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A moment changed that ladye's cheer;
Gush'd to her eye the unbidden tear;
She gazed upon the leaders round,
And dark and sad each warrior frown'd;
Then deep within her sobbing breast
She lock'd the struggling sigh to rest;
Unalter'd and collected stood,
And thus replied in dauntless mood :-

XXVI. “Say to your lords of high emprise, Who war on women and on boys That either William of Deloraine Will cleanse him, by oath, of march-treason stain, Or else he will the combat take 'Gainst Musgrave, for his honour's sake. No knight in Cumberland so good, But William may count with him kin and blood. Knighthood he took of Douglas' sword, When English blood swelld Ancram ford; And but that Lord Dacre's steed was wight, And bore him ably in the flight, Himself had seen him dubb'd a knight. For the young heir of Branksome's line, God be his aid, and God be mine; Through me no friend shall meet his doom ; Here, while I live, no foe finds room.

Then, if thy lords their purpose urge, Take our defiance loud and high ;

Our slogan is their lyke-wake* dirge, Our moat, the grave where they shall lie."

And Jedwood, Esk, and Teviotdale,

Have to proud Angus come; And all the Merse and Lauderdale

Have risen with haughty Home. An exile from Northumberland,

In Liddesdale I've wander'd long; But still my heart was with merry England,

And cannot brook my country's wrong ;
And hard I've spurr'd all night to show
The mustering of the coming foe."

XXIX.
“And let them come !" fierce Dacre cried;
“For soon yon crest, my father's pride,
That swept the shores of Judah's seas,
And waved in gales of Galilee,
From Branksome's highest towers display'd,
Shall mock the rescue's lingering aid !"-
Level each harquebuss on row;
Draw, merry archers, draw the bow;
Up, bill-men, to the walls, and cry,
Dacre, for England, win or die!”

XXX. “ Yet hear," quoth Howard,“ calmly hear, Nor deem my words the words of fear : For who, in field or foray slack, Saw the blanche lion e'er fall back? But thus to risk our Border flower In strife against a kingdom's power, Ten thousand Scots 'gainst thousands three, Certes, were desperate policy. Nay, take the terms the ladye made, Ere conscious of the advancing aid; Let Musgrave meet fierce Deloraine In single fight, and if he gain, He gains for us; but if he's crossd, 'Tis but a single warrior lost: The rest, retreating as they came, Avoid defeat, and death, and shame."

XXVII. Proud she look'd round, applause to claim Then lightend Thirlestane's eye of flame;

His bugle Wat of Harden blew : Pensils and pennons wide were flung, To heaven the Border slogan rung,

“ Saint Mary for the young Buccleuch !” The English war-cry answered wide,

And forward bent each southern spear; Each Kendal archer made a stride,

And drew the bow-string to his ear; Each minstrel's war-note loud was blown :But, ere a gray goose shaft had flown,

A horseman gallop'd from the rear.

XXXI. Ill could the haughty Dacre brook His brother-warden's sage rebuke: And yet his forward step he stay'd, And slow and sullenly obey'd. But ne'er again the Border-side Did these two lords in friendship ride; And this slight discontent, men say, Cost blood upon another day.

XXVIII. “ Ah! noble lords !” he, breathless, said, “What treason has your march betray'd ? What make you here, from aid so far, Before you walls, around you war? Your foemen triumph in the thought, That in the toils the lion's caught. Already on dark Ruberslaw The Douglas holds his weapon-schaw,t The lances, waving in his train, Clothe the dun heap like autumn grain ; And on the Liddel's northern strand, To bar retreat to Cumberland, Lord Maxwell ranks his merry men good, Beneath the eagle and the rood;

XXXII. The pursuivant-at-arms again

Before the castle took his stand;
His trumpet call’d, with parleying strain,

The leaders of the Scottish band;
And he defied, in Musgrave's right,
Stout Deloraine to single fight;
A gauntlet at their feet he laid,
And thus the terms of fight he said:-
“ If in the lists good Musgrave's sword

Vanquish the knight of Deloraine,
Your youthful chieftain, Branksome's lord,

Shall hostage for his clan remain :
If Deloraine foil good Musgrave,
The boy his liberty shall have.

• Lyke-wake, the watching a corpse previous to inter. ment.

Weapon-schau, the military array of a country.

He paused: the listening dames again
Applaud the hoary minstrel's strain;
With many a word of kindly cheer,-
In pity half, and half sincere,-
Marvellid the dutchess how so well
His legendary song could tell,-
Of ancient deeds, so long forgot ;
Of feuds, whose memory was not;
Of forests, now laid waste and bare ;
of towers, which harbour now the hare ;
Of manners, long since changed and gone;
Of chiefs, who under their gray stone
So long had slept, that fickle fame
Had blotted from her rolls their name,
And twined round some new minion's head
The fading wreath for which they bled;
In sooth, 'twas strange, this old man's verse
Could call them from their marble hearse.

The harper smiled, well pleased; for ne'er
Was flattery lost on poet's ear.
A simple race! they waste their toil
For the vain tribute of a smile;
E’en when in age their fame expires,
Her dulcet breath can fap its fires :
Their drooping fancy wakes at praise,
And strives to trim the shortlived blaze.

Smiled then, well pleased, the aged man, And thus his tale continued ran.

Howe'er it falls, the English band,
C'nharming Scots, by Scots unharmd,
In peaceful march, like men unarmd,
Shall straight retreat to Cumberland."

XXXIII.
Unconscious of the near relief,
The proffer pleased each Scottish chief,

Thougb 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:
They fix'd the morrow for the strife,
On foot, with Scottish axe and knife,

At the fourth hour from peep of dawn;
When Deloraine, from sickness freed,
Or else a champion in bis stead,
Should for himself and chieftain stand,
Against stout Musgrave, hand to hand.

XXXIV.
I know right well, that, in their lay,
Full many minstrels sing and say,

Such combat should be made on horse,
On foaming steed, in full career,
With brand to aid, when as the spear

Should shiver in the course :
But he, the jovial harper, taught
Me, yet a youth, how it was fought,

In guise which now I say ;
He knew each ordinance and clause
Of black Lord Archibald's battle laws,

In the old Douglas' day.
He brook'd not, he, that scoffing tongue
Should tax his minstrelsy with wrong,

Or call his song untrue ;
For this, when they the goblet plied,
And such rude taunt had chafed his pride,

The bard of Reull he slew.
On Teviot's side, in fight they stood,
And tuneful hands were stain'd with blood;
Where still the thorn's white branches wave
Memorial o'er his rival's grave.

XXXV.
Why should I tell the rigid doom,
That dragg'd my master to his tomb;

How Ousenam's maidens tore their hair,
Wept till their eyes were dead and dim,
And wrung their hands for love of him

Who died at Jedwood Air ?
He died !--His scholars, one by one,
To the cold silent grave are gone ;
And I, alas! survive alone,
To muse o'er rivalries of yore,
And grieve that I shall hear no more
The strains, with envy heard before;.
For, with my minstrel brethren fled,
My jealousy of song is dead.

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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,

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.

III.
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 saintly 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 claspid;

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.

IV.
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 !"

V.
Now squire and knight, 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 pavilion to repose-

VI.
Now, noble dame, perchance you ask,

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

To keep the truce which here was set ;

VII.
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,

Hlad 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.

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

IX.
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 knise, or poniard.

Rung from the nether lawn; For many a busy hand toil'd there, Strong pales to shape, and beams to square, The lists' dread barriers to prepare

Against the morrow's dawn.

X.

Margaret from hall did soon retreat,

Despite the dame's reproving eye;
Nor mark'd she, as she left her seat,

Full many a stifled sigh :
For many a noble warrior strove
To win the flower of Teviot's love,

And many a bold ally:-
With throbbing head and anxious heart,
All in her lonely bower apart,

In broken sleep she lay; By times, from silken couch she rose; While yet the banner'd hosts repose,

She view'd the dawning day: Of all the hundreds sunk to rest, First woke the loveliest and the best.

And ost I've deem'd, perchance he thought
Their erring passion might have wrought

Sorrow, and sin, and shame;
And death to Cranstoun's gallant knight,
And to the gentle ladye bright,

Disgrace, and loss of fame.
But earthly spirit could not tell
The heart of them that love so well.
True love's the gift which God has given
To man alone beneath the heaven.
It is not fantasy's hot fire,

Whose wishes, soon as granted, fly;.
It liveth not in fierce desire,

With dead desire it doth not die ;
It is the secret sympathy,
The silver link, the silken tie,
Which heart to heart, and mind to mind,
In body and in soul can bind. -
Now leave we Margaret and her knight,
To tell you of the approaching fighta

XIV.
Their warning plast the bugles blew,

The pipe's shrill port* aroused each clan : In haste, the deadly strise to view,

The trooping warriors eager ran :
Thick round the lists their lances stood,
Like blasted pines in Ettrick wood;
To Branksome many a look they threw,
The combatants' approach to view,
And bandied many a word of boast,
About the knight each favour'd most.

XI.
She gazed upon the inner court,

Which in the tower's tall shadow lay; Where coursers' clang, and stamp, and snort,

Had rung the livelong yesterday ;
Now still as death ; till, stalking slow,-

The jingling spurs announced his tread,
A stately warrior pass'd below;
But when he raised his plumed head-

Blessed Mary! can it be?Secure, as if in Ousenam bowers, He walks through Branksome's hostile towers,

With fearless step and free.
She dared not sign, she dared not speak-
0! if one page's slumbers break,

His blood the price must pay!
Not all the pearls queen Mary wears,
Not Margaret's yet more precious tears,

Shall buy his life a day.

XV.
Meantime full anxious was the dame;
For now arose disputed claim,
of who should fight for Deloraine,
'Twist Harden and 'twixt Thirlestane:

They 'gan to reckon kin and rent,
And frowning brow on brow was bent;

But yet not long the strife-for, lo!
Himself, the knight of Deloraine,
Strong, as it seem'd, and free from pain,

In arınour sheath'd from top to toe, Appear'd, and craved the combat due. The dame her charm successful knew,t And the fierce chiefs their claims withdrew.

XII.
Yet was his hazard small; for well
You may bethink you of the spell

Of that sly urchin page ;
This to his lord he did impart,
And made him seem, by glamour art,

A koight from hermitage. Unchallenged, thus, the warder's post, The court, unchallenged, thus he cross'd,

For all the vassalage: But, o! what magic's quaint disguise Could blind fair Margaret's azure eyes!

She started from her seat; While with surprise and fear she strove, And both could scarcely master love

Lord Henry's at her feet.

XVI. When for the lists they sought the plain, The stately ladye's silken reia

Did noble Howard hold;
Unarmed by her side he walk',
And much in courteous phrase they talk'd

Of feats of arms of old.
Costly his garb—his Flemish ruff
Fell o'er his doublet, shaped of buff,

With satin slash'd and lined;
Tawny his boot, and gold his spur,
His cloak was all of Poland fur,

His hose with silver twined;
His Bilboa blade, by Marchmen felt,
Hung in a broad and studded belt;

XIII. Oft have I mused, what purpose bad That foul malicious urchin had

To bring this meeting round; For happy love's a heavenly sight, And by a vile malignant sprite In such no joy is found;

78

* A martial piece of music, adapted to the bagpipes. See p. 609, stanza LXIII.

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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.

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

XVII.
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 shudderd at the sight Of warriors met for mortal fight; But cause of terror, all unguess'd, Was fluttering in her gentle breast, When, in their chair of crimson placed, The dame and she the barriers graced.

XVIII. 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:

XIX.

XXI. Ill 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-horse dashing, And scorn'd, amid the reeling strife, To yield a step for death or life.

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! 0, 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?

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!

XX.

SCOTTISH HERALD. Here stapleth 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.

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 kneel'd 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 hear;

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.

LORD DACRE. Forward, brave champions to the fight! Sound trumpets !

XXIV.
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 hands. When, lo! strange cries of wild surprise, Mingled with seeming terror, rise

Among the Scottish bands;

LORD HOME.

“God defend the right !"

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