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And view'd, around the blazing hearth, His followers mix in noisy mirth, Whom with brown ale, in jolly tide, From ancient vessels ranged aside, Full actively their host supplied.
Ill may we hope to please your ear,
IV. Theirs was the glee of martial breast, And laughter theirs at little jest ; And oft Lord Marmion deign'd to aid, And mingle in the mirth they made : For though, with men of high degree, The proudest of the proud was he, Yet, traind in camps, he knew the art To win the soldier's hardy heart. They love a captain to obey, Boisterous as March, yet fresh as May; With open hand, and brow as free, Lover of wine and minstrelsy, Ever the first to scale a tower, As venturous in a ladye's bower:Such buxom chief shall lead his host From India's fires to Zembla's frost.
V. Resting upon his pilgrim staff,
Right opposite the palmer stood : His thin dark visage seen but half,
Half hidden by his hood. Still fix'd on Marmion was his look, Which he, who ill such gaze could brook,
Strove by a frown to quell; But not for that, though more than once Full met their stern encountering glance,
The palmer's visage fell.
IX. A mellow voice Fitz-Eustace had, The air he chose was wild and sad; Such have I heard, in Scottish land, Rise from the busy harvest band, When falls before the mountaineer, On lowland plains, the ripen'd ear. Now one shrill voice the notes prolong, Now a wild chorus swells the song: Oft have I listen'd, and stood still, As it came soften'd up the hill, And deem'd it the lament of men Who languish'd for their native glen; And thought how sad would be such sound, On Susquehannah's swampy ground, Kentucky's wood-encumber'd brake, Or wild Ontario's boundless lake, Where heart-sick exiles, in the strain, Recall'd fair Scotland's hills again!
Their glee and game declined.
Thus whisper'd forth his mind:
Glances beneath his cowl! Full on our lord he sets his eye; For his best palfray, would not I
Endure that sullen scowl.”
Whom the fates sever
Parted for ever?
Sounds the far billow, Where early violets die,
Under the willow.
Eleu loro, &c. Soft shall be his pillow.
There, through the summer day,
Cool streams are laving; There while the tempests sway,
Scarce are boughs waving: There, thy rest shalt thou take,
Parted for ever, Never again to wake,
Never, I never.
VII. But Marmion, as to chase the awe Which thus had quell’d their hearts, who saw The ever-varying firelight show That tigure stern and face of wo,
Now callid upon a squire:“ Fitz Eustace, know'st thou not some lay, To speed the lingering night away?
We slumber by the fire."
CHORUS Eleu loro, &c. Never, 0 never.
VIII. “ So please you,” thus the youth rejoin'd, u Our choicest minstrel's left behind.
He, the deceiver,
Ruin, and leave her?
In the lost battle,
For either in the tone,
Or something in the palmer's look,
So full upon his conscience strook,
That answer he found none.
Thus oft it haps, that when within
They shrink at sense of secret sin,
A feather daunts the brave,
A fool's wise speech confounds the wise,
And proudest princes veil their eyes
Before their meanest slave.
Well might he falter by his aid
Was Constance Beverly betray'd;
Not that he augurd of the doom,
Which on the living closed the tomb :
But, tired to hear the desperate maid Eleu loro, &c. Never, 0 never.
Threaten by turns, beseech, upbraid:
And wroth, because, in wild despair,
She practised on the life of Clare ;
Its fugitive the church he gave, And silence sunk on all around.
Though not a victim, but a slave; The air was sad; but sadder still
And deem'd restraint in convent strange It fell on Marmion's ear,
Would hide her wrongs and her revenge. And plain’d as if disgrace and ill,
Himself, proud Henry's favourite peer, And shameful death were near.
Held Romish thunders idle fear; He drew his mantle past his face,
Secure bis pardon he might hold, Between it and the band,
For some slight mulct of penance gold. And rested with his head a space,
Thus judging, he gave secret way, Reclining on his hand.
When the stern priests surprised their prey ; His thoughts I scan not; but I ween,
His train but deem'd the favourite page That, could their import have been seen,
Was left behind, to spare his age; The meanest groom in all the hall,
Or other if they deem'd, none dared
To mutter what he thought and heard:
Into Lord Marmion's privacy!
Say, what may this portend !"-
“ The death of a dear friend."
XX. “ The king Lord Gifford's castle sought, Deep labouring with uncertain thought Even then he muster'd all his host, To meet upon the western coast; For Norse and Danish galleys plied Their oar within the Frith of Clyde. There floated Haco's banner trim, Above Norweyan warriors grim, Savage of heart, and large of limb; Threatening both continent and isle, Bute, Arran, Cunningham, and Kyle. Lord Gifford, deep beneath the ground, Heard Alexander's bugle sound, And tarried not his garb to change, But, in his wizard habit strange, Came forth,—a quaint and fearful sight! His mantle lined with foxskins white; His high and wrinkled forehead bore A pointed cap, such as of yore Clerks say that Pharoah's magi wore; His shoes were mark'd with cross and spell, Upon his breast a pentacle ; His zone, of virgin parchment thin, Or, as some tell, of dead man's skin, Bore many a planetary sign, Combust, and retrogade, and trine; And in his hand he held prepared, A naked sword without a guard.
“Would,” thought he, as the picture grows,
“ Ay, reverend pilgrim, you, who stray
To visit realms afar,
By word, or sign, or star.
THE HOST'S TALE.
XXI. “Dire dealings with the fiendish race Had mark'd strange lines upon his face; Vigil and fast had worn him grim; His eyesight dazzled seem'd, and dim, As one unused to upper day ; E’en his own menials with dismay Beheld, sir knight, the griesly sire, In this unwonted wild attire ; Unwonted,-for traditions run, He seldom thus beheld the sun.
I know,' he said, -his voice was hoarse, And broken seem'd its hollow force,"I know the cause, although untold, Why the king seeks his vassal's hold: Vainly from me my liege would know His kingdom's future weal or wo; But yet if strong his arm and heart, His courage may do more than art.
XXII. "Of middle air the demons proud, Who ride upon the racking cloud, Can read, in fix'd or wandering star, The issue of events afar, But still their sullen aid withhold, Save when by mightier force controll'd. Such late I summond to my hall; And though so potent was the call, That scarce the deepest nook of hell I deem'd a refuge from the spell; Yet, obstinate in silence still, The haughty demon mocks my skill. But thou,—who little knowest thy might, As born upon that blessed night,
When yawning graves, and dying groan,
And raised the skin-a puny wound. Proclaim'd hell's empire overthrown,
The king, light leaping to the ground, With untaught valour shall compell
With naked blade his phantom foe Response denied to magic spell.?—
Compel!'d the future war to show. "Gramercy,' quoth our monarch free,
Of Largs he saw the glorious plain, • Place him but front to front with me,
Where still gigantic bones remain, And, by this good and honour'd brand,
Memorial of the Danish war; The gift of Caur-de-Lion's hand,
Himself he saw, amid the field, Soothly I swear, that, tide what tide,
On high his brandish'd war-axe wield, The demon shall a buffet bide.'
And strike proud Haco from his car; His bearing bold the wizard view'd,
While all around the shadowy kings And thus, well pleased, his speech renewd: Denmark's grim ravens cower'd their wings. • There spoke the blood of Malcolm -mark: 'Tis said, that, in that awful night, Forth pacing hence, at midnight dark,
Remoter visions met his sight, The rampart seek, whose circling crown
Fore-showing future conquests far, Crests the ascent of yonder down:
When our sons' sons wage northern war; A southern entrance shalt thou find;
A royal city, tower, and spire, There halt, and there thy bugle wind,
Redden'd the midnight sky with fire, And trust thine elfin foe to see,
And shouting crews her navy bore
Triumphant to the victor shore.
They pass the wit of simple swain.
“ The joyful king turn'd home again, I am no warrant for thy life.'—
Headed his host, and quell’d the Dane;
But yearly, when return’d the night
Of his strange combat with the sprite, “ Soon as the midnight bell did ring,
His wound must bleed and smart: Alone, and arm'd, forth rode the king
Lord Gifford then would gibing say, To that old camp's deserted round;
• Bold as ye were, my liege, ye pay Sir knight, you well might mark the mound,
The penance of your start.' Left hand the town,-the Pictish race,
Long since, beneath Dunfermline's nave, The trench, long since, in blood did trace;
King Alexander fills his grave, The moor around is brown and bare,
Our lady give him rest! The space within is green and fair.
Yet still the mighty spear and shield The spot our village children know,
The elfin warrior doth wield, For there the earliest wild flowers grow ;
Upon the brown hill's breast; But wo betide the wandering wight,
And many a knight hath proved his chance, That treads its circles in the night. The breadth across the bowshot clear,
In the charm'd ring to break a lance,
But all have foully sped; Gives ample space for full career;
Save two, as legends tell, and they
Were Wallace wight, and Gilbert Hay.-
Gentles, my tale is said.” --
The quaighs* were deep, the liquor strong,
And on the tale the yeomen-throng, In Palestine waged holy war:
Had made a comment sage and long, Yet arms like England's did he wield,
But Marmion gave a sign; Alike the leopards in the shield,
And, with their lord, the squires retire; Alike his Syrian courser's frame,
The rest, around the hostel fire, The rider's length of limb the same :
Their drowsy limbs recline: Long afterwards did Scotland know,
For pillow, underneath each head, Fell Edward* was her deadliest foe.
The quiver and the targe were laid.
Deep slumbering on the hostel floor,
Oppress'd with toil and ale, they snore ; « The vision made our monarch start,
The dying flame, in fitful change, But soon he mann'd his noble heart,
Threw on the group its shadows strange.
Apart, and nestling in the hay
Of a waste loft, Fitz-Eustace lay;
* Edward L., surnamed Longshanks.
* A wooden cup, composed of staves hooped together
Wearied from doubt to doubt to flee,
Come townward rushing on:
Return'd Lord Marmion.
INTRODUCTION TO CANTO IV.
Scarce by the pale moonlight, were seen
XXIX. “ Didst never, good my youth, hear tell
That on the hour when I was born, St. George, who graced my sire's chapelle, Down from his steed of marble fell,
A weary wight forlorn ?
Till, by the lessening sound,
Lord Marmion sought the roun
Array'd in plate and mail.
Unfix the strongest mind :
TO JAMES SKENE, ESQ.
Ashestiel, Ettrick Forest. An ancient minstrel sagely said, “ Where is the life which late we led ?" That motely clown, in Ardenwood, Whom humorous Jaques with envy view'd, Not e'en that clown could amplify, On this trite text, so long as I. Eleven years we now may tell, Since we have known each other well; Since, riding side by side, our hand First drew the voluntary brand; And sure, through many a varied scene, Unkindness never came between. Away these winged years have flown, To join the mass of ages gone; And though deep mark'd, like all below, With checker'd shades of joy and wo; Though thou o'er realms, and seas hast ranged, Mark'd cities lost, and empires changed, While here, at home, my narrower ken Somewhat of manners saw, and men ; Though varying wishes, hopes, and fears, Fever'd the progress of these years, Yet now days, weeks, and months, but seem The recollection of a dream; So still we glide down to the sea Of fathomless eternity. Even now it scarcely seems a day, Since first I turn'd this idle lay;
* Used by old poets for went.