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Above the foaming tide, I ween,
Scarce half the charger's neck was seen;
For he was barded * from counter to tail,
And the rider was armed complete in mail;
Never heavier man and horse
Stemmed a midnight torrent's force.
The warrior's very plume, I say,
Was daggled by the dashing spray;
Yet, through good heart, and our Ladye's grace,
At length he gained the landing place.
Now Bowden Moor the march-man won,
As glanced his eye o'er Halidon; f
* Barded, or barbed,—applied to a horse accoutered with defensive armour, f Halidon-Hill, on which the battle of Melrose was fought.
Of that unhallowed morn arose,
* Lauds, the midnight service of the Catholic church. The sound, upon the fitful gale,
In solemn wise did rise and fail,
Like that wild harp, whose magic tone
Is wakened by the winds alone.
But when Melrose he reached, 'twas silence all;
He meetly stabled his steed in stall,
And sought the convent's lonely wall.
Here paused the harp: and with its swell
The Duchess, and her daughters fair, And every gentle ladye there, Each after each, in due degree, Gave praises to his melody; His hand was true, his voice was clear, And much they longed the rest to hear. Encouraged thus, the Aged Man, After meet rest, again began.