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But he preferr'd”_" Nay, Henry, cease!
Thou sworn horse-courser, hold thy peace.-
Eustace, thou bear'st a brain-I pray,
What did Blount see at break of day ?”

To pass there was such scanty room,
The bars, descending, razed his plume.

XV.
The steed along the drawbridge flies,
Just as it trembled on the rise ;
Not lighter does the swallow skim
Along the smooth lake's level brim:
And when Lord Marmion reach'd his band,
He halts and turn'd with clenched hand,
And shout of loud defiance pours,
And shook his gauntlet at the towers.
“ Horse!
horse !"

the Douglas cried, “and
chase!"
But soon he rein'd his fury's pace;
" A royal messenger he came,
Though most unworthy of the name.-
A letter forged! St. Jude to speed !
Did ever knight so foul a deed ?
At first in heart it liked me ill,
When the king praised his clerkly skill.
Thanks to St. Bothan, son of mine,
Save Gawain, ne'er could pen a line:
So swore I, and I swear it still,
Let my boy-bishop fret his fill.-
St. Mary mend my fiery mood !
Old age ne'er cools the Douglas' blood,
I thought to slay him where he stood.-
'Tis pity of him, too,” he cried :
“ Bold can he speak, and fairly ride :
I warrant him a warrior tried.”—
With this his mandate he recalls,
And slowly seeks his castle's halls.

XVI.
The day in Marmion's journey wore;
Yet, ere his passion's gust was o'er,
They cross'd the heights of Stanrig-moor.
His troop more closely there he scann'd,
And miss'd the palmer from the band.
« Palmer or not,” young Blount did say,
“ He parted at the peep of day;
Good sooth it was in strange array.”
“ In what array ?” said Marmion, quick,
“ My lord, I ill can spell the trick;
But all night long, with clink and bang,
Close to my couch did hammers clang;
At 'dawn the falling drawbridge rang,
And, from a loop-hole while I peep,
Old Bell-the-cat came from the keep,
Wrapp'd in a gown of sables fair,
As fearful of the morning air ;
Beneath, when that was blown aside,
A rusty shirt of mail I spied,
By Archibald won in bloody work,
Against the Saracen and Turk:
Last night it hung not in the hall;
I thought some marvel would befall.
And next I saw them saddled lead
Old Cheviot forth, the earl's best steed;
A matchless horse, though something old,
Prompt to his pac 5, cool and bold
I heard the sheriff Shollo say,
The earl did much the master* pray
To use him on the battle day;

XVII. “In brief, my lord, we both descried (For I then stood by Henry's side) The palmer mount, and outward ride,

Upon the earl's own favourite steed;
All sheath'd he was in armour bright,
And much resembled that same knight,
Subdued by you in Cotswold fight:

Lord Angus wish'd him speed."
The instant that Fitz-Eustace spoke,
A sudden light on Marmion broke ;-
« Ah! dastard fool! to reason lost!”
He mutter'd; “ 'Twas not fay por ghost,
I met upon the moonlight wold,
But living man of earthly mould.-

O dotage blind and gross !
Had I but fought as wont, one thrust
Had laid De Wilton in the dust,

My path no more to cross. —
How stand we now ?--he told his tale
To Douglas; and with some avail;

'Twas therefore gloom'd his rugged brow.Will Surrey dare to entertain, 'Gainst Marmion, charge disproved and vain ?

Small risk of that, I trow.
Yet Clare's sharp questions must I shun;
Must separate Constance from the nun-
O what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive
A palmer, too !-no wonder why
I felt rebuked beneath his eye:
I might have known there was but one
Whose look could quell Lord Marmion."

XVIII.

Stung with these thoughts, he urged to speed
His troop, and reach'd, at eve, the Tweed,
Where Lennel's convent closed their march.
(There now is left but one frail arch,

Yet mourn thou not its cells;
Our time a fair exchange has made ;
Hard by, in hospitable shade,

A reverend pilgrim dwells,
Well worth the whole Bernardine brood,
That e'er wore sandal, frock, or hood.)
Yet did Saint Bernard's abbot there
Give Marmion entertainment fair,
And lodging for his train, and Clare.
Next morn the baron climb'd the tower,
To view afar the Scottish power,

Encamp'd on Flodden edge;
The white pavilions made a show,
Like remnants of the winter spow,

Along the dusky ridge.
Long Marmion look'd:--at length his eye
Unusual movement might descry,

Amid the shifting lines :
The Scottish host drawn out appears,
For, flashing on the hedge of spears

The eastern sunbearn shines.

* His eldest son, the master of Angus.

Their front now deepening, now extending, “ Hark! hark ! my lord, an English drum!
Their flank inclining, wheeling, bending, And see, ascending squadrons come
Now drawing back, and now descending,

Between Tweed's river and the hill,
The skilful Marmion well could know

Foot, horse, and cannon :-hap what hap, They watch the motion of some foe,

My basnet to a 'prentice cap, Who traversed on the plain below.

Lord Surrey's o'er the Till!

Yet more! yet more -how fair array'd
XIX.

They file from out the hawthorn shade,
Even so it was :—From Flodden ridge

And sweep so gallant by! The Scots beheld the English host

With all their banners bravely spread,
Leave Barmore-wood, their evening post,

And all their armour flashing high,
And heedful watch'd them as they cross'd Saint George might waken from the dead,
The Till by Twisel bridge.

To see fair England's standards fly."-
High sight it is, and haughty, while

“Stint in thy prate,"quoth Blount,“ thou'dst best They dive into the deep defile;

And listen to our lord's behest."Beneath the cavern'd cliff they fall,

With kindling brow Lord Marmion said Beneath the castle's airy wall.

“ This instant be our band array'd; By rock, by oak, by hawthorn tree,

The river must be quickly cross'd, Troop after troop are disappearing;

That we may join Lord Surrey's host. Troop after troop their banners rearing

If fight king James—as well I trust, Upon the eastern bank you see.

That fight he will, and fight he must, Still pouring down the rocky den,

The Lady Clare behind our lines
Where Aows the sullen Till,

Shall tarry, while the battle joins."
And rising from the dim wood glen,
Standards on standards, men on men,

XXII.
In slow succession still,

Himself he swift ou horseback threw, And sweeping o'er the Gothic arch,

Scarce to the abbot bade adieu, And pressing on, in ceaseless march,

Far less would listen to his prayer, To gain the opposing bill.

To leave behind the helpless Clare. That morn, to many a trumpet-clang,

Down to the Tweed his band he drew, Twisel! thy rock's deep echo rang;

And mutter'd, as the flood they view, And many a chief of birth and rank,

“ The pheasant in the falcon's claw, Saint Helen! at thy fountain drank.

He scarce will yield to please a daw:
Thy hawthorn glade, which now we see Lord Angus may the abbot awe,
In springtide bloom so lavishly,

So Clare shall bide with me."
Had then from many an axe its doom,

Then on that dangerous ford, and deep, To give the marching columns room.

Where to the Tweed Leat's eddies creep,

He ventured desperately:
XX.

And not a moment will he bide,
And why stands Scotland idly now,

Till squire, or groom, before him ride; Dark Flodden! on thy airy brow,

Headmost of all he stems the tide, Since England gains the pass the while,

And stems it gallantly. And struggles through the deep defile ?

Eustace held Clare upon her horse, What checks the fiery soul of James ?

Old Hubert led her rein, Why sits that champion of the dames

Stoutly they braved the current's course, Inactive on his steed,

And, though far downward driven per force, And sees, between him and his land,

The southern bank they gain ; Between him and Tweed's southern strand, Behind them, straggling, came to shore, His host lord Surrey lead ?

As best they might, the train : What vails the vain knight-errant's brand ! Each o'er his head his yew-bow bore 0, Douglas, for thy leading wand !

A caution not in vain ; Fierce Randolph, for thy speed !

Deep need that day that every string, O for one hour of Wallace wight,

By wet unbarm’d should sharply ring. Or well-skill'd Bruce, to rule the fight,

A moment then Lord Marmion stay'd, And cry—“ Saint Andrew and our right!" And breathed his steed, his men array'd, Another sight had seen that morn,

Then forward moved his band, From fate's dark book a leaf been torn,

Until, Lord Surrey's rear-guard won, And Flodden had been Bannock-bourne

He halted by a cross of stone, The precious hour has pass'd in vain,

That, on a hillock, standing lone,
And England's host has gain'd the plain ;

Did all the field command.
Wheeling their march, and circling still,
Around the base of Flodden-hill.

XXIII.

Hence might they see the full array
XXI.

Of either host, for deadly fray ;
Ere yet the bands met Marmion's eye,

Their marshall'd line stretch'd east and west, Fitz-Eustace shouted loud and high,

And fronted north and south

And distant salutation past

From the loud cannon mouth : Not in the close successive rattle, That breathes the voice of modern battle,

But slow and far between.The hillock gain'd, Lord Marmion stay'd: “ Here, by this cross,” he gently said,

“ You well may view the scene. Here shalt thou tarry, lovely Clare: O think of Marmion in thy prayer! Thou wilt not !-well,

-no less my care Shall, watchful, for thy weal prepare. You, Blount and Eustace, are her guard,

With ten pick'd archers of my train ;
With England if the day go hard,

To Berwick speed amain.-
But, if we conquer, cruel maid !
My spoils shall at your feet be laid,

When here we meet again.”-
He waited not for answer there ;
And would not mark the maid's despair,

Nor heed the discontented look
From either squire ; but spurr'd amain,
And, dashing through the battle plain,

His way to Surrey took.

And sudden, as he spoke,
From the sharp ridges of the hill,
All downward to the banks of Till,

Was wreath'd in sable smoke;
Volumed and vast, and rolling far,
The cloud enveloped Scotland's war,

As down the hill they broke;
Nor martial shout, nor minstrel tone,
Announced their march; their tread alone,
At times one warning trumpet blown,

At times a stified hum,
Told England, from his mountain throne

King James did rushing come.-
Scarce could they hear, or see their foes,
Until at weapon point they close. -
They close, in clouds of smoke and dust,
With sword-sway, and with lance's thrust;

And such a yell was there,
Of sudden and portentous birth,
As if men fought upon the earth,

And fiends in upper air;
0! life and death were in the shout,
Recoil and rally, charge and rout,

And triumph and despair. Long look'd the anxious squires; their eye Could in the darkness naught descry.

XXIV.

66

-The good Lord Marmion, by my life!
Welcome to danger's hour!
Short greeting serves in time of strife :-

Thus have I ranged my power:
Myself will rule this central host,

Stout Stanley fronts their right,
My sons command the va'ward post,

With Brian Tunstall, stainless knight;
Lord Dacre, with his horsemen light,

Shall be in rearward of the fight,
And succour those that need it most.

Now, gallant Marmion, well I know,
Would gladly to the vanguard go;
Edmund, the admiral, Tunstall there,
With thee their charge will blithely share ;
There fight thine own retainers too,
Beneath De Burgh, thy steward true.”-
“ Thanks, noble Surrey !” Marmion said,
Nor further greeting there he paid ;
But, parting like a thunderbolt,
First in the vanguard made a halt,

Where such a shout there rose
Of “ Marmion! Marmion !” that the cry
Up Flodden mountain shrilling high,

Startled the Scottish foes.

XXVI. At length the freshening western blast Aside the shroud of battle cast; And, first, the ridge of mingled spears Above the brightening cloud appears ; And in the smoke the pennons flew, As in the storm the white sea-mew. Then mark’d they, dashing broad and far, The broken billows of the war, And plumed crest of chieftains brave, Floating like foam upon the wave,

But naught distinct they see:
Wide raged the battle on the plain ;
Spears shook, and falchions flash'd amain;
Fell England's arrow-light like rain ;
Crests rose, and stoop'd, and rose again,

Wild and disorderly.
Amid the scene of tumult, high
They saw Lord Marmion's falcon fly:
And stainless Tunstall's banner white,
And Edmund Howard's lion bright,
Still bear them bravely in the fight;

Although against them come,
Of gallant Gordons many a one,
And many a stubborn highlandman,
And many a rugged border clan,

With Huntley, and with Home.

XXV. Blount and Fitz-Eustace rested still With Lady Clare upon the hill; On which (for far the day was spent) The western sumbeams now were bent; The cry they heard, its meaning knew, Could plain their distant comrades view; Sadly to Blount did Eustace say, “ Unworthy office here to stay, No hope of gilded spurs to-day.But, see! look up-on Flodden bent, The Scottish foe has fired his tent."

XXVII. Far on the left, unseen the while, Stanley broke Lennox and Argyle; Though there the western mountaineer Rush'd with bare bosom on the spear, And flung the feeble targe aside, And with both hands the broadsword plied : 'Twas vain :-But fortune, on the right, With fickle smile, cheer'd Scotland's fight. Then fell that spotless banner white, The Howard's lion fell;

Yet still Lord Marmion's falcon flew
With wavering flight, while fiercer grew

XXIX.
Around the battle yell.

When, doff'd his casque, he felt free air The border slogan rent the sky!

Around 'gan Marmion wildly stare : A Home! a Gordon! was the cry;

“Where's Harry Blount? Fitz-Eustace, where ! Loud were the clanging blows;

Linger ye here, ye hearts of hare? Advanced,-forced back,—now low, now high, Redeem my pennon,-charge again! The pennon sunk and rose ;

Cry—Marmion to the rescue !!–Vain ! As bends the bark's mast in the gale,

Last of my race, on the battle-plain When rent are rigging, shrouds, and sail,

That shout shall ne'er be heard again ! It waver'd 'mid the foes.

Yet my last thought is England's:-Ay, No longer Blount the sight could bear :

To Dacre bear my signet-ring : “ By heaven, and all its saints, I swear,

Tell him his squadrons up to bring :I will not see it lost!

Fitz-Eustace, to Lord Surrey hie; Fitz-Eustace, you with Lady Clare

Tunstall lies dead upon the field, May bid your beads, and patter prayer,

His lifeblood stains the spotless shield: I gallop to the host.”

Edmund is down :-my life is reft;And to the fray he rode amain,

The admiral alone is left. Follow'd by all the archer train.

Let Stanley charge with spur of fire,The fiery youth, with desperate charge,

With Chester charge, and Lancashire, Made, for a space, an opening large,

Full upon Scotland's central host, The rescued banner rose,

Or victory and England's lost.-But darkly closed the war around,

Must I bid twice ?-hence, varlets, fly! Like pine tree rooted from the ground,

Leave Marmion here alone-to die.” It sunk among the foes.

They parted, and alone he lay; Then Eustace mounted too ;-yet stay'd,

Clare arew her from the sight away, As Joath to leave the helpless maid,

Till pain rung forth a lowly moan. When, fast as shaft can fly,

And half he murmur'd,—“Is there none, Bloodshot his eyes, his nostrils spread,

Of all my halls have nurst, The loose rein dangling from his head,

Page, squire, or groom, one cup to bring Housing and saddle bloody red,

Of blessed water from the spring, Lord Marmion's steed rush'd by ;

To slake my dying thirst !”
And Eustace, maddening at the sight,

A look and sign to Clara cast,
To mark he would return in haste,

XXX.
Then plunged into the fight.

O, woman! in our hours of ease,

Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
XXVIII.

And variable as the shade
Ask me not what the maiden feels,

By the light quivering aspen made,Lest in that dreadful hour alone:

When pain and anguish wring the brow, Perchance her reason stoops, or reels ;

A ministering angel thou ? Perchance a courage, not her own,

Scarce were the piteous accents said, Braces her mind to desperate tone.

When, with the baron's casque, the maid The scatter'd van of England wheels :

To the nigh streamlet ran : She only said, as loud in air

Forgot were hatred, wrongs, and fears, The tumult roar'a, “ Is Wilton there?”

The plaintive voice alone she hears, They fly, or, madden’d by despair,

Sees but the dying man. Fight but to die,_" Is Wilton there?”

She stoop'd her by the runnel's side, With that, straight up the hill there rode

But in abhorrence backward drew; Two horsemen drench'd with gore,

For, oozing from the mountain side, And in their arms, a helpless load,

Where raged the war, a dark red tide A wounded knight they bore.

Was curdling in the streamlet blue.
His hand still straind the broken brand;

Where shall she turn ?-behold her mark
His arms were smeard with blood and sand: A little fountain cell,
Draggd from among the horses' feet,

Where water clear as diamond spark,
With dinted shield, and belmet beat,

In a stone basin fell. The falcon crest and plumage gone,

Above some half-worn letters say, Can that be haughty Marmion !

Drink, weary pilgrim, drink and pray Young Blount his armour did unlace,

For the kind soul of Sybil Grey, And, gazing on his ghastly face,

Who built this cross and well. Said—“ By Saint George, he's gone !

She fill'd the helm, and back she hied, That spear-wound has our master sped,

And with surprise and joy espied And see the deep cut on his head !

A monk supporting Marmion's head; Good night to Marmion."

A pious man, whom duty brought “ Vonurtured Blount! thy brawling cease : To dubious verge of battle fought, He opes his eyes,” said Eustace; “ peace !" To sbrive the dying, bless the dead.

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XXXIII.

XXXI. Deep drank Lord Marmion of the wave, And as she stoop'd his brow to lave“ Is it the hand of Clare," he said, “ Or injured Constance, bathes my head ?”

Then, as remembrance rose,“ Speak not to me of shrift or prayer!

I must redress her woes. Short space, few words are mine, to spare: Forgive and listen, gentle Clare!"

“ Alas!” she said, “ the while,O think of your immortal weal! In vain for Constance is your zeal;

She died at Holy Isle.”
Lord Marmion started from the ground,
As light as if he felt no wound;
Though in the action burst the tide,
In torrents, from his wounded side.
« Then it was truth !"--- he said " I knew
That the dark presage must be true.-

I would the fiend, to whom belongs
The vengeance due to all her wrongs,

Would spare me but a day!
For wasting fire, and dying groan,
And priests slain on the altar stone,

Might bribe him for delay.
It may not be !-this dizzy trance-
Curse on yon base marauder's lance,
And doubly cursed my failing brand !
A sinful heart makes feeble hand.”
Then, fainting, down on earth he sunk,
Supported by the trembling monk.

By this, though deep the evening fell,
Still rose the battle's deadly swell,
For still the Scots, around their king,
Unbroken, fought in desperate ring.
Where's now their victor va’ward wing,

Where Huntley, and where Home
O for a blast of that dread horn,
On Fontarabian echoes borne,

That to King Charles did come,
When Rowland brave, and Olivier,
And every paladin and peer,

On Roncesvalles died ! Such blast might warm them, not in vain, To quit the plunder of the slain, And turn the doubtful day again,

While yet on Flodden side, Afar the royal standard fies, And round it toils, and bleeds, and dies,

Our Caledonian pride! In vain the wish-for, far away, While spoil and havoc mark their way, Near Sybil's cross the plunderers stray. “, lady,” cried the monk, “away!"

And placed her on her steed, And led her to the chapel fair

Of Tilmouth upon Tweed. There all the night they spent in prayer, And, at the dawn of morning, there She met her kinsman, Lord Fitz-Clare.

XXXII.
With fruitless labour, Clara bound,
And strove to staunch, the gushing wound:
The monk, with unavailing cares,
Exhausted all the church's prayers.
Ever, he said, that, close and near,
A lady's voice was on his ear,
And that the priest he could not hear,

For that she ever sung, In the lost battle, borne down by the flying, Where mingles war's ratlle with groans of the

dying.!

So the notes rung;-
“ Avoid thee, fiend with cruel hand,
Shake not the dying sinner's sand!
O look, my son, upon yon sigo
Of the Redeemer's grace divine ;

O think on faith and bliss
By many a death-bed I have been,
And many a sinner's parting seen,

But never aught like this."-
The war, that for a space did fail,
Now trebly thundering swell’d the gale,

And-Stanley! was the cry;
A light on Marmion's visage spread,

And fired his glazing eye:
With dying hand, above his head,
He shook the fragment of his blade,

And shouted “ Victory -
Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on!"
Were the last words of Marmion.

XXXIV. But as they left the darkening heath, More desperate grew the strise of death. The English shafts in volleys hailid, In headlong charge their horse assail'd; Front, flank, and rear, the squadrons sweep, To break the Scottish circle deep,

That fought around their king.
But yet, though thick the shafts as snow,
Though charging knights like whirlwinds go,
Though bill-men ply the ghastly blow,

Unbroken was the ring :
The stubborn spearmen still made good
Their dark impenetrable wood,
Each stepping where his comrade stood,

The instant that he fell.
No thought was there of dastard flight;
Link'd in the serried phalanx tight,
Groom fought like noble, squire like knight,

As fearlessly and well;
Till utter darkness closed her wing
O'er their thin host and wounded king.
Then skilful Surrey's sage commands
Led back from strife his shatter'd bands;

And from the charge they drew,
As mountain waves, from wasted lands,

Sweep back to ocean blue.
Then did their loks his foeman know;
Their king, their lords, their mightiest, low,
They melted from the field as snow,
When streams are swoln and south winde

blow.
Dissolves in silent dew.

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