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The rest, retreating as they came,
Ill could the haughty Dacre brook
Before the castle took his stand; His trumpet called, with parleying strain,
The leaders of the Scottish band; And he defied, in Musgravc'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."
Though much the Ladye sage gainsayed; For though their hearts were brave and true, From Jedwood's recent sack they knew,
How tardy was the regent's aid:
And you may guess the noble Dame
Durst not the secret prescience own, Sprung from the art she might not name,
By which the coming help was known. Closed was the compact, and agreed, That lists should be inclosed with speed,
Beneath the castle, on a lawn: They fixed the morrow for the strife, On foot, with Scottish axe and knife,
At the fourth hour from peep of dawn;
Such combat should be made on horse,
On foaming steed, in full career,
Should shiver in the course:
In guise which now I say;
In the old Douglas' day.
Or call his song untrue:
The bard of Reull he slew. v On Teviot's side, in fight they stood, And tuneful hands were stained with blood; Where still the thorn's white branches wave, Memorial o'er his rival's grave.
How Ousenam's maidens tore their hair, Wept till their eyes were dead and dim, And wrung their hands for love of him,
Who died at Jed wood Air?
He paused: the listening dames again