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The wild unbounded hills we ranged,
While oft our talk its topic changed,
And desultory as our way,
Ranged, unconfined, from grave to gay.
Even when it flagg’d, as oft will chance,
No effort made to break its trance,
We could right pleasantly pursue
Our sports in social silence, too;
Thou gravely labouring to portray
The blighted oak's fantastic spray;
I spelling o'er, with much delight,
The legend of that antique knight,
Tirante by name, ycleped the White.
At either's feet a trusty squire,
Pandour and Camp, with eyes of fire,
Jealous, each other's motions view'd,
And scarce suppress’d their ancient feud.
The laverock whistled from the cloud;
The stream was lively, but not loud;
From the white thorn the Mayflower shed
Its dewy fragrance round our head:
Not Ariel lived more merrily
Under the blossom’d bough, than we.
And blithesome nights, too, have been ours,
When winter stript the summer's bowers.
Careless we heard, what now I hear,
The wild blast sighing deep and drear,
When fires were bright and lamps beam'd gay,
And ladies tuned the lovely lay ;
And he was held a laggard soul,
Who shunnid to quaff the sparkling bowl.
Then he, whose absence we deplore,
Who breathes the gales of Devon's shore,
The longer miss'd, bewail'd the more ;
And thou, and I, and dear loved R-
And one whose name I may not say,-
For not Mimosa's tender tree
Shrinks sooner from the touch than he,-
In merry chorus well combined,
With laughter drown'd the whistling wind.
Mirth was within ; and care, without,
Might goaw her nails to hear our shout.
Not but amid the buxom scene
Some grave discourse might intervene-
Of the good horse that bore him best,
His shoulder, hoof, and arching crest:
For, like mad Tom's," our chiefest care,
Was horse to ride, and weapon wear.
Such pights we've had; and, though the game
Of manhood be more sober tame,
And though the field day, or the drill,
Seem less important now-yet still
Such may we hope to share again.
The sprightly thought inspires my strain !
And mark, how, like a horseman true,
Lord Marmion's march I thus renew.
The lark sung shrill, the cock he crew,
And loudly Marmion's bugle blew,
And, with their light and lively call,
Brought groom and yeoman to the stall.
Whistling they came, and free of heart,
But soon their mood was changed;
Complaint was heard on every part
Of something disarranged.
Some clamour'd loud for armour lost;
Some brawlid and wrangled with the host;
By Becket's bones,” cried one “ I fear
That some false Scot has stolen my spear!"
Young Blount, Lord Marmion's second squire,
Found his steed wet with sweat and mire ;
Although the rated horseboy sware,
Last night he dress’d him sleek and fair.
While chafed the impatient squire like thunder,
Old Hubert shouts, in fear and wonder,
“Help gentle Blount! help, comrades all!
Bevis lies dying in his stall;
To Marmion who the plight dare tell,
Of the good steed he loves so well ?”—
Gaping for fear and ruth they saw
The charger panting on his straw;
Till one, who would seem wisest crisi,
“ What else but evil could betide,
With that cursed palmer for our guide ?
Better we had through mire and bush
Been lanternled by friar Rush.”
Fitz-Eustace, who the cause but guess'd,
Nor wholly understood,
His comrade's clamorous plaints suppress'd;
He knew Lord Marmion's mood. Him, ere he issued forth, he sought, And found deep plunged in gloomy thought,
And did his tale display
Simply, as if he knew of naught
To cause such disarray.
Lord Marmion gave attention cold,
Nor marvell'd at the wonders told, -
Pass'd them as accidents of course,
And bade his clarions sound to horse.
III. Young Henry Blount, meanwhile, the cost Had reckon'd with their Scottish host; And as the charge he cast and paid, “ III thou deservest thy hire,” he said ;
“ Dost see, thou knave, my horse's plight? Fairies have ridden him all the night,
And left him in a foam !
I trust that soon a conjuring band,
With English cross, and blazing brand,
Shall drive the devils from this land
To their infernal home:
For in this haunted den, I trow,
All night they trampled to and fro,"
The laughing host look'd on the hire,
“ Gramercy, gentle southern squire,
And if thou comest among the rest,
With Scottish broad sword to be blest,
I. EUSTACE, I said, did blithely mark The first notes of the merry lark.
• Alins Will of the Wisp.
Sharp be the brand, and sure the blow,
And short the pang to undergo.”-
Here stay'd their talk,-for Marmion
Gave now the signal to set on.
The palmer showing forth the way,
They journey'd all the morning day.
Whose hand the armorial truncheon held, That feudal strife had often quell'd,
When wildest its alarms.
The green-sward way was smooth and good,
Through Humbie's and through Saltoun's wood;
A forest glade which, varying still,
Here gave a view of dale and hill;
There narrower closed, till over head
A vaulted screen the branches made.
“A pleasant path,” Fitz-Eustace said ;
“ Such as were errant-knights might see
Adventures of high chivalry;
Might meet some damsel flying fast,
With hair unbound, and looks aghast;
And smooth and level course were here,
In her defence to break a spear.
Here, too, are twilight nooks and dells
And oft, in such, the story tells,
The damsel kind, from danger freed,
Did grateful pay her champion's meed.”—
He spoke to cheer lord Marmion's mind;
Perchance to show his lore design'd ;
For Eustace much had pored
Upon a huge romantic tome,
In the hall-window of his home,
Imprinted at the antique dome
Of Caxton or De Worde.
Therefore he spoke,—but spoke in vain,
For Marmion answerd naught again.
He was a man of middle age;
In aspect manly, grave, and sage,
As on king's errand come ;
But in the glances of his eye,
A penetrating, keen, and sly
Expression found its home;
The flash of that satiric rage,
Which, bursting on the early stage,
Branded the vices of the age,
And broke the keys of Rome.
On milk-white palfrey forth he paced;
His cap of maintenance was graced
With the proud heron plume.
From his steed's shoulder, loin and breasts
Silk housings swept the ground,
With Scotland's arms, device, and crest,
Embroider'd round and round.
The double treasure might you see,
First by Achaius borne,
The thistle, and the fleur-de-lis,
And gallant unicorn.
So bright the kings armorial coat,
That scarce the dazzled eye could note,
In living colours blazon'd brave,
The lion, which his title gave.
A train, which well beseem'd his state,
But all unarm', around him wait.
Still is thy name in high account,
And still thy verse has charms,
Sir David Lindesay of the Mount,
Lord lion-king-at-arms !
Now sudden, distant trumpets shrill, In notes prolong'd by wood and hill,
Were heard to echo far; Each ready archer grasp'd his bow, But by the flourish soon they know,
They breathed no point of war. Yet cautious, as in foeman's land, Lord Marmion's order speeds the band
Some opener ground to gain ;
And scarce a furlong had they rode,
When thinner trees, receding, show'd
A little woodland plain.
Just in that advantageous glade
The halting troop a line had made,
As forth from the opposing shade
Issued a gallant train.
Down from his horse did Marmion spring,
Soon as he saw the lion-king ;
For well the stately baron knew
To him such courtesy was due,
Whom royal James himself had crown'd,
And on his temples placed the round
Of Scotland's ancient diadem ;
And wet his brow with hallow'd wine,
And on his finger given to shine
Their mutual greetings duly made,
The lion thus his message said:-
“ Though Scotland's king hath deeply swore
Ne'er to knit faith with Henry more,
And strictly hath forbid resort
From England to his royal court;
Yet, for he knows lord Marmion's name,
And honours much his warlike fame,
My liege hath deem'd it shame, and lack
Of courtesy, to turn him back :
And, by his order, I, your guide,
Must lodging fit and fair provide,
Till finds king James meet time to see
The flower of English chivalry.”
First came the trumpets at whose clang
So late the forest echoes rang ;
On prancing steeds they forward press'd,
With scarlet mantle, azure vest;
Each at bis trump a banner wore,
Which Scotland's royal scutcheon bore ;
Heralds and pursuivants, by name
Bute, Islay, Marchmount, Rothsay, came,
In painted tabards, proudly showing
Gules, argent, or, and azure glowing,
Attendant on a king-at-arms,
IX. Though inly chafed at this delay, Lord Marmion bears it as he may,
The palmer, his mysterious guide,
Beholding thus his place supplied,
Sought to take leave in vain :
Strict was the lion-king's command,
That none who rode in Marmion's band
Should sever from the train : « England has here enow of spies In lady Heron's witching eyes :" To Marchmount thus, apart, he said, But fair pretext to Marmion made. The right hand path they now decline, And trace against the stream the Tyne.
For none were in the castle then
But women, boys, or aged men.
With eyes scarce dried, the sorrowing dame,
To welcome noble Marmion, came;
Her son, a stripling twelve years old,
Proffer'd the baron's rein to hold;
For each man that could draw a sword
Had march'd that morning with their lord,
Earl Adam Hepburn, he who died
On Flodden by his sovereign's side.
Long may his lady look in vain !
She ne'er shall see his gallant train
Come sweeping back through Crichtoun-dear.
'Twas a brave race, before the name
Of hated Bothwell staind their fame.
At length up that wild dale they wind,
Where Critchtoun-castle crowns the bank; For there the lion's care assign'd
A lodging meet for Marmion's rank.
That castle rises on the steep
Of the green vale of Tyne ;
And far beneath, where slow they creep
From pool to eddy, dark and deep,
Where alders moist, and willows weep,
You hear her streams repine.
The towers in different ages rose;
Their various architecture shows
The builders' various hands;
A mighty mass that could oppose,
When deadliest hatred fired its foes,
The vengeful Douglas bands.
Critchtoun ! though now thy miry court
But pens the lazy steer and sheep,
Thy turrets rude and totter'd keep Have been the minstrel's loved resort. Oft have I traced, within thy fort,
Of mouldering shields the mystic sense,
Scutcheons of honour, or pretence, Quarter'd in old armorial sort,
Remains of rude magnificence.
Nor wholly yet hath time defaced
Thy lordly gallery fair;
Nor yet the stony chord unbraced,
Whose twisted knots, with roses laced,
Adorn thy ruin'd stair.
Still rises unimpair’d, below,
The court-yard's graceful portico;
Above its cornice, row and row,
Of fairhewn facets richly show
Their pointed diamond form,
Though there but homeless cattle go
To shield them from the storm.
And, shuddering, still may we explore,
Where oft whilome were captives pent,
The darkness of thy massy-more :*
Or, from thy grass-grown battlement,
May trace, in undulating line,
The sluggish mazes of the Tyne.
Another aspect Crichtoun show'd,
As through its portal Marmion rode;
But yet 'twas melancholy state
Received him at the outer gate ;
And here two days did Marmion rest,
With every rite that honour claims,
Attended as the king's own guest ;-
Such the command of royal James,
Who marshalld them his lands array,
Upon the Borough-moor that lay.
Perchance he would not foeman's eye
Upon his gathering host should pry,
Till full prepared was every band
To march against the English land.
Here while they dweit, did Lindesay's wit
Oft cheer the baron's moodier fit:
And, in his turn, he knew to prize
Lord Marmion's powerful mind, and wise
Train’d in the lore of Rome and Greece,
And policies of war and peace.
It chanced, as fell the second night,
That on the battlement they walk'a,
And, by the slowly fading light,
On varying topics talk'd;
And, unaware, the herald-bard
Said, Marmion might his toil have spared
In travelling so far;
For that a messenger from heaven
In vain to James had counsel given
Against the English war:
And, closer question'd, thus he told
A tale which chronicles of old
In Scottish story have enroll'd :-
SIR DAVID LINDESAY'S TALE.
“Of all the palaces so fair,
Built for the royal dwelling,
In Scotland, far beyond compare
Linlithgow is excelling;
And in its park, in jovial June,
How sweet the merry linnet's tune,
How blithe the blackbird's lay!
The wild buck bells* from ferny brake,
The coot dives merry on the lake,
The saddest heart might pleasure take
To see all nature gay.
But June is to our sovereign dear
The heaviest month in all the year:
* The pit, or prison vault.
* An ancient word for the cry of deer.
Too well his cause of grief you know,
June saw his father's overthrow.
Wo to the traitors who could bring
The princely boy against his king!
Still in his conscience burns the sting.
In offices as strict as lent,
King James's June is ever spent.
Bot, lighter than the whirlwind's blast
He vanish'd from our eyes, Like sunbeam on the billow cast,
That glances but, and dies.”—
XVI. “ When last this ruthful month was come, And in Linlithgow's holy dome
The king, as wont, was praying;
While for his royal father's soul,
The chanters sung, the bells did toll,
The bishop mass was saying-
For now the year brought round again
The day the luckless king was slain-
In Katharine's aisle the monarch knelt,
With sackcloth shirt, and iron belt,
And eyes with sorrow streaming;
Around him, in their stalls of state,
The thistle's knight-companions sate,
Their banners o'er them beaming.
I, too, was there, and, sooth to tell,
Bedeafen'd with the jingling knell,
Was watching where the sunbeams fell,
Through the stain'd casement gleaming;
But, while I mark'd what next befell,
It seem'd as I were dreaming.
Stepp'd from the crowd a ghostly wight,
In azure gown, with cincture white,
His forehead bald, his head was bare,
Down hung at length his yellow hair.-
Now mock me not when, good my lord,
I pledge to you my knightly word,
That, when I saw his placid grace,
His simple majesty of face,
His solemn bearing, and his pace
So stately gliding on,-
Seem'a to me ne'er did limner paint
So just an image of the saint
Who propp'd the virgin in her faint,
The loved apostle John.
While Lindesay told this marvel strange,
The twilight was so pale,
He mask'd not Marmion's colour change,
While listening to the tale:
But, after a suspended pause,
The baron spoke:-“Of nature's laws
So strong I held the force,
That never superhuman cause
Could e'er control their course;
And, three days since, had judged your aim
Was but to make your guest your game.
But I have seen, since past the Tweed,
What much has changed my skeptic creed,
And made me credit aught.”-He staid,
And seer'd to wish his words unsaid:
But, by that strong emotion press'd,
Which prompts us to unload our breast,
E’en when discovery's pain,
To Lindesay did at length unfold
The tale his village host had told
At Gifford, to his train. Naught of the palmer says he there, And naught of Constance or of Clare: The thoughts which broke his sleep, he seems To mention but as feverish dreams.
XIX. “In vain,” said he,“ to rest I spread My burning limbs, and couch'd my head:
Fantastic thoughts return'd; And, by their wild dominion led,
My heart within me burn'd. So sore was the delirious goad, I took my steed and forth I rode, And, as the moon shone bright and cold, Soon reach'd the camp upon the wold. The southern entrance I past through, And halted, and my bugle blew. Methought an answer met my ear,Yet was the blast so low and drear, So hollow, and so faintly blown, It might be echo of my own.
“ He stepp'd before the monarch's chair,
And stood with rustic plainness there,
And little reverence made;
Nor head, nor body, bow'd nor bent,
But on the desk his arm he lent,
And words like these he said,
In a low voice,-but never tone
So thrill'd through vein, and nerve, and bone :-
My mother sent me from afar,
Sir king, to warn thee not to war,-
Wo waits on thine array ;
If war thou wilt, of woman fair,
Her witching wiles and wanton snare,
James Stuart, doubly warn'd beware :
God keep thee as he may!'
The wondering monarch seem'd to seek
For answer, and found none;
And when he raised his head to speak,
The monitor was gone.
The marshall and myself had cast
To stop bim as he outward past;
“ Thus judging, for a little space
I listen’d, ere I left the place;
But scarce could trust my eyes,
Nor yet can think they served me true,
When sudden in the ring I view,
In form distinct of shape and hue,
A mounted champion rise.-
I've fought, lord lion, many a day,
In single fight and mix'd affray,
And ever, I myself may say,
Have borne me as a knight;
But when this unexpected foe
Seem'd starting from the gulf below,-
I care not though the truth I show,
I trembled with affright;
And as I placed in rest my spear,
When guilt we meditate within, My hand so shook for very fear,
Or harbour unrepented sin.” I scarce could couch it right.
Lord Marmion turn'd him half aside,
And twice to clear his voice he tried,
Then press’d Sir David's hand,
But naught, at length, in answer said; “Why need my tongue the issue tell?
And here their farther converse staid, We ran our course,-my charger fell,
Each ordering that his band What could he 'gainst the shock of hell ?
Should bowne them with the rising day, I roll'd upon the plain.
To Scotland's camp to take their way, High o'er my head, with threatening hand,
Such was the king's command.
The spectre shook his naked brand, -
Yet did the worst remain :
My dazzled eyes I upward cast,-
Early they took Dun-Edin's road, Not opening hell itself could blast
And I could trace each step they trode; Their sight like what I saw !
Hill, brook, nor dell, nor rock, nor stone, Full on his face the moonbeam strook,
Lies on the path to me unknown. A face could never be mistook!
Much might it boast of storied lore; I knew the stern vindictive look,
But, passing such digression o'er, And held my breath for awe.
Suffice it that their route was laid I saw the face of one who, fed
Across the furzy hills of Braid. To foreign climes, has long been dead,
They pass'd the glen and scanty rill, I well believe the last;
And climb’d the opposing bank, until For ne'er, from visor raised, did stare
They gain'd the top of Blackford Hill. A human warrior, with a glare So grimly and so ghast.
XXIV. Thrice o'er my head he shook the blade :
Blackford! on whose upcultured breast, But when to good saint George I pray'd,
Among the broom, and thorn, and whin, (The first time e'er I ask'd his aid,)
A truant boy, I sought the nest, He plunged it in his sheath ;
Or listed, as I lay at rest, And, on his courser mounting light,
While rose, on breezes thin, He seem'd to vanish from my sight:
The murmur city crowd, The moonbeam droop'd, and deepest night
And, from bis steeple jangling loud, Sunk down upon the heath.
Saint Gile's mingling din'Twere long to tell what cause I have
Now, from the summit of the plain, To know his face that met me there,
Waves all the hill with yellow grain ; Call'd by his hatred from the grave,
And, o'er the lanscape as I look, To cumber upper air ;
Naught do I see unchanged remain, Dead or alive, good cause had he
Save the rude cliffs and chiming brook: To be my mortal enemy.”—
To me they make a heavy moan
Of early friendships past and gone.
Marveli'd Sir David of the mount;
Then, learn'd in story, 'gan recount
But different far the change has been, Such chance had hap'd of old,
Since Marmion, from the crown When once, near Norham, there did fight
Of Blackford, saw that martial scene A spectre fell, of fiendish might,
Upon the bent so brown: In likeness of a Scottish knight,
Thousand pavilions, white as snow, With Brian Bulmer bold,
Spread all the Borough-moor below, And train’d him nigh to disallow
Upland, and dale, and down :The aid of his baptismal vow.
A thousand did I say? I ween, “ And such a phantom, too, 'tis said,
Thousand on thousands there were seen, With highland broadsword, targe, and plaid,
That checker'd all the heath between Ard fingers red with gore,
The streamlet and the town: Is seen in Rothiemurchus's glade,
In crossing ranks extending far, Or where the sable pine trees shade
Forming a camp irregular; Dark Tomantoul, and Achnaslaid,
Oft giving way where still there stood Dromouchty, or Glenmore.
Some relics of the old oak wood, And yet, whate'er such legends say,
That darkly huge did intervene, Of warlike demon, host, or fay,
And tamed the glaring white with green: On mountain, moor, or plain,
In these extended lines there lay
Spotless in faith, in bosom bold,
A martial kingdom's vast array.
True son of chivalry should hold
These midnight terrors vain ;
For seldom have such spirits power
For from Hebudos, dark with rain, To harm, save in the evil hour,
To eastern Lodon's fertile plain,