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XXVIII. « Ah! noble lords !» he, breathless, said, « What treason has your march betray'd ? What make you here, from aid so far, Before you walls, around you war? Your foemen triumph in the thought, That in the toils the lion 's caught. Already on dark Rubershiw The Douglas holds his weapon-shaw;' The lances, waving in his train, Clothe the dun heath like autumn grain ; And on the Liddel's northern straud, To bar retreat lo Cumberland, Lord Maxwell ranks his merry-men good, Beneath the eagle and the rood; And Jedwood, Eske, and Tevioidale,
llave to proud Angus come! And all the Merse and Lauderdale
llave risen with haughty Home. Av exile from Northumberland,
In Liddesdale I've wanderd long; But still my
heart was with merry England, And cannot brook my country's wrong; And hard I've spurrid all night to show The mustering of the coming foe.»
Before the castle took his stand;
The leaders of the Scottish band;
Vanquish the knight of Deloraine,
Shall hostage for his clan remain :
Howe'er it falls, the English band,
Shall straight retreat to Cumberland.»
XXIX. « And let them come!» fierce Dacre cried; « For soou yon crest, my father's pride, That swept the shores of Judali's sea, And waved in gales of Galilee, From Branksome's highest towers display'd, Shall mock the rescue's lingering aid !Level each harquebuss on row; Draw, merry arcbers, draw the bow; l'p, bill-men, to the walls, and cry, Dacre for England, win or die!»
Though much the Ladye sage gainsaid;
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.
Beneath the castle, on a lawn :
At the fourth hour from peep of dawn;
XXX. « Yet hear,» quoth Howard, « calmly hear, Nor deem my words the words of fear; For who, in field or foray slack, Saw the blanche lion (20) e'er fall back? But thus to risk our Border flower In strife against a kingdom's power, Ten thousand Scots gainst thousands three, Certes, were desperate policy. Nay, take the terms the Ladye made, Ere conscious of the advancing aid : Let Musgrave meet fierec Deloraine Jo single fight, (21) and if he gain, He gains for us; but if be's cross'd, "T is but a single warrior lost: The rest, retrcating as they came, Avoid defcat, and death, and shame,»
Such combat should be made on horse,
Should shiver in the course :
In guise whichi now I say;
In the old Donglas' day. (23)
Or call bis song untrue:
The Bard of Reull he slew.
Cost blood upon another day.
How Ousenam's maidens tore their hair, Wepl till their eyes were dead and dim, And wrung their hands for love of him,
Who died at Jedwood Air?
II. Not that, in sooth, o'er mortal uru Those things inanimate can mourn; But that the stream, the wood, the gale, Is vocal with the plaintive wail Of those, who, else forgotten long Lived in the poet's faithful song. And, with the poet's parting breath, Whose memory feels a second death. The maid's pale shade, who wails her lot, Tiat love, true love, should be forgot, From rose and hawthorn shakes the tear Upon the gentle minstrel's bier The phantom knight, his glory fled, Mourns o'er the field he heap'd with dead; ! Mounts the wild blast that sweeps amain, And shrieks along the battle-plain : The chief, whose antique crownlet long Still sparkled in the feudal song, Now, from the mountain's misty throne, Sees, in the thanedom once his own, His ashes undistinguish'd lie, His place, his power, his memory die: His groans the lonely caverns fill," : Ilis tears of rage impel the rill; All mourn the mriostrel's harp unstrung, Their name unknown, their praise unsung.
Be paused: the listening dames again Applaud the hoary Minstrel's strain. With many a word of kindly cheer,In pity half, and half sincere, Marvellid the duchess how so well His legendary song could tellOf ancient deeds, so long forgot ; Of feuds, whose memory was not; Of forests, pow laid waste and bare: Of towers, which harbour now the hare; Of manners, long since changed and gone; Of chiefs, who under their
gray stone So long had slept, that fickle Fame Had blotted from her rolls their name, And twined round some new minion's head The fading wreath for which they bled ; In sooth, 't was strange, this old man's verse; Could call them from their marble hearse.
from Brauksome's lowers,
From the fair Middle Marches came;
Announcing Douglas, dreaded name! (1)
Their men in baitle-order sel;
Of Clarence's Plantagenet. (3)
And Hepburn's mingled banners, come,
And shouting still, « A Home! a Home!» (4)
Now squire and knight, from Branksome scot,
chief and Jord they paid
And how a day of fight was ta'en
To taste of Branksome cheer.
How these two hostile armies met?
To keep the truee which here was set :
They met on Teviot's strand:
Were interchanged in greeting dear;
Partook of social cheer.
With dice and draughits some chased the day; And some,
many a merry shout,
Or sign of war been seen,
Had dyed with gore the green:
And in the groan of death;
Had found a bloody sheath.
In the old Border day:(6)
The sun's declining ray.
Soon through the latticed windows tall
Loud hollo, whoop, or whistle ran,
Gave the shirill watch-word of their clan; (7) And revellers, o'er their bowls, proclaim Douglas' or Dacre's conquering name.
At length the various clamours died;
No sound but Teviot's rushing tide :
Rung from the nether lawn;
Despite the dame's reproving eye;
Full many a stifled sigh:
And many a bold ally-
In broken sleep she lay:
She view'd the dawning day:
Which in the tower's tall shadow lay;
the livelong yesterday; Now still as death; till, stalking slow,—
The jingling spurs announced his tread, A stately warrior pass'd below;
But when he raised his plumed head
Blessed Mary! can it be?---
With fearless step and free.
His blood the price must pay!
Shall buy his life a day.
Decay'd not with the dyiog day; "A sort of knife, or poniard.
XII. Yet was his hazard small; for well You may bethink you of the spell
In armour sheath'd from top to toe, Appear'd, and craved the combat due. The dame her charm successful knew,' And the fierce chiefs their claims withdrew.
Of that sly urchin page;
A kuight from Hermitage: Unchallenged, thus, the warder's post, The court, unchallenged, thus he crossid,
For all the 'assalage: But, 0! 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.
To bring this meeting round;
In such no joy is found; And oft I've deem'd, 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 earthly 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 bot 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 link, the silken tie, Which heart to heart, and mind to mind, In body and in soul ean bind. Now leave we Margaret and her knight, To tell you of the approaching fight.
XVI. When for the lists they sought the plain, The stately Ladye's silken reia
Did noble Howard hold;
Of feats of arms of old.
With satin slash'd and lined;
His hose with silver twined: His Bilboa blade, by Marchmen felt, Hung in a broad and studded belt; Hence, in rude phrase, the Borderers still Call'd noble Howard, Belted Will.
That none, while lasts the strife,
On peril of his life;
The pipe's shrill port', aroused each clan; In haste, the deadly strife to view,
The trooping warriors eager ran:
disputed claim, Of who should fight for Deloraine, "Twixt Harden and 'twixt Thirlestanc; They 'gan to reckon kin and rent, And frowning brow on brow was bent;
But yet not long the strife-for, lo! Himself, the Knight of Deloraine, Strong, as it seem'd, and free from pain,
"A martial piece of music adapted to the bagpipes.
"See p. 12, Stanza 23.
Amends from Deloraine to crave,
For foul despiteous scathe and scoru. He sayeth that William of Deloraine
Is traitor false by Border laws; This with his sword he will maintain,
So help him God, and his good cause!
And still the crucifix on high
Still props him from the bloody sod,
And bids him trust in God! Unheard he prays;- the death-pang 's o'er!-Richard of Musgrave breathes no more.
XXI. Ill would it suit your gentle ear, Ye lovely listeners, to hear How to the axe the helms did sound, And blood pour'd down from many a wound; For desperate was the strife and long, And either warrior fierce and strong. But, were each dame a listening knight, I well could tell how warriors fight; For I have seen war's lightning flashing, Seen the claymore with bayonet clashing, Seen through red blood the war-horse dashing, And scorn'd, amid the reeling, strife, To yield a step for death or life.
The sileut victor stands;
Of gratulating hands.
Among the Scottishi bands;
As dizzy, and in pain ;
knew William of Deloraine!
« And who art thou,» they cried, « Who bast this battle fought and won ?» His plumed helm was soou undone
« Cranstoun of Teviot side!
- For Howard was a generous foeAnd how the clan anited pray'd,
The Ladye would the feud forego,
Thought on the Spirits' prophecy, Then broke her silence stern and still,
« Not you, but late, has vanquish'd me; Their intluence kindly stars may shower, On Teviot's tide and Branksome's tower,
For pride is quell'd, and love is free.» She took fair Margaret by the land, Who, breathless, trembling, scarce miglat stand;
That hand to Craostoun's lord gave show u As I am true to thee and thine, Do thou be true to me and mine!
XXII. "T is done, 't is done! that fatal blow
Has stretcli'd him on the bloody plain ; He strives to rise-Brave Musgrave, no!
Thence never shalt thou rise again! He chokes in blood-some friendly hand Undo the visor's barred band, Unfix the gorget's iron clay, And give him room for life lo gasp ;0, bootless aid !-haste, hely friar, Haste, ere the sinner shall expire! Of all his guilt let him be shiriven, And smooth his path from eartlı to heaven!
As through the lists he ran;
He raised the dying inan; Loose waved his silver beard and hair, As o'er him he kneeld down in prayer ;