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Let vassals follow where they lead,
Burghers, to guard their townships, bleed,
But war's the borderers' game.
Their gain, their glory, their delight,
To sleep the day, maraud the night,
O'er mountain, moss, and moor;
Joyful to fight they took their way,
Scarce caring who might win the day,
Their booty was secure.
These, as Lord Marmion's train pass'd by,
Look'd on, at first, with careless eye,
Nor marvell’d aught, well taught to know
The form and force of English bow.
But when they saw the lord array'd
In splendid arms, and rich brocade,
Each borderer to his kinsman said,
“ Hist, Ringan! seest thou there! Canst guess which road they'll homeward ride. 0! could we but, on border side, By Eusdale glen, or Liddell's tide,
Beset a prize so fair!
That fangless lion, too, their guide,
Might chance to lose his glistering hide ;
Brown Maudlin, of that doublet pied,
Could make a kirtle rare."
And little deem'd their force to feel
Through links of mail, and plates of steel,
When, rattling upon Flodden vale,
The cloth-yard arrows flew like hail.
Nor less did Marmion's skilful view
Glance every line and squadron through ;
And much he marvelld one small land
Could marshal forth such various band :
For men-at-arms were here, Heavily sheathed in mail and plate, Like iron towers for strength and weight, On Flemish steeds of bone and height,
With battle-axe and spear.
Young knights and squires, a lighter train,
Practised their chargers on the plain,
By aid of leg, of hand, and rein,
Each warlike feat to show;
To pass, to wheel, the croup to gain,
And high curvett, that none in vain
The sword-sway might descend amain
On foeman's casque below.
He saw the hardy burghers there
March arm'd, on foot, with faces bare,
For visor they wore none,
Nor waving plume, nor crest of knight;
But burnish'd were their corslets bright,
Their brigantines, and gorgets light,
Like very silver shone.
Long pikes they had for standing fight,
Two-handed swords they wore,
And many wielded mace of weight,
And bucklers bright they bore.
On foot the yeomen, too, but dressid
In his steel jack, a swarthy vest,
With iron quilted well;
Each at his back, (a slender store,)
His forty days' provision bore,
As feudal statutes tell.
His arms were halbert, axe, or spear,
A cross-bow there, a hagbut here,
A dagger-knife, and brand-
Sober he seem'd, and sad of cheer,
As loth to leave his cottage dear,
And march to foreign strand;
Or musing, who would guide his steer,
To till the fallow land.
Yet deem not in his thoughtful eye
Did avght of dastard ferror lie ;-
More dreadful far his ire
Than theirs, who, scorning danger's name,
In eager mood to battle came,
Their valour like light straw on flame,
A fierce but fading fire.
Not so the borderer:-bred to war,
He knew the battle's din afar,
And joy'd to hear it swell.
His peaceful day was slothful ease;
Not harp, nor pipe, bis ear could please,
Like the loud slogan yell.
On active steed, with lance and blade,
The light arm'd pricker plied his trade,
Let nobles fight for fame :
Next, Marmion mark'd the Celtic race
Of different language, form, and face,
A various race of man ;
Just then the chiefs their tribes array'd,
And wild and garish semblance made,
The checker'd trews, and belted plaid ;
And varying notes the war-pipes bray'd,
To every varying clan;
Wild through their red or sable hair
Look'd out their eyes, with savage stare,
On Marmion as he past;
Their legs above the knee was bare ;
Their frame was sinewy, short, and spare,
And harden'd to the blast;
Of taller race, the chiefs they own
Were by the eagle's plumage known.
The hunted red deer's undress'd hide
Their hairy buskins well supplied ;
The graceful bonnet deck'd their head;
Back from their shoulders hung the plaid;
A broadsword of unwieldly length,
A dagger proved for edge and strength,
A studded targe they wore,
And quivers, bows, and shafts,—but, 0!
Short was the shaft, and weak the bow,
To that which England bore.
The Isles-men carried at their backs
The ancient Danish battle-axe,
They raised a wild and wondering cry,
As with his guide rode Marmion by.
Loud were their clamouring tongues, as when
The clanging sea-fowl leave the sen,
And, with their cries discordant mix'd,
Grumbled and yelld the pipes betwixt.
VI. Thus through the Scottish camp they pass'd, And reach'd the city gate at last,
And flipty is her heart, can view
To battle march a lover true,
Can hear, perchance, his last adicu,
Nor own her share of pain.
Through this mix'd crowd of glee and game,
The king to greet Lord Marmion came,
While, reverend, all made room.
An easy task it was, I trow,
King James's manly form to know,
Although, his courtesy to show,
He doff'd, to Marmion bending low,
His broider'd cap and plume.
For royal were his garb and mien,
His cloak, of crimson velvet piled,
Trimm'd with the fur of martin wild;
His vest of changeful satin sheen,
The dazzled eye beguiled ; His gorgeous collar hung adown, Wrought with the badge of Scotland's crown, The thistle brave, of old renown: His trusty blade, Toledo right, Descended from a baldric bright; White were his buskins, on the heel His spurs inlaid of gold and steel; His bonnet, all of crimson fair, Was button'd with a ruby rare : And Marmion deem'd he ne'er had seen A prince of such a noble mien.
Where all around, a wakeful guard,
Arm'd burghers kept their watch and ward.
Well had they cause of jealous fear,
When lay encamp'd, in field so near,
The borderer and the mountaineer.
As through the bustling streets they go,
All was alive with martial show;
At every turn, with dinning clang,
The armourer's anvil clash'd and rang,
Or toil'd the swarthy smith, to wheel
The bar that arms the charger's heel ;
Or axe, or falchion to the side
Of jarring grindstone was applied.
Page, groom, and squires, with hurrying pace,
Through street, and lane, and market-place,
Bore lance, or casque, or sword;
While burghers, with important face,
Described each new-come lord,
Discuss'd his lineage, told his name,
His following,* and his warlike fame.--
The lion led to lodging meet,
Which high o'erlook'd the crowded street;
There must the baron rest,
Till past the hour of vesper tide,
And then to Holy-Rood must ride, -
Such was the king's behest.
Meanwhile the lion's care assigns
A banquet rich, and costly wines,
To Marmion and his train ;
And when the appointed hour succeeds,
The baron dons his peaceful weeds,
And following Lindesay as he leads,
The palace halls they gain.
Old Holy-Rood rung merrily,
That night, with wassel, mirth and glee:
King James within her princely bower
Feasted the chiefs of Scotland's power,
Summon'd to spend the parting hour ;
For he had charged, that his array
Should Southward march by break of day.
Well loved that splendid monarch aye
The banquet and the song,
By day the tourney, and by night
The merry dance, traced fast and light,
The masquers quaint, the pageant bright,
The revel loud and long.
This feast outshone his banquets past;
It was his blithest—and his last.
The dazzling lamps from gallery gay,
Cast on the court a dancing ray;
Here to the harp did minstrels sing;
There ladies touch'd a softer string;
With long-ear'd cap, and motely vest,
The licensed fool retail'd his jest;
His magic tricks the juggler plied ;
At dice and draughts the gallants vied ;
While some, in close recess apart,
Courted the ladies of their heart,
Nor courted them in vain ;
For often, in the parting hour,
Victorious love asserts his power
O'er coldness and disdain ;
The monarch's form was middle size;
For feat of strength, or exercise,
Shaped in proportion fair ;
And hazel was his eagle eye,
And auburn of the deepest dye
His short curl'd beard and hair. Light was his footstep in the dance, And firm his stirrup in the lists; And, o! he had that merry glance That seldom lady's heart resists. Lightly from fair to fair he few, And loved to plead, lament, and sue ;Suit lightly won, and short-lived pain, For monarchs seldom sigh in vain. I said he joy'd in banquet-bower;
But, mid his mirth, 'twas often strange,
How suddenly his cheer would change, His look o'ercast and lower,
If, in a sudden turn, he felt
The pressure of his iron belt,
That bound his breast in penance pain,
In memory of his father slain.
Even so 'twas strange how evermore,
Soon as the passing pang was o'er,
Forward he rush'd, with double glee,
Into the stream of revelry:
Thus, dim-seen object of affright
Startles the courser in his flight,
And half he halts, half springs aside ;
But feels the quickening spur applied,
And, straining on the tighten'd rein,
Scours doubly swift o'er hill and plain.
* Following-Feudal retainers.
So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochin-
O'er James's heart, the courtiers say,
Sir Hugh the Heron's wife held sway:
To Scotland's court she came,
He stay'd not for brake, and he stopp'd not for To be a hostage for her lord,
stone, Who Cessford's gallant heart had gored,
He swam the Eske river where ford there was And with the king to make accord,
none; Had sent his lovely dame.
But, ere he alighted at Netherby gate, Nor to that lady free alone
The bride had consented, the gallant came late : Did the gay king allegiance own;
For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war, For the fair queen of France
Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochin var. Sent him a Turquois ring, and glove, And charged bim, as her knight and love, So boldly he enter'd the Netherby hall, For her to break a lance;
Among bride's-men, and kinsmen, and brothers, And strike three strokes with Scottish brand,
and all: And march three miles on soutbron land, Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his And bid the banners of his band
sword, In English breezes dance.
(For the poor craven bridegroom said never a And thus, for France's queen he drest
word,) His manly limbs in mailed vest;
“O come ye in peace here, or come ye in war, And thus admitted English fair,
Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?” His inmost counsels still to share ; And thus, for both, he madly plann'd
“I long woo'd your daughter, my suit you denied : The ruin of himself and Jand!
Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide ; And yet, the sooth to tell,
And now am I come, with this lost love of mine, Nor England's fair, nor France's queen, To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine. Were worth one pearl-drop bright and sheen, There are maidens in Scotland, more lovely by far, From Margaret's eyes that fell,
That would gladly be bride to the young LochinHis own Queen Margaret, who, in Lithgow's
All lonely sat, and wept the weary hour.
The bride kiss'd the goblet: the knight took it up,
He quaff'd off the wine, and he threw down the
cup. The queen sits lone in Lithgow pile,
She look'd down to blush, and she look'd up to And weeps the weary day,
sigh, The war against her native soil,
With a smile on her lips, and a tear in her eye, Her monarch's risk in battle broil ;
He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar,And in gay Holy-Rood, the while,
“ Now tread we a measure !” said young LochinDame Heron rises with a smile
Upon the harp to play.
Fair was her rounded arm, as o'er
So stately his form, and so lovely his face,
The strings ber fingers flew;
That never a hall such a galliard did grace ;
And as she touch'd, and tuned them all,
While her mother did fret, and her father did fume, Ever her bosom's rise and fall
And the bride groom stood dangling his bonnet and Was plainer given to view;
plume; For all, for heat, was laid aside,
And the bride-maidens whisper'd, “ 'Twere better Her wimple, and her hood untied. And first she pitch'd her voice to sing,
To have match'd our fair cousin with young Then glanced her dark eye on the king,
Lochinvar." And then around the silent ring; And laugh’d, and blush'd, and oft did say, One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear, Her pretty oath, by yea and nay,
When they reach'd the hall door, and the charger She could not, would not, durst not play!
stood near ; At length, upon the harp, with glee,
So light to the croup the fair lady he swung, Mingled with arch simplicity,
So light to the saddle before her he sprung! A sost, yet lively air she rung,
“She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and While thus the wily lady sung.
They'll have fleet steeds that follow," quoth young
LADY HERON'S SONG.
There was mounting 'mong Græmes of the NethO, young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
erby clan; Through all the wide border his steed was the best; Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and And save his good broadsword he weapons had they ran : none,
There was racing and chasing, on Cannobie Lee, He rode all unarm'd, and he rode all alone. But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see.
So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochin-
The monarch o'er the syren hung,
And beat the measure as she sung;
And, pressing closer, and more near,
He whisper'd praises in her ear.
In loud applause, the courtiers vied ;
And ladies wink'd, and spoke aside.
The witching dame to Marmion threw
A glance, where seem'd to reign
The pride that claims applauses due,
And of her royal conquest, too,
A real or feign'd disdain :
Familiar was the look, and told,
Marmion and she were friends of old.
The king observed their meeting eyes,
With something like displeased surprise ;
For monarchs ill can rivals brook,
E'en in a word, or smile, or look.
Straight took he forth the parchment broad,
Which Marmion's high commission show'd :
“Our borders sack'd by many a raid,
Our peaceful liegemen robb’d,” he said ;
“On day of truce our warden slain,
Stout Barton kill'd his vessels ta’en-
Unworthy were we here to reign,
Should these for vengeance cry in vain ;
Our full defiance, hate, and scorn,
Our herald has to Henry borne.”
His locks and beard in silver grew ;
His eyebrows kept their sable hue.
Near Douglas when the monarch stood,
His bitter speech he thus pursued :-
“ Lord Marmion, since these letters say,
That in the north you needs must stay,
While slightest hopes of peace remain,
Uncourteous speech it were, and stern,
To say—Return to Lindisfarn,
Until my herald come again. -
Then rest you in Tantallon hold;
Your host shall be the Douglass bold, -
A chief unlike his sires of old.
He wears their motto on his blade,
Their blazon o'er his towers display'd;
Yet loves his sovereign to oppose,
More than to face his country's foes.
And, I bethink me, by St. Stephen,
But e'en this morn to me was given
A prize, the first fruits of the war,
Ta'en by a galley from Dunbar,
A bevy of the maids of heaven.
Under your guard, these holy maids
Shall safe return to cloister shades,
And, while they at Tantallon stay,
Requiem for Cochran's soul may say.”
And, with the slaughter'd favourite name,
Across the monarch's brow there came
A cloud of ire, remorse, and shame.
XVI. In answer naught could Angus speak; His proud heart swellid well nigh to break: He turn'd aside, and down his cheek
A burning tear there stole. His hand the monarch sudden took, That sight his kind heart could not brook ;
“Now, by the Bruce's soul,
Angus, my hasty speech forgive !
For sure as doth his spirit live,
As he said of the Douglas old,
I well may say of you, -
That never king did subject hold,
In speech more free, in war more bold,
More tender, and more true ;*
Forgive me, Douglas, o:ce again.”-
And, while the king his hand did strain,
The old man's tears fell down like rain.
To seize the moment Marmion tried,
And whisper'd to the king aside :
“0! let such tears unwonted plead
For respite short from dubious deed !
A child will weep a bramble's smart,
A maid to see her sparrow part,
A stripling for a woman's heart:
But wo awaits a country, when
She sees the tears of bearded men.
Then, 0! what omen, dark and high,
When Douglas wets his manly eye!”
XIV. He paused, and led where Douglas stood, And with stern eye the pageant view'd :
I mean that Douglas, sixth of yore,
Who coronet of Angus bore,
And, when his blood and heart were high,
Did the third James in camp defy,
And all his minions led to die
On Lauders dreary fat:
Princes and favourites long grew tame,
And trembled at the homely name
Of Archibald Bell-the-cat;
The same who left the dusky vale
Of Hermitage in Liddesdale,
Its dungeons, and its towers,
Where Bothwell's turrets brave the air,
And Bothwell bank is blooming fair,
To fix his princely bowers.
Though now, in age, he had laid down
His armour for the peaceful gown,
And for a staff his brand;
Yet often would flash forth the fire,
That could, in youth, a monarch's ire
And minion's pride withstand;
And e'en that day, at council board,
Unapt to sooth his sovereign's mood,
Against the war had Angus stood, And chafed his royal lord.
XVII. Displeased was James, that stranger view'd And tamper'd with his changing mood.
xv. His giant form, like ruin'd tower,
Though fallen its muscles' brawny vaunt,
Huge-boned, and tall, and grim, and gaunt, Seem'd o'er the gaudy scene to lower:
* 0, Dowglas! Dowglas !
Tendir and crew.-The Houlate.
She had a secret to reveal,
That much concern'd the church's weal,
And health of sinner's soul;
And with deep charge of secrecy,
She named a place to meet,
Within an open balcony,
That hung from dizzy pitch, and high,
Above the stately street;
To which, as common to each home,
At night they might in secret come.
“ Laugh those that can, weep those that may,”
Thus did the fiery monarch say,
“ Southward I march by break of day:
And if within Tantallon strong,
The good Lord Marmion tarries long,
Perchance our meeting next may fall
At Tamworth, in his castle hall.”—
The haughty Marmion felt the taunt,
And answer'd, grave, the royal vaunt:
“Much honour'd were my humble home,
If in its hall king James would come ;
But Nottingham has archers good,
And Yorkshiremen are stern of mood;
Northumbrian prickers wild and rude.
On Derby hills the paths are steep:
In Ouse and Type the fords are deep :
And many a banner will be torn,
And many a knight to earth be borne,
And many a sheaf of arrows spent,
Ere Scotland's king shall cross the Trent:
Yet pause, brave prince, while yet you may."
The monarch lightly turn'd away,
And to his nobles loud did call, -
“ Lords, to the dance,-a hall! a hall !"*
Himself his cloak and sword Aung by,
And led dame Heron gallantly;
And minstrels at the royal order,
Rung out“Blue bonnets o'er the border.”
Leave we these revels now, to tell
What to St. Hilda's maids befell,
Whose galley, as they sail'd again
To Whitby, by a Scot was ta'en.
Now at Dun-Edin did they bide,
Till James should of their fate decide ;
And soon, by his command,
Were gently summon'd to prepare
To journey under Marmion's care,
As escort honour'd, safe, and fair,
Again to English land.
The abbess told her chaplet o'er,
Nor knew which saint she should implore;
For, when she thought of Constance, sore
She fear'd Lord Marmion's mood.
And judge what Clara must have felt!
The sword, that hung in Marmion's belt,
Had drunk De Wilton's blood.
Unwittingly, King James had given,
As guard to Whitby's shades,
The man most dreaded under heaven
By these defenceless maids;
Yet what petition could avail,
Or who would listen to the tale
Of woman, prisoner, and nun,
Mid bustle of a war begun?
They deem'd it hopeless to avoid
The convoy of their dangerous guide.
At night, in secret, there they came,
The palmer and the holy dame.
The moon among the clouds rode high,
And all the city hum was by.
Upon the street, where late before
Did din of war and warriors roar,
You might have heard a pebble fall,
A beetle hum, a cricket sing,
An owlet flap his boding wing
On Gile's steeple tall.
The antique buildings, climbing high,
Whose Gothic frontlets sought the sky,
Were here wrapt deep in shade;
There on their brows the moonbeam broke
Through the faint wreaths of silvery smoke,
And on the casement play'd. And other light was none to see,
Save torches gliding far,
Before some chieftain of degree,
Who left the royal revelry
To bowne bim for the war,-
A solemn scene the abbess chose!
A solemn hour, her secret to disclose.
XXI. “O, holy palmer !” she began,“ For sure he must be sainted man, Whose blessed feet have trod the ground Where the Redeemer's tomb is found ;For his dear church's sake, my tale Attend, nor deem of light avail, Though I must speak of earthly love, How vain to those who wed above! De Wilton and Lord Marmion woo'd Clara de Clare, of Gloster's blood; (Idle it were of Whitby's dame, To say of that same blood I came ;) And
once, when jealous rage was high, Lord Marmion said despiteously, Wilion was traitor in his heart, And had made league with Martin Swart, When he came here on Simnel's part; And only cowardice did restrain His rebel aid on Stokefield's plain,And down he threw his glove :-the thing Was tried, as wont, before the king ; Where frankly did De Wilton own, That Swart in Guelders he had known; And that between them then there went Some scroll of courteous compliment. For this he to his castle sent; But when his messenger return'd, Judge how De Wilton's fury burn'd!
XIX. Their lodging, so the king assign'd, To Marmion's as their guardian, join'd; And thus it fell, that, passing nigh, The palmer caught the abbess' eye,
Who warn'd him by a scroll,
* The ancient cry to make room for a dance, or pageant.