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To chapels and to shrines repair.—
Where is the Palmer now 2 and where
The Abbess, Marmion, and Clare 2–-
Bold Douglas! to Tantallon fair
They journey in thy charge:
Lord Marmion rode on his right hand,
The Palmer still was with the band;
Angus, like Lindesay, did command,
That none should roam at large.
But in that Palmer's altered mien
A wonderous change might now be seen;
Freely he spoke of war,
Of marvels wrought by single hand, --
When lifted for a native land; --
And still looked high, as if he planned
Some desperate deed afar.
His courser would he feed, and stroke,
And, tucking up his sable frock,
Would first his metal bold provoke,
Then sogth, or quell his pride.
Old Hubert said, that never one
He saw, except Lord Marmion,
A steed so fairly ride.
XXVIII. Some half-hour's march behind, there came, By Eustace governed fair, A troop escorting Hilda's dame With all her nuns, and Clare.
No audience had Lord Marmion sought ;
Ever he feared to aggravate
Clara de Clare's suspicious hate;
And safer 'twas, he thought,
To wait till, from the nuns removed,
The influence of kinsmen loved,
And suit by Henry's self approved,
Her slow consent had wrought.
His was no flickering flame, that dies
Unless when fanned by looks and sighs,
And lighted oft at lady's eyes;
He longed to stretch his wide command
O'er luckless Clara's ample land:
Besides, when Wilton with him vied,
Although the pang of humbled pride
• place of jealousy supplied,
Yet conquest by that meanness won,
He almost loathed to think upon,
Led him, at times, to hate the cause,
Which made him burst through honour's laws.
If e'er he loved, 'twas her alone,
Who died within that vault of stone.
And now, when close at hand they saw
North-Berwick's town, and lofty Law,
Fitz-Eustace bade them pause awhile,
Before a venerable pile,
Whose turrets viewed afar,
The lofty Bass, the Lambie Isle,
The ocean's peace, or war. w
At tolling of a bell, forth came
The convent's venerable Dame,
And prayed Saint Hilda's Abbess rest
With her, a loved and honoured guest,
Till Douglas should a bark prepare,
To waft her back to Whitby fair.
Glad was the Abbess, you may guess,
And thanked the Scottish Prioress;
And tedious 'twere to tell, I ween,
The courteous speech that passed between.
O'erjoyed the nuns their palfreys leave;
But when fair Clara did intend,
Like them from horseback to descend,
Fitz-Eustace said, “I grieve,
Fair Lady, grieve e'en from my heart,
Such gentle company to part.—
Think not discourtesy,
But lords' commands must be obeyed;
And Marmion and the Douglas said,
That you must wend with me.
Lord Marmion hath a letter broad,
Which to the Scottish Earl he showed,
Commanding, that, beneath his care,
Without delay, you shall repair
To your good kinsman, Lord Fitz-Clare.”
The startled Abbess loud exclaimed;
But she, at whom the blow was aimed,
Grew pale as death, and cold as lead,
She deemed she heard her death-doom read.
“ Cheer thee, my child!” the Abbess said,
“They dare not tear thee from my hand,
To ride alone with armed band.”—
“Nay, holy mother, nay,”
Fitz-Eustace said, “the lovely Clare
Will be in Lady Angus' care,
In Scotland while we stay;
And, when we move, an easy ride
Will bring us to the English side,
Female attendance to provide
Befitting Gloster's heir;
Northinks, nor dreams, my noble lord,
By slightest look, or act, or word,
To harass Lady Clare.
Her faithful guardian he will be,
Norsue for slightest courtesy
That e'en to stranger falls,
Till he shall place her, safe and free,
Within her kinsman's halls.”—
He spoke, and blushed, with earnest grace;
His faith was painted on his face,
And Clare's worst fear relieved.
The Lady Abbess loud exclaimed
On Henry, and the Douglas blamed,
Entreated, threatened, grieved:
To martyr, saint, and prophet prayed,
Against Lord Marmion inveighed,
And called the Prioress to aid,
To curse with candle, bell, and book— Her head the grave Cistertian shook: “The Douglas and the King,” she said, “In their commands will be obeyed; Grieve not, nor dream that harm can fall The maiden in Tantallon hall.”
XXXI. The Abbess, seeing strife was vain, Assumed her wonted state again,_ For much of state she had, Composed her veil, and raised her head, And—“Bid,” in solemn voice she said “Thy master, bold and bad, The records of his house turn o'er, And, when he shall there written see, That one of his own ancestry Drove the Monks forth of Coventry, Bid him his fate explore! Prancing in pride of earthly trust, His charger hurled him to the dust, And, by a base plebeian thrust, He died his band before. God judge 'twixt Marmion and me; He is a chief of high degree, And I a poor recluse; Yet oft, in holy writ, we see E’en such weak minister as me May the oppressor bruise: