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space within is
To that old camp's deserted round ::
A royal city, tower and spire,
And shouting crews her navy bore,
Triumphant, to the victor shore.5 The moor around is brown and bare,
Such signs may learned clerks explain,
They pass the wit of simple swain.
“ The joyful King turn’d home again, That treads its circle in the night!
Headed his host, and quell’d the Dane; The breadth across, a bowshot clear,
But yearly, when return’d the night Gives ample space for full career:
Of his strange combat with the sprite, Opposed to the four points of heaven,
His wound must bleed and smart; By four deep gaps are entrance given.
Lord Gifford then would gibing say, The southernmost our Monarch past,
• Bold as ye were, my liege, ye pay Halted, and blew a gallant blast;
of And on the north, within the ring,
Long since, beneath Dunfermline’s nave, Appear'd the form of England's King,
King Alexander fills his grave, Who then, a thousand leagues afar,
Our Lady give him rest! In Palestine waged holy war:
Yet still the knightly spear and shield Yet arms like England's did he wield,
The Elfin Warrior doth wield, Alike the leopards in the shield,
Upon the brown hill's breast;: Alike his Syrian courser's frame,
And many a knight hath proved his The rider's length of limb the same:
chance, Long afterwards did Scotland know,
In the charm’d ring to break a lance, Fell Edward 3 was her deadliest foe.
But all have foully sped ;
Save two, as legends tell, and they
Were Wallace wight, and Gilbert Hay.“ The vision made our Monarch start,
Gentles, my tale is said.”
The quaighs) were deep, the liquor strong, Yet did a splinter of his lance
And on the tale the yeoman-throng Through Alexander's visor glance,
Had made a comment sage and long, And razed the skin--a puny wound.
But Marmion gave a sign : The King, light leaping to the ground,
And, with their lord, the squires retire; With naked blade his phantom foe
The rest, around the hostel fire, Compellid the future war to show.
Their drowsy limbs recline; Of Largs he saw the glorious plain,
For pillow, underneath each head, Where still gigantic bones remain,
The quiver and the targe were laid. Memorial of the Danish war;
Deep slumbering on the hostel floor, 8 Himself he saw, amid the field,
Oppress’d with toil and ale, they snore: On high his brandish'd war-axe wield,
The dying flame, in fitful change,
Threw on the group its shadows strange.
XXVII. 'Tis said, that, in that awful night,
Apart, and nestling in the hay Remoter visions met his sight,
Of a waste loft, Fitz-Eustace lay; Foreshowing future conquests far,
Scarce, by the pale moonlight, were seen When our sons' sons wage northern war;
The foldings of his mantle green:
5 For an account of the expedition to Copenhagen in 1801 see Southey's Life of Nelson, chap. vii.
6 Seo Appendix, Note 2 U.
1 MS.-“ Alone, and arın'd, rode forth the King
To that encampment's haunted round.”
When our sons' sons wage northern war;
7 A wooden cup, composed of staves hooped togother.
8 MS.—“ Deep slumbering on the floor of clay,
Oppress'd with toil and ale, they lay;
Lightly he dreamt, as youth will dream,
Wonder it seem'd, in the squire's eyes,
Should, stirr’d by idle tale,
Array'd in plate and mail.
Unfix the strongest mind ;
Guide confident, though blind.
Come town-ward rushing on;
Return'd Lord Marmion. Down hastily he sprung from selle, And, in his haste, wellnigh he fell; To the squire's hand the rein he threw, And spoke no word as he withdrew: But yet the moonlight did betray, The falcov-crest was soil'd with clay; And plainly might Fitz-Eustace see, By stains upon the charger's knee, And his left side, that on the moor He had not kept his footing sure. Long musing on these wondrous signs, At length to rest the squire reclines, Broken and short; for still, between, Would dreams of terror intervene: Eustace did ne'er so blithely mark The first notes of the morning lark.
INTRODUCTION TO CANTO FOURTH.
That on the hour when I was born,
A weary wight forlorn ?
Till, by the lessening sound,
Lord Marmion sought the round.
JAMES SKENE, Esq. 6
Ashesticl, Ettrick Forest.
1 MS.-“But, ere his dagger Eustace drew,
It spoke-Lord Marmion's voice he knew." 9 MS.—“ Come down and saddle me my steed." 3 MS.-“I would, to prove the omen right,
That I could meet this Elfin Knight!"
4 MS.-“ Dance to the wild waves' murmuring.”
James Skene, Esq. of Rubislaw, Aberdeenshire, was
At midnight now, the snowy plain Finds sterner labour for the swain
Not even that clown could amplify,
and men ;
Even now it scarcely seems a day, Since first I tuned this idle lay ; A task so often thrown aside, When leisure graver cares denied, That now, November's dreary gale, Whose voice inspir’d my opening tale, That same November gale once more Whirls the dry leaves on Yarrow shore. Their vex'd boughs streaming to the sky, Once more our naked birches sigh, And Blackhouse heights, and Ettrick Pen, Have donn’d their wintry shrouds again : And mountain dark, and flooded mead, Bid us forsake the banks of Tweed. Earlier than wont along the sky, Mix'd with the rack, the snow mists fly; The shepherd, who in summer sun, Had something of our envy won, As thou with pencil, I with pen, The features traced of hill and glen ;3 He who, outstretch'd the livelong day, At ease among the heath-flowers lay, View'd the light clouds with vacant look, Or slumber'd o'er his tatter'd book, Or idly busied him to guide His angle o'er the lessen’d tide ;
When red hath set the beamless sun, Through heavy vapours dark and dun; When the tired ploughman, dry and warm, Hears, half asleep, the rising storm Hurling the hail, and sleeted rain, Against the casement's tinkling pane; The sounds that drive wild deer, and fox, To shelter in the brake and rocks, Are warnings which the shepherd ask To dismal and to dangerous task. Oft he looks forth, and hopes, in vain, The blast may sink in mellowing rain ; Till, dark above, and white below,5 Decided drives the flaky snow, And forth the hardy swain must go. Long, with dejected look and whine, To leave the hearth his dogs repine; Whistling and cheering them to aid, Around his back he wreathes the plaid: His flock he gathers, and he guides, To open downs, and mountain-sides, Where fiercest though the tempest blow, Least deeply lies the drift below. The blast, that whistles o'er the fells, Stiffens his locks to icicles; Oft he looks back, while streaming far, His cottage window seems a star,— Loses its feeble gleam,—and then Turns patient to the blast again, And, facing to the tempest's sweep, Drives through the gloom his lagging sheep. If fails his heart, if his limbs fail, Benumbing death is in the gale: His paths, his landmarks, all unknown, Close to the hut, no more his own, Close to the aid he sought in vain, The morn may find the stiffen'd swain: 8 The widow sees, at dawning pale, His orphans raise their feeble wail ; And, close beside him, in the snow, Poor Yarrow, partner of their woe, Couches upon his master's breast, And licks his cheek to break his rest.
Who envies now the shepherd's lot, His healthy fare, his rural cot,
I MS.--"Unsheath'd the voluntary brand.”
8 Various illustrations of the Poetry and Novels of Sir Walter Scott from designs by Mr. Skene, have since been published. + MS-_" When red hath set the evening sun,
And loud winds speak the storm begun." 6 MS.—“Till thickly drives the flaky snow,
And forth the hardy swain must go,
6 MS.-“The frozen blast that sweeps the fells 7 MS.-"Jis cottage window bcams a star,
But soon he loses it, -and then
Turns patient to his task again." 8 MS.-“The moin shall find the stiffen'd swain ;
His widow sees, at morning pale,
His children rise, and raise their wail.' Compare the celebrated description of a man periehing in the snow, in Thomson's Winter.-See Appendix, Note 2 V.
9 MS.-"Couches upon his frozen breast."
Nor, though it wake thy sorrow, deem
many a kindly word and deed, To bring my tribute to his grave:'Tis littlebut 'tis all I have.
To thee, perchance, this rambling strain Recalls our summer walks again; When, doing nought,—and, to speak true, Not anxious to find aught to do,The wild unbounded hills we ranged, While oft our talk its topic changed, And, desultory as our way, Ranged, unconfined, from grave to gay. Even when it flagg'd, as oft will chance, No effort made to break its trance, We could right pleasantly pursue Our sports in social silence too;' Thou gravely labouring to portray The blighted oak’s fantastic spray; I spelling o’er, with much delight, The legend of that antique knight, Tirante by name, yclep'd the White. At either's feet a trusty squire, Pandour and Camp, 10 with eyes of fire, Jealous, each other's motions view'd, And scarce suppress’d their ancient feud." The laverock whistled from the cloud; The stream was lively, but not loud; From the white thorn the May-flower shed Its dewy fragrance round our head : Not Ariel lived more merrily Under the blossom’d bough, than we.
And blithesome nights, too, have been ours,
His summer couch by greenwood tree,
Changes not so with us, my Skene,
1 The Scottish Harvest-home.
To Marion's blithely blinking eye.” 8 MS.-"Our youthful summer oft we see
Dance by on wings of mirth and glee,
To crush the winter of our age."
Spoke the fond sire and faithful friend."
7 See Appendix, Note 2 W.
10 Camp was a favourite dog of the Poet's, a bull-terrier of extraordinary sagacity. He is introduced in Raeburn's portrait of Sir Walter Scott, now at Dalkeith Palace.-ED.
11 MS.—“Till oft our voice suppress'd the feud."
13 Colin Mackenzie, Esq. of Portmore, one of the Principal Clerks of Session at Edinburgh, and through life an intimate friend of Sir Walter Scott, died on 10tb September 1830.-ED
And thou, and I, and dear-loved R-,
While chafed the impatient squire like thunder, And one whose name I may not say,
Old Hubert shouts, in fear and wonder,-For not Mimosa's tender tree
“ Help, gentle Blount! help, comrades all! Shrinks sooner from the touch than he,
Bevis lies dying in his stall: In merry chorus well combined,
To Marmion who the plight dare tell, With laughter drown’d the whistling wind.
Of the good steed he loves so well ?” Mirth was within; and Care without
Gaping for fear and ruth, they saw Might gnaw her nails to hear our shout.
The charger panting on his straw;6 Not but amid the buxom scene
Till one, who would seem wisest, cried,Some grave discourse might intervene
“ What else but evil could betide, Of the good horse that bore him best,
With that cursed Palmer for our guide ? His shoulder, hoof, and arching crest:
Better we had through mire and bush
Been lantern-led by Friar Rush."7
Fitz-Eustace, who the cause but guess’d, And though the field-day, or the drill,
Nor wholly understood, Seem less important now—yet still
His comrades' clamorous plaints suppress’d; Such may we hope to share again.
He knew Lord Marmion's mood. The sprightly thought inspires my strain !
Him, ere he issued forth, he sought, And mark, how, like a horseman true,
And found deep plunged in glooiny thought, Lord Marmion's march I thus renew.
And did his tale display
To cause such disarray.
Lord Marmion gave attention cold,
Nor marvell’d at the wonders told,
But soon their mood was changed ;
Of something disarranged.
And left him in a foam !
To their infernal home:
| Sir William Rae of St. Catharine's, Bart., subsequently through life an intimate, and latterly a generous friend of Sir Lord Advocate of Scotland, was a distinguished member of Walter Scott-died 24th October 1828.-ED. the volunteer corps to which Sir Walter Scott belonged; and
3 Seo King Lear. he, the Poet, Mr. Skene, Mr. Mackenzie, and a fuw other
4 MS.—“Such nights we've had ; and though our gama friends, had formed themselves into a little semi-military
Advance of years may something tame club, the meetings of which were held at their family supper
6 MS.-"By Becket's bones," cried one, “I swear tables in rotation.-Ed. 2 The gentleman whose name the Poet "might not say,”
6 MS.--"The good horsc panting on the straw.” was the late Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo, Bart., son of the 7 See Appendix, Note 2 X. Author of the Life of Beattie, and brother-in-law of Mr. Skene, 8 MS.—“With bloody cross and fiery brand."