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XII

And of his skill, as bards avow,
He taught that Ladye fair,
Till to her bidding she could bow
The viewless forms of air."
And now she sits in secret bower,
In old Lord David's western tower,
And listens to a heavy sound,

That moans the mossy turrets round.

Is it the roar of Teviot's tide,

That chafes against the scaur's red side?

Is it the wind that swings the oaks ?

Is it the echo from the rocks ?

What may it be, the heavy sound,

That moans old Branksome's turrets round?

XIII

At the sullen, moaning sound,
The ban-dogs P bay and howl;
And, from the turrets round,
Loud whoops the startled owl.
In the hall, both squire and knight
Swore that a storm was near,
And looked forth to view the night;
But the night was still and clear!

XIV

From the sound of Teviot's tide,
Chafing with the mountain's side,
From the groan of the wind-swung oak,
From the sullen echo of the rock,
From the voice of the coming storm,
The Ladye knew it well!

It was the Spirit of the Flood that spoke,
And he called on the Spirit of the Fell.

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The Scottish vulgar, without having any very definite notion of their attributes, believe in the existence of an intermediate class of spirits residing in the air, or in the waters; to whose agency they ascribe floods, storms, and all such phenomena as their own philosophy cannot readily explain. They are supposed to interfere in the affairs of mortals, sometimes with a malevolent purpose, and sometimes with milder views.

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P According to Nares, a dog always kept tied up on account of his fierceness, and with a view to increase that quality in him, which it certainly would do.-Halliwell, Arch Dict.

From Craik-cross to Skelfhill-pen,

By every rill, in every glen,

Merry elves their morrice pacing,
To aërial minstrelsy,

Emerald rings on brown heath tracing,
Trip it deft and merrily.

Up, and mark their nimble feet!
Up, and list their music sweet!"

XVI

RIVER SPIRIT.

"Tears of an imprisoned maiden
Mix with my polluted stream;
Margaret of Branksome, sorrow-laden,
Mourns beneath the moon's pale bean.
Tell me, thou, who view'st the stars,
When shall ceasc these feudal jars?
What shall be the maiden's fate?
Who shall be the maiden's mate ?"

XVII

MOUNTAIN SPIRIT. "Arthur's slow wain his course doth roll, In utter darkness round the pole;

The Northern Bear lowers black and grim; Orion's studded belt is dim;

Twinkling faint, and distant far,

Shimmers through mist each planet star;
Ill may I read their high decree:

But no kind influence deign they shower
On Teviot's tide, and Branksome's tower,
Till pride be quelled, and love be free."

XVIII

The unearthly voices ceased,
And the heavy sound was still;
It died on the river's breast,

It died on the side of the hill-
But round Lord David's tower
The sound still floated near;
For it rung in the Ladye's bower,
And it rung in the Ladye's ear.
She raised her stately head,

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And her heart throbbed high with pride:

Your mountains shall bend,

And your streams ascend,

Ere Margaret be our foeman's bride!"

XIX

The Ladye sought the lofty hall,
Where many a bold retainer lay,

And, with jocund din, among them all,
Her son pursued his infant play.

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A fancied moss-trooper," the boy
The truncheon of a spear bestrode,
And round the hall, right merrily,
In mimic foray rode.

Even bearded knights, in arms grown old,
Share in his frolic gambols bore,
Albeit their hearts, of rugged mould,
Were stubborn as the steel they wore.
For the grey warriors prophesied,
How the brave boy, in future war,
Should tame the Unicorn's pride,
Exalt the Crescents and the Star.

XX

The Ladye forgot her purpose high,
One moment, and no more;
One moment gazed with a mother's eye,
As she paused at the arched door:
Then, from amid the armèd train,
She called to her William of Deloraine."
XXI

A stark moss-trooping Scot was he,
As e'er couched border lance by knee:
Through Solway sands, through Tarras moss,
Blindfold, he knew the paths to cross;
By wily turns, by desperate bounds,
Had baffled Percy's best blood-hounds;▾
In Eske, or Liddel, fords were none,
But he would ride them, one by one;
Alike to him was time, or tide,
December's snow, or July's pride;
Alike to him was tide, or time,

Moonless midnight, or matin prime:

• This was the usual appellation of the marauders upon the Border; a profession diligently pursued by the inhabitants of both sides, and by none more actively and successfully than by Buccleuch's clan. Long after the union of the Crowns, the moss-troopers, although sunk in reputation, and no longer enjoying the pretext of national hostility, continued to pursue their calling. They are said to have been called moss-troopers, because dwelling in the mosses, and riding in troops together.

t Alluding to the armorial bearings of the Scotts and Carrs. The arms of the Kerrs, of Cessford, were, vert on a chiveron, betwixt three unicorns' heads erased, argent, three mollets sable crest, a unicorn's head erased proper. The Scotts of Buccleuch bore or on a bend azure; a star of six points between two crescents of the first.

u The lands of Deloraine are adjoining to those of Buccleuch, in Ettricke Forest. They were immemorially possessed by the Buccleuch family under the strong title of occupancy, although no charter was obtained from the crown until 1545. Like other possessions, the lands of Deloraine were occasionally granted by them to vassals, or kinsmen, for border service.

▾ The kings and heroes of Scotland, as well as the border-riders, were sometimes obliged to study how to evade the pursuit of bloodhounds.

Steady of heart, and stout of hand,
As ever drove prey from Cumberland;
Five times outlawed had he been,

By England's king and Scotland's queen.

XXII

"Sir William of Deloraine, good at need,
Mount thee on the wightest steed;
Spare not to spur, nor stint to ride,
Until thou come to fair Tweedside;
And in Melrose's holy pile

Seek thou the Monk of St. Mary's aisle.
Greet the father well from me;

Say, that the fated hour is come,
And to-night he shall watch with thee,
To win the treasure of the tomb:

For this will be St. Michael's night,

And, though stars be dim, the moon is bright;
And the Cross, of bloody red,

Will point to the grave of the mighty dead.

XXIII

"What he gives thee, see thou keep;
Stay not thou for food or sleep:
Be it scroll, or be it book,

Into it, knight, thou must not look;
If thou readest, thou art lorn!"

Better hadst thou ne'er been born."

XXIV

O swiftly can speed my dapple-grey steed,
Which drinks of the Teviot clear;

Ere break of day," the warrior 'gan say,

"Again will I be here:

And safer by none may thy errand be done,

Than, noble dame, by me;

Letter nor line know I never a one,

Wer't my neck-verse at Hairibee."▾

XXV

Soon in his saddle sate he fast,
And soon the steep descent he passed,
Soon crossed the sounding barbican,2
And soon the Teviot side he won.
Eastward the wooded path he rode;
Green hazels o'er his basnet nod:
He passed the Peel of Goldiland,

And crossed old Borthwick's roaring strand;

w Lost, undone.

* The beginning of the 51st psalm, Miserere mei, &c., anciently read

by criminals claiming benefit of clergy.

The place of execution at Carlisle for the border marauders.

The defences of the outer gate of a fendal castle.

• A border tower.

Dimly he viewed the Moat-hill's mound,b
Where Druid shades still flitted round;
In Hawick twinkled may a light;
Behind him soon they set in night;
And soon he spurred his courser keen
Beneath the tower of Hazeldean.

XXVI

The clattering hoofs the watchmen mark;-
"Stand, ho! thou courier of the dark."
"For Branksome, ho!" the knight rejoined,
And left the friendly tower behind.

He turned him now from Teviotside,
And, guided by the tinkling rill,
Northward the dark ascent did ride,
And gained the moor at Horseliehill;
Broad on the left before him lay,
For many a mile, the Roman way.c

XXVII

A moment now he slacked his speed,
A moment breathed his panting steed;
Drew saddle-girth and corslet-band,
And loosened in the sheath his brand.
On Minto-cragsd the moon-beams glint
Where Barnhill hewed his bed of flint;
Who flung his outlawed limbs to rest,
Where falcons hang their giddy nest,
'Mid cliffs, from whence his eagle eye
For many a league his prey could spy:
Cliffs, doubling, on their echoes borne,
The terrors of the robber's horn;
Cliffs, which, for many a later year,
The warbling Doric reed shall hear,
When some sad swain shall teach the grove,
Ambition is no cure for love.

XXVIII

Unchallenged, thence passed Deloraine

To ancient Riddell's fair domain,

This is a round artificial mount near Hawick, which, from its name, was probably anciently used as a place for assembling a national council of the adjacent tribe. There are many such mounds in Scotland, and they are sometimes, but rarely, of a square form.

• An ancient Roman road crossing through part of Roxburghshire. a A romantic assemblage of cliffs, which rise suddenly above the vale of Teviot, in the immediate vicinity of the family seat, from which Lord Minto takes his title. A small platform on a projecting crag, commanding a most beautiful prospect, is termed Barnhill's Bed. This Barnhill is said to have been a robber or outlaw. There are remains of a strong tower beneath the rocks, where he is supposed to have dwelt, and from which he derived his name.

e Glanced.

The family of Riddell have been very long in possession of the barony called Riddell, or Ryedale, part of which still bears the latter

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