Imágenes de páginas

A simple race ! they waste their toil The phantom Knight, his glory fled,
For the vain tribute of a smile ; Mourns o'er the field he heap'd with
E'en when in age their flame expires, dead;
Her dulcet breath can fan its fires : Mounts the wild blast that sweeps
Their drooping fancy wakes at praise, amain,
And strives to trim the short-liv'd | And shrieks along the battle-plain.

The Chief, whose antique crownlet

long Smild then, well pleas'd, the aged Still sparkled in the feudal song, man,

Now, from the mountain's misty throne, And thus his tale continued ran. 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:
Canto Fifth.

Allmourn the Minstrel's harp unstrung,
Their name unknown, their praise un-


sung. Call it not vain ; they do not err,

Who say, that when the Poet dies, Scarcely the hot assault was staid, Mute Nature mourns her worshipper, The terms of truce were scarcely made,

And celebrates his obsequies : When they could spy, from BrankWho say, tall cliff and cavern lone

some's towers, For the departed Bard make moan; The advancing march of martial powers. That mountains weep in crystal rill ; Thick clouds of dust afar appear'd, That flowers in tears of balm distil ; And trampling steeds were faintly Through his lov'd groves that breezes heard; sigh,

Bright spears, above the columns dun, And oaks, in deeper groan, reply ; Glanced momentary to the sun ; And rivers teach their rushing wave And feudal banners fair display'd To murinur dirges round his grave. The bands that moved to Branksome's





Not that, in sooth, o'er mortal urn Vails not to tell cach hardy clan, Those things inanimate can mourn; From the fair Middle Marches came; But that the stream, the wood, the gale, The Bloody Heart blaz'd in the van, Is vocal with the plaintive wail

Announcing IDouglas, clreaded Of those, who, else forgotten long,

name! Liv'd in the poct's faithful song, Vails not to tell what steeds did spurn, And, with the poet's parting breath, Where the Seven Spears of WedderWhose memory feels a second death.

burne The Maid's pale shade, who wails her Their men in battle-order set; lot,

And Swinton laid the lance in rest, That love, true love, should be forgot, That tamed of yore the sparkling crest From rose and hawthorn shakes the Of Clarence's Plantagenet. tear

Nor list I say what hundreds more, Upon the gentle Minstrel's bier : From the rich Merse and Lammermore,

[ocr errors]

And Tweed's fair borders, to the war, By mutual inroads, mutual blows, Beneath the crest of Old Dunbar, By habit, and by nation, foes, And Hepburn's mingled banners They met on Teviot's strand; come,

They met and sate them mingled down, Down the steep mountain glittering Without a threat, without a frown, far,

As brothers meet in foreign land: And shouting still, 'A Home! a The hands the spear that lately Home!'

grasp'd, Still in the mailed gauntlet clasp'd,

Were interchang'd in greeting dear; Now squire and knight, from Brank- Visors were raised, and faces shown, some sent,

aid ;


And many a friend, to friend made On many a courteous message went; known, To every chief and lord they paid Partook of social cheer. Meet thanks for prompt and powerful Some drove the jolly bowl about;

With dice and draughts some chas'd And told them,-how a truce was

the day ; made,

And some, with many a merry shout, And how a day of fight was ta'en In riot, revelry, and rout, 'Twixt Musgrave and stout Delo Pursued the foot-ball play.

raine; And how the Ladye pray'd them Yet, be it known, had bugles blown,

dear, That all would stay the fight to see,

Or sign of war been seen,

Those bands so fair together rangd, And deign, in love and courtesy,

Those hands, so frankly interchang'd, To taste of Branksome cheer.

Had dyed with gore the green : Nor, while they bade to feast cach Scot,

The merry shout by Teviot-side

Had sunk in war-cries wild and wide, Were England's noble Lords forgot.

And in the groan of death ;
Himself, the hoary Seneschal
Rode forth, in seemly terms to call

And whingers, now in friendship bare

The social meal to part and share, Those gallant foes to Branksome Hall. Accepted Howard, than whom knight 'Twixt truce and war, such sudden

Had found a bloody sheath. Was never dubb'd, more bold in fight; Nor, when from war and armour free, Was not infrequent, nor held strange,

change More fam'd for stately courtesy:

In the old Border-day : But angry Dacre rather chose

But yet on Branksome's towers and In his pavilion to repose.

town, In peaceful merriment, sunk down

The sun's declining ray. Now, noble Dame, perchance you ask

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

The blithsome signs of wassel gay To keep the truce which here was Decay'd not with the dying day :

Soon through the lattic'd windows Where martial spirits, all on fire,

tall Breathed only blood and mortal ire. Of lofty Branksome's lordly hall,






Divided square by shafts of stone, Betimes from silken couch she rose; Huge flakes of ruddy lustre shone ; | While yet the banner'd hosts repose, Nor less the gilded rafters rang

She view'd the dawning day : With merry harp and beakers' clang: Of all the hundreds sunk to rest, And frequent, on the darkening First woke the loveliest and the best.

plain, Loud hollo, whoop, or whistle ran, As bands, their stragglers to regain, She gaz'd upon the inner court, Give the shrill watchword of their Which in the tower's tall shadow clan ;

lay; And revellers, o'er their bowls, pro- Where coursers' clang, and stamp, claim

and snort Douglas or Dacre's conquering name. Had rung the livelong yesterday;

Now still as death; till stalking slowIX.

The jingling spurs announc'd his Less frequent heard, and fainter still, treadAt length the various clamours A stately warrior pass'd below; died :

But when he rais'd his plumed And you might hcar, from Branksome head

Bless'd Mary! can it be? No sound but Teviot's rushing tide; | Secure, as if in Ousenam bowers, Save when the changing sentinel He walks through Branksome's hostile The challenge of his watch could towers tell;

With fearless step and free. And save where, through the dark She dar'd not sign, she dar'd not profound,

speak-. The clanging axe and hammer's 'Oh! if one page's slumbers break, sound

His blood the price must pay!
Rung from the nether lawn ; Not all the pearls Queen Mary wears,
For many a busy hand toil'd there, Not Margaret's yet more precious
Strong pales to shape, and beams to tears,

Shall buy his life a day.
The lists' dread barriers to prepare
Against the morrow's dawn.

Yet was his hazard small; for well

You may bethink you of the spell Margaret from hall did soon retreat, of that sly urchin page;

Despite the Dame's reproving eye; | This to his lord he did impart, Nor mark'd she, as she left her seat, And made him seem, by glamour art, Full many a stifled sigh ;

A knight from Hermitage. For many a noble warrior strove Unchalleng'd thus, the warder's post, To win the Flower of Teviot's love, The court, unchalleng'd, thus he And many a bold ally.

crossid, With throbbing head and anxious For all the vassalage : heart,

But O! what magic's quaint disguise All in her lonely bower apart, Could blind fair Margaret's azure eyes! In broken sleep she lay:

She started from her seat;


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]



While with surprise and fear she Thick round the lists their lances strove,

stood, And both could scarcely master Like blasted pines in Ettrick wood; love,

To Branksome many a look they Lord Henry's at her feet.

threw, The combatants' approach to view,

And bandied many a word of boast Oft have I mus'd what purpose bad About the knight each favour'd most. That foul malicious urchin had To bring this meeting round;

xv. For happy love's a heavenly sight, Meantime full anxious was the Dame; And by a vile malignant sprite For now arose disputed claim In such no joy is found;

Of who should fight for Deloraine, And oft I've deem'd perchance he 'Twixt Harden and'twixt Thirlestaine: thought

They 'gan to reckon kin and rent, Their erring passion might have And frowning brow on brow was

wrought Sorrow, and sin, and shame;

But yet not long the strife--for, lo! And death to Cranstoun's gallant Himself, the Knight of Deloraine, Knight,

Strong, as it seem'd, and free from And to the gentle ladye bright

pain, Disgrace and loss of fame.

In armour sheath'd from top to toe, But earthly spirit could not tell Appear'd and crav'd the combat due. The heart of them that lov'd so well.

The Dame her charm successful knew, True love's the gift which God has And the fierce chiefs their claims given

withdrew To man alone beneath the heaven : It is not fantasy's hot fire, Whose wishes, soon as granted, When for the lists they sought the fly ;

plain, It liveth not in fierce desire,

The stately Ladye's silken rein
With dead desire it doth not die; Did noble Howard hold;
It is the secret sympathy,

Unarmed by her side he walk'd,
The silver link, the silken tie, And much, in courteous phrase, they
Which heart to heart, and mind to talk'd

Of feats of arms of old. In body and in soul can bind.

Costly his garb; his Flemish ruff Now leave we Margaret and her Fell o'er his doublet, shap'd of buff, Knight,

With satin slash'd and lin'd; To tell you of the approaching fight. Tawny his boot, and gold his spur,

His cloak was all of Poland fur,

His hose with silver twin'd; Their warning blasts the bugles blew, His Bilboa blade, by Marchmen felt, The pipe's shrill port arous'd each Hung in a broad and studded belt; clan;

Hence, in rude phrase, the Borderers In haste, the deadly strife to view,

still The trooping warriors eager ran : Call'd noble Howard, Belted Will.



[blocks in formation]





Behind Lord Howard and the Dame,
Fair Margaret on her palfrey came, Here standeth Richard of Musgrave,
Whose foot-cloth swept the

Good knight and true, and freely ground:

born, White was her wimple, and her veil, Amends from Deloraine to crave, And her loose locks a chaplet pale

For foul despiteous scathe and Of whitest roses bound;

scorn. The lordly Angus, by her side,

He sayeth that William of Deloraine In courtesy to cheer her tried ;

Is traitor false by Border laws; Without his aid, her hand in vain

This with his sword he will maintain, Had strove to guide her broiderd

So help him God, and his good rein.

cause!' He deem'd she shudder'd at the

sight Of warriors met for mortal fight; But cause of terror, all unguess'd,

Here standeth William of Deloraine, Was fluttering in her gentle breast,

Good knight and true, of noble strain, When, in their chairs of crimson Who sayeth that foul treason's stain, plac'd,

Since he bore arms, ne'er soil'd his The Dame and she the barriers grac'd.

coat ; And that, so help him God above!

He will on Musgrave's body Prize of the field, the young Buc

prove, cleuch,

He lies inost foully in his throat.' An English knight led forth to view; Scarce rued the boy his present Forward, brave champions, to the plight,

fight! So much he long'd to see the fight.

Sound trumpets:'
Within the lists, in knightly pride,
High Home and haughty Dacre ride ;
Their leading staffs of steel they wield

God defend the right!' As marshals of the inortal field;

Then, Teviot ! how thine echoes rang, While to each knight their care

When bugle-sound and trumpet-clang

Let loose the martial foes, assign'd Like vantage of the sun and wind.

And in mid list, with shield pois'd Then heralds hoarse did loud pro


And measur'd step and wary eye, claim,

The combatants did close.
In King and Queen and Warden's

That none, while lasts the strife, Ill would it suit your gentle ear,
Should dare, by look, or sign, or word, Ye lovely listeners, to hear
Aid to a champion to afford,

How to the axe the helms did sound, On peril of his life ;

And blood pour'd down from many a And not a breath the silence broke,

wound; Till thus the alternate Heralds For desperate was the strife and long, spoke :

And either warrior fierce and strong.



[ocr errors]


« AnteriorContinuar »