Abbildungen der Seite

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,
The 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.

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.

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 !"

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 watch word of their clan; And revellers o'er their bowls proclaim Douglas or Dacre's conquering name.

Now squire and kvight, 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, percbance you ask,

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

To keep the truce which here was set;


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.

Rung from the nether lawn ;

And oft I've deem'd, perchance he thought For many a busy hand toild there,

Their erring passion might have wrought Strong pales to shape, and beams to square,

Sorrow, and sin, and shame; The lists' dread barriers to prepare

And death to Cranstoun's gallant knight, Against the morrow's dawn.

And to the gentle ladye bright,

Disgrace, and loss of fame.

But earthly spirit could not tell
Margaret from hall did soon retreat,

The heart of them that love so well. Despite the dame's reproving eye;

True love's the gift which God has given Nor mark'd she, as she left her seat,

To man alone beneath the heaven. Full many a stifled sigh:

It is not fantasy's hot fire, For many a noble warrior strove

Whose wishes, soon as granted, fly; To win the power of Teviot's love,

It liveth not in fierce desire, And many a bold ally

With dead desire it doth not die; With throbbing head and anxious heart,

It is the secret sympathy, All in her lonely bower apart,

The silver link, the silken tie, In broken sleep she lay;

Which heart to heart, and mind to mind, By times, from silken couch she rose;

In body and in soul can bind.While yet the banner'd hosts repose,

Now leave we Margaret and her knight,
She view'd the dawning day:

To tell you of the approaching fight.
Of all the hundreds sunk to rest,
First woke the loveliest and the best.


Their warning blast the bugles blew,

The pipe's sbrill port* aroused each clan: She gazed upon the inner court,

In haste, the deadly strife to view, Which in the tower's tall shadow lay;

The trooping warriors eager ran : Where coursers' clang, and stamp, and snort, Thick round the lists their lances stood, Had rung the livelong yesterday ;

Like blasted pines in Ettrick wood;
Now still as death; till, stalking slow,-

To Branksome many a look they threw,
The jingling spurs announced his tread, - The combatants' approach to view,
A stately warrior pass'd below;

And bandied many a word of boast,
But when he raised his plumed head-

About the knight each favour'd most.
Blessed Mary! can it be?-
Secure, as if in Ousenam bowers,

He walks through Branksome's hostile towers, Meantime full anxious was the dame;
With fearless step and free.

For now arose disputed claim,
She dared not sign, she dared not speak-

Of who should fight for Deloraine, 0! if one page's slumbers break,

'Twixt Harden and 'twixt Thirlestane: His blood the price must pay!

They 'gan to reckon kin and rent, Not all the pearls queen Mary wears,

And frowning brow on brow was bent; Not Margaret's yet more precious tears,

But yet not long the strife-for, lo!
Shall buy his life a day.

Himself, the knight of Deloraine,

Strong, as it seem'd, and free from pain,

In armour sheath'd from top to toe, Yet was his hazard small; for well

Appear'd, and craved the combat due. You may bethink you of the spell

The dame her charm successful knew,t Of that sly urchin page ;

And the fierce chiefs their claims withdrew. This to his lord he did impart, And made him seem, by glamour art,

XVI. A knight from hermitage.

When for the lists they sought the plain, Unchallenged, thus, the warder's post,

The stately ladye's silken rein The court, unchallenged, thus he crossid,

Did noble Howard hold; For all the vassalage:

Unarmed by her side he walk'd, But, 0! what magic's quaint disguise

And much in courteous phrase they talk'd Could blind fair Margaret's azure eyes !

Of feats of arms of old. She started from her seat;

Costly his garb—his Flemish ruff While with surprise and fear she strove,

Fell o'er his doublet, shaped of buff, And both could scarcely master love

With satin slash'd and lined;
Lord Henry's at her feet.

Tawny his boot, and gold his spur,

His cloak was all of Poland fur,

His hose with silver twined; Oft have I mused, what purpose bad

His Bilboa blade, by Marchmen felt,
That foul malicious urchin had

Hung in a broad and studded belt;
To bring this meeting round;
For happy love's a heavenly sight,
And by a vile malignant sprite

* A martial piece of music, adapted to the bagpipes. In such no joy is found;

+ See p. 609, stanza XXIII.

31 %

Then, Teviot! how thine echoes rang, When bugle sound, and trumpet clang

Let loose the martial foes, And in 'mid list, with shield poised high, And measured step, and wary eye,

The combatants did close.

XXI. Iu would it suit your gentle ear, Ye lovely listeners, to hear How to the axe the helms did sound, And blood pour'd down from many a wound; For desperate was the strife and long, And either warrior fierce and strong. But, were each dame a listening knight, I well could tell how warriors fight; For I have seen war's lightning flashing, Seen the claymore with bayonet clashing, Seen through red blood the war-borse dashing, And scorn'd, amid the reeling strife, To yield a step for death or life.

Hence, in rude phrase, the Borderers still
Call'd noble Howard, belted Will.

Behind Lord Howard and the dame,
Fair Margaret on her palfrey came,

Whose foot-cloth swept the ground;
White was her wimple and her veil,
And her loose locks a chaplet pale

Of whitest roses bound.
The lordly Angus, by her side,
In courtesy to cheer her tried ;
Without his aid her hand in vain
Had strove to guide her broider'd rein.
He deem'd she shudder'd at the sight
Of warriors met for mortal fight;
But cause of terror, all unguessid,
Was fluttering in her gentle breast,
When, in their chair of crimson placed,
The dame and she the barriers graced.

Prize of the field, the young Buccleuch,
An English knight led forth to view ;
Scarce rued the boy his present plight,
So much he long'd to see the fight.
Within the lists, in knightly pride,
High Home and haughty Dacre ride ;
Their leading staffs of steel they wield,
As marshals of the mortal field;
While to each knight their care assign'd
Like vantage of the sun and wind.
Then heralds hoarse did loud proclaim,
In king and queen, and warden's name,

That none, while lasts the strife,
Should dare, by look, or sign, or word,
Aid to a champion to afford,

On peril of his life ;
And not a breath the silence broke,
Till thus the alternate heralds spoke :-


ENGLISH HERALD. Here standeth Richard of Musgrave,

Good knight, and true, and freely born, Amends from Deloraine to crave,

For foul despiteous scathe and scorn:
He sayeth, that William of Deloraine

Is traitor false by Border laws;
This with his sword he will maintain,
So help him God, and his good cause !


SCOTTISH HERALD. Here stanleth William of Deloraine, Good knight, and true, of noble strain, Who sayeth, that foul treason's stain, Since he bore arms, ne'er soil'd his coat;

And that, so help him God above!

He will on Musgrave's body prove, He lies most foully in his throat.

XXII. 'Tis done, 'tis done! that fatal blow

Has stretch'd him on the bloody plain; He strives to rise-Brave Musgrave, no!

Thence never shalt thou rise again! He chokes in blood-some friendly hand Undo the visor's barred band, Unfix the gorget's iron clasp, And give him room for life to gasp ! O, bootless aid !-Haste, holy friar, Haste, ere the sinner shall expire ! Of all his guilt let him be shriven, And smooth his path from earth to heaven?

XXIII. In haste the holy friar sped,

His naked foot was died with red,

As through the lists he ran :
Unmindful of the shouts on high,
That hail'd the conqueror's victory,

He raised the dying man;
Loose waved his silver beard and hair,
As o'er him he kneeld down in prayer ;
And still the crucifix on high
He holds before his darkening eye;
And still he bends an anxious ear,
His faltering penitence to bear;

Still props him from the bloody sod;
Still, even when soul and body part,
Pours ghostly comfort on his heart,

And bids him trust in God! Unheard he prays ;--the death-pang's o'er! Richard of Musgrave breathes no more.


As if exhausted in the fight,
Or musing o'er the piteous sight,

The silent victor stands :
His beaver did he not unclasp,
Mark'd not the shouts, felt not the grasp

Of gratulating bands. When, lo! strange cries of wild surprise, Mingled with seeming terror, rise

Among the Scottish bands;

Forward, brave champions to the fight! Sound trumpets !


“God defend the right!"

And all, amid the throng'd array,
In panic haste gave open way
To a half-naked ghastly man,
Who downward from the castle ran :
He cross'd the barriers at a bound,
And wild and haggard look'd around,

As dizzy, and in pain;
And all upon the armed ground,

Knew William of Deloraine !
Each ladye sprung from seat with speed;
Vaulted each marshal from his steed;

“ And who art thou,” they cried, “ Who hast this battle fought and won ?” His plumed helm was soon undone

“ Cranstoun of Teviotside! For this fair prize I've fonght and won :"And to the ladye led her son.

But well she thought, ere midnight came,
Of that strange page the pride to tame,
From his soul hands the book to save,
And send it back to Michael's grave.-
Needs not to tell each tender word
'Twixt Margaret and 'twixt Cranstoun's lord;
Now how she told of former woes,
And how her bosom fell and rose,
While he and Musgrave bandied blows.-
Needs not these lovers' joys to tell;
One day, fair maids, you'll know them well.

XXV. Full oft the rescued boy she kiss'd, And often press'd him to her breast; For, under all her dauntless show, Her heart had throbb'd at every blow; Yet not Lord Cranstoun deign'd she greet, Though low he kneeled at her feet. Me list not tell what words were made, What Douglas, Home, and Howard said

- For Howard was a generous foeAnd how the clan united pray'd,

The ladye would the feud forego, And deign to bless the nuptial hour Of Cranstoun's lord and Teviot's flower.

William of Deloraine, some chance
Had waken'd from his deathlike trance ;

And taught that, in the listed plain,
Another, in his arms and shield,
Against fierce Musgrave axe did wield,

Under the name of Deloraine.
Hence, to the field, unarm’d, he ran,
And hence his presence scared the clan,
Who held him for some fleeting wraith,*
And not a man of blood and breath.

Not much this new ally he loved,
Yet, when he saw what hap had proved,

He greeted him right heartilie:
He would not waken old debate,
For he was void of rancorous hate,

Though rude, and scant of courtesy.
In raids he spilt but seldom blood,
Unless when men at arms withstood,
Or, as was meet, for deadly feud.
He ne'er bore grudge for stalwart blow,
Ta'en in fair fight from gallant foe:
And so 'twas seen of him, e’en now,

When on dead Musgrave he look'd down ;
Grief darken'd on his rugged brow,

Though half disguised with a frown; And thus, while sorrow bent his head, His foeman's epitaph he made.

She look'd to river, look'd to bill,

Thought on the spirit's prophesy,
Then broke her silence stern and still,

“ Not you, but fate, has vanquish'd me; Their influence kindly stars may shower On Teviot's tide and Branksome's tower,

Por pride is quell'd, and love is free.” She took fair Margaret by the hand, Who, breathless, trembling, scarce might stand;

That hand to Cranstoun's lord gave she:-
" As I am true to thee and thine,
Do thou be true to me and mine!

This clasp of love our bond shall be,
For this is your betrothing day,
And all these noble lords shall stay,
To grace it with their company.

All as they left the listed plain,
Much of the story she did gain :
How Cranstoun fought with Deloraine,
And of his page, and of the book
Which from the wounded knight he took ;
And how he sought her castle high,
That morn by help of gramarye ;
How, in Sir William's armour dight,
Stolen by his page, while slept the knight,
He took on bim the single fight.
But half his tale he left unsaid,
And linger'd till he join'd the maid.-
Cared not the ladye to betray
Her mystic arts in view of day;

XXIX. “Now, Richard Musgrave, liest thou here!

I ween, my deadly enemy; For, if I slew thy brother dear,

Thou slewest a sister's son to me; And when I lay in dungeon dark,

or Naworth Castle, long months three, Till ransom'd for a thousand mark,

Dark Musgrave, it was long of thee. And, Musgrave, could our fight be tried,

And thou wert now alive, as I,
No mortal man should us divide,

Till one or both of us did die.
Yet rest thee, God! for well I know
I ne'er shall find a nobler foe.
In all the northern counties here,
Whose word is snafle, spur, and spear,t
Thou wert the best to follow gear.
'Twas pleasure, as we look'd behind,
To see how thou the chase couldst wind,

* The spectral apparition of a living person.

The lands that over Ouse to Berwick forth do bear, Have for their blazon had, the gnafle, spur, and spear.

Poly-Albion, song xiii.

To the vile dust, from whence he sprung, Unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung.

Cheer the dark bloodhound on his way,
And with the bugle rouse the fray!
I'd give the lands of Deloraine,
Dark Musgrave were alive again."--

XXX So mourn'd he, till Lord Dacre's band Were bowning back to Cumberland. They raised brave Musgrave from the field, And laid him on his bloody shield ; On levellid lances four and four, By turns, the noble burden bore. Before, at times, upon the gale, Was heard the minstrel's plaintive wail; Behind, four priests, in sable stole, Sung requiem for the warrior's soul: Around, the horsemen slowly rode ; With trailing pikes the spearmen trode; And thus the gallant knight they bore, Through Liddesdale, to Leven's shore ; Thence to Holme Coltrame's lofty nave, And laid him in his father's grave.

II. O Caledonia ! stern and wild, Meet nurse for a poetic child ! Land of brown heath and shaggy wood, Land of the mountain and the flood, Land of my sires! what mortal hand Can e'er untie the filial band, That knits me to thy rugged strand! Still, as I view each well known scene, Think what is now, and what hath been, Seems as, to me, of all bereft, Sole friends thy woods and streams are left i And thus I love them better still, Even in extremity of ill. By Yarrow's stream still let me stray, Though none should guide iny feeble way; Still feel the breeze down Ettrick break, Although it chill my wither'd cheek; Still lay my head by Teviot's stone, Though there, forgotten and alone, The bard may draw his parting groan.

The harp's wild notes, though hush'd the song,
The mimic march of death prolong;
Now seems it far, and now anear,
Now meets, and now eludes the ear;
Now seems some mountain side to sweep,
Now faintly dies in valley deep;
Seems now as if the minstrel's wail,
Now the sad requiem loads the gale:
Last, o'er the warrior's closing grave,
Rung the full choir in choral stave.
Aster due pause, they bade him tell,
Why he who touch'd the harp so well,
Should thus, with ill-rewarded toil,
Wander a poor and thankless soil,
When the more generous southern land
Would well requite his skilful hand,

Not scorn'd like me! to Branksome Hall
'The minstrels came, at festive call:
Trooping they came, from near and far,
The jovial priests of mirth and war;
Alike for feast and fight prepared,
Battle and banquet both they shared.
Of late, before each martial clan,
They blew their death-note in the van,

for every merry mate,
Rose the portcullis' iron grate;
They sound the pipe, they strike the string,
They dance, they revel, and they sing,
Till the rude turrets shake and ring.

But now,


The aged harper, howsoe'er His only friend, his harp, was dear, Liked not to hear it rank'd so high Above his flowing poesy ; Less liked he still that scornful jeer Misprized the land he loved so dear; High was the sound, as thus again The bard resumed his minstrel strain.

Me lists not at this tide declare
The splendour of the spousal rite,
How muster'd in the chapel fair
Both maid and matron, squire and knight;
Me lists not tell of owches rare,
Of mantles green, and braided hair,
And kirtles furr'd with miniver;
What plumage waved the altar round,
How spurs, and ringing chainlets sound:
And hard it were for bard to speak
The changeful hue of Margaret's cheek;
That lovely hue which comes and flies
As awe and shame alternate rise.

Canto Vi.


I. BREATHES there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said,

This is my own, my native land ! Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd, As home his footsteps he hath turn'd,

From wandering on a foreign strand ? If such there breathe, go, mark him well; For him no minstrel's raptures swell; High though his titles, proud his name, Boundless his wealth as wish can claim; Despite those titles, power, and pelf, The wretch, concentred all in self, Living, shall forfeit fair renown, And, doubly dying, shall go down

Some bards have sung, the ladye high
Chapel or altar came not nigh;
Nor durst the rites of spousal grace,
So much she fear'd cach holy place.
False slanders these ;-I trust right well,
She wrought not by forbidden spell;
For mighty words and signs have power
D'er sprites in planetary hour:
Yet scarce I praise their venturous part,
Who tamper with such dangerous art:

« ZurückWeiter »