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True, Caledonia's Queen is changed,"
Within its steepy limits pent,
By bulwark, line, and battlement,
Denying entrance or resort,
Save at each tall embattled port;
Above whose arch, suspended, hung
Edinburgh. Portrullis spiked with iron prong. When dark December glooms the day,
That long is gone,—but not so long, And takes our autumn joys away;
Since, early closed, and opening late, When short and scant the sunbeam throws,
Jealous revolved the studded gate, Upon the weary waste of snows,
Whose task, from eve to morning tide, A cold and profitless regard,
A wicket churlishly supplied. Like patron on a needy bard;
Stern then, and steel-girt was thy brow, When silvan occupation's done,
Dun-Edin! 0, how alter'd now, And o'er the chimney rests the gun,
When safe amid thy mountain court And hang, in idle trophy, near,
Thou sit'st, like Empress at her sport, The game-pouch, fishing-rod, and spear;
And liberal, unconfined, and free, When wiry terrier, rough and grim,
Flinging thy white arms to the sea, And greyhound, with his length of limb,
For thy dark cloud, with umber'd lower, And pointer, now employ'd no more,
That hung o'er cliff, and lake, and tower, Cumber our parlour's narrow floor;
Thou gleam'st against the western ray
Ten thousand lines of brighter day.
Not she, the Championess of old,
In Spenser's magic tale enrolla, Since path is none, save that to bring
She for the charmed spear renown'd, The needful water from the spring;
Which forced each knight to kiss the ground,-When wrinkled news-page, thrice conn'd o'er, Not she more changed, when, placed at rest, Beguiles the dreary hour no more,
What time she was Malbecco's guest, And darkling politician, cross'd,
She gave to flow her maiden vest; Inveighs against the lingering post,
When from the corslet's grasp relieved, And answering housewife sore complains
Free to the sight her bosom heaved ; Of carriers' snow-impeded wains;
Sweet was her blue eye's modest sinile, When such the country cheer, I come,
Erst hidden by the aventayle; Well pleased, to seek our city home;
And down her shoulders graceful rollid For converse, and for books, to change
Her locks profuse, of paly gold. The Forest's melancholy range,
They who whilom, in midnight fight, And welcome, with renew'd delight,
Had marvell’d at her matchless might, The busy day and social night.
No less her maiden charms approved,
But looking liked, and liking loved.; Not here need my desponding rhyme
The sight could jealous pangs beguile, Lament the ravages of time,
And charm Malbecco's cares a while; As erst by Newark's riven towers,
And he, the wandering Squire of Dames, And Ettrick stripp'd of forest bowers.
Forgot his Columbella's claims,
1 “ These Introductory Epistles, though excellent in them 3 See Introduction to canto il selves, are in fact only interruptions to the fable, and, accord
4 See Appendix, Note 3 H. ingly, nine readers out of ten bave perused them separately, either before, or after the poem. In short, the personal ap
6 Since writing this line, I find I have inadvertently borpearance of the Minstrel, who, though the Last, is the most
rowed it almost verbatim, though with somewhat a different charming of all minstrels, is by no means compensated by the meaning, from a chorus in “ Caractacus :"idea of an author shorn of his picturesque beard, and writing “ Britain heard the descant bold, letters to his intimate friends."-GEORGE Ellis.
She ffung her white arms o'er the sea, 2 This accomplished gentleman, the well-known coadjutor
Proud in her leafy bosom to enfold of Mr. Canning and Mr. Frere in the “ Antijacobin," and edi
The freight of harmony." tor of " Specimens of Ancient English Romances," &c., died 10th April 1815, aged 70 years ; being succeeded in his estates
6 See “ The Fairy Queen," book iii. canto ix. by his brother, Charles Ellis, Esq., created, in 1827, Lord Sea. 7 " For every one her liked, and every one her loved." ford.ED.
SPENSER, as abore.
And passion, erst unknown, could gain
Who loves not more the night of June
So thou, fair City! disarray'd Of battled wall, and rampart's aid, As stately seem'st, but lovelier far Than in that panoply of war. Nor deem that from thy fenceless throne Strength and security are flown; Still, as of yore, Queen of the North ! Still canst thou send thy children forth. Ne'er readier at alarm-bell's call Thy burghers rose to man thy wall,
in danger, shall be thine, Thy dauntless voluntary line; For fosse and turret proud to stand, Their breasts the bulwarks of the land. Thy thousands, traind to martial toil, Full red would stain their native soil, Ere from thy mural crown there fell The slightest knosp, or pinnacle. And if it come,--as come it may, Dun-Edin! that eventful day,Renown'd for hospitable deed, That virtue much with Heaven may plead, In patriarchal times whose care Descending angels deign'd to share ; That claim may wrestle blessings down On those who fight for The Good Town, Destined in every age to be Refuge of injured royalty; Since first, when conquering York arose, To Henry meek she gave repose,' Till late, with wonder, grief, and awe, Great Bourbon's relics, sad she saw.”
But who shall teach my harp to gain A sound of the romantic strain, Whose Anglo-Norman tones whilere Could win the royal Henry's ear,4 Famed Beauclerc call'd, for that he loved The minstrel, and his lay approved ? Who shall these lingering notes redeem, Decaying on Oblivion's stream; Such notes as from the Breton tongue Marie translated, Blondel sung ?O! born, Time's ravage to repair, And make the dying Muse thy care; Who, when his scythe her hoary foe Was poising for the final blow, The weapon from his hand could wring, And break his glass, and shear his wing, And bid, reviving in his strain, The gentle poet live again; Thou, who canst give to lightest lay An unpedantic moral gay, Nor less the dullest theme bid flit On wings of unexpected wit; In letters as in life approved, Example honour'd, and beloved,Dear Ellis! to the bard impart A lesson of thy magic art, To win at once the head and heart, At once to charm, instruct and mend, My guide, my pattern, and my friend !5
Such minstrel lesson to bestow Be long thy pleasing task,-but, O! No more by thy example teach, -What few can practise, all can preach,With even patience to endure Lingering disease, and painful cure, And boast affliction's pangs subdued By mild and manly fortitude. Enough, the lesson has been given : Forbid the repetition, Heaven!
Truce to these thoughts !-for, as they rise, How gladly I avert mine eyes, Bodings, or true or false, to change, For Fiction's fair romantic range, Or for tradition's dubious light, That hovers 'twixt the day and night: Dazzling alternately and dim, Her wavering lanp I'd rather trim, Knights, squires, and lovely dames to see, Creation of my fantasy, Than gaze abroad on reeky fen, And make of mists invading men.
Come listen, then! for thou hast known, And loved the Minstrel's varying tone, Who, like his Border sires of old, Waked a wild measure rude and bold, Till Windsor's oaks, and Ascot plain, With wonder heard the northern strain.
1 See Appendix, Note 3 I. * In January 1796, the exiled Count d'Artois, afterwards Charles X. of France, took up his residence in Holyrood, where he remained until Ángust 1799. When again driven from his country by the Revolution of July 1830, the same unfortunate Prince, with all the immediate members of his family, sought refuge once more in the ancient palace of the Stuarts, and remained there until 18th September 1832.
3 MS.-" Than gaze out on the foggy fen."
Pope to Bolingbroke. 6 At Sunning-hill, Mr. Ellis's seat, near Windsor, part of the first two cantos of Marmion were written.
Come listen! bold in thy applause,
Each warlike feat to show, The Bard shall scorn pedantic laws;
To pass, to wheel, the croupe to gain, And, as the ancient art could stain
And high curvett, that not in vain Achievements on the storied pane,
The sword sway might descend amain Irregularly traced and plann'd,
On foeman's casque below. But yet so glowing and so grand,
He saw the hardy burghers there So shall he strive, in changeful bue,
March arm'd, on foot, with faces bare, Field, feast, and combat, to renew,
For vizor they wore none, And loves, and arms, and harpers' glee,
Nor waving plume, nor crest of knight; And all the pomp of chivalry.
But burnished were their corslets bright,
Like very silver shone.
Long pikes they had for standing fight,
Two-handed swords they wore,
And bucklers bright they bore.
That closed the tented ground;
Into its ample bound.'
With iron quilted well;
As feudal statutes tell.
A dagger-knife, and brand.
To till the fallow land.
More dreadful far his ire,
A fierce but fading fire.
For men-at-arms were here,
With battle-axe and spear.
And joy'd to hear it swell.
Like the loud slogan yell.
Let nobles fight for fame;
But war's the Borderer's game.
I MS.-" The barrier guard the Lion knew,
Advanced their pikes, and soon withdrew
That closed the tented ground;
Across its ample bound."
8 See Appendix, Note 3 L.
bear & See Appendix, Note 3 0.
Their gain, their glory, their delight,
They raised a wild and wondering cry, To sleep the day, maraud the night,
As with his guide rode Marmion by. O'er mountain, moss, and moor;
Loud were their clamouring tongucs, as when Joyful to fight they took their way,
The clanging sea-fowl leave the fen, Scarce caring who might win the day,
And, with their cries discordant mix’d,
Grumbled and yell’d the pipes betwixt.
Thus through the Scottish camp they passid, The form and force of English bow.
And reach'd the City gate at last, But when they saw the Lord array'd
Where all around, a wakeful guard, In splendid arms and rich brocade,
Arm'd burghers kept their watch and ward. Each Borderer to his kinsman said,
Well had they cause of jealous fear, “ Hist, Ringan ! seest thou there!
When lay encamp’d, in field so near, Canst guess which road they'll homeward The Borderer and the Mountaineer. ride
As through the bustling streets they go, O! could we but on Border side,
All was alive with martial show: By Eusedale glen, or Liddell's tide,
At every turn, with dinning clang, Beset a prize so fair!
The armourer's anvil clash'd and rang; That fangless Lion, too, their guide,
Or toil'd the swarthy smith, to wheel Might chance to lose his glistering hide;'
The bar that arms the charger's heel; Brown Maudlin, of that doublet pied,
Or axe, or falchion, to the side Could make a kirtle rare."
Of jarring grindstone was applied.
Page, groom, and squire, with hurrying pace, V.
Through street, and lane, and market-place, Next, Marmion mark'd the Celtic race,
Bore lance, or casque, or sword; Of different language, form, and face,
While burghers, with important face, A various race of man;
Described cach new-come lord, Just then the Chiefs their tribes array'd,
Discuss'd his lineage, told his name, And wild and garish semblance made,
His following, and his warlike fame. The chequer'd trews, and belted plaid,
The Lion led to lodging meet, And varying notes the war-pipes bray'd,
Which high o'erlook'd the crowded street; To every varying clan;
There must the Baron rest, Wild through their red or sable hair
Till past the hour of vesper tide, Look'd out their eyes with savage stare,
And then to Holy-Rood must ride, On Marmion as he pass'd;
Such was the King's behest. Their legs above the knee were bare;
Meanwhile the Lion's care assigns Their frame was sinewy, short, and spare,
A banquet rich, and costly wines, And harden'd to the blast;
To Marmion and his train ;* Of taller race, the chiefs they own
And when the appointed hour succeeds, Were by the eagle’s plumage known.
The Baron dons his peaceful weeds, The hunted red-deer's undress'd hide
And following Lindesay as he leads
The palace-halls they gain,
Old Holy-Rood rung merrily, A dagger proved for edge and strength,
That night, with wassell, mirth, and glee: A studded targe they wore,
King James within her princely bower, And quivers, bows, and shafts,—but, O!
Feasted the Chiefs of Scotland's power, Short was the shaft, and weak the bow,
Summon’d to spend the parting hour; To that which England bore.
For he had charged, that his array The Isles-men carried at their backs
Should southward march by break of day. The ancient Danish battle-axe.
Well loved that splendid monarch aye
1 MS.-" Hist, Ringan! seest thou there!
guess what homeward road they take-
Beset a prize so fair!
2 MS.--"Wild from their red and swarthy hair
Look'd through their eyes with savage stare." 3 Folloring - Feudal retainers. This word, by the way, has been, since the Author of Marmion uscd it, and thought it called for explanation, completely adopted into English, and especially into Parliamentary parlance.--Ed.
* See Appendix, Note 3 P.
The banquet and the song,
Shaped in proportion fair; By day the tourney, and by night
And hazel was his eagle eye, The merry dance, traced fast and light,
And auburn of the darkest dye, The maskers quaint, the pageant bright,
Flis short curl'd beard and hair. The revel loud and long.
Light was his footstep in the dance, This feast outshone his banquets past,
And firm his stirrup in the lists; It was his blithest-and his last.
And, oh! he had that merry glance, The dazzling lamps, from gallery gay,
That seldom lady's heart resists. Cast on the Court a dancing ray;
Lightly from fair to fair he flew, Here to the harp did minstrels sing ;
And loved to plead, lament, and sue ;There ladies touch'd a softer string;
Suit lightly won, and short-lived pain, With long-ear'd cap, and motley vest,
For monarchs seldom sigh in vain. The licensed fool retail d his jest ;
I said he joy’d in banquet bower: His magic tricks the juggler plied;
But, ’mid his mirth, 'twas often strange, At dice and draughts the gallants vied;
How suddenly his cheer would change, While some, in close recess apart,
His look o'ercast and lower, Courted the ladies of their heart,
If, in a sudden turn, he felt Nor courted them in vain;
The pressure of his iron belt, For often, in the parting hour,
That bound his breast in penance pain, Victorious Love asserts his power
In memory of his father slain. O'er coldness and disdain ;
Even so 'twas strange how, evermore, And flinty is her heart, can view
Soon as the passing pang was o'er To battle march a lover true
Forward he rush'd, with double glee, Can hear, perchance, his last adieu,
Into the stream of revelry: Nor own her share of pain.
Thus, dim-seen object of affright
Startles the courser in his flight,
And half he halts, half springs aside;
And, straining on the tighten'd rein,
Scours doubly swift o'er hill and plain.
O'er James's heart, the courtiers say, He doff'd, to Marmion bending low,
Sir Hugh the Heron's wife held sway:* His broider'd cap and plume.
To Scotland's Court she came, For royal was his garb and mien,
To be a hostage for her lord, His cloak, of crimson velvet piled,
Who Cessford's gallant heart had gored, Trimm'd with the fur of martin wild;
And with the king to make accord, His vest of changeful satin sheen,
Had sent his lovely dame. The dazzled eye beguiled;
Nor to that lady free alone His gorgeous collar hung adown,
Did the gay King allegiance own; Wrought with the badge of Scotland's crown,'
For the fair Queen of France The thistle brave, of old renown:
Sent him a turquois ring and glove, His trusty blade, Toledo right,
And charged him, as her knight and love, Descended from a baldric bright;
For her to break a lance; White were his buskins, on the heel
And strike three strokes with Scottish brand, His spurs inlaid of gold and steel;
And march three miles on Southron land, His bonnet, all of crimson fair,
And bid the banners of his band Was button'd with a ruby rare:
In English breezes dance. And Marmion deem'd be ne'er had seen
And thus, for France's Queen he drest A prince of such a noble mien.
His manly limbs in mailed vest;
And thus admitted English fair
His inmost counsels still to share;
And thus, for both, he madly pann'd For feat of strength, or exercise,
The ruin of himself and land !
}of gold and steel
I MS." Bearing the badge of Scotland's crown.' * MS.--" His trusty blade, Toledo right,
Descended from a baldric bright,
And dangled at his knee:
His spurs inlaid
Were jingling merrily."
3 Ibid, Note 3