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IV. The green-sward way was smooth and good, Through Humbie's and through Saltoun's wood; A forest glade, which varying still, Here gave a view of dale and hill; There narrower closed, till over head Avaulted screen the branches made. “A pleasant path,” FitzEustace said; “Such as where errant knights mightsee Adventures of high chivalry; Might meet some damsel flying fast, With hair unbound, and looks aghast; And smooth and level course were here, In her defence to break a spear. Here, too, are twilight nooks and dells; And oft, in such, the story tells, The damsel kind, from danger freed, Did grateful pay her champion's meed."— He spoke to cheer Lord Marmion's mind: Perchance to show his lore designed; For Eustace much had pored Upon a huge romantic tome, In the hall-window of his home, Imprinted at the antique dome Of Caxton or De Worde. Therefore he spoker–butspoke in vain, For Marmion answered nought again.
W. Now sudden distant trumpets shrill, In notes prolonged by wood and hill, Were heard to echo far; Each ready archer grasped his bow, But by the flourish soon they know, They breathed no point of war. Yet cautious, as in foeman's land, Lord Marmion's order speeds the band; Some opener ground to gain; And scarce a furlong had they rode, When thinner trees, receding, showed A little woodland plain. Just in that advantageous glade, The halting troop a line had made, As forth from the opposing shade Issued a gallant train.
First came the trumpets, at whose clang
In painted tabards, proudly showing
Gules, Argent, Or, and Azure glowing,
Attendant on a King-at-arms,
Whose hand the armorial truncheon held, That feudal strife had often quelled, When wildest its alarms.
VII. He was a man of middle age; In aspect manly, grave, and sage, As on king's errand come ; But in the glances of his eye, A penetrating, keen, and sly Expression found its home! The flash of that satiric rage, which, bursting on the early stage, Branded the vices of the age, And broke the keys of Rome. On milk-white palfrey forth he paced ; His cap of maintenance was graced With the proud heron-plume. From his steed's shoulder, loin, and breast, Silk housings swept the ground, With Scotland's arms, device, and crest, Embroidered round and round. The double tressure might you see, First by Achaius borne, The thistle, and the fleur-de-lis, And gallant unicorn. So bright the king's armorial coat, That scarce the dazzled eye could note, In living colours blazoned brave, The lion, which his title gave.
A train, which well beseemed his state,
VIII. Town from his horse did Marmion spring, Soon as he saw the Lion-king; For well the stately Baron knew, To him such courtesy was due, Whom royal James himself had crowned, And on his temples placed the round Of Scotland's ancient diadem; And wet his brow with hallowed wine, And on his finger gave to shine The emblematic gem. Their mutual greetings duly made, The Lion thus his message said:— “Though Scotland's King hath deeply swore, Ne'er to knit faith with Henry more, And strictly hath forbid resort From England to his royal court; Yet, for he knows Lord Marmion's name, And honours much his warlike fame, My liege hath deemed it shame, and lack Of courtesy, to turn him back; And, by his order, I, your guide, Must lodging fit and fair provide,
Till finds King James meet time to see
Though inly chafed at this delay,
Sought to take leave in vain:
Should sever from the train:
X. At length up that wild dale they wind, Where Crichtoun-Castle crowns the bank; For there the Lion's care assigned A lodging meet for Marmion's rank. That castle rises on the steep Of the green vale of Tyne; And far beneath, where slow they creep From pool to eddy, dark and deep, Where alders moist, and willows weep, w You hear her streams repine.