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XXVIII. Unchallenged, thence past Deloraine To ancient Riddell's fair domain,

Where Aill, from mountains freed, Down from the lakes did raving come, Cresting each wave with tawny foam,

Like the mane of a chestnut steed. In vain ! no torrent, deep or broad, Might bar the bold mosstrooper's road.

And, diffident of present praise,
Somewhat he spoke of former days,
And how old age, and wandering long,
Had done his hand and harp some wrong.

The dutchess 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.

XXIX. At the first plunge the horse sunk low, And the water broke o'er the saddle-bow: 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 arm'd 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 gain'd the landing place.

CANTO II.

I. If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright, Go visit it by the pale moonlight; For the gay beams of lightsome day Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray. When the broken arches are black in night And each shafted oriel glimmers white; When the cold light's uncertain shower Streams on the ruin'd central tower: When buttress and buttress, alternately, Seem'd framed of ebon and ivory : When silver edges the imagery, And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die; When distant Tweed is heard to rave, And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave, Then go—but go alone the whileThen view Saint David's ruin'd pile; And, home returning, soothly swear, Was never scene so sad and fair!

XXX. Now Bowden moor the marchman won,'

And sternly shook his plumed head, As glanced his eye o'er Halidon,

For on his soul the slaughter red Of that uphallow'd morn arose, When first the Scott and Car were foes ; When royal James beheld the fray, Prize to the victor of the day; When Home and Douglas, in the van, Bore down Buccleuch's retiring clan, Till gallant Cessford's heartblood dear Reek'd on dark Elliot's border spear.

XXXI. In bitter mood he spurred fast, And soon the hated heath was past; And far beneath, in lustre wan, Old Melros' rose, and fair Tweed ran; Like some tall rock, with lichens gray, Rose, dimly huge, the dark abbaye. When Hawick he pass'd, had curfew rung, Now midnight laudst were in Melrose sung. The sound upon the fitful gale In solemn wise did rise and fail, Like that wild harp whose magic tone Is waken'd by the winds alone. But when Melrose he reach'd, 'twas silence all; He meetly stabled his steed in stall, And sought the convent's lonely wall.

II. Short halt did Deloraine make there; Little reck'd he of the scene so fair : With dagger's hilt, on the wicket strong, He struck full loud, and struck full long. The porter hurried to the gate“ Who knocks so loud, and knocks so late?” “From Branksome I," the warrior cried ; And straight the wicket open'd wide : For Branksome's chiefs had in battle stood,

To fence the rights of fair Melrose ; And lands and livings, many a rood,

Had gifted the shrine for their soul's repose.

III. Bold Deloraine his errand said ; The porter bent his humble head; With torch in hand, and feet unshod, And noiseless step, the path he trod ; The arched cloisters, far and wide, Rang to the warrior's clanking stride ; Till, stooping low his lofty crest, He enter'd the cell of the ancient priest, And lifted his barred aventayle, * To hail the monk of St. Mary's aisle.

Here paused the harp; and with its swell
The master's fire and courage fell:
Dejectedly, and low, he bow'd,
And, gazing timid on the crowd,
He seem'd to seek, in every eye,
If they approved his minstrelsy:

IV. “ The Ladye of Branksome greets thee by me;

Says that the fated hour is come,

* Barded, or barbed, applied to a horse accoutred with defensive armour.

Lauds, the midnight service of the Catholic church.

* Aventayle, visor of the helmet.

And that to-night I shall watch with thee, The keystone, that lock'd each ribbed aisle,
To win the treasure of the tomb."

Was a fleur-de-lys, or a quatre-feuille:
From sackcloth couch the monk arose,

The corbells* were carved grotesque and grim ; With toil his stiffen'd limbs he rear'd;

And the pillars, with cluster'd shafts so trim, A hundred years had Aung their snows

With base and with capital flourish'd around, On his thin locks and floating beard.

Seem'd bundles of lances which garlands had bound. V.

X. And strangely on the knight look'd he,

Full many a scutcheon and banner riven, And his blue eyes gleam'd wild and wide;

Shook to the cold night wind of heaven, “ And, darest thou, warrior! seek to see

Around the screened altar's pale; What heaven and hell alike would hide? And there the dying lamps did burn, My breast, in belt of iron pent,

Before thy low and lonely urn, With sbirt of hair and scourge of thorn:

O gallant chief of Otterburne!
For threescore years, in penance spent,

And thine, dark knight of Liddesdale !
My knees those finty stones have worn; O fading honours of the dead !
Yet all too little to atone

O high ambition, lowly laid !
For knowing what should ne'er be known

XI.
Wouldst thou thy every future year
In ceaseless prayer and penance drie,

The moon on the east oriel shone
Yet wait thy latter end with fear

Through slender shafts of shapely stone, Then, daring warrior, follow me!”

By foliaged tracery combined :

Thou would'st have thought some fairy's hand VI.

'Twixt poplars straight the osier wand, “ Penance, father, will I none;

In many a freakish knot had twined; Prayer know I hardly one ;

Then framed a spell, when the work was done, For mass or prayer can I rarely tarry,

And changed the willow wreaths to stone. Save to patter an Ave Mary,

The silver light, so pale and faint, When I ride on a Border foray:

Show'd many a prophet, and many a saint, Other prayer can I none ;

Whose image on the glass was died ; So speed me my errand, and let me be gone.”

Full in the midst, his cross of red

Triumphant Michael brandished,
VII.

And trampled the apostate's pride.

The moonbeam kiss'd the holy pane,
Again on the knight look'd the churchman old,
And again he sigh'd heavily ;

And threw on the pavement a bloody stain.
For he had himself been a warrior bold,

XII.
And fought in Spain and Italy.
And he thought on the days that were long since by, They sate them down on a marble stone;
When his limbs were strong, and his courage was

(A Scottish monarch slept below ;)

Thus spoke the monk, in solemn tone; high :Now, slow and faint, he led the way,

“I was not always a man of wo;

For Paynim countries I have trod,
Where, cloister'd round, the garden lay:

And fought beneath the cross of God:
The pillard arches were over their head,
And beneath their feet were the bones of the dead. Now, strange to my eyes thine arms appear,

And their iron clang sounds strange to my ear.
VIII.

XIII. Spreading herbs, and now'rets bright,

“ In these far climes, it was my lot Glisten'd with the dew of night;

To meet the wondrous Michael Scott; Nor herb, nor flow'ret, glisten'd there,

A wizard of such dreaded fame, But was carved in the cloister'd arches as fair.

That when, in Salamanca's cave, The monk gazed long on the lovely moon,

Him listed his magic wand to wave, Then into the night he look'd forth;

The bells would ring in Notre Dame ! And red and bright the streamers light

Some of his skill he taught to me; Were dancing in the glowing north.

And, warrior, I could say to thee So had he seen, in fair Castile,

The words that cleft Eildon hills in three, The youth in glitt’ring squadrons start;

And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone; Sudden the flying gennet wheel,

But to speak them were a deadly sin ; And hurl the unexpected dart.

And for having but thought them my heart within, He knew, by the streamers that shot so bright,

A treble pedance must be done.
That spirits were riding the northern light.

XIV.
IX.

" When Michael lay on his dying bed, By a steel-clench'd postern door,

His conscience was awakened ;
They enter'd now the chancel tall:
The darken’d roof rose high aloof

* Corbells, the projections from which the arches spring, On pillars, lofty, and light, and small;

usually cut in a fantastic face or mask.

He bethought him of his sinful deed,

XIX. And he gave me a sign to come with speed;

Before their eyes the wizard lay, I was in Spain when the morning rose,

As if he had not been dead a day. But I stood by his bed ere evening close.

His hoary beard in silver rollid, The words may not again be said,

He seem'd some seventy winters old; That he spoke to me, on death-bed laid :

A palmer's amicc wrapp'd him round, They would rend this abbaye's massy nave,

With a wrought Spanish baldric bound, And pile it in heaps above his grave.

Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea ;

His left hand held his book of might;
XV.

A silver cross was in his right; “ I swore to bury his mighty book,

The lamp was placed beside his knee: That never mortal might therein look;

High and majestic was his look ; And never to tell where it was hid,

At which the fellest fiends had shook, Save at the chief of Branksome's need;

And all unruffled was his face-
And when that need was past and o’er,

They trusted his soul had gotten grace.
Again the volume to restore.
I buried him on Saint Michael's night,

XX.
When the bell tolled one, and the moon rose bright;

Often had William of Deloraine And I dug his chamber among the dead,

Rode through the battle's bloody plain, When the floor of the chancel was stain'd red,

And trampled down the warriors slain, That his patron's cross might o'er him wave,

And neither known remorse nor awe;
And scare the fiends from the wizard's grave.

Yet now remorse and awe he own'd:
XVI.

His breath came thick, his head swam round,

When this strange scene of death he saw. “ It was a night of wo and dread,

Bewilder'd and unnerved he stood, When Michael in the tomb I laid !

And the priest pray'd fervently and loud: Strange sounds along the chancel past;

With eyes averted, prayed he; The banners waved without a blast:'

He might not endure the sight to see, -Still spoke the monk, when the bell toll’d one.

of the man he had loved so brotherly. I tell you, that a braver man Than William of Deloraine, good at need,

XXI. Against a foe ne'er spurr'd a steed;

And when the priest his death-prayer had pray'd, Yet somewhat was he chill'd with dread,

Thus unto Deloraine he said ; And his hair did bristle upon his head.

“Now, speed thee what thou hast to do,

Or, warrior, we may dearly rue ;
XVII.

For those, thou may'st not look upon, " Lo, warrior! now, the cross of red

Are gathering fast round the yawning stone !"Points to the grave of the mighty dead;

Then Deloraine, in terror, took Within it burns a wondrous light,

From the cold hand the mighty book, To chase the spirits that love the night;

With iron clasp'd, and with iron bound; That lamp shall burn unquenchably,

He thought, as he took it, the dead man frown'd: Until the eternal doom shall be.”

But the glare of the sepulchral light,
Slow moved the monk to the broad flag-stone,

Perchance, had dazzled the warrior's sight.
Which the bloody cross was traced upon ;
He pointed to a secret nook ;

XXII.
An iron bar the warrior took ;

When the huge stone sunk o'er the tomb,
And the monk made a sign with his wither'd hand, The night return'd in double gloom ;
The grave's huge portal to expand.

For the moon had gone down, and the stars were

few : XVIII.

And, as the knight and priest withdrew, With beating heart, to the task he went;

With wavering steps and dizzy brain, His sinewy frame o'er the grave-stone bent, They hardly might the postern gain. With bar of iron heaved amain,

'Tis said, as through the aisles they pass'd, Till the toil drops fell from his brows, like rain.

They heard strange noises on the blast; It was by dint of passing strength,

And through the cloister-galleries small, That he moved the massy stone at length.

Which at mid-height thread the chancel wall I would you had been there, to see

Loud sobs, and laughter louder, ran, How the light broke forth so gloriously,

And voices unlike the voice of man ; Stream'd upward to the chancel roof,

As if the fiends kept holiday, And through the galleries far aloof!

Because these spells were brought to day. No earthly flame blazed e'er so bright;

I cannot tell how the truth may be;
It shone like heaven's own blessed light;

I say the tale as 'twas said to me.
And, issuing from the tomb,
Show'd the monk's cowl and visage pale,

XXIII.
Danced on the dark brow'd warrior's mail, “ Now, hie thee hence,” the father said;
And kiss'd his waving plume.

And, when we are on death-bed laid,

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O may our dear Ladye, and sweet Saint John, A fairer pair were never seen
Forgive our souls for the deed we have done !" To meet beneath the hawthorn green.
The monk return'd him to his cell,

He was stately, and young, and tall,
And many a prayer and penance sped ;

Dreaded in battle, and loved in hall: When the convent met at the noontide bell, And she, when love, scarce told, scarce hid,

The monk of Saint Mary's aisle was dead! Lent to her cheek a livelier red; Before the cross was the body laid,

When the half sigh her swelling breast
With hands clasp'd fast, as if still he pray'd Against the silken riband prest;

When her blue eyes their secret told,
XXIV.

Though shaded by her locks of gold, -
The knight breath'd free in the morning wind, Where would you find the peerless fair
And strove his hardihood to find;

With Margaret of Branksome might compare ! He was glad when he pass'd the tombstones gray

XXIX.
Which girdle round the fair Abbaye ;
For the mystic book, to his bosom prest,

And now, fair dames, methinks I see
Felt like a load upon his breast;

You listen to my minstrelsy: And his joints, with nerves of iron twined,

Your waving locks ye backward throw, Shook, like the aspen leaves in wind.

And sidelong bend your necks of snow: Full fain was he when the dawn of day

Ye ween to hear a melting tale Began to brighten Cheviot gray ;

of two true lovers in a dale ; He joy'd to see the cheerful light,

And how the knight, with tender fire, And he said Ave Mary, as well as he might.

To paint his faithful passion strove;

Swore he might at her feet expire,
XXV.

But never, never cease to love ;
The sun had brightend Cheviot gray,

And how she blush'd, and how she sigh’d, The sun had brightend the Carter's* side,

And, half consenting, half denied, And soon beneath the rising day

And said that she would die a maid ; Smiled Branksome towers and Teviot tide.

Yet, might the bloody feud be stay'd, The wild birds told their warbling tale ;

Henry of Cranstoun, and only he, And awaken'd every flower that blows;

Margaret of Branksome's choice should be. And peep'd forth the violet pale,

XXX.
And spread her breast the mountain rose ;
And lovelier than the rose so red,

Alas ! fair dames, your hopes are vain !

My harp has lost th' enchanting strain ; Yet paler than the violet pale,

Its lightness would my age reprove: She early left her sleepless bed,

My hairs are gray, my limbs are old,
The fairest maid of Teviotdale.

My heart is dead, my veins are cold ;-
XXVI.

I may not, must not, sing of love.
Why does fair Margaret so early awake,

XXXI. And don her kirtle so hastilie:

Beneath an oak, moss'd o'er by eld, And the silken knots, which in hurry she would The baron's dwarf his courser held, make,

And held his crested helm and spear: Why tremble her slender fingers to tie ?

That dwarf was scarce an earthly man, Why does she stop, and look often around,

If the tales were true, that of him ran As she glides down the secret stair ;

Through all the Border, far and near. And why does she pat the shaggy bloodhound, 'Twas said, when the baron a hunting rode, As he rouses him up from his lair :

Through Redesdale's glen, but rarely trod, And, though she passes the postern alone,

He heard a voice cry, “Lost! lost! lost !”
Why is not the watchman's bugle blown? And, like a tennis-ball by racquet tost,

A leap, of thirty feet and three,
XXVII.

Made from the gorse this elfin shape,
The ladye steps in doubt and dread,

Distorted like some dwarfish ape, Lest her watchful mother hear her tread;

And lighted at Lord Cranstoun's knee.
The ladye caresses the rough bloodhound,

Lord Cranstoun was somewhit dismay'd;
Lest his voice should waken the castle round; 'Tis said that five good miles he rade
The watchman's bugle is not blown,

To rid him of his company;
For he was her foster-father's son ;

But where he rode one mile, the dwarf ran four, And she glides through the greenwood at dawn of And the dwarf was first at the castle door. light,

XXXII.
To meet baron Henry, her own true knight.

Use lessens marvel, it is said:
XXVIII.

This elfish dwarf with the baron staid ;
The knight and ladye fair are met,

Little he ate, and less he spoke,
And under the hawthorn's boughs are set. Nor mingled with the menial flock:

And oft apart his arms he toss'd,
A mountain on the border of England, above Jedburgh. I And often murmur'd, “ Lost! lost! lost!”

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' had it not been his ministry. All, between home and and hermitage, Talk'd of Lord Cranstoun's goblin page.

Canto III.

1. 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 ! How could I name love's very name, Nor wake my harp to notes of fame!

II.

XXXIII.
For the baron went on pilgrimage,
And took with him this elfish 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;

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 Saint 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.

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.

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 ly; No time was then to vow or sigh. Fair Margaret, through the hazel grove, Flew like the startled cushat dove ;* 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.

III. So thought Lord Cranstoun, as I ween, While pondering deep the tender scene, He rode through Branksome's hawthorn green. But the page shouted wild and sbrill,

And scarce his hemlet 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 scem'd in such a weary plight,
As if he had ridden the livelong night;

For it was William of Deloraine.

WHILE thus he pour'd the lengthen'd tale,
The minstrel's voice began to fail;
Full slyly smiled the observient 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 dutchess long,
And all who cheer'd a son of song.
The attending maidens smiled to see,
How long, how deep, how zealously,
The precious juice the minstrel quaff’d;
And he, embolden'd by the draught,
Look'd gayly 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 began.

IV.
But no whit weary did he seem,
When, dancing in the sunny beam,
He mark'd the crane on the baron's crest;
For his ready spear was in his rest.
Few were the words, and stern, and high,

That mark'd the foeman's feudal hate;
For question fierce, and proud reply,

Gave signal soon of dire debate.
Their very coursers seem'd to know,
That each was other's mortal foe;
And snorted fire, when wheeld around,
To give each knight his vantage ground.

V.
In rapid round the baron bent;

He sigh'd a sigh, and pray'd a prayer:
The prayer was to his patron saint,

The sigh was to his ladye fair.
Stout Deloraine por sigh'd, nor pray'a,
Nor saint nor ladye call'd to aid ;
But he stoop'd his head, and couch'd his spear,
And spurr'd his steed to full career.
The meeting of these champions proud
Seem'd like the bursting thunder cloud.

VI.
Stern was the dint the borderer lent;
The stately baron backwards bent;

Wood pigeon.

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