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“ By Becket's bones," cried one, “I fear
That some false Scot has stolen my spear !”
Young Blount, Lord Marmion's second squire,
Found his steed wet with sweat and mire;
Although the rated horse-boy sware
Last night he dressed him sleek and fair.
While chafed the impatient squire like thunder,
Old Hubert shouts, in fear and wonder,
“Help, gentle Blount! help, comrades all !
Bevis lies dying in his stall :
To Marmion who the plight dare tell
Of the good steed he loves so well?"
Gaping for fear and ruth, they saw
The charger panting on his straw;
Till one, who would seem wisest, cried, -
“ What else but evil could betide,
With that cursed Palmer for our guide?
Better we had through mire and bush.
Been lanthorn-led by Friar Rush.”
2. Fitz-Eustace, who the cause but guessed,
Nor wholly understood, His comrades' clamorous plaints suppressed;
He knew Lord Marmion's mood.
Him, ere he issued forth, he sought,
And found deep plunged in gloomy thought,
And did his tale display
Simply, as if he knew of nought
To cause such disarray.
Lord Marmion gave attention cold,
Nor marvelled at the wonders told,
Passed them as accidents of course,
And bade his clarions sound to horse.
3. Young Henry Blount, meanwhile, the cost
Had reckoned with their Scottish' host;
And, as the charge he cast and paid,
“ Ill thou deserv'st thy hire," he said;
“Dost see, thou knave, my horse's plight?
Fairies have ridden him all the night,
And left him in a foam !
I trust, that soon a conjuring band,
With English cross and blazing brand,
Shall drive the devils from this land,
To their infernal home:
For in this haunted den, I trow,
All night they trampled to and fro.”
The laughing host looked on the hire, -
“Gramercy, gentle southern squire,
And if thou com'st among the rest,
With Scottish broad-sword to be blessed,
Sharp be the brand, and sure the blow,
And short the pang to undergo."-
Here stayed their talk--for Marmion
Gave now the signal to set on.
The Palmer showing forth the way,
They journeyed all the morning day.
4. The green-sward way was smooth and good,
Through Humbie's and through Saltoun's wood;
A forest glade, which, varying still,
Here gave a view of dale and hill;
There narrower closed, till over head
A vaulted screen the branches made.
“A pleasant path," Fitz-Eustace said;
“ Such as where errant knights might see
Adventures of high chivalry;
Might meet some damsel flying fast,
With hair unbound, and looks aghast ;
And smooth and level course were here,
In her defence to break a spear.
Here, too, are twilight nooks and dells;
And oft, in such, the story tells,
The damsel kind, from danger freed,
Did grateful pay her champion's meed."-
He spoke to cheer Lord Marmion's mind:
Perchance to show his lore designed;
For Eustace much had pored
Upon a huge romantic tome,
In the hall-window of his home,
Imprinted at the antique come
Of Caxton or De Worde.
Therefore he spoke--but spoke in vain,
For Marmion answered nought again.
5. Now sudden distant trumpets shrill,
In notes prolonged by wood and hill,
Were heard to echo far;
Each ready archer grasped his bow,
But by the flourish soon they know
They breathed no point of war.
Yet cautious, as in foeman's land,
Lord Marmion's order speeds the band,
Some opener ground to gain ;
And scarce a furlong had they rode,
When thinner trees, receding, showed
A little woodland plain.
Just in that advantageous glade,
The halting troop a line had made,
As forth from the opposing shade
Issued a gallant train.
6. First came the trumpets, at whose clang
So late the forest echoes rang;
On prancing steeds they forward pressed,
With scarlet mantle, azure vest;
Each at his trump a banner wore,
Which Scotland's royal scutcheon bore;
Heralds and pursuivants, by name
Bute, Islay, Marchmount, Rothsay, came,
In painted tabards, proudly showing
Gules, Argent, Or, and Azure glowing,
Attendant on a King-at-arms,
Whose hand the armorial truncheon held,
That feudal strife had often quelled,
When wildest its alarms.
7. He was a man of middle age ;
In aspect manly, grave, and sage,
As on king's errand come;
But in the glances of his eye,
A penetrating, keen, and sly
Expression found its home;
The Aash of that satiric rage,
Which, bursting on the early stage,
Branded the vices of the age,
And broke the keys of Rome.
On milk-white palfrey forth he paced ;
His cap of maintenance was graced
With the proud heron-plume.
From his steed's shoulder, loin, and breast,
Silk housings swept the ground,
With Scotland's arms, device, and crest,
Embroidered round and round.
The double treasure might you see,
First by Achaius borne,
The thistle, and the fleur-de-lis,
And gallant unicorn.
So bright the king's armorial coat,
That scarce the dazzled eye could note,
In living colours, blazoned brave,
The Lion, which his title gave.
A train, which well beseemed his state,
But all unarmed, around him wait.
Still is thy name in high account,
And still thy verse has charms,
Sir David Lindesay of the Mount,
Lord Lion King-at-arms! 8. Down from his horse did Marmion spring,
Soon as he saw the Lion-King;
For well the stately Baron knew
To him such courtesy was due,
Whom royal James himself had crowned,
And on his temples placed the round
Of Scotland's ancient diadem ;
And wet his brow with hallowed wine,
And on his finger given to shine
The emblematic gem.
Their mutual greetings duly made,
The Lion thus his message said:
“Though Scotland's King hath deeply swore
Ne'er to knit faith with Henry more;
And strictly hath forbid resort
From England to his royal court;
Yet, for he knows Lord Marmion's name,
And honours much his warlike fame,
My liege hath deemed it shame, and lack
Of courtesy, to turn him back;
And by his order, I, your guide,
Must lodging fit and fair provide,
Till finds King James meet time to see
The flower of English chivalry.”
Though inly chased at this delay,
Lord Marmion bears it as he may.
The Palmer, his mysterious guide,
Beholding thus his place supplied,
Sought to take leave in vain :
Strict was the Lion King's command,
That none who rode in Marmion's band
Should sever from the train :
“England has here enow of spies
In Lady Heron’s witching eyes;”
To Marchmount'thus, apart, he said,
But fair pretext to Marmion made.
The right-hand path they now decline,
And trace against the stream the Tyne. ic. At length up that wild dale they wind
Where Crichtoun Castle crowns the bank;
For there the Lion's care assigned
A lodging meet for Marmion's rank.
That castle rises on the steep
Of the green vale of Tyne;
And far beneath, where slow they creep
From pool to eddy, dark and deep,
Where alders moist and willows weep,
You hear her streams repine.
The towers in different ages rose;
Their various architecture shows
The builders' various hands;
A mighty mass, that could oppose,
When deadliest hatred fired its foes,
The vengeful Douglas bands.
1. Crichtoun! though now thy miry court
But pens the lazy steer and sheep,
Thy turrets rude, and tottered Keep,
Have been the minstrel's loved resort.
Ost have I traced within thy fort,
Of mouldering shields the mystic sense,
Scutcheons of honour, or pretence,
Quartered in old armorial sort,
Remains of rude magnificence:
Nor wholly yet hath time defaced
Thy lordly gallery fair;
Nor yet the stony cord unbraced,
Whose twisted knots, with roses laced,
Adorn thy ruined stair.
Still rises unimpaired, below,
The court-yard's graceful portico;
Above its cornice, row and row
Of fair hewn facets richly show
Their pointed diamond form,
Though there but houseless cattle go
To shield them from the storm.
And, shuddering, still may we explore,
Where oft whilome were captives pent,
The darkness of thy Massy More;
Or, from thy grass-grown battlement,
May trace, in undulating line,
The sluggislı mazes of the Tyne.
12. Another aspect Crichtoun showed,
As through its portal Marmion rode;
But yet 'twas melancholy state
Received him at the outer gate;
For none were in the castle then,
But women, boys, or aged men.
With eyes scarce dried, the sorrowing dame
To welcome noble Marmion came;
Her son, a stripling twelve years old,
Proffered the Baron's rein to hold;
For each man, that could draw a sword,
Had marched that morning with their lord,
Earl Adam Hepburn--he who died
On Flodden, by his sovereign's side.
Long may his lady look in vain !
She ne'er shall see his gallant train
Come sweeping back through Crichtoun-Dean.
'Twas a brave race, before the name
Of hated Bothwell stained their fame.
And here two days did Marmion rest,
With every rite that honour claims,
Attended as the King's own guest, --
Such the command of royal James;
Who'marshalled then his land's array,
Upon the Borough-moor that lay.
Perchance he would not foeman's eye
Upon his gathering host should pry,
Till full prepared was every band
To march against the English land.
Here while they dwelt, did Lindesay's wit
Oft cheer the Baron's moodier fit;