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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,
That he a pilgrimage would take,
To Melrose Abbey, for the sake
of Michael's restless sprite.
Then each, to ease his troubled breast,
To some bless'd saint his prayers address'd;
Some to St. Modan made their vows,
Some to St. Mary of the Lowes,
Some to the holy Rood of Lisle,
Some to our lady of the Isle ;
Each did his patron witness make,
That he such pilgrimage would take,
And monks should sing, and bells should toll,
All for the weal of Michael's soul.
While vows were ta'en, and prayers were
pray'd, Tis said the noble dame, dismay'a, Renounced, for aye, dark magic's aid.
Then sudden through the darken'd air
A fash of lightning came;
So broad, so bright, so red the glare,
The castle seem'd on flame;
Glanced every raster of the hall,
Glanced every shield upon the wall;
Each trophied beam, each sculptured stone
Were instant seen,
and instant gone ; Full through the guests' bedazzled band Resistless flash'd the levinbrand, And fill'd the hall with smouldering smoke, As on the elfish page it broke.
It broke, with thunder long and loud, Dismay'd the brave, appallid the proud,
From sea to sea the larum rung; On Berwick wall, and at Carlisle withal,
To arms the startled warders sprung. When ended was the dreadful roar, The elfish dwarf was seen no more !
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.
XXVI. Some heard a voice in Branksome Hall, Some saw a sight, not seen by all; That dreadful voice was heard by some, Cry, with loud summons, “Gylbin, COME !” And on the spot where burst the brand,
Just where the page had flung him down,
Some saw an arm, and some a hand,
And some the waving of a gown.
The guests in silence pray'd and shook,
And terror dimm'd each lofty look.
But none of all the astonish'd train
Was so dismay'd as Deloraine:
His blood did freeze, his brain did burn,
'Twas fear'd his mind would ne'er return;
For he was speechless, ghastly, wan,
Like him of whom the story ran,
Who spoke the spectre-bound in Man.
At length by fits, he darkly told,
With broken hint, and shuddering cold
That he had seen, right certainly,
A shape with amice wrapp'd around,
With a wrought Spanish baldrick bound,
Like pilgrim from beyond the sea ;
And knew-but how it matter'd not-
It was the wizard, Michael Scott!
With naked foot, and sackloth vest,
And arms enfolded on his breast,
Did every pilgrim go;
The standers-by might hear uneath,
Footstep, or voice, or highdrawn breath,
Through all the lengthen'd row :
No lordly look, nor martial stride,
Gone was their glory, sunk their pride,
Forgotten their renown;
Silent and slow, like ghosts, they glide
To the high altar's hallow'd side,
And there they knelt them down;
Above the suppliant chieftains wave
The banners of departed brave;
Beneath the letter'd stones were laid
The ashes of their fathers dead;
From many a garnish'd niche around,
Stern saints, and tortured martyrs frown'd.
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,
All trembling, heard the wondrous tale.
No sound was made, no word was spoke,
Till noble Angus silence broke:
And he a solemn sacred plight
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 pray'd they might be sage in hall,
And fortunate in field.
The mass was sung, and prayers were said,
And solemn requiem for the dead;
And bells toll'd out their mighty peal
For the departed spirit's weal;
And ever in the office close
The hymn of intercession rose;
And far the echoing aisles prolong
The awful burthen of the song,
DIES IRÆ, DIES ILLA,
Solver s.ECLUM 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.
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,
The flaming heavens together roll;
When louder yet, and yet more dread,
Swells the high trump that wakes the dead:
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 success, 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 me. morable 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.
O! on that day, that wrathful day,
When man from judgment wakes from clay,
Be Thou the trembling sinnner's stay,
Though heaven and earth shall pass away!
Hush's is the harp—the minstrel gone.
And did he wander forth alone,
Alone, in indigence and age,
To linger out his pilgrimage?
No:-close beneath proud Newark's tower
Arose the minstrel's lowly bower:
A simple hut; but there was seen
The little garden hedged with green,
The cheerful hearth, and lattice clean.
There shelter'd wanderers, by the blaze,
Oft heard the tale of other days;
For much he loved to ope his door,
And give the aid he begg'd before.
So pass'd the winter's day; but still,
When summer smiled on sweet Bowhill,
And July's eve, with balmy breath,
Waved the blue bells on Newark heath;
When throstles sun in Hare-head shaw,
And corn was green on Carterhaugh,
And flourish’d, broad, Blackandro's oak,
The aged harper's soul awoke!
Then would he sing achievements high,
And circumstance of chivalry,
Till the rapt traveller would stay,
Forgetful of the closing day;
And noble youths, the strain to hear,
Forsook the hunting of the deer;
And Yarrow, as he roll'd along,
Bore burden to the minstrel's song.
TO WILLIAM STEWART ROSE, ESQ.
Ashestiel, Ettrick Forest.
NOVEMBER's sky is chill and drear,
November's leaf is red and sear;
Late, gazing down the steepy linn,
That hems our little garden in,
Low in its dark and narrow glen,
You scarce the rivulet might ken,
So thick the tangled greenwood grew,
So feeble trillid the streamlet through:
Now, murmuring hoarse, and frequent seen
Though bush and brier, no longer green,
An angry brook, it sweeps the glade,
Brawls over rock and wild cascade,
And, foaming brown with double speed,
Hurries its waters to the Tweed.
No longer Autumn's glowing red
Upon our forest hills is shed;
No more, beneath the evening beam,
Fair Tweed reflects their purple gleam ;
Away hath pass'd the hether-bell,
That bloom'd so rich on Needpath-fell,
Sallow his brow, and russet bare
Are now the sister-heights of Yare.
'The sheep, before the pinching heaven,
To shelter'd dale and down are driven,
Where yet some faded herbage pines,
And yet a watery sunbeam shines;
In meek despondency they eye
The wither'd sward and wintry sky,
And far beneath their summer hill,
Stray sadly by Glenkinnon's rill:
The shepherd shifts his mantle's fold
And wraps him closer from the cold ;
His dogs no merry circles wheel,
But, shivering, follow at his heel:
A cowering glance they often cast,
As deeper moans the gathering blast.
My imps, though hardy, bold, and wild
As best befits the mountain child,
Feels the sad influence of the hour,
And wail the daisy's vanish'd fower;
Their summer's gambols tell, and mourn,
And anxious ask,-Will spring return,
And birds and lambs again be gay,
And blossoms clothe the hawthorn spray ?
Yes, prattlers, yes. The daisy's flower
Again shall paint your summer bower;
Again the hawthorn shall supply
The garlands you delight to tie ;
The lambs upon the lea shall bound,
The wild birds carol to the round,
And while you frolic, light as they,
Too short shall seem the summer day.
To mute and to material things
New life revolving summer brings ;
The genial call dead nature hears,
And in her glory reappears.
But 0! my country's wintry state
What second spring shall renovate?
What powerful call shall bid arise
The buried warlike and the wise ?
The mind, that thought for Britain's weal,
The hand, that grasp'd the victor steel?
The vernal sun new life bestows
E’en on the meanest flower that blows;
But vainly, vainly may he shine,
Where glory weeps o'er Nelson's shrine;
And vainly pierce the solemn gloom
That shrouds, O Pitt, thy hallow'd tomb !
Deep graved in every British heart,
O never let those names depart!
Say to your sons,-Lo, here his grave,
Who victor died on Gadite wave;
To him, as to the burning levin,
Short, bright, resistless course was given,
Where'er his country's foes were found,
Was heard the fated thunder's sound,
Till burst the bolt on yonder shore,
Roll'd, blazed, destroy'd,--and was no more.
Nor mourn ye less his perish'd worth,
Who bade the conqueror go forth,
And launch'd that thunderbolt of war
On Egypt, Hafnia,* Trafalgar;
Who, born to guide such high emprise,
For Britain's weal was early wise;
Alas! to whom the Almighty gave,
For Britain's sins, an early grave;
His worth, who, in his mightiest hour,
A bauble held the pride of power,
Spurn'd at the sordid lust of pelf,
And served his Albion for herself;
Who, when the frantic crowd amain
Strain'd at subjection's bursting rein,
O'er their wild mood full conquest gain'd,
The pride, he would not crush, restrain'd,
Show'd their fierce zeal a wortbier cause,
And brought the freeman's arm to aid the free-
Hadst thou but lived, though stripp'd of power,
A watchman on the lonely tower,
Thy thrilling trump had roused the land,
When fraud or danger were at hand;
By thee, as by the beacon light,
Our pilots had kept course aright;
As some proud column, though alone,
Thy strength had propp’d the tottering throne.
Now is the stately coluinn broke,
The beacon light is quench'd in smoke,
The trumpet's silver sound is still,
The warder silent on the hill !
O, think, how to his latest day,
When death, just hovering, claim'd his prey,
With Palinure's unalter'd mood,
Firm at his dangerous post he stood :
Each call for needful rest repellid,
With dying hand the rudder held,
Till, in bis fall, with fateful sway,
The steerage of the helm gave way!
Then, while on Britain's thousand plains
One unpolluted church remains,
Whose peaceful bells ne'er sent around
The bloody tocsin's maddening sound,
But still, upon the hallow'd day,
Convoke the swains to praise and pray;
While faith and civil peace are dear,
Grace this cold marble with a tear,-
He, who preserved them, Pitt, lies here!
Nor yet suppress the generous sigh,
Because his rival slumbers nigh;
Nor be thy requiescat dumb,
Lest it be said o'er Fox's tomb.
For talents mourn, untimely lost,
When best employ'd, and wanted most;
Mourn genius high, and lore profound,
And wit that loved to play, not wound;
And all the reasoning powers divine,
To penetrate, resolve, combine ;
And feelings keen, and fancy's glow,-
They sleep with him who sleeps below;
And, if thou mourn'st they could not save
From error him who owns this grave,
Be every harsher thought suppressid,
And sacred be the last long rest.
Here, where the end of earthly things
Lays heroes, patriots, bards, and kings;
Where stiff the hand, and still the tongue,
of those who fought, and spoke, and sung,
Here, where the fretted aisles prolong
The distant notes of holy song,
As if some angel spoke agen,
All peace on earth, good will to men ;
If ever from an English heart,
O here let prejudice depart,
And, partial feeling cast aside,
Record, that Fox a Britain died !
When Europe crouch'd to France's yoke,
And Austria bent, and Prussia broke,
And the firm Russian's purpose brave
Was barter'd by a timorous slave,
Even then dishonour's peace he spurn'd,
The sullied olive-branch return's,
Stood for his country's glory fast,
And nail'd her colours to the mast!
Heaven, to reward his firmness, gave
A portion in this honour'd grave;
And ne'er held marble in its trust
Of two such wondrous men the dust.
With more than mortal powers endow'd,
How high they soar'd above the crowd !
Theirs was no common party race,
Jostling by dark intrigue for place;
Like fabled gods, their mighty war
Shook realms and nations in its jar;
Beneath each banner proud to stand,
Look'd up the noblest of the land,
Till through the British world were known
The names of Pitt and Fox alone.
Spells of such force no wizard grave
E'er framed in dark Thessalian cave,
Though his could drain the ocean dry,
And force the planets from the sky.
These spells are spent, and, spent with these,
The wine of life is on the lees.
Genius, and taste, and talent gone,
Forever tomb'd beneath the stone,
Whereaming thought to human pride!
The mighty chiefs sleep side by side,
Drop upon Fox's grave the tear,
'Twill trickle to his rival's bier;
O'er Pitt's the mournful requiem sound,
And Fox's shall the notes rebound.
The solemn echo seems to cry,-
6 Here let their discord with them die;
Speak not for those a separate doom,
Whom fate made brothers in the tomb,
But search the land of living men,
Where wilt thou find their like agen?”
Rest, ardent spirits ! till the cries
Of dying nature bids you rise ;
Not even your Britain's groans can pierce
The leaden silence of your hearse:
Then, O how impotent and vain
This grateful tributary strain !
Though not unmark'd from northern clime,
Ye heard the Border minstrel's rhyme:
His gothic harp has o'er you rung;
The bard you deign'd to praise, your death pames
And all the keener rush of blood,
That throbs through bard in bardlike mood,
Were here a tribute mean and low,
Though all their mingled streams could flow-
Wo, wonder, and sensation high,
In one springtide of ecstasy!
It will not bemit may not last-
The vision of enchantment's past:
Like frost-work in the morning ray,
The fancied fabric melts away;
Each Gothic arch, memorial stone,
And long, dim, lofty aisle are gone,
And, lingering last, deception dear,
The choirs high sounds die on my ear.
Now slow return the lonely down,
The silent pastures bleak and brown,
The farm begirt with copsewood wild,
The gambols of each frolic child,
Mixing their shrill cries with the tones
Of Tweed's dark waters rushing on.
Prompt on unequal tasks to run,
Thus Nature disciplines her son :
Meeter, she says, for me to stray,
And waste the solitary day,
In plucking from yon fen the reed,
And watch it floating down the Tweed;
Or idly list the shrilling lay
With which the milk-maid cheers her way,
Marking its cadence rise and fail,
As from the field, beneath her pail,
She trips it down the uneven dale:
Meeter for me, by yonder cairn,
The ancient shepherd's tale to learn,
Though oft he stop in rustic fear,
Lest his old legends tire the ear
Of one, who, in his simple mind,
May boast of book-learn'd taste refined.
But thou, my friend, canst fitly tell,
(For few have read romance so well,)
How still the legendary lay
O'er poet's bosom holds its sway;
How on the ancient minstrel strain
Time lays his palsied hand in vain ;
And how our hearts at doughty deeds,
By warriors wrought in steely weeds.
Still throb for fear and pity's sake ;
As when the champion of the lake
Enters Morgana's fated house,
Or in the Chapel perilous,
Despising spells and demons' force,
Hold converse with the unburied corse,
O when, dame Gamore's grace to move,
(Alas! that lawless was their love,)
He sought proud Tarquin in his den,
And freed full sixty knights; or when,
A sinful man, and unconfessa,
He took the Sangeal's holy quest,
And, slumbering, saw the vision high,
He might not view with waking eye.
The mightiest chiefs of British song
Scorn'd not such legends to prolong:
They gleam through Spencer's elfin dream,
And mix in Milton's heavenly theme;
And Dryden, in immortal strain,
Had raised the Table Round again,
SCOTT. But that a ribald king and court
The loop-hole grates where captives weep, Bade him toil on, to make them sport;
The Alanking walls that round it sweep, Demanded for their niggard pay,
In yellow lustre shone. Fit for their souls, a looser lay,
The warriors on the turrets high, Licentious satire, song, and play:
Moving athwart the evening sky, The world defrauded of the high design,
Seem'd forms of giant height: Profaned the God-given strength, and marr'd the Their armour, as it caught the rays lofty line.
Flash'd back again the western blaze,
Warm’d by such names well may we then, In lines of dazzling light.
Though dwindled sons of little men,
Essay to break a feeble lance
In the fair fields of old romance ;
St. George's banner, broad and gay, Or seek the moated castle's cell
Now faded, as the fading ray Where long through talisman and spell,
Less bright, and less, was flung; While tyrants ruled, and damsels wept,
The evening gale had scarce the power Thy genius, chivalry, hath slept:
To wave it on the donjon tower, There sound the harpings of the north,
So heavily it hung. Till he awake and sally forth,
The scouts had parted on their search, On venturous quest to prick again,
The castle gates were barr’d; In all his arms, with all his train,
Above the gloomy portal arch, Shield, lance, and brand, and plume, and scarf, Timing his footsteps to a march, Fay, giant, dragon, squire, and dwarf,
The warder kept his guard; And wizard, with his wand of might,
Low humming as he paced along,
And errant maid on palfrey white.
Some ancient border-gathering song.
Around the genius weave their spells,
Pure love, who scarce his passion tells;
Mystery, half veil'd and half reveal'd;
And honour, with his spotless shield;
A distant trampling sound he hears;
He looks abroad, and soon appears, Attention, with fix'd eye; and fear,
O'er Horncliff hill, a plump* of spears,
That loves the tale he shrinks to hear;
Beneath a pennon gay:
And gentle courtesy; and faith,
Unchanged by sufferings, time, or death ;
A horseman, darting from the crowd,
Like lightning from a summer cloud, And valour, lion-melted lord,
Spurs on his mettled courser proud, Leaning upon his own good sword.
Before the dark array. Well has thy fair achievement shown,
Beneath the sable palisade, A worthy meed may thus be won;
That closed the castle barricade, Ytene's* oaks-beneath whose shade,
His bugle horn he blew; Their theme the merry minstrels made,
The warder hasted from the wall, Of Ascapart, and Bevis bold,
And warn’d the captain in the hall,
And that red king,t who, while of old,
For well the blast he knew;
Though Boldrewood the chase he led,
By his loved huntsman's arrow bled-
And joyfully that knight did call
Ytene's oaks have heard again
To sewer, squire, and seneschal.
Renew'd such legendary strain ;
For thou hast sung, how he of Gaul,
That Amadis, so famed in hall,
“Now broach ye a pipe of Malvoisie, For Oriana, foil'd in fight
Bring pasties of the doe, The necromancer's felon might;
And quickly make the entrance free, And well in modern verse hast wove
And bid my heralds ready be, Partenopex's mystic love:
And every minstrel sound his glee, Hear then, attentive to my lay,
And all our trumpets blow;
A knightly tale of Albion's elder day.
And from the platform, spare ye not
To fire a noble salvo-shot;
Lord Marmion waits below !”
Then to the castle's lower ward
Sped forty yeomen tall,
The iron-studded gates unbarr'd,
Raised the portcullis' ponderous guard,
The lofty palisade unsparr'd,
Day set on Norham's castled steep,
And let the drawbridge fall. And Tweed's fair river, broad and deep,
And Cheviot's mountains lone : The battled towers, the donjon keep,
* This word properly applies to a flight of water fowl; but is applied, by analogy, to a body of horse.
There is knight of the North Country, * The new forest in Hampshire, anciently so called.
Which leads a lusty plump of spears. + William Rufus.
Battle of Flodder.