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As if some angel spoke agen,
All peace on earth, good will to men;
If ever from an English heart,
O here let prejudice depart,
And, partial feeling cast aside,
Record, that Fox a Britain died !
When Europe crouch'd to France's yoke,
And Austria bent, and Prussia broke,
And the firm Russian's purpose brave
Was barter'd by a timorous slave,
Even then dishonour's peace he spurn'd,
The sullied olive-branch return'd,
Stood for his country's glory fast,
And nail'd her colours to the mast!
Heaven, to reward his firmness, gave
A portion in this honour'd grave;
And ne'er held marble in its trust
of two such wondrous men the dust.
With more than mortal powers endow'd,
How high they soar'd above the crowd !
Theirs was no common party race,
Jostling by dark intrigue for place;
Like fabled gods, their mighty war
Shook realms and nations in its jar;
Beneath each banner proud to stand,
Look'd up the noblest of the land,
Till through the British world were known
The names of Pitt and Fox alone.
Spells of such force no wizard grave
E'er framed in dark Thessalian cave,
Though his could drain the ocean dry,
And force the planets from the sky.
These spells are spent, and, spent with these,
The wine of life is on the lees.
Genius, and taste, and talent gone,
Forever tomb'd beneath the stone,
Where—taming thought to human pride!
The mighty chiefs sleep side by side,
Drop upon Fox's grave the tear,
'Twill trickle to his rival's bier;
O'er Pitt's the mournful requiem sound,
And Fox's shall the notes rebound.
The solemn echo seems to cry,
“ Here let their discord with them die ;
Speak not for those a separate doom,
Whom fate made brothers in the tomb,
But search the land of living men,
Where wilt thou find their like agen?”
Rest, ardent spirits ! till the cries
Of dying nature bids you rise;
Not even your Britain's groans can pierce
The leaden silence of your hearse :
Then, 0 how impotent and vain
This grateful tributary strain !
Though not unmark'd from northern clime,
Ye heard the Border minstrel's rhyme
His gothic harp has o'er you rung;
The bard you deign'd to praise, your death names
Stay yet illusion, stay awhile,
My wilderd fancy still beguile !
From this high theme how can I part,
Ere half unloaded is my heart!
For all the tears e'er sorrow drew,
And all the raptures fancy knew,
And all the keener rush of blood,
That throbs through bard in bardlike mood,
Were here a tribute mean and low,
Though all their mingled streams could flow-
Wo, wonder, and sensation high,
In one springtide of ecstasy!
It will not be-it may not last-
The vision of enchantment's past :
Like frost-work in the morning ray,
The fancied fabric melts away;
Each Gothic arch, memorial stone,
And long, dim, lofty aisle are gone,
And, lingering last, deception dear,
The choirs high sounds die on my ear.
Now slow return the lonely down,
The silent pastures bleak and brown,
The farm begirt with copsewood wild,
The gambols of each frolic child,
Mixing their shrill cries with the tones
Of Tweed's dark waters rushing on.
Prompt on unequal tasks to run,
Thus Nature disciplines her son :
Meeter, she says, for me to stray,
And waste the solitary day,
In plucking from yon fen the reed,
And watch it floating down the Tweed;
Or idly list the shrilling lay
With which the milk-maid cheers her way,
Marking its cadence rise and fail,
As from the field, beneath her pail,
She trips it down the uneven dale:
Meeter for me, by yonder cairn,
The ancient shepherd's tale to learn,
Though oft he stop in rustic fear,
Lest his old legends tire the ear
Of one, who, in his simple mind,
May boast of book-learn'd taste refined.
But thou, my friend, canst fitly tell,
(For few have read romance so well,)
How still the legendary lay
O'er poet's bosom holds its sway;
How on the ancient minstrel strain
Time lays his palsied hand in vain ;
And how our hearts at doughty deeds,
By warriors wrought in steely weeds.
Still throb for fear and pity's sake ;
As when the champion of the lake
Enters Morgana's fated house,
Or in the Chapel perilous,
Despising spells and demons' force,
Hold converse with the unburied corse,
O when, dame Gamore's grace to move,
(Alas! that lawless was their love,)
He sought proud Tarquin in his den,
And freed full sixty knights; or when,
A sinful man, and unconfess'd,
He took the Sangeal's holy quest,
And, slumbering, saw the vision high,
He might not view with waking eye.
The mightiest chiefs of British song
Scorn'd not such legends to prolong:
They gleam through Spencer's elfin dream,
And mix in Milton's heavenly theme;
And Dryden, in immortal strain,
Had raised the Table Round again,
The loop-hole grates where captives weep,
The flanking walls that round it sweep,
In yellow lustre shone.
The warriors on the turrets high,
Moving athwart the evening sky,
Seem'd forms of giant height:
Their armour, as it caught the rays
Flash'd back again the western blaze,
In lines of dazzling light,
St. George's banner, broad and gay,
Now faded, as the fading ray
Less bright, and less, was fiung;
The evening gale had scarce the power
To wave it on the donjon tower,
So heavily it hung. The scouts had parted on their search,
The castle gates were barr'd;
Above the gloomy portal arch,
Timing his footsteps to a march,
The warder kept his guard;
Low humming as he paced along,
Some ancient border-gathering song.
But that a ribald king and court
Bade him toil on, to make them sport;
Demanded for their niggard pay,
Fit for their souls, a looser lay,
Licentious satire, song, and play:
The world defrauded of the high design,
Profaned the God-given strength, and marr'd the
Warm'd by such names well may we then,
Though dwindled sons of little men,
Essay to break a feeble lance
In the fair fields of old romance ;
Or seek the moated castle's cell
Where long through talisman and spell,
While tyrants ruled, and damsels wept,
Thy genius, chivalry, hath slept:
There sound the harpings of the north,
Till he awake and sally forth,
On venturous quest to prick again,
In all his arms, with all his train,
Shield, lance, and brand, and plume, and scarf,
Fay, giant, dragon, squire, and dwarf,
And wizard, with his wand of might,
And errant maid on palfrey white.
Around the genius weave their spells,
Pure love, who scarce his passion tells;
Mystery, half veild and half reveal'd;
And honour, with his spotless shield;
Attention, with fix'd eye; and fear,
That loves the tale he shrinks to hear;
And gentle courtesy; and faith,
Unchanged by sufferings, time, or death;
And valour, lion-melted lord,
Leaning upon his own good sword.
Well has thy fair achievement shown,
A worthy meed may thus be won;
Ytene's* oaks—beneath whose shade,
Their theme the merry minstrels made,
Of Ascapart, and Bevis bold,
And that red king,t who, while of old,
Though Boldrewood the chase he led,
By his loved huntsman's arrow bled-
Ytene's oaks have heard again
Renew'd such legendary strain ;
For thou hast sung, how he of Gaul,
That Amadis, so famed in hall,
For Oriana, foil'd in fight
The necromancer's felon might;
And well in modern verse hast wove
Partenopex's mystic love:
Hear then, attentive to my lay,
A knightly tale of Albion's elder day.
III. A distant trampling sound he hears; He looks abroad, and soon appears, O'er Horncliff hill, a plump* of spears,
Beneath a pennon gay :
A horseman, darting from the crowd,
Like lightning from a summer cloud,
Spurs on his mettled courser proud,
Before the dark array.
Beneath the sable palisade,
That closed the castle barricade,
His bugle horn he blew ;
The warder hasted from the wall,
And warn'd the captain in the hall,
For well the blast he knew;
And joyfully that knight did call
To sewer, squire, and seneschal.
IV. “Now broach ye a pipe of Malvoisie,
Bring pasties of the doe,
And quickly make the entrance free,
And bid my heralds ready be,
And every minstrel sound his glee,
And all our trumpets blow;
And from the platform, spare ye not
To fire a noble salvo-shot;
Lord Marmion waits below!"
Then to the castle's lower ward
Sped forty yeomen tall, The iron-studded gates unbarr'd, Raised the portcullis' ponderous guard, The lofty palisade unsparr’d,
And let the drawbridge fall.
Day set on Norham's castled steep,
And Tweed's fair river, broad and deep,
And Cheviot's mountains lone:
The battled towers, the donjon keep,
* This word properly applies to a flight of water-fowl; but is applied, by analogy, lo a body of horse.
There is knight of the North Country, Which leads a lusty plump of spears.
Battle of Flodden.
* The new forest in Hampshire, anciently so called. † William Rusus.
With falcons broider'd on each breast,
Attended on their lord's behest.
Each, chosen for an archer good,
Knew hunting-craft by lake or wood;
Each one a six foot bow could bend,
And far a clothyard shaft could send;
Each held a boar-spear tough and strong,
And at their belts their quivers rung,
Their dusty palfreys, and array,
Show'd they had march'd a weary way.
V. Along the bridge Lord Marmion rode, Proudly his red-roan charger trod, His helm hung at the saddle bow; Well, by his visage, you might know He was a stalworth knight, and keen, And had in many a battle been : The scar on his brown cheek reveal'd A token true of Bosworth field; His eyebrow dark, and eye of fire, Show'd spirit proud, and prompt to ire: Yet lines of thought upon his cheek Did deep design and counsel speak. His forehead, by his casque worn bare, His thin mustache, and curly hair, Coal-black, and grizzled here and there, But more through toil than age; His square turn'd joints, and strength of limb, Show'd him no carpet knight so trim, But, in close fight, a champion grim,
In camps, a leader sage.
IX. 'Tis meet that I should tell you now, How fairly arm’d, and order'd how,
The soldiers of the guard, With musket, pipe, and morion, To welcome noble Marmion,
Stood in the castleyard; Minstrels and trumpeters were there, The gunner held his linstock yare,
For welcome shot preparedEnter'd the train, and such a clang, As then through all his turrets rang,
Old Norham never heard.
VI. Well was he arm'd from head to heel, In mail and plate of Milan steel ; But his strong helm, of mighty cost, Was all with burnish'd gold emboss'd; Amid the plumage of the crest A falcon hover'd on her nest, With wings outspread, and forward breast; E’en such a falcon, on his shield, Soar'd sable in an azure field: The golden legend bore aright, «Who checks at me, to death is dight.” Blue was the charger's broider'd rein; Blue ribands deck'd his arching mane; The knightly housing's ample fold Was velvet blue, and trapp'd with gold.
VII. Behind him rode two gallant squires, Of noble name, and knightly sires ; They burn'd the gilded spurs to claim; For well could each a war-horse tame, Could draw the bow, the sword could sway, And lightly bear the ring away ; Nor less with courteous precepts stored, Could dance in ball, and carve at board, And frame love-ditties passing rare, And sing them to a ladye fair.
VIII. Four men-at-arms came at their backs, With halbert, bill, and battle-axe : They bore Lord Marmion's lance so strong, And led his sumpter-mules along, And ambling palfrey, when at need Him listed ease his battle-steed. The last, and trustiest of the four, On high his forky pennon bore; Like swallow's tail, in shape and hue, Flutter'd the streamer glossy blue, Where, blazon'd sable, as before, The towering falcon seem'd to soar. Last, twenty yeomen, two and two, In hosen black, and jerkin blue,
The guards their morrice-pikes advanced,
The trumpets fourish'd brave,
The cannon from the ramparts glanced,
And thundering welcome gave.
A blithe salute, in martial sort,
The minstrels well might sound,
For, as Lord Marmion cross'd the court,
He scatter'd angels round.
“ Welcome to Norham, Marmion,
Stout heart, and open hand!
Well dost thou brook thy gallant roan,
Thou flower of English land!”
Two pursuivants, whom tabards deck,
With silver scutcheon round their neck,
Stood on the steps of stone,
By which you reach the donjon gate,
And there, with herald pomp and state,
They hail'd Lord Marmion:
They hail'd him Lord of Fontenaye,
Of Lutterward and Scrivelbaye,
Of Tamworth tower and town;
And he, their courtesy to requite,
Gave them a chain of twelve marks weight,
All as he lighted down.
“Now, largesse;* largesse, Lord Marmion,
Knight of the crest of gold !
A blazon'u shield in battle won,
Ne'er guarded heart so bold.”
They marshall’d him to the castle hall,
Where the guests stood all aside,
And loudly flourish'd the trumpet call,
And the heralds loudly cried, —“Room, lordings, room, for Lord Marmion,
With the crest and helm of gold !
* The cry by which the heralds express their thanks for the bounty of the noblez.
Full well we know the trophies won
In the lists at Cottiswold:
There, vainly Ralph de Wilton strove
'Gainst Marmion's force to stand ; To him he lost his ladye love,
And to the king his land. Ourselves beheld the listed field,
A sight both sad and fair ;
We saw Lord Marmion pierce his shield,
And saw his saddle bare;
We saw the victor win the crest
He wears with worthy pride;
And on the gibbet tree, reversed,
His foeman's scutcheon tied.
Place, nobles, for the Falcon-knight!
Room, room, ye gentles gay,
For him who conquer'd in the right,
Marmion of Fontenaye !"
Then stepp'd to meet that noble lord,
Sir Hugh, the Heron bold,
Baron of Twisell, and of Ford,
And captain of the Hold.
He led Lord Marmion to the deas,
Raised o'er the pavement high,
And placed him in the upper place-
They feasted full and high : The whiles a northern harper rude, Chanted a rhyme of deadly feud, “ How the fierce Thirlwalls, and Ridleys all,
And Hard-riding Dick,
And Hughie of Hawden, and Will o' the Wall,
Have set on Sir Albany Featherstonhaugh,
And taken his life at the deadman's shaw.”
Scantly Lord Marmion's ear could brook
The harper's barbarous lay;
Yet much he praised the pains he took,
And well those pains did pay ;
For ladye's suit and minstrel's strain,
By knight should ne'er be heard in vain.
“Now pledge me here, Lord Marmion:
But first, I pray thee fair,
Where hast thou left that page of thine,
That used to serve thy cup of wine,
Whose beauty was so rare ?
When last in Raby towers we met,
The boy I closely eyed,
And often mark'd his cheeks were wet
With tears he fain would hide:
His was no rugged horse-boy's hand,
To burnish shield, or sharpen brand,
Or saddle battle steed;
But meeter seem'd for lady fair,
To fan her checks, or curl her hair,
Or through embroidery, rich and rare,
The slender silk to lead :
His skin was fair, his ringlets gold,
His bosom-when he sigh'd,
The russet doublet's rugged fold
Could scarce repel its pride!
Say, hast thou given that lovely youth
To serve in ladye's bower?
Or was the gentle page, in sooth,
A gentle paramour's ?”
Lord Marmion ill could brook such jest;
He rolled his kindling eye,
With pain his rising wrath suppress'd,
Yet made a calm reply:
“ That boy thou thought'st so goodly fair,
He might not brook the northern air.
More of his fate if thou wouldst learn,
I left him sick in Lindisfarn:
Enough of him.-But, Heron, say,
Why does thy lovely lady gay
Disdain to grace the hall to-day?
Or has that dame, so fair and sage,
Gone on some pious pilgrimage."-
He spoke in covert scorn, for fame
Whisper'd light tales of Heron's dame.
Unmark'd, at least unreck'd, the taunt,
Careless the knight replied,
“ No bird whose feathers gayly flaunt,
Delights in cage to bide:
Norham is grim, and grated close,
Hemm'd in by battlement and fosse,
And many a darksome tower;
And better loves my lady bright,
To sit in liberty and light,
In fair queen Margaret's bower.
We hold our greyhound in our hand,
Our falcon on our glove;
But where shall we find leash or band,
For dame that loves to rove?
Let the wild falcon soar her swing
She'll stoop when she has tired her wing.”-
“Nay, if with royal James's bride,
The lovely lady Heron bide,
Behold me here a messenger,
Your tender greetings prompt to bear;
For, to the Scottish court address'd,
I journey at our king's behest,
XIV. “Now, good Lord Marmion," Heron says,
“ Of your fair courtesy, I pray you bide some little space
In this poor tower with me. Here may you keep your arms from rust,
May breathe your war-horse well;
Seldom hath pass'd a week, but giust
Or feat of arms befel:
The Scots can rein a mettled steed,
And love to couch a spear ;-
St. George! a stirring life they lead,
That have such neighbours near.
Then stay with us a little space,
Our northern wars to learn ;
I pray you for your ladye's grace.”-
Lord Marmion's brow grew stern.
The captain mark'd his alter'd look,
And gave a squire the sign ;
A mighty wassail bowl he took,
And crown'd it high with wine.
And pray you, of your grace, provide
For me, and mine, a trusty guide.
I have not ridden in Scotland since
James back'd the cause of that mock prince,
Warbeck, that Flemish counterfeit,
Who on the gibbet paid the cheat.
Then did I march with Surrey's power
What time we razed old Ayton tower."-
Since, on the vigil of St. Bede,
In evil hour, he crossd the Tweed,
To teach dame Alison her creed.
Old Bughtrig found him with his wife;
And John, an enemy to strife,
Sans frock and hood, fled for his life.
The jealous churl hath deeply swore,
That, if again he venture o'er,
He shall sbrieve penitent no more.
Little he loves such risks, I know;
Yet, in your guard, perchance, will go."-
XIX. “For such like need, my lord, I trow, Norham can find you guides enow; For here be some have prick'd as far, On Scottish ground, as to Dunbar; Have drunk the monks of St. Bothan's ale, And driven the beeves of Lauderdale ; Harried the wives of Greenlaw's goods, And given them light to set their hoods."
XX “Now, in good sooth,” Lord Marmion cried, “ Were I in warlike-wise to ride A better guard I would not lack, Than your stout forayers at my back ; But, as in form of peace I go, A friendly messenger, to know, Why, through all Scotland, near and far, Their king is mustering troops for war, The sight of plundering border spears Might justify suspicious fears, And deadly feud, or thirst of spoil, Break out in some unseemly broil: A herald were my fitting guide ; Or friar, sworn in peace to bide; Or pardoner, or travelling priest, Or strolling pilgrim, at the least.”
XXII. Young Selby, at the fair hall-board, Carved to his uncle, and that lord, And reverently took up the word. “Kind uncle, wo were we each one, If harm should hap to brother John. He is a man of mirthful speech, Can many a game and gambol teach; Full well at tables can he play, And sweep, at bowls, the stake away. None can a lustier carol bawl, The needfullest among us all, When time hangs heavy in the hall, And snow comes thick at Christmas tide, And we can neither hunt, nor ride A foray on the Scottish side. The vow'd revenge of Bughtrig rude, May end in worse than loss of hood. Let Friar John, in safety, still In chimney-corner snore his fill, Roast hissing crabs, or flagons swill: Last night to Norham there came one Will better guide Lord Marmion." “Nephew," quoth Heron,“ by my fay, Well hast thou spoke; say forth thy say."
XXI. The captain mused a little space, And pass'd his hand across his face. -“ Fain would I find the guide you want, But ill may spare a pursuivant, The only men that safe can ride Mine errands on the Scottish side: And, though a bishop built this fort, Few holy brethren here resort; E'en our good chaplain, as I ween, Since our last siege, we have not seen ; The mass he might not sing or say, Upon one stinted meal a day; So, safe he sat in Durham aisle, And pray'd for our success the while. Our Norham vicar, wo betide, Is all too well in case to ride. The priest of Shoreswood-he could rein The wildest warhorse in your train ; But then, no spearman in the hall Will sooner swear, or stab, or brawl. Friar John of Tillmouth were the man, A blithsome brother at the can, A welcome guest in hall and bower, He knows each castle, town, and tower, In which the wine and ale are good, 'Twixt Newcastle and Holy-Rood. But that good man, as ill befalls, Hath seldom left our castle walls,
XXIII. « Here is a holy palmer come, From Salem first, and last from Rome : One, that hath kiss'd the blessed tomb, And visited each holy shrine, In Araby and Palestine ; On hills of Armenie hath been, Where Noah's ark may yet be seen; By that Red Sea, too, hath he trod, Which parted at the prophet's rod; In Sinai's wilderness he saw The mount, where Israel heard the law, Mid thunder-dint, and flashing levin, And shadows, mists, and darkness, given. He shows Saint James's cockle shell, Of fair Montserrat, too, can tell ;
And of that grot where olives nod, Where, darling of each heart and eye, From all the youth of Sicily,
Saint Rosalie retired to God.
XXIV. « To stout Saint George of Norwich merry, Saint Thomas, too, of Canterbury, Cuthbert of Durham, and Saint Bede, For his sins' pardon hath he pray'd. He knows the passes of the North, And seeks far shrines beyond the Forth;