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If thou readest, thou art lorn! Better thou hadst ne'er been born."
XXIV. “O swiftly can speed my dapplegray steed,
Which drinks of the Teviot clear;
“Again will I be here: And safer by none may thy errand be done,
Than, poble dame, by me;
XXV. Soon in his saddle sate he fast, And soon the deep descent he pass'd, Soon cross'd the sounding barbican,t And soon the Teviot's side he won. Eastward the wooded path he rode, Green hazels o'er his basnet nod: He pass'd the peelt of Goldiland, And cross'd old Borthwick's roaring strand; Dimly he view'd the moathill's mound, Where Druid shades still fitted round: In Hawick twinkled many a light: Behind him soon they set in night; And soon he spurr'd his courser keen Beneath the tower of Hazeldean.
Where many a bold retainer lay,
Her son pursued his infant play,
The truncheon of a spear bestrode,
In mimic foray* rode.
Share in his frolic gambols bore,
Were stubborn as the steel they wore. For the gray warriors prophesied,
How the brave boy, in future war,
One moment, and no more ;
As she paused at the arched door;
Say that the fated hour is come,
To win the treasure of the tomb:
XXVI. The clattering hoofs the watchmen mark; “ Stand, ho! thou courier of the dark.” “ For Branksome, ho !” the knight rejoin'd, And left the friendly tower behind. He turn'd him now from Teviot side,
And, guided by the tinkling rill,
And gaind the moor at Horslie hill;
* Haribee, the place of executing the Border marauders at Carlisle. The neck-verse is the beginning of the fifty. first psalm, Miserere mei, góc. anciently read by criminale, claiming the benefit of clergy.
† Barbican, the defence of the outer gale of a feudal castle.
I Peel, a Border tower.
§ An ancient Roman road, crossing through part of Roxburghshire.
* Foray, a predatory inroad.
XXVIII. Unchallenged, thence past Deloraine To ancient Riddell's fair domain,
Where Aill, from mountains freed, Down from the lakes did raving come, Cresting each wave with tawny foam,
Like the mane of a chestnut steed. In vain ! no torrent, deep or broad, Might bar the bold mosstrooper's road.
And, diffident of present praise,
The dutchess and her daughters fair,
XXIX. At the first plunge the horse sunk low, And the water broke o'er the saddle-bow : Above the foaming tide, I ween, Scarce half the charger's neck was seen ; For he was barded* from counter to tail, And the rider was arm'd complete in mail; Never heavier man and horse Stemmed a midnight torrent's force. The warrior's very plume, I say, Was daggled by the dashing spray; Yet, through good heart, and our ladye's grace, At length he gain'd the landing place.
XXX. Now Bowden moor the marchman won,
And sternly shook his plumed head, As glanced his eye o'er Halidon,
For on his soul the slaughter red Of that uphallow'd morn arose, When first the Scott and Car were foes ; When royal James beheld the fray, Prize to the victor of the day; When Home and Douglas, in the van, Bore down Buccleuch's retiring clan, Till gallant Cessford's heartblood dear Reek'd on dark Elliot's border spear.
If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright,
XXXI. In bitter mood he spurred fast, And soon the hated heath was past; And far beneath, in lustre wan, Old Melros' rose, and fair Tweed ran; Like some tall rock, with lichens gray, Rose, dimly huge, the dark abbaye. When Hawick he pass'd, had curfew rung, Now midnight laudst were in Melrose sung. The sound upon the fitful gale In solemn wise did rise and fail, Like that wild harp whose magic tone Is waken'd by the winds alone. But when Melrose he reach'd, 'twas silence all; He meetly stabled his steed in stall, And sought the convent's lonely wall.
II. Short halt did Deloraine make there; Little reck'd he of the scene so fair: With dagger's bilt, on the wicket strong, He struck full loud, and struck full long. The porter hurried to the gate“ Who knocks so loud, and knocks so late ?” « From Branksome I," the warrior cried ; And straight the wicket open'd wide: For Branksome's chiefs had in battle stood,
To fence the rights of fair Melrose ; | And lands and livings, many a rood,
Had gifted the shrine for their soul's repose.
III. Bold Deloraine his errand said ; The porter bent his humble head; With torch in hand, and feet unshod, And noiseless step, the path he trod ; The arched cloisters, far and wide, Rang to the warrior's clanking stride ; Till, stooping low his lofty crest, He enter'd the cell of the ancient priest, And lifted his barred aventayle,* To hail the monk of St. Mary's aisle.
Here paused the harp; and with its swell
* Barded, or barbed, applied to a horse accoutred with defensive armour.
† Lauds, the midnight service of the Catholic church.
* Atentayle, visor of the helmet.
And strangely on the knight look'd he,
Full many a scutcheon and banner riven, And his blue eyes gleam'd wild and wide;
Shook to the cold night wind of heaven, “ And, darest thou, warrior ! seek to see
Around the screened altar's pale; What heaven and hell alike would hide ? And there the dying lamps did burn, My breast, in belt of iron pent,
Before thy low and lonely urn, With shirt of hair and scourge of thorn:
O gallant chief of Otterburne! For threescore years, in penance spent,
And thine, dark knight of Liddesdale ! My knees those flinty stones have worn;
O fading honours of the dead !
O high ambition, lowly laid !
The moon on the east oriel shone
Through slender shafts of shapely stone,
By foliaged tracery combined:
Thou would'st have thought some fairy's hand VI.
”Twixt poplars straight the osier wand, “ Penance, father, will I none;
In many a freakish knot had twined; Prayer know I hardly one;
Then framed a spell, when the work was done, For mass or prayer can I rarely tarry,
And changed the willow wreaths to stone. Save to patter an Ave Mary,
The silver light, so pale and faint, When I ride on a Border foray :
Show'd many a prophet, and inany a saint, Other prayer can I none;
Whose image on the glass was died; So speed me my errand, and let me be gone."
Full in the midst, his cross of red
Triumphant Michael brandished,
And trampled the apostate's pride.
The moonbeam kiss'd the holy pane, And again he sigh'd heavily;
And threw on the pavement a bloody stain. For he had himself been a warrior bold,
XII. And fought in Spain and Italy.
They sate them down on a marble stone; And he thought on the days that were long since by,
1 (A Scottish monarch slept below ;) When his limbs were strong, and his courage was
Thus spoke the monk, in solemn tone; high :
“I was not always a man of wo; Now, slow and faint, he led the way,
For Paynim countries I have trod, Where, cloister'd round, the garden lay:
And fought beneath the cross of God: The pillard arches were over their head,
Now, strange to my eyes thine arms appear, And beneath their feet were the bones of the dead.
And their iron clang sounds strange to my ear. VIII.
ΧΙΙΙ. Spreading herbs, and flow'rets bright,
“In these far climes, it was my lot Glistend with the dew of night;
To meet the wondrous Michael Scott; Nor herb, nor flow'ret, glisten'd there,
A wizard of such dreaded fame, But was carved in the cloister'd arches as fair.
That when, in Salamanca's cave, The monk gazed long on the lovely moon,
Him listed his magic wand to wave, Then into the night he look'd forth;
The bells would ring in Notre Dame ! And red and bright the streamers light
Some of his skill he taught to me; Were dancing in the glowing north.
And, warrior, I could say to thee So had he seen, in fair Castile,
The words that cleft Eildon hills in three, The youth in glitt'ring squadrons start;
And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone; Sudden the flying gennet wheel,
But to speak them were a deadly sin ; And hurl the unexpected dart.
And for having but thought them my heart within, He knew, by the streamers that shot so bright,
A treble penance must be done. That spirits were riding the northern light.
He bethought him of his sinful deed,
XIX. And he gave me a sign to come with speed;
Before their eyes the wizard lay, I was in Spain when the morning rose,
As if he had not been dead a day. But I stood by his bed ere evening close.
His hoary beard in silver roll'd, The words may not again be said,
He seem'd some seventy winters old; That he spoke to me, on death-bed laid :
A palmer's amice wrapp'd him round, They would rend this abbaye's massy nave,
With a wrought Spanish baldric bound,
Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea ;
A silver cross was in bis right; “ I swore to bury his mighty book,
The lamp was placed beside his knee: That never mortal might therein look ;
High and majestic was his look ; And never to tell where it was hid,
At which the fellest fiends had shook, Save at the chief of Branksome's need;
And all unruffled was his face-
They trusted his soul had gotten grace.
Often had William of Deloraine And I dug his chamber among the dead,
Rode through the battle's bloody plain, When the floor of the chancel was stain'd red,
And trampled down the warriors slain, That his patron's cross might o'er him wave,
And neither known remorse nor awe;
Yet now remorse and awe he own'd:
His breath came thick, his head swam round,
When this strange scene of death he saw. " It was a night of wo and dread, When Michael in the tomb I laid !
Bewilder'd and unnerved he stood,
And the priest pray'd fervently and loud : Strange sounds along the chancel past;
With eyes averted, prayed he; The banners waved without a blast:"
He might not endure the sight to see, -Still spoke the monk, when the bell tollid one.
Of the man he had loved so brotherly.
And when the priest his death-prayer had pray'd, Yet somewhat was he chill'd with dread,
Thus unto Deloraine he said ;And his hair did bristle upon his head.
“Now, speed thee what thou hast to do, XVII.
Or, warrior, we may dearly rue;
For those, thou may'st not look upon, “ Lo, warrior! now, the cross of red
Are gathering fast round the yawning stone !"Points to the grave of the mighty dead;
Then Deloraine, in terror, took Within it burns a wondrous light,
From the cold hand the mighty book, To chase the spirits that love the night;
With iron clasp'd, and with iron bound; That lamp shall burn unquenchably,
He thought, as he took it, the dead man frown'd: Until the eternal doom shall be."
| But the glare of the sepulchral light, Slow moved the monk to the broad flag-stone,
| Perchance, had dazzled the warrior's sight. Which the bloody cross was traced upon; He pointed to a secret nook ;
XXII. An iron bar the warrior took ;
When the huge stone sunk o'er the tomb, And the monk made a sign with his wither'd hand,
The night return'd in double gloom; The grave's huge portal to expand.
For the moon had gone down, and the stars were
And, as the knight and priest withdrew, With beating heart, to the task he went;
With wavering steps and dizzy brain, His sinewy frame o'er the grave-stone bent, They hardly might the postern gain. With bar of iron heaved amain,
'Tis said, as through the aisles they pass'd, Till the toil drops fell from his brows, like rain.
They heard strange noises on the blast; It was by dint of passing strength,
And through the cloister-galleries small, That he moved the massy stone at length.
Which at mid-height thicad the chancel wall I would you had been there, to see
Loud sobs, and laughter louder, ran, How the light broke forth so gloriously,
And voices unlike the voice of man ; Stream'd upward to the chancel roof,
As if the fiends kept holiday, And through the galleries far aloof!
Because these spells were brought to day. No earthly flame blazed e'er so bright;
I cannot tell how the truth may be ;
I say the tale as 'twas said to me.
I“ And, when we are on death-bed laid,
O may our dear Ladye, and sweet Saint John, | A fairer pair were never seen
He was stately, and young, and tall,
Dreaded in battle, and loved in hall: When the convent met at the noontide bell, And she, when love, scarce told, scarce hid
The monk of Saint Mary's aisle was dead! Lent to her cheek a livelier red; Before the cross was the body laid,
When the half sigh her swelling breast
When her blue eyes their secret told,
Though shaded by her locks of gold,-
With Margaret of Branksome might compare ! He was glad when he pass'd the tombstones gray
And now, fair dames, methinks I see
You listen to my minstrelsy:
Your waving locks ye backward throw,
And sidelong bend your necks of snow :
Ye ween to hear a melting tale Began to brighten Cheviot gray ;
Of two true lovers in a dale ;
And how the knight, with tender fire,
To paint his faithful passion strove;
Swore he might at her feet expire,
But never, never cease to love;
And how she blush'd, and how she sigh'd The sun had brightend the Carter's* side,
And, half consenting, half denied, And soon beneath the rising day
And said that she would die a maid ; Smiled Branksome towers and Teviot tide.
Yet, might the bloody feud be stay'd, The wild birds told their warbling tale ;
Henry of Cranstoun, and only he,
Margaret of Branksome's choice should be And awaken'd every flower that blows; And peep'd forth the violet pale,
XXX. And spread her breast the mountain rose ;
Alas! fair dames, your hopes are vain ! And lovelier than the rose so red,
My harp has lost th' enchanting strain; Yet paler than the violet pale,
Its lightness would my age reprove : She early left her sleepless bed,
My hairs are gray, my limbs are old,
My heart is dead, my veins are cold ;
I may not, must not, sing of love.
XXXI. And don her kirtle so hastilie:
Beneath an oak, moss'd o'er by eld, And the silken knots, which in hurry she would The baron's dwarf his courser held, make,
And held his crested helm and spear: Why tremble her slender fingers to tie?
That dwarf was scarce an earthly man, Why does she stop, and look often around,
If the tales were true, that of him ran As she glides down the secret stair;
Through all the Border, far and near. And why does she pat the shaggy bloodhound, 'Twas said, when the baron a hunting rode, As he rouses him up from his lair :
Through Redesdale’s glen, but rarely trod, And, though she passes the postern alone,
He heard a voice cry, “Lost! lost! lost !” Why is not the watchman's bugle blown?
And, like a tennis-ball by racquet tost,
A leap, of thirty feet and three,
Made from the gorse this elfin shape,
Distorted like some dwarfish ape, Lest her watchful mother hear her tread;
And lighted at Lord Cranstoun's knee.
Lord Cranstoun was somewhit dismay’d;
To rid him of his company;
But where he rode one mile, the dwarf ran four, And she glides through the greenwood at dawn of And the dwarf was first at the castle door. light,
Use lessens marvel, it is said:
This elfish dwarf with the baron staid ;
Little he ate, and less he spoke, And under the hawthorn's boughs are set.
Nor mingled with the menial flock:
And oft apart his arms he toss'd, • A mountain on the border of England, above Jedburgh. | And often murmur'd, “ Lost! lost! Jost!”