Sidor som bilder

If my horn I three times wind,

Wat Tinlinn, thou shalt be his guide
Eskdale shall long have the sound in mind." To Rangleburn's lonely side

Sure some fell fiend has cursed our line,

That coward should e'er be son of mine!”
Loudly the Beattison laugh'd in scorn :-
“Little care we for thy winded horn.

XV. Ne'er shall it be the Galliard's lot,

A heavy task Wat Tinlinn had, To yield his steed to a haughty Scott.

To guide the counterfeited lad, Wend thou to Branksome back on foot,

Soon as the palfrey felt the weight With rusty spur and miry boot.”—

Of that ill-omen'd elfish freight, He blew his bugle so loud and hoarse,

He bolted, sprung, and rear'd amain, That the dun deer started at far Craikcross;

Nor heeded bit, nor curb, nor rein. He blew again so loud and clear,

It cost Wat Tinlinn mickle toil Through the gray mountain mist there did lances To drive him but a Scottish mile ; appear;

But, as a shallow brook they cross'd, And the third blast wrung with such a din,

The elf, amid the running stream, That the echoes answer'd from Pentoun-linn,

His figure changed, like form, in dream, And all his riders came lightly in.

And fled, and shouted, “ Lost! lost! lost!» Then had you seen a gallant shock,

Full fast the urchin ran and laugh'd, When saddles were emptied, and lances broke!

But faster still a cloth yard shaft For each scornful word the Galliard had said,

Whistled from startled Tinlinn's yew, A Beattison on the field was laid.

And pierced his shoulder through and through. His own good sword the chiestain drew,

Although the imp might not be slain, And he bore the Galliard through and through ;

And though the wound soon heal'd again, Where the Beattisons' blood mix'd with the rill,

Yet, as he ran, he yell’d for pain ; The Galliard's Haugh, men call it still.

And Wat of Tinlinn, much aghast,
The Scotts have scatter'd the Beattison clan,

Rode back to Branksome fiery fast.
In Eskdale they left but one landed man.
The valley of Esk, from the mouth to the source,

Was lost and won for that bonny white horse.

Soon on the hill's steep verge he stood,

That looks o'er Branksome's towers and wood: Whitslade the Hawk, and Headshaw came,

And martial murmurs from below, And warriors more than I may name;

Proclaim'd the approaching southern foe. From Yarrow-cleuch to Hindhaug-swair,

Through the dark wood, in mingled tone, From Woodhouselie to Chester-glen,

Were Border pipes and bugles blown: Troop'd man and horse, and bow and spear;

The coursers's neighing he could ken,

And measured tread of marching men;
Their gathering word was Bellenden.
And better hearts o'er Border sod

While broke at times the solemn hum,
To siege or rescue never rode.

The Almayn's sullen kettle-drum; The ladye mark'd the aids come in,

And banners tall, of crimson sheen, And high her heart of pride arose :

Above the copse appear; She bade her youthful son attend,

And, glistening through the hawthorns green, That he might know his father's friend,

Shine helm, and shield, and spear. And learn to face his foes.

XVII. “ The boy is ripe to look on war; I saw him draw a cross-bow stiff,

Light forayers first, to view the ground, And his true arrow struck afar

Spurr'd their fleet coursers loosely round; The raven's nest upon the cliff;

Behind, in close array and fast, The red cross on a southern breast,

The Kendal archers, all in green, Is broader than the raven's nest :


Obedient to the bugle blast, Thou, Whitslade, shall teach him his weapon to

Advancing from the wood were seen.

To back and guard the archer band,
And over him hold his father's shield.”

Lord Dacre's bill-men were at hand:

A hardy race, on Irthing bred,
Well may you think, the wily page

With kirtles white, and crosses red, Cared not to face the ladye sage.

Array'd beneath the banners tall, He counterfeited childish fear,

That stream'd o'er Acre's conquer'd wall. And shriek'd, and shed full many a tear,

And minstrels as they march'd in order, And moan'd and plain'd in manner wild. Play'd, “Noble Lord Dacre, he dwells on the The attendants to the ladye told,

Some fairy, sure, had changed the child,

That wont to be so free and bold.
Then wrathful was the noble dame;

Behind the English bill and bow,
She blush'd blood-red for very shame:-

The mercenaries, firm and slow, « Hence! ere the clan his faintness view;

Moved on to fight in dark array, Hence with the weakling to Buccleuch !

By Conrad led of Wolfenstein.

Who brought the band from distant Rhine,

And sold their blood for foreign pay; The camp their home, their law the sword, They knew no country, own'd no lord. They were not arm'd like England's sons, But bore the levin-darting guns ; Buff coats, all frounced and 'broider'd o'er, And morsing-horns* and scarfs they wore; Each better knee was bared, to aid The warriors in the escalade: And, as they march'd in rugged tongue, Songs of Teutonic feuds they sung.

XXII. “ Ye English warden lords, of you Demands the ladye of Buccleuch, Why, 'gainst the truce of Border tide, In hostile guise ye dare to ride, With Kendal bow, and Gilsland brand, And all yon mercenary band, Upon the bounds of fair Scotland ? My ladye redes you swithe return; And, if but one poor straw you burn, Or do our towers so much molest, As scare one swallow from her nest, Saint Mary! but we'll light a brand, Shall warm your hearths in Cumberland.”

XIX. But louder still the clamour gew, And louder still the minstrels blew, When, from beneath the greenwood tree, Rode forth Lord Howard's chiralry ; His men at arms, with glaive and spear, Brought up the battle's glittering rear. There many a youthful knight, full keen To gain his spurs, in arms was seen; With favour in his crest, or glove, Memorial of his ladye-love. So rode they forth in fair array, Till full their lengthen'd lines display; Then call'd a halt, and made a stand, And cried, “ Saint George for merry England !”


XXIII. A wrathful man was Dacre's lord, But calmer Howard took the word : “ May't please thy dame, sir seneschal, To seek the castle's outward wall, Our pursuivant-at-arms shall show, Both why we came, and when we go.” The message sped, the noble dame To the wall's outward circle came; Each chief around lean'd on his spear To see the pursuivant appear. All in Lord Howard's livery dress'd, The lion argent deck'd his breast; He led a boy of blooming huem O sight to meet a mother's view! It was the heir of great Buccleuch. Obeisance meet the herald made, And thus his master's will he said :

XX. Now every English eye, intent, On Branksome's armed towers was bent: So near they were, that they might know The straining harsh of each cross bow; On battlement and bartizan Gleam'd


and spear, and partizan ; Falcon and culver,t on each tower, Stood prompt their deadly hail to shower; And flashing armour frequent broke From eddying whirls of sable smoke, Where, upon tower and turret head, The seathing pitch and mollen lead Reek’d, like a witch's cauldron red. While yet they gaze, the bridges fall, The wicket opes, and from the wall Rides forth the hoary seneschal.

XXIV. “ It irks, high dame, my noble lords, 'Gainst ladye fair to draw their swords; But yet they may not tamely see, All through the western wardenry, Your law-contemning kinsmen ride, And burn and spoil the Border-side; And ill beseems your rank and birth To make your towers a flemen's firth.* We claim from thee William of Deloraine, That he may suffer march-treason pain ; It was but last Saint Cuthbert's even He prick'd to Stapleton on Leven, Harriedt the lands of Richard Musgrave, And slew his brother by dint of glaive. Then, since a lone and widow'd dame These restless riders may not tame, Either receive within thy towers Two hundred of my master's powers, Or straight they sound their warrison ; And storm and spoil thy garrison ; And this fair boy, to London led, Shall good king Edward's page be bred.”

XXI. Armed he rode, all save the head, His white beard o'er his breastplate spread; Unbroke by age, erect his seat, He ruled his eager courser's gait; Forced him, with chasten'd fire, to prance, And, high curvetting, slow advance: In sign of truce, his better hand Display'd a peeled willow wand; His squire, attending in the rear, Bore high a gauntlet on a spear. When they espied him riding out, Lord Howard and Lord Dacre stout Sped to the front of their array, To hear what this old knight should say.

XXV. He ceased :-and loud the boy did cry,And stretch'd his little arms on high ; Implored for aid each well-known face, And strove to seek the dame's embrace.

* Powder flasks. + Ancient pieces of Artillery.


* An asylum for outlaws. # Note of assault.

A moment changed that ladye's cheer ;
Gush'd to her eye the unbidden tear;
She gazed upon the leaders round,
And dark and sad each warrior frown'd;
Then deep within her sobbing breast
She lock'd the struggling sigh to rest;
Unalter'd and collected stood,
And thus replied in dauntless mood :-

XXVI. “Say to your lords of high emprise, Who war on women and on boys That either William of Deloraine Will cleanse him, by oath, of march-treason stain, Or else he will the combat take 'Gainst Musgrave, for his honour's sake. No knight in Cumberland so good, But William may count with him kin and blood. Knighthood he took of Douglas' sword, When English blood swell’d Ancram ford; And but that Lord Dacre's steed was wight, And bore him ably in the flight, Himself had seen him dubb'd a knight. For the young heir of Branksome's line, God be his aid, and God be mine; Through me no friend shall meet his doom; Here, while I live, no foe finds room.

Then, if thy lords their purpose urge, Take our defiance loud and high ;

Our slogan is their lyke-wake* dirge, Our moat, the grave where they shall lie.”

And Jedwood, Esk, and Teviotdale,

Have to proud Angus come;
And all the Merse and Lauderdale

Have risen with haughty Home.
An exile from Northumberland,

In Liddesdale I've wander'd long;
But still my heart was with merry England,

And cannot brook my country's wrong ;
And hard I've spurr'd all night to show
The mustering of the coming foe.”

" And let them come !" fierce Dacre cried ;
“For soon yon crest, my father's pride,
That swept the shores of Judah's seas,
And waved in gales of Galilee,
From Branksome's highest towers display'd,
Shall mock the rescue's lingering aid !”—
Level each harquebuss on row;
Draw, merry archers, draw the bow;
Up, bill-men, to the walls, and cry,
Dacre, for England, win or die !"

Yet hear," quoth Howard, “ calmly hear,
Nor deem my words the words of fear:
For who, in field or foray slack,
Saw the blanche lion e'er fall back?
But thus to risk our Border flower
In strife against a kingdom's power,
Ten thousand Scots 'gainst thousands three,
Certes, were desperate policy.
Nay, take the terms the ladye made,
Ere conscious of the advancing aid ;
Let Musgrave meet fierce Deloraine
In single fight, and if he gain,
He gains for us; but if he's crossid,
'Tis but a single warrior lost :
The rest, retreating as they came,
Avoid defeat, and death, and shame."

XXVII. Proud she look'd round, applause to claimThen lighten'd Thirlestane's eye of flame;

His bugle Wat of Harden blew: Pensils and pennons wide were flung, To heaven the Border slogan rung,

« Saint Mary for the young Buccleuch !” The English war-cry answered wide,

And forward bent each southern spear; Each Kendal archer made a stride,

And drew the bow-string to his ear ; Each minstrel's war-note loud was blown :But, ere a gray goose shaft had flown,

A horseman gallop'd from the rear.

XXXI. Ill could the haughty Dacre brook His brother-warden's sage rebuke: And yet his forward step he stay'd, And slow and sullenly obey'd. But ne'er again the Border-side Did these two lords in friendship ride ; And this slight discontent, men say, Cost blood upon another day.

XXVIII. “ Ah! noble lords !” he, breathless, said, “What treason has your march betray'd ? What make you here, from aid so far, Before you walls, around you war? Your foemen triumph in the thought, That in the toils the lion's caught. Already on dark Ruberslaw The Douglas holds his weapon-schaw,t The lances, waving in his train, Clothe the dun heap like autumn grain ; And on the Liddel's northern strand, To bar retreat to Cumberland, Lord Maxwell ranks his merry men good, Beneath the eagle and the rood;

XXXII. The pursuivant-at-arms again

Before the castle took his stand;
His trumpet call’d, with parleying strain,

The leaders of the Scottish band;
And he defied, in Musgrave's right,
Stout Deloraine to single fight;
A gauntlet at their feet he laid,
And thus the terms of fight he said :-
“ If in the lists good Musgrave's sword

Vanquish the knight of Deloraine,
Your youthful chieftain, Branksome's lord,

Shall hostage for his clan remain : If Deloraine foil good Musgrave, The boy his liberty shall have.

* Lyke-wake, the watching a corpse previous to intor. ment.

+ Weapon-schau, the military array of a country.

Howe'er it falls, the English band,
Unharming Scots, by Scots unharm’d,
In peaceful march, like men unarm’d,
Shall straight retreat to Cumberland."

Unconscious of the near relief,
The proffer pleased each Scottish chief,

Though much their ladye sage gainsay'd, For though their hearts were brave and true, From Jedwood's recent sack they knew,

How tardy was the regent's aid: And you may guess the noble dame

Durst not the secret prescience own,
Sprung from the art she might not name,

By which the coming help was known.
Closed was the compact, and agreed,
That lists should be enclosed with speed,

Beneath a castle, on a lawn:
They fix'd the morrow for the strife,
On foot, with Scottish axe and knife,

At the fourth hour from peep of dawn;
When Deloraine, from sickness freed,
Or else a champion in his stead,
Should for himself and chieftain stand,
Against stout Musgrave, hand to hand.

He paused: the listening dames again
Applaud the hoary minstrel's strain;
With many a word of kindly cheer,-
In pity half, and half sincere,

Marvell'd the dutchess how so well
His legendary song could tell,
Of ancient deeds, so long forgot ;
Of feuds, whose memory was not ;
Of forests, now laid waste and bare ;
Of towers, which harbour now the hare ;
Of manners, long since changed and gone;
Of chiefs, who under their gray stone
So long had slept, that fickle fame
Had blotted from her rolls their name,
And twined round some new minion's head
The fading wreath for which they bled;
In sooth, 'twas strange, this old man's verse
Could call them from their marble hearse.

The harper smiled, well pleased; for ne'er Was flattery lost on poet's ear. A simple race! they waste their toil For the vain tribute of a smile; E’en when in age their flame expires, Her dulcet breath can fan its fires : Their drooping fancy wakes at praise, And strives to trim the shortlived blaze.

Smiled then, well pleased, the aged man, And thus his tale continued ran.


Call it not vain :-they do not err,

Who say, that when the poet dies,
Mute nature mourns her worshipper,

And celebrates his obsequies ;
Who say tall cliff, and cavern lone,
For the departed bard make moan;
That mountains weep in crystal rill;
That flowers in tears of balm distil ;
Through his loved groves that breezes sigh,
And oaks, in deeper groan, reply ;
And rivers teach their rushing wave
To murmur dirges round his grave.

I know right well, that, in their lay,
Full many minstrels sing and say,

Such combat should be made on horse,
On foaming steed, in full career,
With brand to aid, when as the spear

Should shiver in the course :
But he, the jovial harper, taught
Me, yet a youth, how it was fought,

In guise which now I say ;
He knew each ordinance and clause
Of black Lord Archibald's battle laws,

In the old Douglas' day.
He brook'd not, he, that scoffing tongue
Should tax his minstrelsy with wrong,

Or call his song untrue ;
For this, when they the goblet plied,
And such rude taunt had chafed his pride,

The bard of Reull he slew.
On Teviot's side, in fight they stood,
And tuneful hands were stain'd with blood;
Where still the thorn's white branches wave
Memorial o'er his rival's grave.

Why should I tell the rigid doom,
That dragg'd my master to his tomb;

How Ousenam's maidens tore their hair, Wept till their eyes were dead and dim, And wrung their hands for love of him

Who died at Jedwood Air ?
He died !-His scholars, one by one,
To the cold silent grave are gone;
And I, alas! survive alone,
To muse o’er rivalries of yore,
And grieve that I shall hear no more
The strains, with envy heard before;
For, with my minstrel brethren fled,
My jealousy of song is dead.

Not that, in sooth, o'er mortal urn
Those things inanimate can mourn ;
But that the stream, the wood, the gale,
Is vocal with the plaintive wail
Of those, who, else forgotten long,
Lived in the poet's faithful song,
And, with the poet's parting breath,
Whose memory feels a second death.
The maid's pale shade, who wails her lot,
That love, true love, should be forgot,
From rose and hawthorn shakes the tear
Upon the gentle minstrel's bier:

The phantom knight, his glory fled,
Mourns o'er the field he heap'd with dead;
Mounts the wild blast that sweeps amain,
And shrieks along the battle-plain :
The chief, whose antique crownlet long
Still sparkled in the feudal song,
Now, from the mountain's misty throne,
Sees, in the thanedom once his own,

Where martial spirits, all on fire,
Breathed only blood and mortal ire.
By mutual inroads, mutual blows,
By habit, and by nation, foes,

They met on Teviot's strand :
They met, and sate them mingled down,
Without a threat, without a frown,

As brothers meet in foreign land:
The hands, the spear that lately grasp'd,
Still in the mailed gauntlet clasp'd;

Were interchanged in greeting dear;
Visors were raised, and faces shown,
And many a friend, to friend made known,

Partook of social cheer.
Some drove the jolly bowl about;

With dice and draughts some chased the day;
And some, with many a merry shout,
In riot, revelry, and rout,

Pursued the foot-ball play,

His ashes undistinguish'd lie,
His place, his power, his memory die:
His groans the lonely caverns fill,
His tears of rage impel the rill;
All mourn the minstrel's harp unstrung,
Their name unknown, their praise unsung.

Scarcely the hot assault was staid,
Th terms of truce were scarcely made,
When they could spy, from Branksome's towers,
The advancing march of martial powers;
Thick clouds of dust afar appear'd,
And trampling steeds were faintly heard ;
Bright spears, above the column's dun,
Glanced momentary to the sun ;
And feudal banners fair display'd
The bands that moved to Branksome's aid.

Vails not to tell each hardy clan,

From the fair Middle Marches came;
The Bloody Heart blazed in the van,

Announcing Douglas' dreaded name!
Vails not to tell what steeds did spurn,
Where the Seven Spears of Wedderburne

The men in battle-order set;
And Swinton laid the lance in rest,
That tamed of yore the sparkling crest

Of Clarence's Plantagenet.
Nor lists, I say what hundreds more,
From the rich Merse and Lammermore,
And Tweed's fair borders, to the war,
Beneath the crest of Old Dunbar,

And Hepburn's mingled banners come,
Down the steep mountain glittering far,
And shouting still, “ a home! a home !"

Now squire and knight, from Branksome tent,
On many a courteous message went;
To every chief and lord they paid
Meet thanks for prompt and powerful aid ;
And told them,-how a truce was made,

And how a day of fight was ta’en
'Twixt Musgrave and stout Deloraine ;

And how the ladye pray'd them dear,
That all would stay the fight to see,
And deign, in love and courtesy,

To taste of Branksome cheer.
Nor, while they bade to feast each Scot,
Were England's noble lords forgot;
Himself, the hoary seneschal,
Rode forth, in seemly terms to call
Those gallant foes to Branksome hall.
Accepted Howard, than whom knight
Was never dubb'd more bold in fight;
Nor, when from war and armour free,
More famed for stately courtesy.
But angry Dacre rather chose
In his pa vilion to repose.

Now, noble dame, perchance you ask,

How these two hostile armies met?
Deeming it were no easy task

To keep the truce which here was set;

Yet, be it known, had bugles blown,

Or sign of war been seen,
Those bands, so fair together ranged,
Those hands, so frankly interchanged,

Had died with gore the green.
The merry shout by Teviot side
Had sunk in war-cries wild and wide,

And in the groan of death;
And whingers,* now in friendship bare,
The social meal to part and share,

Had found a bloody sheath. 'Twixt truce and war, such sudden change Was not infrequent, nor held strange,

In the old Border-day ;
But yet on Branksome's towers and town,
In peaceful merriment sunk down
The sun's declining ray.

The blithsome signs of wassel gay
Decay'd not with the dying day;
Soon through the latticed windows tall
Of lofty Branksome's lordly hall,
Divided square by shafts of stone,
Huge flakes of ruddy lustre shone;
Nor less the gilded rafters rang
With merry harp and beaker's clang:
And frequent, on the darkening plain,

Loud hollo, whoop, or whistle ran,
As bands, their stragglers to regain,

Give the shrill watchword of their clan; And revellers o'er their bowls proclaim Douglas or Dacre's conquering name.

Less frequent heard, and fainter still,

At length, the various clamours died;
And you might hear, from Branksome hill,

No sound but Teviot's rushing tide; Save, when the changing sentinel The challenge of his watch could tell; And save, where, through the dark profound, The clanging axe and hammer's sound

* A sort of knife, or poniard.

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