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XXIII.

"I know," he said-his voice was A southern entrance shalt thou find; hoarse,

There halt, and there thy bugle wind,
And broken seem'd its hollow force,- | And trust thine elfin foe to see,
“I know the cause, although untold, In guise of thy worst enemy:
Why the King seeks his vassal's hold: Couch then thy lance, and spur thy
Vainly from me my liege would know steed-
IIis kingdom's future weal or woc; Upon him! and Saint George to speed!
But yet, if strong his arm and heart, If he go down, thou soon shalt know
His courage may do more than art. Whate'er these airy sprites can show;

If thy heart fail thee in the strife,
XXII.

I am no warrant for thy life.”
«« Of middle air the demons proud,
Who ride upon the racking cloud,
Can read, in fix'd or wandering star,

Soon as the midnight bell did ring, The issue of events afar;

Alone, and arm'd, forth rode the King But still their sullen aid withhold,

To that old camp's deserted round: Save when by mightier force con

Sir Knight, you well might mark the troll'd.

mound, Such late I summon'd to my hall ;

Left hand the town,—the Pictish race, And though so potent was the call

The trench, long since, in blood did That scarce the deepest nook of hell

trace; I dcem'd a refuge from the spell,

The moor around is brown and bare, Yet, obstinate in silence still,

The space within is green and fair. The haughty demon mocks my skill.

The spot our village children know, But thou-who little know'st thy

For there the earliest wild flowers might,

grow; As born upon that blessed night

But woe betide the wandering wight,

That treads its circle in the night! When yawning graves, and dying

The breadth across, a bowshot clear, groan, Proclaim'd hell's empire overthrown

Gives ample space for full career: With untaught valour shalt compel

Opposed to the four points of heaven, Response denied to magic spell.”

By four deep gaps are entrance given. “Gramercy,” quoth our Monarch free, Halted, and blew a gallant blast;

The southernmost our Monarch past, “ Place him but front to front with me, And, by this good and honour'd brand, Appear'd the form of England's King,

And on the north, within the ring. The gift of Caur-de-Lion's hand, Soothly I swear, that, tide what tide,

Who then, a thousand leagues afar, The demon shall a buffet bide."

In Palestine wag'd holy war: His bearing bold the wizard view'd,

Yet arms like England's did he wield, And thus, well pleas'd, his speech. Alike the leopards in the shield, renew'd :

Alike his Syrian courser's frame, “ There spoke the blood of Malcolm!

The rider's length of limb the same: mark:

Long afterwards did Scotland know, Forth pacing hence, at midnight dark, Fell Edward was her deadliest foe. The rampart seek, whose circling

The vision made our Monarch start, Crests the ascent of yonder down: But soon he mann'd his noble heart,

XXIV.

crown

XXVI.

And in the first career they ran, And many a knight hath prov'd his The Elfin Knight fell, horse and chance, man;

In the charm'd ring to break a lance, Yet did a splinter of his lance

But all have foully sped; Through Alexander's visor glance, Save two, as legends tell, and they And razed the skin-a puny wound. Were Wallace wight, and Gilbert Ilay. The King, light leaping to the ground, Gentles, my tale is said.' With naked blade his phantom foe Compellid the future war to show. Of Largs he saw the glorious plain, The quaighs were deep, the liquor Where still gigantic bones remain,

strong, Memorial of the Danish war; And on the tale the yeoman-throng Himself he saw, amid the field, Had made a comment sage and long, On high his brandish'd war-axe wield, But Marmion gave a sign: And strike proud Haco from his And, with their lord, the squires retire; car,

The rest, around the hostel fire, While all around the shadowy Kings Their drowsy limbs recline; Denmark's grim ravens cower'd their For pillow, underneath each head, wings.

The quiver and the targe were laid. 'Tis said, that, in that awful night, Deep slumbering on the hostel floor, Remoter visions met his sight, Oppress'd with toil andale, they snore: Foreshowing future conquests far, The dying flame, in fitful change, When our sons' sons wage northern Threw on the group its shadows war;

strange. A royal city, tower and spire, Redden'd the midnight sky with fire, And shouting crews her navy bore, Apart, and nestling in the hay Triumphant, to the victor shore. Of a waste loft, Fitz-Eustace lay; Such signs may learned clerks explain, | Scarce, by the pale moonlight, were They pass the wit of simple swain.

The foldings of his mantle green: xxv.

Lightly he dreamt, as youth will “The joyful King turn'd home again, dream, Headed his host, and quell’d the Dane; Of sport by thicket, or by stream; But yearly, when return'd the night Of hawk or hound, of ring or glove, Of his strange combat with the sprite, Or, lighter yet, of lady's love.

His wound must bleed and smart ; A cautious tread his slumber broke, Lord Gifford then would gibing say, And, close beside him, when he woke, ** Bold as ye were, my liege, ye pay In moonbeam half, and half in gloom,

The penance of your start.” Stood a tall form, with nodding plume; Long since, beneath Dunfermline's But, ere his dagger Eustace drew, nave,

His master Marmion's voice he knew. King Alexander fills his grave;

XXVIII. Our Lady give him rest! Yet still the knightly spear and shield - Fitz-Eustace! rise, I cannot rest; The Elfin Warrior doth wield, Yon churl's wild legend haunts my Upon the brown hill's breast;

breast,

XXVII.

seen

XXIX.

And graver thoughts have chafed my And listen’d to his horse's tramp, mood :

Till, by the lessening sound, The air must cool my feverish blood; He judg'd that of the Pictish camp And fain would I ride forth, to see

Lord Marmion sought the round. The scene of elfin chivalry.

Wonder it secm'd, in the squire's eyes, Arise, and saddle me my steed; That one, so wary held, and wise, And, gentle Eustace, take good heed Of whom'twas said he scarce received 'Thou dost not rouse these drowsy 'For gospel what the church beslaves;

lieved,-. I would not, that the prating knaves Should, stirrd by idle tale, Had cause for saying, o'er their ale, Ride forth in silence of the night, That I could credit such a tale.' As hoping half to meet a sprite, Then softly down the steps they slid, Array'd in plate and mail. Eustace the stable door undid, For little did Fitz-Eustace know, nd, darkling, Marmion's steed That passions, in contending flow, array'd,

Unfix the strongest mind; While, whispering, thus the Baron Wearied from doubt to doubt to flec, said :

We welcome fond credulity,

Guide confident, though blind. 'Didst never, good my youth, hear

xxxi. tell,

Little for this Fitz-Eustace car'd, That on the hour when I was born, .. But, patient, waited till he heard, Saint George, who graced my sire's ! At distance, prick'd to utmost speed, chapelle,

| The foot-tramp of a flying steed, Down from his steed of marble fell, Come town-ward rushing on; A weary wight forlorn ?

First, dead, as if on turf it trode, The flattering chaplains all agree, Then, clattering on the village road;The champion left his steed to me. In other pace than forth he yode, I would, the omen's truth to show, Return'd Lord Marmion. That I could meet this Elfin Foe! Down hastily he sprung from selle, Blithe would I battle, for the right And, in his haste, wellnigh he fell; To ask one question at the sprite: To the squire's hand the rein he threw', Vain thought! for elves, if elves there i And spoke no word as he withdrew: be,

But yet the moonlight did betray, An empty race, by fount or sea, | The falcon-crest was soil'd with clay; To dashing waters dance and sing, And plainly might Fitz-Eustace see, Or round the green oak wheel their | By stains upon the charger's knee, ring.'

And his left side, that on the moor Thus speaking, he his steed bestrode, He had not kept his footing sure. And from the hostel slowly rode. Long musing on these wondrous signs,

At length to rest the squire reclines, xxx.

Broken and short; for still, between, Fitz-Eustace followed him abroad, Would dreams of terror intervene. And mark'd him pace the village ! Eustace did ne'er so blithely mark road,

| The first notes of the morning lark.

TO

Their vex'd boughs streaming to the INTRODUCTION TO CANTO

sky,

Once more our naked birches sigh, FOURTH.

And Blackhouse heights, and Ettrick

Pen,

Have donn'd their wintry shrouds JAMES SKENE, Esq.

again : Ashestiel, Ettrick Forest. | And mountain dark, and flooded mead,

Bid us forsake the banks of Tweed. An ancient Minstrel sagely said • Where is the life which late we led? | Mix'd with the rack, the snow mists

Earlier than wont along the sky, That motley clown in Arden wood, Whom humorous Jaques with envy The shepherd, who in summer sun,

fly; view'd, Not even that clown could amplify

Had something of our envy won, On this trite text so long as I.

As thou with pencil, I with pen, Eleven years we now may tell,

The features trac'd of hill and glen;Since we have known each other well; He who, outstretch'd the livelong day, Since, riding side by side, our hand

At ease among the heath-flowers lay, First drew the voluntary brand;

View'd the light clouds with vacant And sure, through manya variedscene, Or slumber'd o'er his tatter'd book,

look, Unkindness never came between. Away these winged years have flown, His angle o'er the lessen'd tide ;

Or idly busied him to guide To join the mass of ages gone; And though deep mark'd, like all below, Finds sterner labour for the swain.

At midnight now, the snowy plain With chequer'd shades of joyandwoe; Though thou o'er realms and seas hast

When red hath set the beamless sun, rangd, Mark'd cities lost, and empires chang'd, Through heavy vapours dark and dun; While here, at home, my narrower ken When the tir'd ploughman, dry and Somewhat of manners saw, and men;

warm, Though varying wishes, hopes, and Hears, half asleep, the rising storm fears,

Hurling the hail, and sleeted rain, Fever'd the progress of these years,

Against the casement's tinkling pane; Yet now, days, weeks, and months, but

The sounds that drive wild deer, and

fox, seem The recollection of a dream,

To shelter in the brake and rocks, So still we glide down to the sea

Are warnings which the shepherd ask Of fathomless eternity.

To dismal and to dangerous task.

Oft he looks forth, and hopes, in vain, Even now it scarcely seems a day, The blast may sink in mellowing rain; Since first I tuned this idle lay; Till, dark above, and white below, A task so often thrown aside,

Decided drives the flaky snow, When leisure graver cares denied, And forth the hardy swain must go. That now, November's dreary gale, Long, with dejected look and whine, Whose voice inspir'd my opening tale, To leave the hearth his dogs repine; That same November gale once more Whistling and cheering them to aid, Whirls the dry leaveson Yarrow shore. Around his back he wreathes the plaid:

His flock he gathers, and he guides, Then happy those, since cach must To open downs, and mountain-sides,

drain Where fiercest though the tempest His share of pleasure, share of pain,blow,

Then happy those, beloved of Heaven, Least deeply lies the drift below. To whom the mingled cup is given; The blast, that whistles o'er the fells, Whose lenient sorrows find relief, Stiffens his locks to icicles;

Whosejoys are chasten'dby their grief. Oft he looks back, while, streaming far, And such a lot, my Skene, was thine, His cottage window seems a star, When thou of late wert doom'd to Loses its feeble gleam,—and then

twine, Turns patient to the blast again, Just when thy bridal hour was by, And, facing to the tempest's sweep, The cypress with the myrtle tie. Drives through the gloom his lagging Just on thy bride her Sire had smil'd, sheep.

And bless'd the union of his child, If fails his heart, if his limbs fail, When love must change its joyous Benumbing death is in the gale:

cheer, His paths, his landmarks, all unknown, And wipe affection's filial tear. Close to the hut, no more his own, Nor did the actions next his end, Close to the aid he sought in vain, Speak more the father than the friend : The morn may find the stiffen'd swain: Scarce had lamented Forbes paid The widow sees, at dawning pale, The tribute to his Minstrel's shade; His orphans raise their feeble wail; The tale of friendship scarce was told, And, close beside him, in the snow, Ere the narrator's heart was cold : Poor Yarrow, partner of their woe, Far may we search before we find Couches upon his inaster's breast, A heart so manly and so kind ! And licks his cheek to break his rest. But not around his honour'd urn,

Shall friends aloneand kindred mourn; Who envies now the shepherd's lot, The thousand eyes his care had dried, His healthy fare, his rural cot, Pour at his name a bitter tide ; His summer couch by greenwood tree, And frequent falls the grateful dew, His rustic kirn's loud revelry,

For benefits the world ne'er knew. His native hill-notes, tun'd on high, If mortal charity dare claim To Marion of the blithesome eye; The Almighty's attributed name, His crook, his scrip, his oaten reed, Inscribe above his mouldering clay And all Arcadia's golden creed? “The widow's shield, the orphan's stay.'

Nor, though it wake thy sorrow, deem Changes not so with us, my Skene, My verse intrudes on this sad theme; Of human life the varying scene ? For sacred was the pen that wrote, Our youthful summer oft we see *Thy father's friend forget thou not;' Dance by on wings of game and glee, | And grateful title may I plead, While the dark storm reserves its For many a kindly word and deed, rage,

To bring my tribute to his grave: Against the winter of our age: 'Tis little, but 'tis all I have. As he, the ancient Chief of Troy, His manhood spent in peace and joy ; To thee, perchance, this rambling But Grecian fires, and loud alarms,

strain Call'd ancient Priam forth to arms. Recalls our summer walks again ;

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