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But this for faithful truth I
But ever from that time, 'twas said, The ladye by the altar stood,
That Dickon wore a Cologne blade.
The dwarf, who fear'd his master's eye
Might his foul treachery espie, A merlin sat upon her wrist,
Now sought the castle buttery, Held by a leash of silken twist.
Where many a yeoman, bold and free,
Reveli'd as merrily and well
As those that sat in lordly selle.
Wat Tinlinn, there, did frankly raise 'Twas now the merry of noon,
The pledge to Arthur Fire-the-braes ; And in the lofty arched hall
And he, as by his breeding bound, Was spread the gorgeous festival.
To Howard's merrry men sent it round. Steward and squire, with heedful haste,
To quit them, on the English side, Marshall'd the rank of every guest ;
Red Roland Forster loudly cried, Pages, with ready blade, were there,
“A deep carouse to yon fair bride !" The mighty meal to carve and share:
At every pledge, from vat and pail, O'er capon, heron-shew, and crane,
Foam'd forth, in floods, the nut-brown ale,
While shout the riders every one,
Such day of mirth ne'er cheer'd their clan, And cygnet from St. Mary's wave;
Since old Buccleuch the name did gain, O'er ptarmigan and venison,
When in the cleuch the buck was ta’en. The priest had spoke his benison;
IX Then rose the riot and the din,
The wily page, with vengeful thought, Above, beneath, without, within!
Remember'd him of Tinlinn's yew, For, from the lofty balcony,
And swore, it should be dearly bought, Rung trumpet, shalm, and psaltery ;
That ever he the arrow drew. Their changing bowls old warriors quaff'd,
First, he the yeoman did molest, Loudly they spoke, and loudly laughd;
With bitter gibe and taunting jest ; Whisper'd young knights, in tone more mild,
Told how he fled at Solway strise, To ladies fair, and ladies smiled.
And how Hop Armstrong cheer'd his wife: The hooded hawks, high perch'd on beam,
Then, shunning still his powerful arm, The clamour join'd, with whistling scream,
At unawares he wrought him harm; And flapp'd their wings, and shook their bells,
From trencher stole his choicest cheer, In concert with the staghounds' yells.
Dash'd from his lips his can of beor ; Round go the flasks of ruddy wine,
Then, to his knee sly creeping on, From Bordeaux, Orleans, or the Rhine,
With bodkin pierced him to the bone; Their tasks the busy sewers ply,
The venom'd wound, and festering joint,
Long after rued that bodkin's point.
The startled yeoman swore and spurn'd,
And board and flagons overturn'd, The goblin page, omitting still
Riot and clamour wild began; No opportunity of ill,
Back to the hall the urchin ran;
Took in a darkling nook his post,
And grinn'), and mutter'd, “ Lost! lost! lost!” By nature fierce, and warm with wine,
X. And now in humour highly cross'd,
By this, the dame, lest farther fray About some steeds his band had lost,
Should mar the concord of the day, High words to words succeeding still,
Had bid the minstrels tune their lay. Smote, with his gauntlet, stout Hunthil ;
And first stept forth old Albert Græme, A hot and haughty Rutherford,
The minstrel of that ancient name: Whom men call's Dickon Draw-the-sword.
Was none who struck the harp so well, He took it on the page's saye,
Within the Land Debateable; Hunthil had driven these steeds away.
Well friended, too, his hardy kin, Then Howard, Home, and Douglas rose,
Whoever lost were sure to win; The kindling discord to compose:
They sought the beeves, that made their brota, Stern Rutherford right little said,
In Scotland and in England both. But bit his glove and shook his head.
In homely guise, as nature bade, A fortnight thence, in Inglewood,
His simple song the Borderer said.
It was an English ladye bright,
(The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,)
He pierced her brother to the heart,
Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall ; So perish all, would true love part,
That love may still be lord of all.
And then he took the cross divine,
Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall, And he died for her sake in Palestine,
So love was still the lord of all.
Now all ye lovers, that faithful prove,
(The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,) Pray for their souls who died for love,
For love shall still be lord of all!
To which the wizard led the gallant knight,
A hallow'd taper shed a glimmering light On mystic implements of magic might;
On cross, and character, and talisman, And almagest, and altar,-nothing bright;
For fitful was the lustre, pale and wan,
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
Arose a bard of loftier port;
Renown'd in haughty Henry's court:
Who has not heard of Surrey's fame? His was the hero's soul of fire,
And his, the bard's immortal name, And his was love exalted high By all the glow of chivalry.
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.
“ 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.
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-snake 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 falchiors 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 fame, To Roslıu'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.
“ Last night the gifted se 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 fairSo 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.
XXVIII. Nought of the bridal will I tell, Which after in short space befell; Nor how brave sons and daughters fair Bless'd Teviot's flower, and Cranstoun's heir : After such dreadful scene, 'twere vain, To wake the note of mirth again. More meet it were to mark the day
of penitence and prayer divine, When pilgrim chiefs, in sad array,
Sought Melrose' holy shrine.
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; With sable shroud and scapular, And snow-white stoles, in order due, The holy fathers, two and two,
In long procession came; Taper, and host, and book they bare, And holy banner, flourish'd fair
With the Redeemer's name: Above the prostrate pilgrim band The mitred abbot stretch'd his hand,
And bless'd them as they kneel'd ;
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 Scottish 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 sinners 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 has 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 suc
since he is sensible that he hazards, by this second intrusion, any reputation which his 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'p is the hard--the minstrel gone.
TO WILLIAM STEWART ROSE, ESQ.
Ashestiel, Ettrick Forest.
No longer Autumn's glowing red