Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

And distant salutation past

From the loud cannon mouth : Not in the close successive rattle, That breathes the voice of modern battle,

But slow and far between.The hillock gaind, Lord Marmion stay'd: “Here, by this cross,” he gently said,

“You well may view the scene. Here shalt thou tarry, lovely Clare: O think of Marmion in thy prayer ! Thou wilt not !

-well, -no less my care Shall, watchful, for thy weal prepare.You, Blount and Eustace, are her guard,

With ten pick'd archers of my train;
With England if the day go hard,

To Berwick speed amain.-
But, if we conquer, cruel maid !
My spoils shall at your feet be laid,

When here we meet again.”-
He waited not for answer there;
And would not mark the maid's despair,

Nor heed the discontented look
From either squire ; but spurr'd amain,
And, dashing through the battle plain,

His way to Surrey took.

And sudden, as he spoke,
From the sharp ridges of the hill,
All downward to the banks of Till,

Was wreath'd in sable smoke;
Volumed and vast, and rolling far,
The cloud enveloped Scotland's war,

As down the hill they broke;
Nor martial shout, nor minstrel tone,
Announced their march; their tread alone,
At times one warning trumpet blown,

At times a stifled hum,
Told England, from his mountain throne

King James did rushing come.-
Scarce could they hear, or see their foes,
Until at weapon point they close.-
They close, in clouds of smoke and dust,
With sword-sway, and with lance's thrust;

And such a yell was there,
Of sudden and portentous birth,
As if men fought upon the earth,

And fiends in upper air ;
0! life and death were in the shout,
Recoil and rally, charge and rout,

And triumph and despair. Long look'd the anxious squires; their eye Could in the darkness naught descry.

XXIV.
" — The good Lord Marmion, by my life!

Welcome to danger's hour!
Short greeting serves in time of strife :-

Thus have I ranged my power:
Myself will rule this central host,

Stout Stanley fronts their right,
My sons command the va'ward post,

With Brian Tunstall, stainless knight;
Lord Dacre, with his horsemen light,

Shall be in rearward of the fight,
And succour those that need it most.

Now, gallant Marmion, well I know,
Would gladly to the vanguard go;
Edmund, the admiral, Tunstall there,
With thee their charge will blithely share ;
There fight thine own retainers too,
Beneath De Burgh, thy steward true.”-
“ Thanks, poble Surrey !” Marmion said,
Nor further greeting there he paid ;
But, parting like a thunderbolt,
First in the vanguard made a halt,

Where such a shout there rose
Of “Marmion! Marmion !” that the cry
Up Flodden mountain shrilling high,

Startled the Scottish foes.

XXVI. At length the freshening western blast Aside the shroud of battle cast; And, first, the ridge of mingled spears Above the brightening cloud appears ; And in the smoke the pennons few, As in the storm the white sea-mew. Then mark'd they, dashing broad and far, The broken billows of the war, And plumed crest of chieftains brave, Floating like foam upon the wave,

But naught distinct they see :
Wide raged the battle on the plain ;
Spears shook, and falchions flash'd amain;
Fell England's arrow-flight like rain ;
Crests rose, and stoop'd, and rose again,

Wild and disorderly.
Amid the scene of tumult, high
They saw Lord Marmion's falcon fly:
And stainless Tunstall's banner white,
And Edmund Howard's lion bright,
Still bear them bravely in the fight;

Although against them come,
Of gallant Gordons many a one,
And many a stubborn highlandman,
And many a rugged border clan,

With Huntley, and with Home.

XXV. Blount and Fitz-Eustace rested still With Lady Clare upon the hill; On which (for far the day was spent) The western sumbeams now were bent; The cry they heard, its meaning knew, Could plain their distant comrades view; Sadly to Blount did Eustace say, “ Unworthy office here to stay, No hope of gilded spurs to-day.-But, see ! look up-on Flodden bent, The Scottish foe has fired his tent."

XXVII. Far on the left, unseen the while, Stanley broke Lennox and Argyle ; Though there the western mountaineer Rush'd with bare bosom on the spear, And Aung the feeble targe aside, And with both hands the broadsword plied : 'Twas vain :-But fortune, on the right, With fickle smile, cheer'd Scotland's fight. Then fell that spotless banner wbite, The Howard's lion fell;

[ocr errors]

Yet still Lord Marmion's falcon flew
With wavering flight, while fiercer grew

Around the battle yell.
The border slogan rent the sky!
A Home! a Gordon! was the cry;

Loud were the clanging blows;
Advanced,-forced back,—now low, now high,

The pennon sunk and rose;
As bends the bark's mast in the gale,
When rent are rigging, shrouds, and sail,

It waver'd 'mid the foes.
No longer Blount the sight could bear:-

By heaven, and all its saints, I swear,

I will not see it lost!
Fitz-Eustace, you with Lady Clare -
May bid your beads, and patter prayer,-

I gallop to the host."
And to the fray he rode amain,
Follow'd by all the archer train.
The fiery youth, with desperate charge,
Made, for a space, an opening large, -

The rescued banner rose,
But darkly closed the war around,
Like pine tree rooted from the ground,

It sunk among the foes.
Then Eustace mounted too ;

-yet stay'd, As loath to leave the helpless maid,

When, fast as shaft can fly, Bloodshot his eyes, his nostrils spread, The loose rein dangling from his head, Housing and saddle bloody red,

Lord Marmion's steed rush'd by; And Eustace, maddening at the sight,

A look and sign to Clara cast,

To mark he would return in haste, Then plunged into the fight.

XXIX.
When, doft'd his casque, he felt free air
Around 'gan Marmion wildly stare :
“ Where's Harry Blount? Fitz-Eustace, where
Linger ye here, ye hearts of hare ?
Redeem my pennon,-charge again!
Cry~ Marmion to the rescue !'-Vain !
Last of my race, on the battle-plain
That shout shall ne'er be heard again !
Yet my last thought is England's :-fly,

To Dacre bear my signet-ring:
Tell him his squadrons up to bring :-
Fitz-Eustace, to Lord Surrey hie;
Tunstall lies dead upon the field,
His lifeblood stains the spotless shield:
Edmund is down :-my life is reft;
The admiral alone is left.
Let Stanley charge with spur of fire,
With Chester charge, and Lancashire,
Full upon Scotland's central host,
Or victory and England's lost.-
Must I bid twice ?-hence, varlets, fly!
Leave Marmion here alone-to die."
They parted, and alone he lay;
Clare drew her from the sight away,
Till pain rung forth a lowly moan.
And half he murmur'd, -" Is there none,

Of all my halls have ourst,
Page, squire, or groom, one cup to bring
of blessed water from the spring,

To slake my dying thirst !"

XXVIII.
Ask me not what the maiden feels,

Left in that dreadful hour alone :
Perchance her reason stoops, or reels ;

Perchance a courage, not her own,

Braces her mind to desperate tone.
The scatter'd van of England wheels;-

She only said, as loud in air
The tumult roar'd, “ Is Wilton there ?”
They fly, or, madden'd by despair,

Fight but to die,-" Is Wilton there?”
With that, straight up the hill there rode

Two horsemen drench'd with gore, And in their arms, a helpless load,

A wounded knight they bore. His hand still strain'd the broken brand; His arms were smear'd with blood and sand: Dragg'd from among the horses' feet, With dinted shield, and heimet beat, The falcon crest and plumage gone, Can that be haughty Marmion S Young Blount his armour did unlace, And, gazing on his ghastly face,

Said" By Saint George, he's gone! That spear-wound has our master sped, And see the deep cut on his head !

Good night to Marmion." “ Unnurtured Blount ! thy brawling cease : He opes his eyes,” said Eustace; “ peace!”

XXX.
0, woman! in our hours of ease,
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
And variable as the shade
By the light quivering aspen made,-
When pain and anguish wring the brow,
A ministering angel thou !
Scarce were the piteous accents said,
When, with the baron's casque, the maid

To the nigh streamlet ran :
Forgot were hatred, wrongs, and fears,
The plaintive voice alone she hears,

Sees but the dying man.
She stoop'd her by the runnel's side,

But in abhorrence backward drew;
For, oozing from the mountain side,
Where raged the war, a dark red tide

Was curdling in the streamlet blue. Where shall she turn ?-behold her mark

A little fountain cell,
Where water clear as diamond spark,

In a stone basin fell.
Above some half-worn letters say,
Drink, weary pilgrim, drink and pray
For the kind soul of Sybil Grey,

Who built this cross and well.
She fill'd the helm, and back she hied,
And with surprise and joy espied

A monk supporting Marmion's head;
A pious man, whom duty brought
To dubious verge of battle fought,

To shrive the dying, bless the dead.

XXXI. Deep drank Lord Marmion of the wave, And as she stoop'd his brow to lave“ Is it the hand of Clare,” he said, « Or injured Constance, bathes my head?

Then, as remembrance rose, « Speak not to me of shrift or prayer!

I must redress her woes. Short space, few words are mine, to spare: Forgive and listen, gentle Clare!”—

* Alas!” she said, “ the while,O think of your immortal weal! In vain for Constance is your zeal;

She died at Holy Isle.”
Lord Marmion started from the ground,
As light as if he felt no wound;
Though in the action burst the tide,
In torrents, from his wounded side.
“ Then it was truth !"-he said_“I knew
That the dark presage must be true.-

I would the fiend, to whom belongs
The vengeance due to all her wrongs,

Would spare me but a day!
For wasting fire, and dying groan,
And priests slain on the altar stone,

Might bribe him for delay.
It may not be !--this dizzy trance-
Curse on yon base marauder's lance,
And doubly cursed my failing brand !
A sinful heart makes feeble hand.”
Then, fainting, down on earth he sunk,
Supported by the trembling monk,

XXXIII. By this, though deep the evening fell, Still rose the battle's deadly swell, For still the Scots, around their king, Unbroken, fought in desperate ring. Where's now their victor va'ward wing,

Where Huntley, and where Home? -O for a blast of that dread horn, On Fontarabian echoes borne,

That to King Charles did come, When Rowland brave, and Olivier, And every paladin and peer,

On Roncesvalles died ! Such blast might warm them, not in vain, To quit the plunder of the slain, And turn the doubtful day again,

While yet on Flodden side, Afar the royal standard flies, And round it toils, and bleeds, and dies,

Our Caledonian pride! In vain the wish-for, far away, While spoil and havoc mark their way, Near Sybil's cross the plunderers stray:“0, lady," cried the monk, “away!"

And placed her on her steed, And led her to the chapel fair

Of Tilmouth upon Tweed. There all the night they spent in prayer, And, at the dawn of morning, there She met her kinsman, Lord Fitz-Clare.

XXXII.
With fruitless labour, Clara bound,
And strove to staunch, the gushing wound:
The monk, with unavailing cares,
Exhausted all the church's prayers.
Ever, he said, that, close and near,
A lady's voice was on his ear,
And that the priest he could not hear,

For that she ever sung, In the lost battle, borne down by the flying, Where mingles war's rattle with groans of the

dying!"

So the notes rung;
“ Avoid thee, fiend with cruel hand,
Shake not the dying sinner's sand!
O look, my son, upon yon sign
Of the Redeemer's grace divine;

O think on faith and bliss !
By many a death-bed I have been,
And many a sinner's parting seen,

But never aught like this.”—
The war, that for a space did fail,
Now trebly thundering swell'd the gale,

And-Stanley! was the cry;
A light on Marmion's visage spread,

And fired his glazing eye:
With dying hand, above his head,
He shook the fragment of his blade,

And shouted “ Victory -
Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on!”—
Were the last words of Marmion.

XXXIV. But as they left the darkening heath, More desperate grew the strise of death. The English shafts in volleys haild, In headlong charge their horse assail'd; Front, flank, and rear, the squadrons sweep, To break the Scottish circle deep,

That fought around their king.
But yet, though thick the shafts as snow,
Though charging knights like whirlwinds go,
Though bill-men ply the ghastly blow,

Unbroken was the ring :
The stubborn spearmen still made good
Their dark impenetrable wood,
Each stepping where his comrade stood,

The instant that he fell.
No thought was there of dastard Night ;-
Link'd in the serried phalanx tight,
Groom sought like noble, squire like knight,

As fearlessly and well;
Till utter darkness closed her wing
O’er their thin host and wounded king.
Then skilful Surrey's sage commands
Led back from strife his shatter'd bands;

And from the charge they drew,
As mountain waves, from wasted lands,

Sweep back to ocean blue.
Then did their loss his foeman know;
Their king, their lords, their mightiest, low,
They melted from the field as snow,
When streams are swoln and south winds

blow. Dissolves in silent dew,

The spoilers stripp'd and gash'd the slain,
And thus their corpses were mista'en ;
And thus, in the proud baron's tomb,
The lowly woodsman took the room.

XXXVII.

Tweed's echoes heard the ceaseless plash,

While many a broken band,
Disorder'd, through her currents dash,

To gain the Scottish land;
To town and tower, to town and dale,
To tell red Flodden's dismal tale,
And raise the universal wail.
Tradition, legend, tune, and song,
Shall many an age that wail prolong;
Still from the sire the son shall hear
of the stern strife and carnage drear

of Flodden's fatal field, Where shiver'd was fair Scotland's spear,

And broken was her shield !

XXXV.
Day dawns upon the mountain's side-
There, Scotland! lay thy bravest pride,
Chiefs, knights, and nobles, many a one,
The sad survivors all are gone.-
View not that corpse mistrustfully,
Defaced and mangled though it be;
Nor to yon border castle high,
Look northward with upbraiding eye ;

Nor cherish hope in vain,
That, journeying far on foreign strand,
The royal pilgrim to his land

May yet return again.
He saw the wreck his rashness wrought;
Reckless of life, he desperate fought,

And fell on Flodden plain :
And well in death his trusty brand,
Firm clench'd within his manly hand,

Beseem'd the monarch slain.
But, 0 ! how changed since yon blithe night
Gladly I turn me from the sight,

Unto my tale again.

Less easy task it were, to show
Lord Marmion's nameless grave, and low.
They dug his grave e'en where he lay,

But every mark is gone ;
Time's wasting hand has done away
The simple cross of Sybil Grey,

And broke her font of stone.
But yet from out the little bill
Oozes the slender springlet still.

Oft halts the stranger there,
For thence may best his curious eye
The memorable field descry;

And shepherd boys repair
To seek the water-flag and rush,
And rest them by the bazel bush,

And plait their garlands fair;
Nor dream they sit upon the grave

That holds the bones of Marmion brave.-When thou shalt find the little hill; With thy heart commune, and be still. If ever, in temptation strong, Thou left'st the right path for the wrong: If every devious step thus trod, Still lead thee further from the road; Dread thou to speak presumptuous doom On noble Marmion's lowly tomb; But say, “ He died a gallant knight, With sword in hand, for England's right.”

XXXVI.
Short is my tale :-Fitz-Eustace's care
A pierced and mangled body bare
To moated Lichfield's lofty pile;
And there, beneath the southern aisle,
A tomb, with Gothic Sculpture fair,
Did long Lord Marmion's image bear.
(Now vainly for its site you look ;
'Twas levell’d, when fanatic Brook
The fair cathedral storm'd and took ;
But, thanks to Heaven, and good Saint Chad,
A guerdon meet the spoiler had !)
There erst was martial Marmion found,
His feet upon a couchant hound,

His hands to heaven upraised;
And all around, on scutcheon rich,
And tablet carved, and fretted niche,

His arms and feats were blazed.
And yet, though all was carved so fair,
And priests for Marmion breathed the prayer,
The last Lord Marmion lay not there.
From Ettrick woods, a peasant swain
Follow'd his lord to Flodden plain,-
One of those flowers, whom plaintive lay
In Scotland mourns as “wede away.”
Sore wounded, Sybil's cross he spied,
And dragg'd him to its foot and died,
Close by the noble Marmion's side.

XXXVIII. I do not rhyme to that dull elf, Who cannot image to himself, That all through Flodden's dismal night, Wilton was foremost in the fight; That, when brave Surrey's steed was slain, 'Twas Wilton mounted him again; 'Twas Wilton's brand that deepest hew'd Amid the spearmen's stubborn wood, Unnamed by Hollinshed or Hall, He was the living soul of all; That, after fight, his faith made plain, He won his faith and lands again; And charged his old paternal shield With bearings won on Flodden field.Nor sing I to that simple maid, To whom it must in terms be said, That king and kinsmen did agree To bless fair Clara's constancy ; Who cannot, unless I relate, Paint to her mind the bridal's state ; That Wolsey's voice the blessing spoke, More, Sands, and Denny, pass'd the joke ; That bluff king Hal the curtain drew, And Catherine's hand the stocking threw: And afterwards for many a day, That it was held enough to say, In blessing to a wedded pair, “ Love they like Wilton and like Clare!"

L'ENVOY TO THE READER.

O wake once more! how rude soe'er the hand

That ventures o'er thy magic maze to stray ; Why, then, a final note prolong

O wake once more! though scarce my skill comOr lengthen out a closing song, Unless to bid the gentles speed,

mand Who long have listed to my rede ?" —

Some feeble echoing of thine earlier lay: To statesman grave, if such may deign

Though harsh and saint, and soon to die away, To read the minstrel's idle strain,

And all unworthy of thy nobler strain; Sound head, clean hand, and piercing wit,

Yet, if one heart throb higher at its sway,

The wizard note has not been touch'd in vain. And patriotic heart—as Pitt! A garland for the hero's crest,

Then silent be no more! Enchantress, wake again! And twined by her he loves the best;

I. To every lovely lady bright,

The stag at eve had drunk his fill,
What can I wish but faithful knight?

Where danced the moon on Monan's rill,
To every faithful lover too,
What can I wish but lady true?

And deep his midnight lair had made

In lone Glenartney's hazel shade ; And knowledge to the studious sage,

But when the sun his beacon red And pillose to the head of age.

Had kindled on Ben voirlich's head, To thee, dear schoolboy, whom my lay

The deep-mouth'd bloodhound's heavy bay Has cheated of thy hour of play,

Resounded up the rocky way, Light task and merry holiday !

And faint, from farther distance borne, To all, to each, a fair good night,

Were heard the clanging hoof and born.
And pleasing dreams, and slumbers light!

II.
As chief, who hears his warder call,

“ To arms! the foemen storm the wall,”THE LADY OF THE LAKE. The antler'd monarch of the waste

Sprung from his heathery couch in haste.

But, e'er his fleet career he took,
TO THE MOST NOBLE JOHN JAMES, MARQUIS
OF ABERCORN, &c.

The dew drops from his flanks he shook ;

Like crested leader proud and high,
THIS POEM IS INSCRIBED, BY THE AUTHOR. Tossd his beam'd frontlet to the sky;

A moment gazed adown the dale,
ADVERTISEMENT.

A moment snuild the tainted gaie,

A moment listen'd to the cry, The scene of the following poem is laid chiefly

That thickend as the chase drew nigh; in the vicinity of Loch-Katrine, in the Western

Then, as the headmost foes appeard, Highlands of Perthshire. The time of action in

With one brave bound the copse he clear'd, cludes six days, and the transactions of each day

And, stretching forward free and far, occupy a canto.

Sought the wild heaths of Uam-Var.

CANTO I.

THE CHASE.
HARP of the North! that mouldering long hast

hung
On the witch-elm that shades St. Fillan's spring,
And down the fitful breeze thy numbers flung,

Till envious ivy did around thee cling, Mufiling with verdant ringlet every string,

O minstrel harp, still must thine accents sleep? 'Mid rustling leaves and fountains murmuring,

Still must thy sweeter sounds their silence keep, Nor bid a warrior smile, nor teach a maid to weep? Not thus, in ancient days of Caledon,

Was thy voice mute amid the festal crowd, When lay of hopeless love, or glory won,

Aroused the fearful or subdued the proud. At each according pause was heard aloud

Thine ardent symphony sublime and bigh!
Fair dames and crested chiefs attention bow'd;

For still the burthen of thy minstrelsy
Was knighthood's dauntless deed and beauty's

matchless eye.

III.
Yelld on the view the opening pack,
Rock, glen, and cavern, paid them back;
To many a mingled sound at once
Th' awakend mountain gave response.
An hundred dogs bay'd deep and strong,
Clatter'd a hundred steeds along,
Their peal the merry hords rung out,
An hundred voices join'd the shout:
With hark and whoop, and wild halloo,
No rest Ben voirlich's echoes knew,
Far from the tumult ned the roe,
Close in her covert cower'd the doe,
The falcon, from her cairn on high,
Cast on the rout a wondering eye,
Till far beyond her piercing ken
The hurricane had swept the glen.
Faint, and more faint, its failing din
Return'd from cavern, cliff, and linn,
And silence settled, wide and still,
On the lone wood and mighty hill.

IV.
Less loud the sounds of sylvan war
Disturb'd the heights of Uam-Var,

Used generally for tale, or discourse.

« AnteriorContinuar »