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I've fought, Lord-Lion, many a day,'
In single fight, and mix'd affray,
And ever, I myself may say,
Have borne me as a knight;
But when this unexpected foe
Seem'd starting from the gulf below,-
I care not though the truth I show,-
I trembled with affright;
And as I placed in rest my spear,
My hand so shook for very fear,
I scarce could couch it right.
XXI. “Why need my tongue the issue tell ? We ran our course, my charger fell ;What could he 'gainst the shock of hell !
I roll’d upon the plain.
High o'er my head, with threatening band,
The spectre shook his naked brand,
Yet did the worst remain :
My dazzled eyes I upward cast,
Not opening hell itself could blast
Their sight, like what I saw!
Full on his face the moonbeam strook,-
A face could never be mistook !
I knew the stern vindictive look,
And held my breath for awe.
I saw the face of one who, filed 3
To foreign climes, has long been dead,-
I well believe the last ;
For ne'er, from vizor raised, did stare
A human warrior, with a glare
So grimly and so ghast.
Thrice o'er my head he shook the blade;
But when to good Saint George I pray'd,
(The first time ere I ask'd his aid,)
He plunged it in the sheath;
And, on his courser mounting light,
He seem'd to vanish from my sight :
The moonbeam droop'd, and deepest night
Sunk down upon the heath.-
"Twere long to tell what cause I have
To know his face, that met me there, Call’d by his hatred from the grave,
To cumber upper air :
Dead or alive, good cause had he
To be my mortal enemy.”
Such chance had happ'd of old, When once, near Norham, there did fight A spectre fell of fiendish might, In likeness of a Scottish knight,
With Brian Bulmer bold,
And train’d him nigh to disallow
The aid of his baptismal vow.
“ And such a phantom, too, 'tis said,
With Highland broadsword, targe, and
And fingers, red with gore,
Is seen in Rothiemurcus glade,
Or where the sable pine-trees shade
Dark Tomantoul, and Auchnaslaid,
Dromouchty, or Glenmore.4
And yet, whate’er such legends say,
Of warlike demon, ghost, or fay,
On mountain, moor, or plain,
Spotless in faith, in bosom bold,
True son of chivalry should hold,
These midnight terrors vain;
For seldom have such spirits power
To harm, save in the evil hour,
When guilt we meditate within,
Or harbour unrepented sin.”—
Lord Marmion turn'd him half aside,
And twice to clear his voice he tried,
Then pressid Sir David's hand,
But nought, at length, in answer said;
And here their farther converse staid,
Each ordering that his band
Should bowne them with the rising day,
To Scotland's camp to take their way.-
Such was the King's command.
XXIII. Early they took Dun-Edin's road, And I could trace each step they trode: Hill, brook, nor dell, nor rook, nor stone, Lies on the path to me unknown. Much might it boast of storied lore; But, passing such digression o'er, Suffice it that the route was laid Across the furzy hills of Braid. They pass'd the glen and scanty rill, And climb'd the opposing bank, until They gain’d the top of Blackford Hill.
XXII. Marvell’d Sir David of the Mount; Then, learn'd in story, 'gan recount
Blackford ! on whose uncultured breast,
Among the broom, and thorn, and whin,
1 MS.-" I've been, Lord-Lion, many a day,
In combat single, or mêlée." 2 MS.-" The spectre shook his naked brand,
Yet doth the worst remain:
My reeling eyes I upward cast, -
But opening hell could never blast
Their sight, like what I saw."
* MS.-"I knew the face of one long dead,
Or who to foreign climes hath fled ...
I knew the face of one who, fled
To foreign climes, or long since dead-
I well may judge the last." 4 See the traditions concerning Bulmer, and the spectre called Lhamdearg, or Bloody-hand, in a note on canto il Appendix, Note 2 U.
6 MS.-"Of spotless faith, and bosom bold." & MS." When mortals meditate within Fresh guilt or unrepented sin."
A truant-boy, I sought the nest,
XXVII. Or listed, as I lay at rest,
Thin curling in the morning air, While rose, on breezes thin,
The wreaths of failing smoke declare The murmur of the city crowd,
To embers now the brands decay d, And, from his steeple jangling loud,
Where the night-watch their fires had made. Saint Giles's mingling din.
They saw, slow rolling on the plain, Now, from the summit to the plain,
Full many a baggage-cart and wain, Waves all the hill with yellow grain;
And dire artillery's clumsy car, And o'er the landscape as I look,
By sluggish oxen tugg'd to war;
Nought do I see unchanged remain,
And there were Borthwick's Sisters Seven,"
Save the rude cliffs and chiming brook. And culverins which France had given.
To me they make a heavy moan,
Ill-omen'd gift ! the guns remain
Of early friendships past and gone.
The conqueror's spoil on Flodden plain.
But different far the change has been,'
Since Marmion, from the crown
Of Blackford, saw that martial scene
L'pon the bent so brown:
Thousand pavilions, white as snow,
Spread all the Borough-moor below,
l'pland, and dale, and down :-
A thousand did I say? I ween,
Thousands on thousands there were seen,
That chequer'd all the heath between
The streamlet and the town;
In crossing ranks extending far,
Forming a camp irregular;*
Oft giving way, where still there stood
Some relics of the old oak wood,
That darkly huge did intervene,
And tamed the glaring white with green:
In these extended lines there lay
A martial kingdom's vast array.
Nor mark'd they less, where in the air
A thousand streamers flaunted fair;
Various in shape, device, and hue,
Green, sanguine, purple, red, and blue,
Broad, narrow, swallow-tail'd, and square,
Scroll, pennon, pensil, bandrol, there
O'er the pavilions flew.?
Highest and midmost, was descried
The royal banner floating wide;
The staff, a pine-tree, strong and straight,
Pitch'd deeply in a massive stone,
Which still in memory is shown,
Yet bent beneath the standard's weight
Whene'er the western wind unrolld,
With toil, the huge and cumbrous fold,
And gave to view the dazzling field,
Where, in proud Scotland's royal shield,
The ruddy lion ramp'd in gold.
For from Hebudes, dark with rain,
To eastern Lodon's fertile plain,
And from the southern Redswire edge,
To farthest Rosse's rocky ledge ;
From west to east, from south to north,
Scotland sent all her warriors forth.
Marmion might hear the mingled hum
Of myriads up the mountain come;
The horses' tramp, and tingling clank,
Where chiefs review'd their vassal rank,
And charger's shrilling neigh;
And see the shifting lines advance,
While frequent flash'd, from shield and lance,
The sun's retiected ray.
Lord Marmion view'd the landscape bright, 19
He view'd it with a chiefs delight,-
Until within him burn d his heart,
And lightning from his eye did part,
As on the battle-day;
Such glance did falcon never dart,
When stooping on his prey.
“Oh! well, Lord-Lion, hast thou said,
Thy King from warfare to dissuade
Were but a vain essay:
For, by St. George, were that host mine,
Not power infernal nor divine,
Should once to peace my soul incline,
Till I had dimm'd their armour's shine
In glorious battle-fray!”
1 MS." But, oh! far different change has been,
Since Marmion, from the crown
Of Blackford-hill, upon the scene
of Scotland's war look'd down."
. See Appendix, Note 3 E.
3 MS.-" A thousand said the verse? I ween,
Thousands on thousand there were seen,
That whitened all the heath between." * Here ends the stanza in the MS. 3 Seven culrerins so called, cast by one Borthwick.
6 Each of these feudal ensigns intimated the different rank of those entitled to display them.
7 See Appendix, Note 3 F.
8 MS.-" The standard staff, a mountain pine,
Pitch'd in a huge memorial stone,
That still in monument is shown."
9 See Appendix, Note 3 G.
10 MS. -" Lord Marmion's large dark eye flash'd light,
It kindled with a chief's delight,
For glow'd with martial joy his heart,
As upon battle-day."
Answer'd the Bard, of milder mood :
“ Fair is the sight,--and yet ’twere good,
That kings would think withal,
When peace and wealth their land has bless'd,
Tis better to sit still at rest,
Than rise, perchance to fall."
And cymbal clattering to the sky,
Making wild music bold and high,
Did up the mountain come;
The whilst the bells, with distant chime,
Merrily toll’d the hour of prime,
And thus the Lindesay spoke:4
“ Thus clamour still the war-notes when
The king to mass his way has ta’en,
Or to St. Katharine’s of Sienne,
Or Chapel of Saint Rocque.
To you they speak of martial fame;
But me remind of peaceful game,
When blither was their cheer,
Thrilling in Falkland-woods the air,
In signal none his steed should spare,
But strive which foremost might repair
To the downfall of the deer.
Still on the spot Lord Marmion stay’d,
For fairer scene he ne'er survey'd.
When sated with the martial show
That peopled all the plain below,
The wandering eye could o'er it go,
And mark the distant city glow
With gloomy splendour red;
For on the smoke-wreaths, huge and slow,
That round her sable turrets flow,
The morning beams were shed,
And tinged them with a lustre proud,
Like that which streaks a thunder-cloud. Such dusky grandeur clothed the height, Where the huge Castle holds its state,
And all the steep slope down,
Whose ridgy back heaves to the sky,
Piled deep and massy, close and high,
Mine own romantic town !2
But northward far, with purer blaze,
On Ochil mountains fell the rays,
And as each heathy top they kissed,
It gleam'd a purple amethyst.
Yonder the shores of Fife you saw;
Here Preston-Bay and Berwick-Law:
And, broad between them rolld,
The gallant Frith the eye might note,
Whose islands on its bosom float,
Like emeralds chased in gold.
Fitz-Eustace' heart felt closely pent;
As if to give his rapture vent,
The spur he to his charger lent,
And raised his bridle hand,
And, making demi-volte in air,
Cried, “ Where's the coward that would not dare
To fight for such a land !”
The Lindesay smiled his joy to see ;3
Nor Marmion's frown repress'd his glee.
XXXII. “ Nor less,” he said," when looking forth, I view yon Empress of the North
Sit on her hilly throne;
Her palace's imperial bowers,
Her castle, proof to hostile powers,
Her stately halls and holy towers_?
Nor less," he said, “I moan,
To think what woe mischance may bring,
And how these merry bells may ring
The death-dirge of our gallant king;
Or with the larum call
The burghers forth to watch and ward,
'Gainst southern sack and fires to guard
Dun-Edin's leaguer'd wall.-
But not for my presaging thought,
Dream conquest sure, or cheaply bought !8
Lord Marmion, I say nay:
God is the guider of the field,
He breaks the champion's spear and shield,-
But thou thyself shalt say, When joins yon host in deadly stowre, That England's dames must weep in bower,
Her monks the death-miass sing;*
For never saw'st thou such a power
Led on by such a King."-
And now, down winding to the plain,
The barriers of the camp they gain,
And there they made a stay.-
There stays the Minstrel, till he fling
His hand o’er every Border string,
And fit his harp the pomp to sing,
Of Scotland's ancient Court and King,
In the succeeding lay.
Thus while they look’d, a flourish proud,
Where mingled trump, and clarion loud,
And fife, and kettle-drum,
And sackbut deep, and psaltery,
And war-pipe with discordant cry,
I MS._" "Tis better sitting still at rest,
Than rising but to fall;
And while these words they did exchange,
They reach'd the camp's extremest range." The Poet appears to have struck his pen through the two lines in italics, on conceiving the magnificent picture which replaces them in the text.
? MS. -"Dun-Edin's towers and town."
3 MS. -" The Lion smiled his joy to see."
4 MS.-" And thus the Lion spoke."
6 MS." Or to our Lady's of Sienne."
6 MS.-" To you they speak of martial fame,
To me of mooi more mild and tame
Blither would be their cheer." 7 MS.-" Her siately fanes and holy towers." 8 MS.-“ Dream of a conquest cheaply bought."
MS. -" Their monks di ad masses sing."