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Lest Scroop, or Howard, or Percy's powers,
Threaten Branksome's lordly towers,
Hung their shields in Branksome-Hall;"
Nine-and-twenty yeomen tall
They lay down to rest,
With corslet laced,
They carved at the meal
With gloves of steel,
Many a valiant knight is here;
Beside his broken spear.
Or stanch the death-feud's enmity!
Can love of blessed charity ?
In mutual pilgrimage, they drew;
For chiefs, their own red falchions slew :
While Ettrick boasts the line of Scott,
Shall never, never be forgot 78
The warlike foresters had bent;
Old Teviot's maids and matrons lent;
of the old feudal usages and institutions, he has shown still Hall (Border Minstrelsy, vol. ii. p. 5), to claim the protection greater talent in engrafting upon those descriptions all the ten- of Auld Buccleuch"--and the ensuing scene (page 9). der or magnanimous emotions to which the circumstances of
"The Scotts they rade, the Scotts they ran, the story naturally give rise. Without impairing the antique
Sae starkly and sae steadilie! air of the whole piece, or violating the simplicity of the bal
And aye the ower-word o' the thrang lad style, he has contrived, in this way, to impart a much
Was— Rise for Branksome readilie,'" &c. greater dignity and more powerful interest to his production, Compare also the Ballad of Kinmont Willie (vol. ii. p. 53). than eould ever be obtained by the unskilful and unsteady delineations of the old romancers. Nothing, we think, can “Now word is gane to the bauld keeper, afford a finer illustration of this remark, than the opening
In Branksome ha' where that he lay,” &c.--Ed. stanzas of the whole poem ; they transport us at once into the
4 There are not many passages in English poetry more imdays of knightly daring and feudal hostility, at the same time
pressive than some parts of Stanzas vii. viii. ix.-JEFFREY. that they suggest, in a very interesting way, all those softer sentiments which arise out of some parts of the description."
6 See Appendix, Note E. - JEFFREY.
6 Edinburgh. 1 See Appendix, Note B.
7 The war-cry, or gathering-word, of a Border clan. a See Appendix, Note C.
See Appendix, Note F. See Appendix, Note D, and compare these stanzas with 9 Orig. (1st Edition) “The Ladye dropp'd nor sigh nor the description of Jamie Telfer's appearance at Branksome,
Vengeance, deep-brooding o'er the slain,
Had lock'd the source of softer woe; And burning pride, and high disdain,
Forbade the rising tear to flow; Until, amid his sorrowing clan,
Her son lisp'd from the nurse's knee“ And if I live to be a man,
My father's death revenged shall be !" Then fast the mother's tears did seek To dew the infant's kindling cheek.
Is it the roar of Teviot's tide,
The ban-dogs bay and howl;
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!
All loose her golden hair,
And wept in wild despair :
Had filial grief supplied;
Had lent their mingled tide:
With Carr in arms had stood,'
All purple with their blood; And well she knew, her mother dread, Before Lord Cranstoun she should wed, Would see her on her dying bed.
The Ladye kuew it well!
And he called on the Spirit of the Fell.
“Sleep’st thou, brother!"
Of Bethune's line of Picardie ;'
In Padua, far beyond the sea."
By feat of magic mystery;
St. Andrew's cloister'd hall,
Upon the sunny wall !
–“ Brother, nay-
To aërial minstrelsy,
Trip it deft and merrily.
RIVER SPIRIT. " Tears of an imprison'd maiden
Mix with my polluted stream; Margaret of Branksome, sorrow-laden,
Mourns beneath the moon's pale beam. Tell me, thou, who view'st the stars, When shall cease these feudal jars?, What shall be the maiden's fate? Who shall be the maiden's mate?"
He taught that Ladye fair,
The viewless forms of air."
1 See Appendix, Note G. (The name is-spelt differently by the various families who bear it. Carr is selected, not as the most correct, but as the most poetical reading.)
See Appendix, Note H. 8 See Appendix, Note I.
* See Appendix, Note K.
First Edition--"$t. Kentigerne's hall."-St. Mungo, or
8 See Appendix, Note L.
XXI. A stark moss-trooping Scott was he, As e'er couch'd Border lance by knee: Through Solway sands, through Tarras
MOUNTAIN SPIRIT. * Arthur's slow wain his course doth roll, In utter darkness round the pole; The Nothern Bear lowers black and grim; Orion's studded belt is dim; Twinkling faint, and distant far, Shimmers through mist each planet star;
ni may I read their high decree! But no kind influence deign they shower On Teviot's tide, and Branksome's tower, Till pride be quell'd, and love be free.”...
XVIII. The unearthly voices ceast,
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,
And her heart throbb’d high with pride :"Your mountains shall bend, And your streams ascend,
Ere Margaret be our foeman's bride !"
Blindfold, he knew the paths to cross;
Say that the fated hour is come,
To win the treasure of the tomb:
Where many a bold retainer lay,
Her son pursued his infant play. 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 gray warriors prophesied,
How the brave boy, in future war, Should tame the Unicorn's pride,
Exalt the Crescent and the Star.*
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.”—
One moment, and no more;
As she paused at the arched door: Then, from amid the armed train, She call'd to her William of Deloraine."
XXIV. “O swiftly can speed my dapple-gray steed,
Which drinks of the Teviot clear;
· Again will I be here: And safer by none may thy errand be done,
Than, noble dame, by me;
Wer't my neck-verse at Hairibee."
i Sze Appendix, Note N.
* This line, of which the metre appears defective, would have its full complement of feet according to the pronunciation of the poet himself-as all who were familiar with his utterance of the letter r will bear testimony.-Ed.
4 See Appendix, Note 0. 6 Ibid. Note P. 6 Ibid. Note Q.
7 Hairibee, the place of executing the Border marauders at Carlisle. The neck-verse, is the beginning of the 51st Psalm, Miserere mei, &c., anciently read by criminals claiming the benefit of clergy. (“In the rough but spirited sketch of the
Down from the lakes did raving come; Each wave was crested with tawny foam,
Like the mane of a chestnut steed. In vain! no torrent, deep or broad, Might bar the bold moss-trooper's road.
XXV. Soon in his saddle sate he fast, And soon the steep descent he past, Soon cross’d the sounding barbican," And soon the Teviot side he won. Eastward the wooded path he rode, Green bazels o'er his basnet nod; He pass'd the Peel of Goldiland, And cross'd old Borthwick's roaring strand; Dimly he view'd the Moat-hill's mound, Where Druid shades still fitted round ; In Hawick twinkled many a light; Behind him soon they set in night; And soon he spurr’d his courser keen Beneath the tower of Hazeldean."
XXIX. At the first plunge the horse sunk low, And the water broke o'er the saddlebow: Above the foaming tide, I ween, Scarce half the charger's neck was seen; For he was barded from counter to tail, And the rider was armed complete in mail ; Never heavier man and horse Stemm'd a midnight torrent's force. The warrior's very plume, I say Was daggled by the dashing spray; Yet through good heart, and Our Ladye's grace, At length he gain’d the landing place.
XXVI. The clattering hoofs the watchmen mark ;"Stand, ho! thou courier of the dark.”“For Branksome, hol” the knight rejoin'd, And left the friendly tower behind. He turn'd him now from Teviotside,'
And, guided by the tinkling rill,
And gain'd the moor at Horsliehill ;
XXX. Now Bowden Moor the march-man won,
And sternly shook his plumed head, As glanced his eye o'er Halidon ;o
For on his soul the slaughter red Of that unhallow'd morn arose, When first the Scott and Carr were foes; When royal James beheld the fray, Prize to the victor of the day; When Home and Douglas, in the van, Bore down Buccleuch's retiring clan, Till gallant Cessford's heart-blood dear Reek'd on dark Elliot's Border spear.
XXVII. A moment now he slack'd his speed, A moment breathed his panting steed; Drew saddle-girth and corslet-band, And loosen'd in the sheath his brand. On Minto-crags the moonbeams glint, Where Barnhill hew'd his bed of flint; Who flung his outlaw'd 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!
XXXI. In bitter mood he spurred fast, And soon the hated heath was past; And far beneath, in lustre wan, Old Melros' rose, and fair Tweed ran: Like some tall rock with lichens gray, Seem'd dimly huge, the dark Abbaye. When Hawick he pass'd, had curfew rung, Now midnight lauds were in Melrose sung. The sound, upon the fitful gale, In solemn wise did rise and fail, Like that wild harp, whose magic tone Is waken'd by the winds alone. But when Melrose he reach'd, 'twas silence all; He meetly stabled his steed in stall, And sought the convent's lonely wall."
XXVIII. Unchallenged, thence pass'd Deloraine, To ancient Riddel's fair domain,"
Where Aill, from mountains freed,
maranding Borderer, and in the naïveté of his last declaration,
1 Barbican, the defence of the outer gate of a feudal castle.
6 An ancient Roman road, crossing through part of Roxburghshire.
6 See Appendix, Note T.
7 Ibid. Note U. 8 Barded, or barbed, -applied to a horse accoutred with defensive armor.
Halidon was an ancient seat of the Kerrs of Cessford, now demolished. Abont a quarter of a mile to the northward lay the field of battle betwixt Buccleuch and Angus, which is called to this day the Skirmish Field.--See Appendix, Note D.
10 Lauds, the midnight service of the Catholic church. 11 See Appendix, Note V.
The porter hurried to the gate-
To fence the rights of fair Melrose;
Had gifted the shrine for their souls' repose.“
HERE paused the harp; and with its swell
III. Bold Deloraine bis errand said ; The porter bent his humble head; With torch in hand, and feet unshod, And noiseless step, the path he trod: The arched cloister, far and wide, Rang to the warrior's clanking stride, Till, stooping low his lofty crest, He enter'd the cell of the ancient priest, And lifted his barred aventayle, To hail the Monk of St. Mary's aisle.
The Lay of the Last Minstrel.
IV. “The Ladye of Branksome greets thee by me;
Says, that the fated hour is come,
To win the treasure of the tomb."
With toil his stiffen'd limbs he rear'd; A hundred years had flung their snows
On his thin locks and floating beard.
I. If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright, Go visit it by the pale moonlight; For the gay beams of lightsome day Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray. When the broken arches are black in night, And each shafted oriel glimmers white; When the cold light's uncertain shower Streams on the ruin'd central tower ; When buttress and buttress, alternately, Seem framed of ebon and ivory; When silver edges the imagery, And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die ;, When distant Tweed is heard to rave, And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave, Then go-but go alone the while Then view St. David's ruin'd pile ;' And, home returning, soothly swear, Was never scene so sad and fair!
And his blue eyes gleam'd wild and wide ; “ And, darest thou, Warrior! seek to see
What heaven and hell alike would hide ? My breast, in belt of iron pent,
With shirt of hair and scourge of thorn; For threescore years, in penance spent,
My knees those flinty stones have worn; Yet all too little to atone For knowing what should ne'er be known. Wouldst thou thy every future year
In ceaseless prayer and penance drie, Yet wait thy latter end with fear
Then, daring Warrior, follow me !"
Short halt did Deloraine make there; Little reck'd he of the scene so fair : With dagger's hilt, on the wicket strong, He struck full loud, and struck full long. 1 " In the description of Melrose, which introduces the Second Canto, the reader will observe how skilfully the Author calls in the aid of sentimental associations to heighten the effect of the pictare which he presents to the eye."-JEFFREY.
* See Appendix, Note W.
3 David I. of Scotland, purchased the reputation of sanctity, by founding, and liberally endowing, not only the monastery of Melrose, but those of Kelso, Jedburgh, and many others;
VI. “Penance, father, will I none;
Prayer know I hardly one; which led to the well-known observation of his successor, that he was a sore saint for the crown.
* The Buccleuch family were great benefactors to the Abbey of Melrose. As early as the reign of Robert II., Robert Scott, Baron of Mardieston and Rankleburn (now Buccleuch), gave to the monks the lands of Hinkery, in Ettrick Forest, pro salute animæ suæ.---Chartulary of Melrose, 28th May, 1415.
6 Aventayle, visor of the helmet.