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X. O'er James's heart, the courtiers say, Sir Hugh the Heron's wife held sway: To Scotland's court she came, To be a hostage for her lord, Who Cessford's gallant heart had gored, And with the King to make accord, Had sent his lovely dame. Nor to that lady free alone Did the gay King allegiance own; For the fair Queen of France Sent him a Turquois ring, and glove, And charged him, as her knight and love, For her to break a lance; And strike three strokes with Scottish brand, And march three miles on English land, And bid the banners of his band In English breezes dance. And thus, for France's Queen, he drest His manly limbs in mailed vest; And thus admitted English fair, His inmost counsels still to share; And thus, for both, he madly planned The ruin of himself and land! And yet, the sooth to tell, Nor England's fair, nor France's Queen, Were worth one pearl-drop, bright and sheen, From Margaret's eyes that fell,— His own queen Margaret, who, in Lithgow's bower, All lonely sat, and wept the weary hour.
XI. The queen sits lone in Lithgow pile, And weeps the weary day, The war against her native soil, Her monarch's risk in battle broil;And in gay Holy-Rood the while Dame Heron rises with a smile Upon the harp to play. Fair was her rounded arm, as o'er The strings her fingers flew; And as she touched, and tuned them all, Even her bosom's rise and fall Was plainer given to view; For, all for heat, was laid aside Her wimple, and her hood untied. And first she pitched her voice to sing, Then glanced her dark eye on the King, And then around the silent ring; And laughed, and blushed, and oft did say Her pretty oath, by Yea, and Nay, She could not, would not, durst not play! At length, upon the harp, with glee, Mingled with arch simplicity, A soft, yet lively, air she rung, While thus the wily lady sung.
XII. LOCHINVAR. LADY HERON'S SONG. O young Lochinvar is come out of the west, Through all the wide Border his steed was the best; And save his good broadsword he weapons had none, He rode all unarmed, and he rode all alone. So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war, There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.
He staid not for brake, and he stopped not for stone;
So boldly he entered the Netherby Hall,
“I long woo'd your daughter, my suit you denied!—
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far, That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar.”
The bride kissed the goblet; the knight took it up,
So stately his form, and so lovely her face,
That never a hall such a galliard did grace;
While her mother did fret, and her father did fume,
And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume;
And the bride-maidens whispered, “”Twere better by far
To have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar.”
One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear,
When they reached the hall-door, and the charger stood near;
So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,
So light to the saddle before her he sprung!—
“She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and Scaur;
They'll have fleet steeds that follow,” quoth young Lochinvar. *
There was mounting 'mong Graemes of the Nether-