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A moment changed that ladye's cheer;
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 ;
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;
The leaders of the Scottish band;
Vanquish the knight of Deloraine,
Shall hostage for his clan remain :
• Lyke-wake, the watching a corpse previous to inter. ment.
† Weapon-schau, the military array of a country.
He paused: the listening dames again
The harper smiled, well pleased; for ne'er
Smiled then, well pleased, the aged man, And thus his tale continued ran.
Howe'er it falls, the English band,
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,
By which the coming help was known.
Beneath a castle, on a lawn:
At the fourth hour from peep of dawn;
Such combat should be made on horse,
Should shiver in the course :
In guise which now I say ;
In the old Douglas' day.
Or call his song untrue ;
The bard of Reull he slew.
How Ousenam's maidens tore their hair,
Who died at Jedwood Air ?
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,
Where martial spirits, all on fire,
They met on Teviot's strand :
As brothers meet in foreign land:
Were interchanged in greeting dear;
Partook of social cheer.
With dice and draughts some chased the day;
Pursued the foot-ball play.
From the fair Middle Marches came;
Announcing Douglas' dreaded name!
The men in battle-order set;
Of Clarence's Plantagenet.
And Hepburn's mingled banners come,
And how a day of fight was ta'en
And how the ladye pray'd them dear,
To taste of Branksome cheer.
How these two hostile armies met?
To keep the truce which here was set ;
Or sign of war been seen,
Had died with gore the green.
And in the groan of death;
Hlad found a bloody sheath. 'Twixt truce and war, such sudden change Was not infrequent, nor held strange,
In the old Border-day ;
Loud hollo, whoop, or whistle ran,
Give the shrill watchword of their clan; And revellers o'er their bowls proclaim Douglas or Dacre's conquering name.
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.
Margaret from hall did soon retreat,
Despite the dame's reproving eye;
Full many a stifled sigh :
And many a bold ally:-
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
Sorrow, and sin, and shame;
Disgrace, and loss of fame.
Whose wishes, soon as granted, fly;.
With dead desire it doth not die ;
The pipe's shrill port* aroused each clan : In haste, the deadly strise to view,
The trooping warriors eager ran :
Which in the tower's tall shadow lay; Where coursers' clang, and stamp, and snort,
Had rung the livelong yesterday ;
The jingling spurs announced his tread,
Blessed Mary! can it be?Secure, as if in Ousenam bowers, He walks through Branksome's hostile towers,
With fearless step and free.
His blood the price must pay!
Shall buy his life a day.
They 'gan to reckon kin and rent,
But yet not long the strife-for, lo!
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.
Of that sly urchin page ;
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;
Of feats of arms of old.
With satin slash'd and lined;
His hose with silver twined;
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;
* A martial piece of music, adapted to the bagpipes. See p. 609, stanza LXIII.
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
Whose foot-cloth swept the ground;
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:
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?
Here standeth Richard of Musgrave,
Good knight, and true, and freely born, Amends from Deloraine to crave,
For foul despiteous scathe and scorn:
Is traitor false by Border laws;
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 :
He raised the dying man;
Still props him from the bloody sod;
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 !
The silent victor stands :
Of gratulating hands. When, lo! strange cries of wild surprise, Mingled with seeming terror, rise
Among the Scottish bands;
“God defend the right !"