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O, woman! in our hours of ease,
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
And variable as the shade
By the light quivering aspen made ;
When pain and anguish wring the brow,
A ministering angel thou!—
Scarce were the piteous accents said,
When with the Baron's casque, the maid
To the nigh streamlet ran:
Forgot were hatred, wrongs, and fears;
The plaintive voice alone she hears,
Sees but the dying man.
She stooped her by the runnel's side, i
But in abhorrence backward drew,
For, oozing from the mountain's side,
Where raged the war, a dark red tide
Was curdling in the streamlet blue.
Where shall she turn!—behold her mark
A little fountain-cell,
Where water, clear as diamond-spark
In a stone basin fell.
Above, some half-worn letters say,
“ADrink, totary, pilgrim, Drink, attil, ptåg,
JFor, tüt, kind, goul, of $pbil, Örty.
&Ibo, built. this. trogg. and, totli.”
She filled the helm, and back she hied,
- ~g with surprise and joy espied
*k supporting Marmion's head;
A pious man, whom duty brought
To dubious verge of battle fought,
To shrieve the dying, bless the dead.
XXXII. Deep drank Lord Marmion of the wave, And as she stooped his brow to lave— “Is it the hand of Clare,” he said, “Or injured Constance, bathes my head?” Then, as remembrance rose, “Speak not to me of shrift or prayer! I must redress her woes. Short space, few words, are mine to spare; Forgive and listen, gentle Clare"— “Alas!” she said, “ the while, O think of your immortal weal! In vain for Constance is your zeal; She died at Holy Isle.” Lord Marmion started from the ground, As light as if he felt no wound; Though in the action burst the tide, In torrents, from his wounded side. “Then it was truth !”—he said—“I knew That the dark presage must be true.— I would the Fiend, to whom belongs The vengeance due to all her wrongs, Would spare me but a day ! For wasting fire, and dying groan, And priests slain on the altar stone, Might bribe him for delay.
It may not be —this dizzy trance—
Curse on yon base marauder's lance,
And doubly cursed my failing brand 1
A sinful heart makes feeble hand.”—
Then, fainting, down on earth he sunk,
Supported by the trembling Monk.
With fruitless labour, Clara bound,
And strove to stanch, the gushing wound:
The Monk, with unavailing cares,
Exhausted all the Church's prayers;–
Ever, he said, that, close and near,
A lady's voice was in his ear,
And that the priest he could not hear,
For that she ever sung,
“In the lost battle, borne down by the flying,
Where mingles war's raille with groans of the
So the notes rung.
“Avoid thee, Fiend —with cruel hand,
Shake not the dying sinner's sand!
O look, my son, upon yon sign
Of the Redeemer's grace divine;
. G think on faith and bliss —
By many a death-bed I have been,
And many a sinner's parting seen,
But never aught like this."—
The war, that for a space did fail,
Now trebly thundering swelled the gale,
And—Stanley ! was the cry;-
A light on Marmion's visage spread,
And fired his glazing eye:
With dying hand, above his head
He shook the fragment of his blade,
And shouted “Victory !—
“Charge, Chester, charge On, Stanley, on "-
Were the last words of Marmion.
By this, though deep the evening fell,
Still rose the battle's deadly swell,
For still the Scots, around their king,
Unbroken, fought in desperate ring.
Where's now their victor vaward wing,
Where Huntley, and where Home 2–
O for a blast of that dread horn,
On Fontarabian echoes borne,
That to King Charles did come,
When Rowland brave, and Olivier,
And every paladin and peer,
On Roncesvalles died
Such blast might warn them, not in vain,
To quit the plunder of the slain,
And turn the doubtful day again,
While yet on Flodden side
Afar, the Royal Standard flies,
And round it toils and bleeds and dies,
Our Caledonian pride :
In vain the wish—for far away,
While spoil and havoc mark their way,
Near Sybil's Cross the plunderers stray–
“O Lady,” cried the Monk, “away!"—
And placed her on her steed;
And led her to the chapel fair,
Of Tilmouth upon Tweed.
There all the night they spent in prayer,
And, at the dawn of morning, there
She met her kinsman, Lord Fitz-Clare.
XXXV. But as they left the dark’ning heath, More desperate grew the strife of death. The English shafts in volleys hailed, In headlong charge their horse assailed; Front, flank, and rear, the squadrons sweep, To break the Scottish circle deep, That fought around their king. But yet, though thick the shafts as snow, Though charging knights like whirlwinds go, Though bill-men deal the ghastly blow, Unbroken was the ring ; The stubborn spear-men still made good Their dark impenetrable wood, Each stepping where his comrade stood, The instant that he fell. No thought was there of dastard flight;Linked in the serried phalanx tigat, Groom fought like noble, squire like knight, As fearlessly and well,