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Because, despite her precept dread,
Stood in the midst, with gesture proud, Perchance he in the book had read;
And issued forth his mandates loud. But the broken lance in his bosom stood,
“ On Penchryst glows a bale of fire, And it was earthly steel and wood.
And three are kindling on Priesthaughswire ;
Ride out, ride out,
The soe to scout,
Mount, mount, for Branksome,* every man!
That ever are true and stout.
Ye need not send to Liddesdale; But she has ta'en the broken lance,
| For, when they see the blazing bale, And wash'd it from the clotted gore,
Elliots and Armstrongs never fail. And salved the splinter o'er and o’er.
Ride, Alton, ride, for death and life! William of Deloraine, in trance,
And warn the warden of the strise.
Our kin, and clan, and friends to raise."
Heard far below, the coursers' tread. Mishap to friend so stout and true.
While loud the harness rang,
As to their seats, with clamour dread,
The ready horsemen sprang;
And trampling hoofs, and iron coats, 'Twas near the time of curfew bell;
And leaders' voices, mingled notes, The air was mild, the wind was calm,
And out! and out! The stream was smooth, the dew was balm ;
In hasty route, E’en the rude watchman, on the tower,
The horsemen gallop'd forth; Enjoy'd and bless'd the lovely hour ;
Dispersing to the south to scout, Far more fair Margaret loved and bless'd
And east, and west, and north, The hour of silence and of rest.
To view their coming enemies,
And warn their vassals and allies.
Awaked the need-fire'st slumbering brand, Her fair cheek rested on her hand,
And ruddy blush'd the heaven : Her blue eyes sought the west afar,
For a sheet of name, from the turret high, For lovers love the western star.
Waved like a blood-Aag on the sky,
All flaring and uneven.
And soon a score of fires, I ween,
From height, and hill, and cliff were seen ; That rises slowly to her ken,
Each with warlike tidings fraught; And, spreading broad its wavering light,
Each from each the signal caught; Shakes its loose tresses on the night?
Each after each they glanced to sight, Is yon red glare the western star ?
As stars arise upon the night.
They gleam'd on many a dusky tarn,
On many a cairn's gray pyramid,
Where urns of mighty chiefs lie hid
Till high Dunedin the blazes saw,
From Soltra and Dumpender law; And blew his war note loud and long,
And Lothian heard the regent's order,
That all should bownell them for the Border.
The livelong night in Branksome rang Far downward, in the castle-yard,
The ceaseless sound of steel: Full many a torch and cresset glared;
The castle-bell, with backward clang, And helms and plumes, confusedly toss'd,
Sent forth the larum peel; Were in the blaze half seen, half lost;
Was frequent heard the heavy jar,
Where massy stone and iron bar
* Mount for Branksome was the gathering word of the Scotis.
† Need-fire, beacon. The seneschal, whose silver hair
# Tarn, a mountain lake. S Earn, the Scottish eagle. Was redden'd by the torches' glare,
ll Bowne, make ready
Were piled on echoing keep and tower,
Why! when the volleying musket play'd To whelm the foe with deadly shower;
Against the bloody Highland blade, Was frequent heard the changing guard,
Why was I not beside him laid ? And watchword from the sleepless ward;
Enough—he died the death of fame; Wbile, wearied by the endless din,
Enough—he died with conquering Græme! Bloodhound and ban-dog yell’d within.
Now over border, dale, and fell,
Full wide and far was terror spread; Shared the gray seneschal's high toil,
For pathless march and mountain cell, And spoke of danger with a smile;
The peasant left his lowly shed. Cheer'd the young knights, and council sage
The frighten'd flocks and herds were pent Held with the chiefs of riper age.
Beneath, the peel's rude battlement; No tidings of the foe were brought,
And maids and matrons dropt the tear, Nor of his numbers knew they aught,
While ready warriors seized the spear. Nor in what time the truce he sought.
From Branksome's towers the watchman's eye Some said that there were thousands ten, Dun wreaths of distant smoke can spy, And others ween’d that it was naught,
Which, curling in the rising sun, But Leven clans, or Typedale men,
Show'd southern ravage was begun.
Now loud the beedful gateward cried-
“ Prepare ye all for blows and blood! And welcome was the peep of day.
Wat Tinlinn, from the Liddel-side,
Comes wading through the flood. CEASED the high sound—the listening throng
Full oft the Tynedale snatchers knock Applaud the master of the song ;
At his lone gate, and prove the lock; And marvel much, in helpless age,
It was but last Saint Barnabright So hard should be his pilgrimage.
They sieged him a whole summer night, Had he no friend, no daughter dear,
But fled at morning; well they knew, His wandering toil to share and cheer;
In vain he never twang'd the yew.
Right sharp has been the evening shower, No son, to be his father's stay,
That drove him from his Liddel tower; And guide him on the rugged way? “Ay, once he had—but he was dead !”—
And, by my faith," the gateward said, Upon the harp he stoop'd his head,
“I think 'twill prove a warden-raid."** And busied himself the strings withal,
v. To hide the tear that fain would fall.
While thus he spoke, the bold yeoman In solemn measure, soft and slow,
Enter'd the echoing barbican. Arose a father's notes of wo.
He led a small and shaggy nag,
That through a bog, from hag to hagt
Could bound like any Bilhope stag,
It bore his wife and children twain.
A half-clothed serft was all their train : The glaring bale-fires blaze no more ; His wife, stout, ruddy, and dark-brow'd, No longer steel-clad warriors ride
Of silver brooch and bracelet proud, Along thy wild and willow'd shore:
Laugh'd to her friends among the crowd. Where'er thou wind'st, by dale or hill,
He was of stature passing tall,
But sparely form'd, and lean withal;
On his broad shoulders loosely hung;
A border axe behind was slung;
His spear, six Scottish ells in length,
Seem'd newly died with gore;
His shafts and bow, of wondrous strength,
Thus to the ladye did Tinlinn show
The tidings of the English foe.Low as that tide has ebb’d with me,
“ Belted Will Howard is marching here, It still reflects to memory's eye
And hot lord Dacre, with many a spear, The hour my brave, my only boy,
And all the German hagbut-men, Fell by the side of great Dundee.
Who long have lain at Askerten :
* An inroad comanded by the warden in person. * Protection money exacted by freebooters.
† The broken ground in a bog. Bondsman.
They cross'd the Liddel at curfew hour,
Albeit the blanch'd locks below And burn'd my little lonely tower;
Were white as Dinlay's spotless snow: The fiend receive their souls therefor!
Five stately warriors drew the sword It had not been burn'd this year and more,
Before their father's band; Barn-yard, and dwelling, blazing bright,
A braver knight than Harden's lord Served to guide me on my flight:
Ne'er belted on a brand.
Scotts of Eskdale, a stalwart band,
Came trooping down the Todshawhill; And shot their horses in the bog,
By the sword they won their land, Slew Fergus with my lance outright
And by the sword they hold it still, I had him long at high despite :
Hearken, ladye, to the tale, He drove my cows last Fastern's night.”
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, Fast hurrying in, confirm’d the tale:
The vassels were warlike, and fierce, and rude ; As far as they could judge by ken,
High of heart, and haughty of word, Three hours would bring to Teviot's strand Little they reck'd of a tame liege lord. Three thousand armed Englishmen.
The earl to fair Eskdale came, Meanwhile, full many a warlike band,
Homage and seignory to claim : From Teviot, Aill, and Ettrick shade,
Of Gilbert the Galliard, a heriot* he sought, Came in their chief's defence to aid.
Saying, “ Give thy best steed, as a vassel ought. There was saddling and mounting in haste, —“ Dear to me is my bonny white steed, There was pricking o'er moor and lee;
Oft has he help'd me at pinch of need; He that was last at the trysting place
Lord and earl though thou be, I trow Was but lightly held of his gay ladye.
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, From dreary Gamescleugh's dusky height, The vassals there their lord had slain. His ready lances Thirlestave brave
Sore he plied both whip and spur, Array'd beneath a banner bright.
As he urged his steed through Eskdale muir; The treasured fleur-de-luce he claims
And it fell down a dreary weight,
Just on the threshold of Branksome gate.
The earl was a wrathful man to see, What time save Thirlestane alone,
Full fain avenged would he be. Would march to southern wars ;
In haste to Branksome's lord he spoke, And hence in fair remembrance worn
Saying " Take these traitors to thy yoke: Yon sheaf of spears his crest has borne ;
For a cast of hawks, and a purse of gold; Hence his high motto shines reveald
All Eskdale I'll sell thee, to bave and hold: Ready, aye ready,” for the field.
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.”With many a mosstrooper came on:
A glad man then was Branksome bold, And azure in a golden field,
Down he fiung him the purse of gold; The stars and crescent graced his shield,
To Eskdale soon he spurr'd amain, Without the bend of Murdieston.
And with him five hundred riders has ta'en. Wide lay his hands round Oakwood tower, He left his merryman in the midst of the hill, And wide round haunted Castle Ower;
And bade them hold them close and still ; High over Borthwick's mountain flood,
And alone he wended to the plain, His wood-embosom'd mansion stood;
To meet with the Galliard and all his train. In the dark glen so deep below,
To Gilbert the Galliard thus he said :The herds of plunderd England low,
“Know thou me for thy liege lord and head : His bold retainers' daily food,
Deal not with me as with Morton tame, And bought with danger, blows, and blood. For Scots play best at the roughest game. Marauding chief! his sole delight
Give me in peace my heriot due,
Thy bonny white steed, or thou shalt rue.
* The feudal superior, in certain cases, was entitled to And still, in age, he spurn'd at rest,
the best horse of the vassal, in name of Heriot, or HereAnd still his brows the helmet press'd,
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 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 fied, 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 beal'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: 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,
Were Border pipes and bugles blown:
The coursers's neighing he could ken,
And measured tread of marching men; Their gathering word was Bellenden.
While broke at times the solemn hum, And better hearts o'er Border sod
The Almayn's sullen kettle-drum; To siege or rescue never rode.
And banners tall, of crimson sheen,
Above the copse appear;
And, glistening through the hawthorns green, That he night 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,
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 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,
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,
XXII. And sold their blood for foreign pay;
“ Ye English warden lords, of you The camp their home, their law the sword,
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; The warriors in the escalade :
And, if but one poor straw you burn, And, as they march'd in rugged tongue,
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.” But louder still the clamour gew, And louder still the minstrels blew,
XXIII. When, from beneath the greenwood tree,
A wrathful man was Dacre's lord, Rode forth Lord Howard's chivalry ;
But calmer Howard took the word: His men at arms, with glaive and spear,
“May't please thy dame, sir seneschal, Brought up the battle's glittering rear.
To seek the castle's outward wall, There many a youthful knight, full keen
Our pursuivant-at-arms shall show, To gain his spurs, in arms was seen ;
Both why we came, and when we go.” With favour in his crest, or glove,
The message sped, the noble dame Memorial of his ladye-love.
To the wall's outward circle came; So rode they forth in fair array,
Each chief around lean'd on his spear Till full their lengthen'd lines display ;
To see the pursuivant appear. Then call’d a halt, and made a stand,
All in Lord Howard's livery dressid,
He led a boy of blooming hue-
O sight to meet a mother's view !
It was the heir of great Buccleuch. On Branksome's armed towers was bent:
Obeisance meet the herald made, So near they were, that they might know
And thus his master's will he said:
“ It irks, high dame, my noble lords, Falcon and culver,t on each tower,
'Gainst ladye fair to draw their swords ; Stood prompt their deadly hail to shower;
But yet they may not tamely see, And Aashing armour frequent broke
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.* While yet they gaze, the bridges fall,
We claim from thee William of Deloraine, The wicket opes, and from the wall
That he may suffer march-treason pain ; Rides forth the hoary seneschal.
It was but last Saint Cuthbert's even
Harriedt the lands of Richard Musgrave,
And slew his brother by dint of glaive. Armed he rode, all save the head,
Then, since a lone and widow'd dame His white beard o’er his breastplate spread; These restless riders may not tame, Unbroke by age, erect his seat,
Either receive within thy towers He ruled his eager courser's gait;
Two hundred of my master's powers, Forced him, with chasten'd fire, to prance, Or straight they sound their warrison ;! And, high curvetting, slow advance:
And storm and spoil thy garrison ; In sign of truce, his better hand
And this fair boy, to London led, Display'd a peeled willow wand;
Shall good king Edward's page be bred.” His squire, attending in the rear, Bore high a gauntlet on a spear.
XXV. When they espied him riding out,
He ceased :—and loud the boy did cry,– Lord Howard and Lord Dacre stout
And stretch'd his little arms on high ; Sped to the front of their array,
Implored for aid each well-known face, To hear what this old knight should say.
And strove to seek the dame's embrace.
* Powder flasks.
* An asylum for outlaws.