He was stately, and young, and tall,
Dreaded in battle, and loved in hall :
And she, when love, scarce told, scarce hid,
Lent to her cheek a livelier red ;
When the half sigh her swelling breast
Against the silken riband press'd:
When her blue eyes their secret told,
Though shaded by her locks of gold-
Where would

you find the peerless fair With Margaret of Branksome might compare ?

He was waspish, arch, and litherlie,

But well Lord Cranstoun served he: And he of his service was full fain; For once he had been ta'en or slain,

An it had not been his ministry. All between Home and Hermitage Talk'd of Lord Cranstoun's goblin-page.

And now, fair dames, methinks I see
You listen to my minstrelsy;
Your waving locks ye backward throw,
And sidelong bend your necks of snow:
Ye ween to hear a melting tale
Of two true lovers in a dale;
And how the knight, with tender fire,

To paint his faithful passion strove;
Swore, he might at her feet expire,

But never, never, cease to love; And how she blush'd, and how she sigh'd, And, half consenting, half denied, And said that she would die a maid;— Yet, might the bloody feud be stay'd, Henry of Cranstoun, and only he, Margaret of Branksome's choice should be.

For the baron went on pilgrimage,
And took with him this elvish page,

To Mary's chapel of the Lowes:
For there, beside Our Lady's lake,
An offering he had sworn to make,

And he would pay his vows.
But the Ladye of Branksome gather'd a band
Of the best that would ride at her command ;(18)

The trysting-place was Newark Lee.
Wat of Harden came thither amain,
And thither came John of Thirlestane,
And thither came William of Deloraine;

They were three hundred spears and three.
Through Douglas-burn, up Yarrow stream,
Their horses prance, their lances gleam.
They came to St Mary's lake ere day;
But the chapel was void, and the baron away.
They burn’d the chapel for very rage,
And cursed Lord Cranstoun's goblin-page.

XXX. Alas! fair dames, your hopes are vain! My harp has lost the enchanting strain;

Its htness would my age reprove : My hairs are gray, my limbs are old, My heart is dead, my veins are cold :

I may not, must not, sing of love.

XXXIV. And now, in Branksome's good green-wood, As under the aged oak he stood, The baron's courser pricks his ears, As if a distant noise he hears; The Dwarf waves his long lean arm on high, And signs to the lovers to part and fly; No time was then to vow or sigh. Fair Margaret, through the hazel grove, Flew like the startled cushat-dove: 1 The Dwarf the stirrup held, and rein; Vaulted the knight on his steed amain, And, pondering deep that morning's scene, Rode eastward through the hawthorns green.


Beneath an oak, moss'd o'er by eld,
The baron's Dwarf his courser held, (17)

And held his crested helm and spear :
That Dwarf was scarcely an earthly man,
If the tales were true that of him ran

Through all the Border, far and
’T was said, when the baron a-hunting rode
Through Redesdale's glens, but rarely trod,
He heard a voice cry,

«Lost! lost! lost! And, like tennis-ball by racquet toss'd,

A leap of thirty feet and three, Made from the gorse this elfin shape, Distorted like some dwarfish ape,

AŅd lighted at Lord Cranstoun's knee. Lord Cranstoun was some whit dismay'd; 'T is said that five good miles he rade,

To rid him of his company; But where he rode one mile, the Dwarf ran four, And the Dwarf was first at the castle door.

While thus he pour'd the lengthen'd tale, The Minstrel's voice began to fail : Full slyly smiled the observant page, And gave

the wither'd hand of age A goblet, crown'd with mighty wine, The blood of Velez' scorched vine. He raised the silver cup on high, And, while the big drop fill'd his eye, Pray'd God to bless the duchess long, And all who cheer'd a son of song. The attending maidens smiled to see llow long, how deep, how zealously, The precious juice the Minstrel quaffd; And he, embolden'd by the draught, Look'd gaily back to them, and laugh’d. The cordial nectar of the bowl Swell’d his old veins, and cheer'd his soul; A lighter, livelier prelude ran, Ere thus his tale again bcgan.

XXXII. Use lessens marvel, it is said: This elfish Dwarf with the baron staid; Little he ate, and less he spoke, Nor mingled with the menial flock: And oft apart his arms lie toss'd, And often mutter'd, « Lost! lost! lost!»

I Wood-pigeon.


I. And said I that my limbs were old; And said I that my blood was cold; And that my kindly fire was fled, And my poor wither'd heart was dead,

And that I might not sing of love? How could I to the dearest theme That ever warm'd a minstrel's dream,

So foul, so false a recreant prove! Flow could I name Love's

very name, Nor wake my heart to notes of flame!

VI. Stern was the dint the Borderer lent; The stately baron backwards bent; Bent backwards to his horse's tail, And his plumes went scattering on the gale; The tough ash spear, so stout and true, Into a thousand flinders flew. But Cranstoun's lance, of more avail, Pierced through, like silk, the Borderer's mail; Through shield, and jack, and acton past, Deep in his bosom broke at last. Still sate the warrior saddle-fast, Till, stumbling in the mortal shock, Down went the steed, the girthing broke, Hurl'd on a heap lay man and horse. The baron onward pass'd his course; Nor knew-so giddy rolld his brainHis foe lay stretch'd upon the plain.

JI. 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.

III. So thought Lord Cranstoun, as I ween, While, pondering deep the tender scene, Ile rode through Branksome's hawthorn green.

But the page shouted wild and shrillAnd scarce his helmet could he don,

When downward from the shady hill
A stately knight came pricking on.
That warrior's steed, so dapple-gray,
Was dark with sweat, and splash'd with clay;

His armour red with many a stain :
He seem'd in such a weary plight,
As if he had ridden the livelong night;

For it was William of Deloraine.

VII. But when he rein'd his courser round, And saw his foeman on the ground

Lie senseless as the bloody clay, He bade liis page to staunch the wound,

And there beside the warrior stay, And tend him in his doubtful state, And lead him to Branksome castle-gate : His noble mind was inly moved For the kinsman of the maid he loved. « This shalt thou do without delay; No longer here myself may stay : Unless the swifter I speed away, Short slırift will be at my dying day.»

VIII. Away in speed Lord Crapstoun rode; The goblin-page behind abode; His lord's command be ne'er withstood, Though small his pleasure to do good. As the corslet off he took, The Dwarf espied the mighty book ! Much be marvell’d, a knight of pride Like a book-bosom'd priest should ride : (2) He thought not to search or staunch the wound, Until the secret he had found.

[blocks in formation]

The iron band, the iron clasp,
Resisted long the elfin grasp;
For when the first he had undone,
It closed as he the next begun.
Those iron clasps, that iron band,
Would not yield to unchristen'd hand,
Till he smear'd the cover o'er
With the Borderer's curdled gore;
A moment then the volume spread,
And one short spell therein he
It had much of glamour · might, (3)
Could make a ladye seem a knight;
The cobwebs on a dungeon wall
Seem tapestry in lordly ball;
A nut-shell seem a gilded barge,

A sheeling2 seem a palace large,
Magical delusion,
? A shepherd's hut.

[ocr errors]

And youth seem age, and age seem youthAll was delusion, nought was truth.

The woodland brook he bounding cross'd, And laugh'd, and shouted « Lost! lost! lost!»

He had not read another spell,
When on his cheek a buffet fell,
So fierce, it stretch'd him on the plain,
Beside the wounded Deloraine.
From the ground he rose dismay'd,
And shook his huge and matted head;
One word he mutter'd, and no more-
« Man of age, thou smitest sore!»
No more the elfin page durst try
Into the wond'rous book to pry;
The clasps, though smear'd with Christian gore,
Shut faster than they were before,
He hid it underneath his cloak.-
Now, if

ask who


the stroke, I cannot tell, so mot I thrive; It was not given by man alive. (4)

XIV. Full sore amazed at the wond'rous change,

And frighten'd, as a child might be, At the wild yell and visage strange,

And the dark words of gramarye, The child, amidst the forest bower, Stood rooted like a lily flower, And when at length, with trembling pace,

He sought to find where Branksome lay, Hle fear'd to see that grisly face

Glare from some thicket on his way.
Thus, starting oft, he journey'd on,
And deeper in the wood is gone, -
aye the more he sought his

The farther still he went astray, —
Until he heard the mountains round
Ring to the baying of a hound.



XI. Unwillingly himself he address'd To do his master's high behest : He lifted


the living corse, And laid it on the weary horse; He led him into Branksome-ball, Before the beards of the warders all; And each did after swear and say, There only pass'd a wain of hay. He took him to Lord David's tower, Even to the Ladye's secret bower; And, but that stronger spells were spread, And the door might not be opened, He had laid him on her very bed. Whate'er he did of gramarye,' Was always done maliciously; He flung the warrior on the ground, And the blood well’d freshly from the wound.

And hark! and hark! the deep-mouth'd bark

Comes nigher still, and nigher;
Bursts on the path a dark blood-hound,
His tawny muzzle track'd the ground,

And his red eye shot fire.
Soon as the wilder'd child saw he,
He flew at him right furiouslie.
I ween you would have seen with joy
The bearing of the gallant boy,
When, worthy of his noble sire,
Iis wet cheek glow'd 'twixt fear and ire!
De faced the blood-lound manfully,
And held his little bat on high ;
So fierce he struck, the dog, afraid,
At cautious distance hoarsely bay'd,

But still in act to spring;
When dash'd an archer through the glade,
And when he saw the hound was stay'd,
He drew his tough bow-string;
But a rough voice cried, «Shoot not, hoy!
Ho! shoot not, Edward-'t is a boy!»

XII. As he repass'd the outer court, He spied the fair young child at sport: He thought to train him to the wood; For, at a word, be it understood, He was always for ill, and never for good. Seem'd to the boy, some comrade gay Led him forth to the woods to play; On the draw-bridge the warders stout Saw a terrier and lurcher passing out.

He led the boy o'er bank and fell,

Until they came to a woodland brook;
The running stream dissolved the spell, (5)

And his own elvish shape he took. Could he have had his pleasure vilde, He had crippled the joints of the noble child; Or, with his fingers long and lean, Had strangled him in fiendish spleen. But his awful mother he had in dread, And also his power was limited; So he but scowl'd on the startled child, And darted through the forest wild;

The speaker issued from the wood,
And check’d his fellow's surly mood,

And quell’d the ban-dog's ire:
He was an English yeoman good,

And born in Lancashire. Well could he hit a fallow-deer

Five hundred feet him fro; With hand more true, and eye more clear,

No archer bended bow.
His coal-black hair, shorn round and close,

Set off his sunburnt face;
Old England's sign, St George's cross,
His barret-cap


grace ;
His bugle-horn hung by his side,
All in a wolf-skin baldric tied;
And his short falchion, sharp and clear,
Had pierced the throat of


a deer.

XVII. His kirtle, made of forest green,

Reach'd scantly to his knee;

1 Magic.

And, at his belt, of arrows keen

A furbish'd sheaf bore he:
His buckler scarce in breadth a span,

No larger fence had he;
He never counted him a man

Would strike below the knee; (6) His slacken'd bow was in his hand, And the leash, that was his blood-hound's band.

Well I ween, the charm he held
The noble Ladye had soon dispelld;
But she was dceply busied then
To tend the wounded Deloraine.
Much she wonderd to find him lie,

On the stone threshold stretch'd along; She thought some spirit of the sky

Had done the bold moss-trooper wrong; Because, despite her precept dread, Perchance he in the book had read; But the broken lance in his bosom stood, And it was earthly steel and wood.

XVIII. He would not do the fair child harm, But held him with his powerful arm, That he might neither fight nor flee; For when the red cross spied he, The boy strove long and violently. « Now, by St George,» the archer cries, « Edward, methinks we have a prize! This boy's fair face, and courage free, Show he is come of high degree.»

XIX. « Yes! I am come of high degree,

For I am the heir of bold Buccleuch; And if thou dost not set me free,

False southron, thou shalt dearly rue!
For Walter of Harden shall come with speed,
And William of Deloraine, good at need,

Scott from Esk to Tweed;
And, if thou dost not let me go,
Despite thy arrows and thy bow,
I'll have thee hang'd to feed the crow!»

She drew the splinter from the wound,

And with a charm she staunchi'd the blood; (6) She bade the gash be cleansed and bound:

No longer by his couch she stood; But she has ta'en the broken lance,

And wash'd it from the clotted gore,

And salved the splinter o'er and o’er. (8)
William of Deloraine, in trance,
Whene'er she turn'd it round and round,
Twisted as if she galld his wound.

Then to her maidens she did say,
That he should be whole man and sound,

Within the course of a night and day.
Full long she toild; for she did rue
Misbap to friend so stout and true.

« Gramercy, for thy good will, fair boy!
My mind was never set so high ;
But if thou art chief of such a clan,
And art the son of such a man,
And ever comest to thy command,

Our wardens had need to keep good order : My bow of yew to a hazel wand,

Thou ’lt make them work upon the Border. Meantime, be pleased to come with me, For good Lord Dacre shalt thou see: I think our work is well begun, When we have taken thy father's son.»—

XXIV. So pass'd the day-the evening fell. 'T was near the time of curfew bell; The air was mild, the wind was calm, The stream was smooth, the dew was balm; E'en the rude watchman, on the tower, Enjoy'd and bless’d the lovely hour; Far more fair Margaret loved and bless'd The hour of silence and of rest. On the high turret sitting lone, She waked at times the lute's soft tone; Touch'd a wild note, and, all between, Thought of the bower of hawthorns green. Her golden hair stream'd free from band, Her fair cheek rested on her hand, Her blue eyes sought the west afar, For lovers love the western star.

did play;

Although the child was led away,
In Branksome still he seem'd to stay,
For so the Dwarf his

And, in the shape of that young boy,
He wrought the castle much annoy.
The comrades of the


Buccleuch He pinch'd, and beat, and overthrew; Nay, some of them he well nigh slew. He tore Dame Maudlin's silken tire, And, as Sym Hall stood by the fire, He lighted the match of his handelier, And woefully scorch'd the hackbutteer. 2 It may be hardly thought or said, The mischief that the urchin made, Till many of the castle guess'd That the

young baron was possess'd !

XXV. Is yon the star, o'er Penchryst Pen, That rises slowly to her ken, And, spreading broad its wavering light, Shakes its loose tresses on the night? Is yon red glare the western star?0, 't is the beacon-blaze of war! Scarce could she draw her tighten'd breath, For well she knew the fire of death!

XXYI. The warder view'd it blazing strong, And blew his war-note loud and long, Till, at the high and haughty sound, Rock, wood, and river, rang around. The blast alarm'd the festal ball, And startled forth the warriors all;

1 Bandelier, belt for carrying ammunition. 2 Hackbutteer, musketeer.

And Lothian heard the regent's order,
That all should bowne' them for the Border.

Far downward, in the castle-yard,
Full many a torch and cresset glared;
And helms and plumes, confusedly toss'd,
Were in the blaze half seen, half lost;
And spears in wild disorder shook,
Like reeds beside a frozen brook.

The livelong night in Branksome rang

The ceaseless sound of steel;
The castle-bell, with backward clang,

Sent forth the larum peal;
Was frequent heard the heavy jar,
Where massy stone and iron bar
Were piled on echoing keep and tower,
To whelm the foe with deadly shower;
Was frequent heard the changing guard,
And watchword from the sleepless ward;
While, wearied by the endless din,
Blood-hound and ban-dog yelld within.

XXVII. The seneschal, whose silver hair Was redden'd by the torches' glare, Stood in the midst, with gesture proud, And issued forth his mandates loud. « On Penchryst glows a bale' of fire, And three are kindling on Priesthaugh-swire ; (9)

Ride out, ride out,

The foe to scout!
Mount, mount for Branksome,2 every man!
Thou, Todrig, warn the Johnstone clan,

That ever are true and stout.-
Ye need not send to Liddesdale;
For, when they see the blazing bale,
Elliots and Armstrongs never fail.-
Ride, Alton, ride, for death and life!
And warn the warden of the strife.
Young Gilbert, let our beacon blaze,
Our kin, and clan, and friends to raise.»—(10)

Fair Margaret, from the turret-head,
Heard, far below, the coursers' tread,
While loud the harness

As to their seats, with clamour dread,

The ready horsemen sprang ;
And trampling hoofs, and iron coats,
And leaders' voices, mingled notes,

And out! and out!

In hasty route,
The horsemen gallop'd forth;.
Dispersing to the south to scout,

And east, and west, and north,
To view their coming enemies,
And warn their vassals and allies.

XXXI. The noble dame, amid the broil, Shared the gray seneschal's high toil, And spoke of danger with a smile; Cheer'd the young knights, and council sage Held with the chiefs of riper age. No tidings of the foe were brought, Nor of their numbers knew they aught, Nor in what time the truce he sought.

Some said, that there were thousands ten, And others ween'd that it was nought

But Leven Clans, or Tynedale men,
Who came to gather in black-mail;-
And Liddesdale, with small avail,

Might drive them lightly back agen.
So pass'd the anxious night away,
And welcome was the


of day.

Ceased the high sound-the listening throng
Applaud the master of the song ;
And marvel much, in helpless age,
So hard should be his pilgrimage.
Had he no friend- no daughter dear,
His wandering toil to share and cheer;
No son, to be his father's stay,
And guide bim on the rugged way?

Ay, once he had—but he was dead !---
Upon the harp he stoop'd his head,
And busied himself the strings withal,
To hide the tear that fain would fall.
In solemn measure, soft and slow,
Arose a father's notes of woe.

XXIX. The ready page, with hurried hand, Awaked the need-fire's3 slumbering brand,

And ruddy blush'd the heaven; For a sheet of flame, from the turret high, Waved like a blood-flag on the sky,

All flaring and uneven. And soon a score of fires, I ween, From height, and hill, and cliff, were seen; Each with warlike tidings fraught; Each from each the signal caught; Each after each they glanced to sight, As stars arise upon the night. They gleam'd on many a dusky tarn, 4 Haunted by the lonely earn;5 On many a cairn's gray pyramid, Where urns of mighty chiefs lie hid; (11) Till high Dunedin the blazes saw, From Soltra and Dumpender Law;


Bale, beacon-fagot. ? Mount for Branksome was the gathering word of the Scotts. 3 Need-fire, beacon. 4 Tarn, a mountain lake. 5 Earn, a Scottish eagle. 6 Cairn, a pile of stones.

Sweet Teviot! on thy silver tide

The glaring bale-fires blaze no more;
No longer steel-clad warriors ride

Along thy wild and willow'd shore; Where'er thou wind’st, by dale or hill, All, all is peaceful, all is still, Bowne, make ready. ? Protection-money exacted by freebooters.

« 前へ次へ »