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Arose a bard of loftier port;
Renown'd in haughty Henry's court:
Who has not heard of Surrey's fame?
And his, the bard's immortal name, And his was love exalted high By all the glow of chivalry.
Was seen a self-emitted light to gleam ;
Cloudy and indistinct, as feverish dream ; Till, slow arranging, and defined, they seem
To form a lordly and a lofty room, Part lighted by a lamp with silver beam,
Placed by a couch of Agra's silken loom, And part by moonshine pale, and part was hid in
And oft within some olive grove,
They sung of Surrey's absent love. His step th’ Italian peasant stay'd,
And deem'd, that spirits from on high, Round where some hermit saint was laid,
Were breathing heavenly melody So sweet did harp and voice combine, To praise the name of Geraldine.
The slender form, which lay on couch of Ind! O'er her white bosom stray'd her hazel hair,
Pale her dear cheek, as if for love she pined; All in her night-robe loose she lay reclined,
And, pensive, read from tablet eburnine Some strain that seem'd her inmost soul to find :
That favour'd strain was Surrey's raptured line, That fair and lovely form, the Ladye Geraldine.
And swept the goodly vision all away-
O'er my beloved master's glorious day.
On thee, and on thy children's latest line,
XV. Fitztraver! O what tongue may say
The pangs thy faithful bosom knew,
The gory bridal bed, the plunder'd shrine, The murder'd Surrey's blood, the tears of Geraldine!
Rest thee in castle Ravensheuch,
Nor tempt the stormy firth to-day.
XXI. Both Scots, and Southern chiefs prolong Applauses of Fitztraver's song: These hated Henry's name as death, And those still held the ancient faith.Then, from his seat with lofty air, Rose Harold, bard of brave St. Clair; St. Clair, who, feasting high at Home Had with that lord to battle come. Harold was born where restless seas Howl round the storm-swept Orcades; Where erst St. Clairs held princely sway O’er isle and islet, strait and bay ; Still nods their palace to its fall, Thy pride and sorrow fair Kirkwall! Thence oft he mark'd fierce Pentland rave, As if grim Odin rode her wave; And watch'd, the whilst, with visage pale, And throbbing heart, the struggling sail ; For all of wonderful and wild Had rapture for the lonely child.
XXII. And much of wild and wonderful In these rude isles mighty Fancy cull; For thither came, in times afar, Stern Lochlin's sons of roving war, The Norseman, train’d to spoil and blood, Skill'd to prepare the raven's food ; Kings of the main their leaders brave, Their barks the dragons of the wave. And there in many a stormy vale, The scald had told his wondrous tale, And many a Runic column high Had witness'd grim idolatry. And thus had Harold, in his youth, Learn'd many a saga's rhyme uncouth,Of that sea-spake tremendous curl'd, Whose monstrous circle girds the world : Of those dread Maids; whose hideous yell Maddens the battle's bloody swell: Of chiefs, who, guided through the gloom By the pale-death like of the tomb, Ransack'd the graves of warriors old, Their falchions wrench'd from corpses' hold, Waked the deaf tomb with war's alarms, And bade the dead arise to arms ! With war and wonder all on flame, To Roslin's bowers young Harold came, Where, by sweet glen and greenwood tree, He learn'd a milder minstrelsy; Yet something of the northern spell Mix'd with the softer numbers well.
“ The blackening wave is edged with white ;
To inch* and rock the sea-mews fly; The fishers have heard the water sprite,
Whose screams forbode that wreck is nigh. “ Last night the gifted seer did view
A wet shroud swathe a ladye gay ; Then stay thee, Fair, in Ravensheuch :
Why cross the gloomy firth to-day ?” “ 'Tis not because lord Lindesay's heir
To-night at Roslin leads the ball, But that my ladye-mother there
Sits lonely in her castle hall. “ 'Tis not because the ring they ride,
And Lindesay at the ring rides well, But that my sire the wine will chide,
If 'tis not fill'd by Rosabelle.” O’er Roslin all that dreary night
A wondrous blaze was seen to gleam; 'Twas broader than the watch-fire light,
And redder than the bright moonbeam. It glared on Roslin's castled rock,
It ruddied all the copse-wood glen : 'Twas seen from Dryden's groves of oak,
And seen from cavernd Hawthornden.
Seem'd all on fire, that chapel proud,
Where Roslin's chiefs uncoffin'd lie; Each baron, for a sable shroud,
Sheath'd in his iron panoply. Seem'd all on fire, within, around,
Deep sacristy and altar's pale: Shone every pillar foliage bound,
And glimmer'd all the dead men's mail. Blazed battlement and pinnet high,
Blazed every rose-carved buttress fair So still they blaze, when fate is nigh
The lordly line of high St. Clair.
There are twenty of Roslin's barons bold
Lie buried within that proud chapelle : Each one the holy vault doth hold
But the sea holds lovely Rosabelle ! And each St. Clair was buried there,
With candle, with book, and with knell; But the sea-caves rung, and the wild winds sung
The dirge of lovely Rosabelle.
Scarce mark'd the guests the darken'd hall, Though, long before the sinking day,
A wondrous shade involved them all;
Of no eclipse had sages told ;
O listen, listen, ladies gay!
No haughty feat of arms I tell; Soft is the note, and sad the lay,
That mourns the lovely Rosabelle. “ Moor, moor the barge, ye gallant crew !
And, gentle ladye, deign to stay!
* Inch, Isle.
Each one could scarce his neighbour's face,
Could scarce his own stretch'd hand behold. A secret horror check'd the feast, And chill'd the soul of every guest : Even the high dame stood half aghast, She knew some evil on the blast; The elfish page fell to the ground, And, shuddering, mutter'd, “Found, found,
Did to St. Bride of Douglas make,
Of Michael's restless sprite.
pray'd, Tis said the noble dame, dismay'd, Renounced, for aye, dark magic's aid.
A flash of lightning came;
The castle seem'd on flame;
It broke, with thunder long and loud,
From sea to sea the larum rung;
To arms the startled warders sprung.
Nought of the bridal will I tell,
Of penitence and prayer divine,
Sought Melrose' holy shrine.
XXVI. Some heard a voice in Branksome Hall, Some saw a sight, not seen by all; That dreadful voice was heard by some, Cry, with loud summons,“ GYLBIN, COME !” And on the spot where burst the brand,
Just where the page had flung him down, Some saw an arm, and some a hand,
And some the waving of a gown.
For he was speechless, ghastly, wan,
That he had seen, right certainly,
Like pilgrim from beyond the sea ;
With naked foot, and sackloth vest,
Did every pilgrim go;
Through all the lengthen'd row :
Forgotten their renown;
And there they knelt them down;
And slow up the dim aisle afar;
In long procession came;
With the Redeemer's name: Above the prostrate pilgrim band The mitred abbot stretch'd his hand,
And bless'd them as they kneelid;
The anxious crowd, with horror pale,
No sound was made, no word was spoke,
And he a solemn sacred plight
A TALE OF FLODDEN FIELD.
Alas! that Scottish maid should sing
The combat where her lover fell ! That Scoutish bard should wake the string.
The triumph of our foes to tell.- Leyden.
With holy cross he sign'd them all,
And fortunate in field.
DIES IRÆ, DIES ILLA,
SOLVET SÆCLUM IN FAVILLA : While the pealing organ rung;
Were it meet with sacred strain
To close my lay, so light and vain. Thus the holy fathers sung.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE HENRY,
LORD MONTAGUE, &c;
THIS ROMANCE IS INSCRIBED, BY THE AUTHOR.
HYMN FOR THE DEAD.
That day of wrath, that dreadful day, When heaven and earth shall pass away, What power shall be the singers stay? How shall he meet that dreadful day?
When, shrivelling like a parched scroll,
ADVERTISEMENT. It is hardly to be expected that an author, whom the public bas honoured with some degree of applause, should not be again a trespasser on their kindness. Yet the author of Marmion must be supposed to feel some anxiety concerning its success, since he is sensible that he hazards, by this second intrusion, any reputation which bis first poem may have procured him. The present story turns upon the private adventures of a fictitious character; but is called a Tale of Flodden Field, because the hero's fate is connected with that memorable defeat, and the causes which led to it. The design of the author was, if possible, to apprise his readers, at the outset, of the date of his story, and to prepare them for the manners of the age in which it is laid. Any historical narrative, far more an attempt at epic composition, exceeds his plan of a romantic tale; yet he may be permitted to hope from the popularity of The Lay of the Last Minstrel, that an attempt to paint the manners of the feudal times upon a broader scale, and in the course of a more interesting history, will not be unacceptable to the public.
The poem opens about the commencement of August, and concludes with the defeat of Flodden, 9th September, 1513.
0! on that day, that wrathful day,
INTRODUCTION TO CANTO I.
Hush'd is the harp—the minstrel gone. And did he wander forth alone, Alone, in indigence and age, To linger out his pilgrimage ? No:-close beneath proud Newark's tower Arose the minstrel's lowly bower: A simple hut; but there was seen The little garden hedged with green, The cheerful hearth, and lattice clean. There shelter'd wanderers, by the blaze, Oft heard the tale of other days; For much he loved to ope his door, And give the aid he begg'd before. So pass'd the winter's day; but still, When summer smiled on sweet Bowhill, And July's eve, with balmy breath, Waved the blue bells on Newark heath; When throstles sun in Hare-head shaw, And corn was green on Carterhaugh, And flourish'd, broad, Blackandro's oak, The aged harper's soul awoke ! Then would he sing achievements high, And circumstance of chivalry, Till the rapt traveller would stay, Forgetful of the closing day; And noble youths, the strain to hear, Forsook the hunting of the deer; And Yarrow, as he rollid along, Bore burden to the minstrel's song.
TO WILLIAM STEWART ROSE), ESQ.
Ashestiel, Ettrick Forest.
No longer Autumn's glowing red
Away hath pass'd the hether-bell,
My imps, though hardy, bold, and wild
Yes, prattlers, yes. The daisy's flower
The garlands you delight to tie ;
To mute and to material things
Deep graved in every British heart,
Nor mourn ye less his perish'd worth,
Who, born to guide such high emprise,
0, think, how to his latest day,
Nor yet suppress the generous sigh,