred his steed to full career. The meeting of these champions proud Seemed like the bursting thunder-cloud.
Pierced through, like silk, the Borderer's mail;
Through shield, and jack, and acton, past,
But when he reined his courser round,
Lie senseless as the bloody clay,
And there beside the warrior stay,
For the kinsman of the maid he loved.