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Albeit the blanch'd locks below
Before their father's band;
Ne'er belted on a brand.
They cross'd the Liddel at curfew hour,
Three hours would bring to Teviot's strand Three thousand armed Englishmen.
Meanwhile, full many a warlike band, From Teviot, Aill, and Ettrick shade, Came in their chief's defence to aid. There was saddling and mounting in haste,
There was pricking o'er moor and lee; He that was last at the trysting place
Was but lightly held of his gay ladye.
Came trooping down the Todshawhill;
And by the sword they hold it still, Hearken, ladye, to the tale, How thy sires won fair Eskdale.Earl Morton was lord of that valley fair, The Beattisons were his vassals there. The earl was gentle and mild of mood, The vassels were warlike, and fierce, and rude; High of heart, and haughty of word, Little they reck'd of a tame liege lord. The earl to fair Eskdale came, Homage and seignory to claim : Of Gilbert the Galliard, a heriot* he sought, Saying, “ Give thy best steed, as a vassel ought. - Dear to me is my bonny white steed, Oft has he help'd me at pinch of need; Lord and earl though thou be, I trow I can rein Bucksfoot better than thou.” Word on word gave fuel to fire, Till so highly blazed the Beattisons' ire, But that the earl to flight had ta’en, The vassals there their lord had slain. Sore he plied both whip and spur, As he urged his steed through Eskdale muir; And it fell down a dreary weight, Just on the threshold of Branksome gate.
From dreary Gamescleugh's dusky height, His ready lances Thirlestane brave
Array'd beneath a banner bright.
For faith mid feudal jars;
Would march to southern wars ;
With many a mosstrooper came on:
Without the bend of Murdieston.
XI. The earl was a wrathful man to see, Full fain avenged would he be. In haste to Branksome's lord he spoke, Saying-- Take these traitors to thy yoke: For a cast of hawks, and a purse of gold; All Eskdale I'll sell thee, to have and bold: Beshrew thy heart, of the Beattisons' clan If thou leavest on Esk a landed man : But spare Woodkerrick's lands alone, For he lent me his horse to escape upon."A glad man then was Branksome bold, Down he flung him the purse of gold ; To Eskdale soon he spurr'd amain, And with him five hundred riders has ta’en. He left his merryman in the midst of the hill, And bade them hold them close and still ; And alone he wended to the plain, To meet with the Galliard and all his train. To Gilbert the Galliard thus he said :“Know thou me for thy liege lord and head: Deal not with me as with Morton tame, For Scots play best at the roughest game. Give me in peace my heriot due, Thy bonny white steed, or thou shalt rue.
* The feudal superior, in certain cases, was entitled to the best horse of the vassal, in name of Heriot, or Hers. zeld.
If my horn I three times wind,
Wat Tinlinn, thou shalt be his guide
Sure some fell fiend has cursed our line,
That coward should e'er be son of mine!”
XV. Ne'er shall it be the Galliard's lot,
A heavy task Wat Tinlinn had, To yield bis 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 crossid, 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 chieftain 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,
Rode back to Branksome fiery fast.
That looks o'er Branksome's towers and wood:
And martial murmurs from below,
Proclaim'd the approaching southern foe.
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 ;
While broke at times the solemn hum,
The Almayn's sullen kettle-drum;
And banners tall, of crimson sheen,
Above the copse appear;
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. And over him hold his father's shield.”
To back and guard the archer band,
Lord Dacre's bill-men were at hand:
A hardy race, on Irthing bred,
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 sbed 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,
Behind the English bill and bow,
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 chivalry ; 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 inade 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 dressid, The lion argent deck'd his breast; He led a boy of blooming hueO 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's axe, and
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's, 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 garris 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. I Note of assault.
A moment changed that ladye's cheer;
And Jedwood, Esk, and Teviotdale, Gush'd to her eye the unbidden tear;
Have to proud Angus come; She gazed upon the leaders round,
And all the Merse and Lauderdale And dark and sad each warrior frown'd;
Have risen with haughty Home. Then deep within her sobbing breast
An exile from Northumberland, She lock'd the struggling sigh to rest;
In Liddesdale I've wander'd long ; Unalter'd and collected stood,
But still my heart was with merry England, And thus replied in dauntless mood :
And cannot brook my country's wrong ;
And hard I've spurr'd all night to show
The mustering of the coming foe.” “Say to your lords of high emprise,
“And let them come!” fierce Dacre cried ; Will cleanse him, by oath, of march-treason stain, “ For soon yon crest, my father's pride, Or else he will the combat take
That swept the shores of Judah's seas, 'Gainst Musgrave, for his honour's sake.
And waved in gales of Galilee, No knight in Cumberland so good,
From Branksome's highest towers display'd, But William may count with him kin and blood. Shall mock the rescue's lingering aid !"Knighthood he took of Douglas' sword,
Level each harquebuss on row; When English blood swellid Ancram ford; Draw, merry archers, draw the bow; And but that Lord Dacre's steed was wight, Up, bill-men, to the walls, and cry, And bore him ably in the flight,
Dacre, for England, win or die!"
“ Yet hear,” quoth Howard,“ calmly hear, Through me no friend shall meet his doom; Nor deem my words the words of fear: Here, while I live, no foe finds room.
For who, in field or foray slack, Then, if thy lords their purpose urge,
Saw the blanche lion e'er fall back? Take our defiance loud and high ;
But thus to risk our Border flower Our slogan is their lyke-wake* dirge,
In strife against a kingdom's power, Our moat, the grave where they shall lie.":
Ten thousand Scots 'gainst thousands three,
Certes, were desperate policy.
Nay, take the terms the ladye made,
Ere conscious of the advancing aid ; Then lightend Thirlestane's eye of flame;
Let Musgrave meet fierce Deloraine His bugle Wat of Harden blew :
In single fight, and if he gain, Pensils and pennons wide were fung,
He gains for us; but if he's cross'd, To heaven the Border slogan rung,
'Tis but a single warrior lost : “ Saint Mary for the young Buccleuch!”
The rest, retreating as they came,
Avoid defeat, and death, and shame."
Ill could the haughty Dacre brook Each miostrel's war-note loud was blown :
His brother-warden's sage rebuke: But, ere a gray goose shaft had down,
And yet his forward step he stay'd, A horseman gallop'd from the rear.
And slow and sullenly obey'd.
But ne'er again the Border-side
Did these two lords in friendship ride ; “ Ah! noble lords !” he, breathless, said,
And this slight discontent, men say, “What treason has your march betray'd ?
Cost blood upon another day.
The pursuivant-at-arms again That in the toils the lion's caught.
Before the castle took his stand; Already on dark Ruberslaw
His trumpet call’d, with parleying strain, The Douglas holds his weapon-schaw,t
The leaders of the Scottish band; The lances, waving in his train,
And he defied, in Musgrave's right, Clothe the dun heap like autumn grain ;
Stout Deloraine to single fight; And on the Liddel's northern strand,
A gauntlet at their feet he laid, To bar retreat to Cumberland,
And thus the terms of fight he said :Lord Maxwell ranks his merry men good,
“ If in the lists good Musgrave's sword Beneath the eagle and the rood;
Vanquish the knight of Deloraine,
Your youthful chieftain, Branksome's lord, Lyke-wake, the watching a corpse previous to inter.
Shall hostage for his clan remain : ment.
If Deloraine foil good Musgrave, + Weapon-schau, the military array of a country.
The boy his liberty shall have.
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."
He paused: the listening dames again
The harper smiled, well pleased; for ne'er
Smiled then, well pleased, the aged man, And thus his tale continued ran.
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:
At the fourth hour from peep of dawn ;
Such combat should be made on horse,
Should shiver in the course :
In guise which now I say ;
In the old Douglas' day.
Or call his song untrue;
The bard of Reull he slew.
How Ousenam's maidens tore their hair,
Who died at Jedwood Air ?
Who say, that when the poet dies,
And celebrates his obsequies ;
II. 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,