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And yet, whate'er such legends say,
XXIII. Early they took Dun-Edin's road, And I could trace each step they trode; Hill, brook, nor dell, nor rock, 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 their route was laid Across the furzy hills of Braid.
They passed the glen and scanty rill,
XXIV. Blackford! on whose uncultured breast, Among the broom, and thorn, and whiny A truant-boy, I sought the nest, Or listed, as I lay at rest, While rose on breezes thin The murmur of the city crowd, And, from his steeplejangling loud, Saint Giles's mingling din. Now, from the summit to the plain, Waves all the hill with yellow grain; And o'er the landscape as I look, Nought do I see unchanged remain, Save the rude cliffs and chiming brook. To me they make a heavy moan, Of early friendships past and gone.
But different far the change has been,
Since Marmion from the crown
Upon the bent so brown:
Upland, and dale, and down:
A thousand did I say? I ween,
For from Hebudes, dark with rain,
And charger's shrilling neigh;
The sun's reflected ray.
XXVII. Thin curling in the morning air, The wreaths of failing smoke declare, To embers now the brands decayed, Where the night-watch their fires had made,’ They saw, slow rolling on the plain, Full many a baggage-cart and wain, And dire artillery's clumsy car, By sluggish oxen tugged to war; And there were Borthwick's Sisters Seven,” By France's king to Scotland given. Ill-omened gift the guns remain The conqueror's spoil on Flodden plain, XXVIII. w Nor marked 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-tailed, and square, Scroll, pennon, pensil, bandrol,f there O'er the pavilions flew. Highest, and midmost, was descried The royal banner, floating wide; The staff, a pine-tree strong and straight, Pitched deeply in a massive stone, Which still in memory is shown, Yet bent beneath the standard's weight, * Seven culverins, so called, cast by one Borthwick.
f Each of these feudal ensigns intimated the different tahi, of those entitled to display them.
Whene'er the western wind unrolled,
With toil, the huge and cumbrous fold,
The ruddy Lion ramped in gold.
XXIX. Lord Marmion viewed the landscape bright, He viewed it with a chief's delight, Until within him burned 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 Saint George, were that host mine, Not power infernal, nor divine, Should once to peace my soul incline, Till I had dimmed their armour's shine, - In glorious battle fray!”— Answered 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 blessed, 'Tis better to sit still at rest, Than rise perchance to fall.”