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XXI. Ere yet the bands met Marmion's eye, Fitz-Eustace shouted loud and high“Hark! hark! my lord, an English drum! And see ascending squadrons come Between Tweed's river and the hill, Foot, horse, and cannon;–hap what hap, My basnet to a prentice cap, Lord Surrey's o'er the Till!— Yet more yet more!—how fair arrayed They file from out the hawthorn shade And sweep so gallant by! With all their banners bravely spread, And all their armour flashing high, Saint George might waken from the dead, To see fair England's banners fly.”— * Stint in thy prate,” quoth Blount; “thou'dst best, And listen to our lord's behest.”— ** With kindling brow Lord Marmion said— “This instant be our band arrayed; The river must be quickly crossed, That we may join Lord Surrey's host. If fight King James, as well I trust, That fight he will, and fight he mustThe Lady Clare behind our lines Shall tarry, while the battle joins.”

Himself he swift on horseback threw,
Scaree to the Abbot bade adien;

Far less would listen to his prayer, To leave behind the helpless Clare. Down to the Tweed his band he drew, And muttered, as the flood they view, “The pheasant in the falcon's claw, He scarce will yield to please a daw: Lord Angus may the Abbot awe, So Clare shall bide with me.” Then on that dangerous ford, and deep, Where to the Tweed Leat's eddies creep, He ventured desperately; And not a moment will he bide, Till squire, or groom, before him ride; Headmost of all he stems the tide, And stems it gallantly. Eustace held Clare upon her horse, Old Hubert led her rein, Stoutly they braved the current's course, And, though far downward driven per force, The southern bank they gain; Behind them, struggling, came to shore, As best they might, the train: Each o'er his head his yew-bow bore, A caution not in vain; Deep need that day that every string, By wet unharmed, should sharply ring. A moment then Lord Marmion staid, And breathed his steed, his men arrayed, Then forward moved his band,

Until, Lord Surrey's rear-guard won,

He halted by a cross of stone,

That, on a hillock standing lone,
Did all the field command.

XXIII. Hence might they see the full array Of either host, for deadly fray; Their marshalled line stretched east and west, And fronted north and south, And distant salutation past From the loud cannon mouth; Not in the close successive rattle, That breathes the voice of modern battle, But slow and far between.— The hillock gained, Lord Marmion staid: “Here, by this cross,” he gently said, “You well may view the scene. Here shalt thou tarry, lovely Clare: O! think of Marmion in thy prayer! Thou wilt not?—well,—no less my care Shall, watchful, for thy weal prepare.— You, Blount, and Eustace, are her guard, With ten picked archers of my train; With England if the day go hard, o To Berwick speed amainBut if we conquer, cruel maid! My spoils shall at your feet be laid, When here we meet again.”—

He waited not for answer there;
And would not mark the maid's despair,
Nor heed the discontented look
From either squire; but spurred amain,
And, dashing through the battle plain,
His way to Surrey took.

XXIV. The good Lord Marmion, by my life! Welcome to danger's hour!— Short greeting serves in time of strife:– Thus have I ranged my power: Myself will rule this central host, Stout Stanley fronts their right, My sons command the vaward post, With Brian Tunstall, stainless knight; Lord Dacre, with his horsemen light, Shall be in rearward of the fight, And succourthose that need it most. Now, gallant Marmion, well I know, Would gladly to the vanguard go; Edmund, the admiral, Tunstall there, With thee their charge will blithely share; There fight thine own retainers too, Beneath De Burg, thy steward true.”— “Thanks, noble Surrey !” Marmion said, Nor further greeting there he paid; But, parting like a thunderbolt, First in the vanguard made a halt, Where such a shout there rose


Of “Marmion! Marmion!” that the cry Up Flodden mountain shrilling high, Startled the Scottish foes.

XXV. Blount and Fitz-Eustace rested still with Lady Clare upon the hill; On which (for far the day was spent) The western sunbeams now were bent. The cry they heard, its meaning knew, Could plain their distant comrades view: Sadly to Blount did Eustace say, “ Unworthy office here to stay, No hope of gilded spurs to-dayBut, see : look up—on Flodden bent, The Scottish foe has fired his tent.” And sudden, as he spoke, From the sharp ridges of the hill, All downward to the banks of Till, Was wreathed in sable smoke ; Volumed and vast, and rolling far, The cloud enveloped Scotland's war, As down the hill they broke; Nor martial shout, nor minstrel tone, Announced their march; their tread alone, At times one warning trumpet blown, At times a stifled hum, Told England, from his mountain throne King James did rushing come.—

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