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THE HOSTEL, OR INN.
I. The livelong day Lord Marmion rode. The mountain path the palmer show'd; By glen and streamlet winded still, Where stunted birches hid the rill. They might not choose the lowland road, For th, Merse forayers were abroad, Whited with hate and thirst of prey, Had scarcely faild to bar their way. Oft on the trampling band, from crown Of some tall cliff, the deer look'd down; On wing of jet, from his repose In the deep heath, the black cock rose; Sprung from the gorse the timid roe, Nor waited for the bending bow; And when the stony path began, By which the naked peak they wan, Up flew the snowy ptarmigan. The noon had long been past before They gain’d the height of Lammermoor ; Thence winding down the northern way, Before them, at the closing day, Old Gifford's towers and hamlet lay.
I deem'd such nooks the sweetest shade
Still, with vain fondness, could I trace,
From me, thus nurtured, dost thou ask
On through the hamlet as they paced,
Lord Marmion drew his reign :
Might well relieve his train.
Bore wealth of winter cheer;
And savoury haunch of deer.
Were tools for housewifes' hand: Nor wanted, in that martial day, The implements of Scottish fray,
The buckler, lance, and brand. Beneath its shade, the place of state, On oaken settle Marmion sate,
And view'd, around the blazing hearth,
Ill may we hope to please your ear,
V. Resting upon his pilgrim staff,
Right opposite the palmer stood : His thin dark visage seen but half,
Half hidden by his hood. Still fix'd on Marmion was his look, Which he, who ill such gaze could brook,
Strove by a frown to quell ; But not for that, though more than once Full met their stern encountering glance,
The palmer's visage fell.
IX. A mellow voice Fitz-Eustace had, The air he chose was wild and sad; Such have I heard, in Scottish land, Rise from the busy harvest band, When falls before the mountaineer, On lowland plains, the ripen'd ear. Now one shrill voice the notes prolong, Now a wild chorus swells the song: Oft have I listen'd, and stood still, As it came soften'd up the hill, And deem'd it the lament of men Who languish'd for their native glen; And thought how sad would be such sound, On Susquehannah's swampy ground, Kentucky's wood-encumber'd brake, Or wild Ontario's boundless lake, Where heart-sick exiles, in the strain, Recall’d fair Scotland's hills again!
By fits less frequent from the crowd
Their glee and game declined.
Thus whisper'd forth his mind :
Glances beneath his cowl! Full on our lord he sets his eye; For his best palfray, would not I
Endure that sullen scowl.”
Whom the fates sever
Parted for ever?
Sounds the far billow, Where early violets die,
Under the willow.
Eleu loro, &c. Soft shall be his pillow.
There, through the summer day,
Cool streams are Javing ; There while the tempests sway,
Scarce are boughs waving: There, thy rest shalt thou take,
Parted for ever, Never again to wake,
Never, O never.
VII. But Marmion, as to chase the awe Which thus had quell’d their hearts, who saw The ever-varying firelight show That figure stern and face of wo,
Now call’d upon a squire :“Fitz Eustace, know'st thou not some lay, To speed the lingering night away?
We slumber by the fire."
Eleu loro, &c. Never, O never.
VIII. “So please you,” thus the youth rejoin'd, “ Our choicest minstrel's left behind.
He, the deceiver,
Ruin, and leave her?
In the lost battle,
Borne down by the flying, Where mingles war's rattle
With groans of the dying.
For either in the tone,
That answer he found none.
A feather daunts the brave, A fool's wise speech confounds the wise, And proudest princes veil their eyes
Before their meanest slave.
Eleu loro, &c. There shall he be lying.
Her wing shall the eagle flap
O’er the false-hearted, His warm blood the wolf shall lap,
Ere life be parted. Shame and dishonour sit
By his grave ever ; Blessing shall hallow it,
Never, 0 never.
CHORUS. Eleu loro, &c. Never, 0 never.
It fell on Marmion's ear,
And shameful death were near.
Between it and the band,
Reclining on his hand.
XV. Well might he falter !—by his aid Was Constance Beverly betray'd; Not that he augur'd of the doom, Which on the living closed the tomb: But, tired to hear the desperate maid Threaten by turns, beseech, upbraid: And wroth, because, in wild despair, She practised on the life of Clare; Its fugitive the church he gave, Though not a victim, but a slave; And deem'd restraint in convent strange Would hide her wrongs and her revenge. Himself, proud Henry's favourite peer, Held Romish thunders idle fear; Secure his pardon he might hold, For some slight mulct of penance gold. Thus judging, he gave secret way, When the stern priests surprised their prey ; His train but deem'd the favourite page Was left behind, to spare his age; Or other if they deem'd, none dared To mutter what he thought and heard : Wo to the vassal, who durst pry Into Lord Marmion's privacy!
XIII. High minds, of native pride and force, Most deeply feel thy pangs, Remorse! Fear, for their scourge, mean villains have, Thou art the torturer of the brave ! Yet fatal strength they boast, to steel Their minds to bear the wounds they feel. E'en while they writhe beneath the smart Of civil conflict in the heart. For soon Lord Marmion raised his head, And, smiling, to Fitz-Eustace said,“ Is it not strange, that, as ye sung, Seem'd in mine ear a death-peal rung, Such as in nunneries they toll For some departing sister's soul ?
Say, what may this portend !”— Then first the palmer silence broke (The livelong day he had not spoke,)
“ The death of a dear friend."
XVI. His conscience slept-he deem'd her well, And safe secured in distant cell; But, waken’d by her favourite lay, And that strange palmer's boding say, That fell so ominous and drear, Full on the object of his fear, To aid remorse's venom'd throes, Dark tales of convent vengeance rose; And Constance, late betray'd and scorn'd All lovely on his soul return'd; Lovely as when, at treacherous call, She left her convent's peaceful wall, Crimson' with shame, with terror mute, Dreading alike escape, pursuit, Till love, victorious o'er alarms, Hid fears and blushes in his arms.
XIV. Marmion, whose steady heart and eye Ne'er changed in worst extremity; Marmion, whose soul could scantly brook, E'en from his king a haughty look ; Whose accent of command controllid, In camps, the boldest of the boldThought, look, and utterance, fail'd him now, Fallen was his glance, and flush'd his brow;
XVII. “ Alas !” he thought, “how changed that mien ! How changed these timid looks have been, Since years of guilt, and of disguise, Have steel'd her brow, and arm'd her eyes; No more of virgin terror speaks The blood that mantles in her cheeks; Fierce, and unfeminine, are there, Frenzy for joy, for grief, despair ; And I the cause—for whom were given Her peace on earth, her hopes in heaven!
of virgin parchment thin,
“ Would,” thought he, as the picture grows,
Ay, reverend pilgrim, you, who stray
To visit realms afar,
By word, or sign, or star.
THE HOST'S TALE. “ A clerk could tell what years have flown Since Alexander fill'd our throne (Third monarch of that warlike name,) And eke the time when here he came To seek Sir Hugo, then our lord : A braver never drew a sword; A wiser never, at the hour Of midnight, spoke the word of power; The same, whom ancient records call The founder of the Goblin Hall. I would, sir koight, your longer stay Gave you that cavern to survey. Of lofty roof, and ample size, Beneath the castle deep it lies : To hew the living rock profound, The floor to pave, the arch to round, There never toil'd a mortal arm, It all was wrought by word and charm; And I have heard my grandsire say, That the wild clamour and affray Of those dread artisans of hell, Who labour'd under Hugo's spell, Sounded as loud as ocean's war, Among the caverns of Dunbar.
“Dire dealings with the fiendish race
XXII. “Of middle air the demons proud, Who ride upon the racking cloud, Can read, in fix'd or wandering star, The issue of events afar, But still their sullen aid withhold, Save when by mightier force controllid. Such late I summond to my hall; And though so potent was the call, That scarce the deepest nook of hell I deem'd a refuge from the spell; Yet, obstinate in silence still, The haughty demon mocks my skill. But thou,—who little knowest thy might, As born upon that blessed night,
When yawning graves, and dying groan,
And raised the skin-2 puny wound.
Memorial of the Danish war;
And strike proud Haco from his car;
XXIII. “Soon as the midnight bell did ring, Alone, and arm'd, forth rode the king To that old camp's deserted round; Sir knight, you well might mark the mound, Left hand the town,-the Pictish race, The trench, long since, in blood did trace; The moor around is brown and bare, The space within is green and fair. The spot our village children know, For there the earliest wild flowers grow; But wo betide the wandering wight, That treads its circles in the night. The breadth across the bowshot clear, Gives ample space for full career ; Opposed to the four points of heaven, By four deep gaps are entrance given. The southernmost our monarch past, Halted and blew a gallant blast: And on the north, within the ring, Appeard the form of England's king, Who then, a thousand leagues afar, In Palestine waged holy war: Yet arms like England's did he wield, Alike the leopards in the shield, Alike his Syrian courser's frame, The rider's length of limb the same: Long afterwards did Scotland know, Fell Edward* was her deadliest foe.
His wound must bleed and smart : Lord Gifford then would gibing say, • Bold as ye were, my liege, ye pay
The penance of your start.'
Our lady give him rest!
Upon the brown hill's breast;
But all have foully sped ; Save two, as legends tell, and they Were Wallace wight, and Gilbert Hay.
Gentles, my tale is said.”-
But Marmion gave a sign ;
Their drowsy limbs recline:
XXIV. “ The vision made our monarch start, But soon he mann'd his noble heart, And, in the first career they ran, The elfin knight fell, horse and man; Yet did a splinter of his lance Through Alexander's visor glance,
XXVII. Apart, and nestling in the hay Of a waste loft, Fitz-Eustace lay;
* Edward I., surnamed Longshanks.
* A wooden cup, composed of slaves hooped together.