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VII. “Still restless as a second Cain, To Scotland next my route was ta'en, Full well the paths I knew; Fame of my fate made various sound, That death in pilgrimage I found, That I had perished of my wound,None cared which tale was true: And living eye could never guess De Wilton in his Palmer's dress; For now that sable slough is shed, And trimmed my shaggy beard and head, I scarcely know me in the glass. A chance most wondrous did provide, That I should be that baron's guide— I will not name his name — Wengeance to God alone belongs; But, when I think on all my wrongs, My blood is liquid flame! And ne'er the time shall I forget, When, in a Scottish hostel set, Dark looks we did exchange: What were his thoughts I cannot tell; But in my bosom mustered Hell Its plans of dark revenge.
“A word of vulgar augury,
That broke from me I scarce knew why,
Brought on a village tale;
Which wrought upon his moody sprite,
And sent him armed forth by night.
I borrowed steed and mail,
And weapons, from his sleeping band;
And, passing from a postern door,
We met, and 'countered, hand to hand,-
He fell on Gifford-moor.
For the death stroke my brand I drew,
(O then my helmed head he knew,
The Palmer's cowl was gone,)
Then had three inches of my blade
The heavy debt of vengeance paid,
My hand the thought of Austin staid;
I left him there alone.-
O good old man! e'en from the grave,
Thy spirit could thy master save:
If I had slain my foeman, ne'er
Had Whitby's Abbess, in her fear,
Given to my hand this packet dear,
Of power to clear my injured fame,
And vindicate De Wilton's name.—
Perchance you heard the Abbess tell
Of the strange pageantry of Hell,
That broke our secret speech—
It rose from the infernal shade,
Or featly was some juggle played,
A tale of peace to teach.
Appeal to Heaven I judged was best,
When my name came among the rest.
“Now here, within Tantallon Hold,
To Douglas late my tale I told,
To whom my house was known of old.
Won by my proofs, his falchion bright
This eve anew shall dub me knight.
These were the arms that once did turn
The tide of fight on Otterburne,
And Harry Hotspur forced to yield,
When the Dead Douglas won the field.
These Angus gave—his armourer's care,
Ere morn, shall every breach repair;
For nought, he said, was in his halls,
But ancient armour on the walls,
And aged chargers in the stalls,
And women, priests, and gray-haired men;
The rest were all in Twisell glen.” -
And now I watch my armour here,
By law of arms, till midnight's near;
Then, once again a belted knight,
Seek Surrey's camp with dawn of light.
“There soon again we meet, my Clare!
This Baron means to guide thee there.
Douglas reveres his king's command,
Else would he take thee from his band.
* Where James encamped before taking post on Flodden.
And there thy kinsman Surrey, too,
Will give De Wilton justice due.
Now meeter far for martial broil,
Firmer my limbs, and strung by toil,
Once more”—“O Wilton must we then
Risk new-found happiness again,
Trust fate of arms once more?
And is there not an humble glen,
Where we, content and poor,
Might build a cottage in the shade,
A shepherd thou, and I to aid
Thy task on dale and moor —
That reddening brow!—too well I know,
Not e'en thy Clare can peace bestow,
While falsehood stains thy name:
Go then to fight! Clare bids thee go!
Clare can a warrior's feelings know,
And weep a warrior's shame;
Can Red Earl Gilbert's spirit feel,
Buckle the spurs upon thy heel,
And belt thee with thy brand of steel,
And send thee forth to fame!”—
XI. That night, upon the rocks and bay, The midnight moonbeam slumbering lay, And poured its silver light, and pure, Through loop-hole, and through embrazure, Upon Tantallon tower and hall;
But chief where arched windows wide
Illuminate the chapel's pride,
The sober glances fall.
Much was there need; though, seamed with scars,
Two veterans of the Douglas' wars,
Though two gray priests were there,
And each a blazing torch held high,
You could not by their blaze descry
The chapel's carving fair.
Amid that dim and smoky light,
Chequering the silvery moonshine bright,
A bishop by the altar stood,
A noble lord of Douglas blood,
With mitre sheen, and rocquet white;
Yet showed his meek and thoughtful eye
But little pride of prelacy:
More pleased that, in a barbarous age,
He gave rude Scotland Virgil's page,
Than that beneath his rule he held
The bishopric of fair Dunkeld.
Beside him ancient Angus stood,
Doffed his furred gown, and sable hood;
O'er his huge form, and visage pale,
He wore a cap and shirt of mail,
And leaned his large and wrinkled hand
Upon the huge and sweeping brand,
Which wont, of yore, in battle-fray,
His foeman's limbs to shred away,
As wood-knife lops the sapling spray,