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It may not be !—this dizzy trance-
Curse on yon base marauder's lance,
And doubly cursed my failing brand !
A sinful heart makes feeble hand.'
Then, fainting, down on earth he sunk,
Supported by the trembling Monk.
XXXII. With fruitless labour, Clara bound, And strove to stanch the gushing wound : 965 The Monk, with unavailing cares, Exhausted all the Church's prayers. Ever, he said, that, close and near, A lady's voice was in his ear, And that the priest he could not hear;
970 For that she ever sung, 'In the lost battle, borne down by the flying, Where mingles war's rattle with groans of the
So the notes rung ;-
Avoid thee, Fiend !—with cruel hand,
Shake not the dying sinner's sand !-
O, look, my son, upon yon sign
Of the Redeemer's grace divine;
O, think on faith and bliss !
By many a death-bed I have been,
980 And many a sinner's parting seen,
But never aught like this.'-
The war, that for a space did fail,
Now trebly thundering swell’d the gale,
And-STANLEY! was the cry ;-
A light on Marmion's visage spread,
And fired his glazing eye :
With dying hand, above his head,
He shook the fragment of his blade,
And shouted Victory!-
Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on!'
Were the last words of Marmion.
By this, though deep the evening fell,
Still rose the battle's deadly swell,
For still the Scots, around their King,
Unbroken, fought in desperate ring.
Where's now their victor vaward wing,
Where Huntly, and where Home?-
O, for a blast of that dread horn,
On Fontarabian echoes borne,
That to King Charles did come,
When Rowland brave, and Olivier,
And every paladin and peer,
On Roncesvalles died !
Such blasts might warn them, not in vain,
To quit the plunder of the slain,
And turn the doubtful day again,
While yet on Flodden side,
Afar, the Royal Standard flies,
And round it toils, and bleeds, and dies,
Our Caledonian pride!
In vain the wish—for far away,
While spoil and havoc mark their way,
Near Sybil's Cross the plunderers stray.-
'O Lady,' cried the Monk, 'away!'
And placed her on her steed,
And led her to the chapel fair,
Of Tilmouth upon Tweed.
There all the night they spent in prayer,
And at the dawn of morning, there
She met her kinsman, Lord Fitz-Clare.
But as they left the dark’ning heath,
More desperate grew the strife of death,
The English shafts in volleys haild,
In headlong charge their horse assaild ;
Front, flank, and rear, the squadrons sweep
To break the Scottish circle deep,
That fought around their King.
But yet, though thick the shafts as snow,
Though charging knights like whirlwinds go, 1030
Though bill-men ply the ghastly blow,
Unbroken was the ring ;
The stubborn spear-men still made good
Their dark impenetrable wood,
Each stepping where his comrade stood, 1035
The instant that he fell.
No thought was there of dastard fight;
Link'd in the serried phalanx tight,
Groom fought like noble, squire like knight,
As fearlessly and well;
Till utter darkness closed her wing
O'er their thin host and wounded King.
Then skilful Surrey's sage commands
Led back from strife his shatter'd bands ;
And from the charge they drew,
1045 As mountain-waves, from wasted lands,
Sweep back to ocean blue.
Then did their loss his foemen know;
Their King, their Lords, their mightiest low,
They melted from the field, as snow,
1050 When streams are swoln and south winds blow
Dissolves in silent dew.
Tweed's echoes heard the ceaseless plash,
While many a broken band,
Disorder'd, through her currents dash, 1055
To gain the Scottish land;
To town and tower, to down and dale,
To tell red Flodden's dismal tale,
And raise the universal wail.
Tradition, legend, tune, and song,
Shall many an age that wail prolong :
Still from the sire the son shall hear
Of the stern strife, and carnage drear,
Of Flodden's fatal field, Where shiver'd was fair Scotland's spear, 1065
And broken was her shield !
Day dawns upon the mountain's side :-
There, Scotland! lay thy bravest pride,
Chiefs, knights, and nobles, many a one :
The sad survivors all are gone.-
View not that corpse mistrustfully,
Defaced and mangled though it be ;
Nor to yon Border castle high,
Look northward with upbraiding eye;
Nor cherish hope in vain,
1075 That, journeying far on foreign strand, The Royal Pilgrim to his land
May yet return again.
He saw the wreck his rashness wrought;
Reckless of life, he desperate fought,
And fell on Flodden plain :
And well in death his trusty brand,
Firm clench'd within his manly hand,
Beseem'd the monarch slain. But, O! how changed since yon blithe night! 1085 Gladly I turn me from the sight,
Unto my tale again.
Short is my tale :-Fitz-Eustace' care
A pierced and mangled body bare
To moated Lichfield's lofty pile ;
1090 And there, beneath the southern aisle, A tomb, with Gothic sculpture fair, Did long Lord Marmion's image bear, (Now vainly for its site you look ; 'Twas levell’d, when fanatic Brook
1095 The fair cathedral storm'd and took ; But, thanks to Heaven, and good Saint Chad, A guerdon meet the spoiler had !) There erst was martial Marmion found, His feet upon a couchant hound,
His hands to Heaven upraised ;
And all around, on scutcheon rich,
And tablet carved, and fretted niche,
His arms and feats were blazed.
And yet, though all was carved so fair,
And priest for Marmion breathed the prayer,
The last Lord Marmion lay not there.
From Ettrick woods, a peasant swain
Follow'd his lord to Flodden plain,-
One of those flowers, whom plaintive lay
In Scotland mourns as 'wede away':
Sore wounded, Sybil's Cross he spied,
And dragg'd him to its foot, and died,
Close by the noble Marmion's side.
The spoilers stripp'd and gash'd the slain,
And thus their corpses were mista’en ;
And thus, in the proud Baron's tomb,
The lowly woodsman took the room. ,
Less easy task it were, to show
Lord Marmion's nameless grave, and low.
They dug his grave e'en where he lay,
But every mark is gone ;
Time's wasting hand has done away
The simple Cross of Sybil Grey,
And broke her font of stone :
But yet from out the little hill
Oozes the slender springlet still,
Oft halts the stranger there,
For thence may best his curious eye
The memorable field descry;
And shepherd boys repair
To seek the water-flag and rush,
And rest them by the hazel bush,
And plait their garlands fair ;
Nor dream they sit upon the grave,
That holds the bones of Marmion brave.-