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Dejectedly, and low, he bow'd,
For Branksome's Chiefs had in battle
stood, To fence the rights of fair Melrose ; And lands and livings, many a rood, Had gifted the shrine for their souls' repose.
III. Bold Deloraine his errand said ; The porter bent his humble head; With torch in hand, and feet unshod, And noiseless step, the path he trod; The arched cloister, far and wide, Rang to the warrior's clanking stride, Till, stooping low his lofty crest, He enter'd the cell of the ancient priest, And lifted his barred aventayle, * To hail the Monk of St. Mary's aisle.
IF thou would'st view fair Melrose aright, ! Go visit it by the pale moonlight;
For the gay beams of lightsome day,
and die; When distant Tweed is heard to rave, And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead
The porter hurried to the gate| “Who knocks so loud, and knocks so
late?" "From Branksome I," the warrior cried ; And straight the wicket open'd wide :
IV. “The Ladye of Branksome greets the
by me; Says, that the fated hour is come, And that to-night I shall watch with thee,
To win the treasure of the tomb." From sackcloth couch the monk arose,
With toil his stiffen'd limbs he rear'd; A hundred years had flung their snows On his thin locks and floating beard.
v. And strangely on the knight look'd he, And his blue eyes gleam'd wild and
wide ; “And darest thou, Warrior! seek to see What heaven and hell alike would
hide ? My breast, in belt of iron pent, With shirt of hair and scourge of
thorn ; For threescore years, in penance spent, My knees those flinty stones have
worn; Yet all too little to atone For knowing what should ne'er be
Then, daring Warrior, follow me!”
The key-stone, that lock'd each ribbed “Penance, father, will I none;
aisle, Prayer know I hardly one ;
Was a fleur-de-lys, or a quatre-feuille ; For mass or prayer can I rarely tarry,
The corbells * were carved grotesque and Save to patter an Ave Mary,
grim ; When I ride on a Border foray.
And the pillars, with cluster'd shafts so Other prayer can I none;
trim, So speed me my errand, and let me be With base and with capital flourish'd
Seem'd bundles of lances which garlands VII.
had bound. Again on the Knight look'd the Churchman old,
X. And again he sighed heavily;
Full many a scutcheon and banner riven, For he had himself been a warrior bold, Shook to the cold night-wind of heaven, And fought in Spain and Italy,
Around the screened altar's pale ; And he thought on the days that were And there the dying lamps did burn, long since by,
Before thy low and lonely urn, When his limbs were strong, and his O gallant chief of Otterburne ! courage was high :
And thine, dark Knight of LiddesNow, slow and faint, he led the way,
dale ! Where, cloister'd round, the garden lay ; | O fading honours of the dead ! The pillar'd arches were over their head, O high ambition, lowly laid ! And beneath their feet were the bones of the dead.
The moon on the east oriel shone
Through slender shafts of shapely stone, Spreading herbs, and flowerets bright, By foliaged tracery combined; Glisten'd with the dew of night;
Thou would'st have thought some fairy's Nor herb, nor floweret, glisten': there,
hand But was carved in the cloister-arches as 'Twixt poplars straight the ozier wand, fair.
In many a freakish knot, had twined; The Monk gazed long on the lovely Then framed a spell, when the work moon,
was done, Then into the night he looked forth; | And changed the willow wreaths to And red and bright the streamers
The silver light, so pale and faint, Were dancing in the glowing north. Show'd many a prophet, and many a So had he seen, in fair Castile,
saint, The youth in glittering squadrons Whose image on the glass was dyed ; start;
Full in the midst, his Cross of Red Sudden the flying jennet wheel, Triumphant Michael brandished, And hurl the unexpected dart.
And trampled the Apostate's pride. He knew, by the streamers that shot so The moonbeam kiss'd the holy pane, bright,
And threw on the pavement a bloody That spirits were riding the northern
They sate them down on a marble stone, By a steel-clenched postern door,
(A Scottish monarch slept below ;) They enter'd now the chancel tall; The darken'd roof rose high aloof
* Corbells, the projections from which the
arches spring, usually cut in a fantastic face or On pillars lofty and light and small : mask.
That his patron's cross might over him
wave, And scare the fiends from the Wizard's grave.
XVI. “It was a night of woe and dread, When Michael in the tomb I laid ! Strange sounds along the chancel pass'd, The banners waved without a blast,”— - Still spoke the Monk, when the bell
toll'd one ! I tell you, that a braver man Than William of Deloraine, good at
need, Against a foe ne'er spurr'd a steed; Yet somewhat was he chill'd with dread, And his hair did bristle upon his head.
Thus spoke the Monk, in solemn tone :
"I was not always a man of woe; For Paynim countries I have trod, And fought beneath the cross of God : Now, strange to my eyes thine arms
appear, And their iron clang sounds strange to my ear.
XIII. "In these far climes it was my lot To meet the wondrous Michael Scott;
A Wizard, of such dreaded fame,
The bells would ring in Notre Dame!
stone. But to speak them were a deadly sin; And for having but thought them my
speed, I was in Spain when the morning rose, But I stood by his bed ere evening close. The words may not again be said, That he spoke to me, on death-bed laid; They would rend this Abbaye's massy
nave, And pile it in heaps above his grave.
xv. "I swore to bury his Mighty Book, That never mortal might therein look : And never to tell where it was hid, Save at his Chief of Branksome's need : And when that need was past and o'er, Again the volume to restore. I buried him on St. Michael's night, When the bell tol'd one, and the moon
was bright, And I dug his chamber among the dead, Wha the floor of the chancel was
XVII. “Lo, Warrior ! now the Cross of Red Points to the grave of the mighty dead; Within it burns a wondrous light, To chase the spirits that love the night. That lamp shall burn unquenchably, Until the eternal doom shall be." — Slow moved the Monk to the broad flag.
stone, Which the bloody Cross was traced upon: He pointed to a secret nook ; An iron-bar the Warrior took ; And the Monk made a sign with his
wither'd hand, The grave's huge portal to expand
XVIII. With beating heart to the task he went; His sinewy frame o'er the grave-stone
bent; With bar of iron heaved amain, Till the toil-drops fell from his brows,
like rain. It was by dint of passing strength, That he moved the massy stone at length. I would you had been there, to see How the light broke forth so gloriously. Stream'd upward to the chancel roof, And through the galleries far aloof! No earthly flame blazed e'er so bright: It shone like heaven's own blessed light,
And, issuing from the tomb, Show'd the Monk's cowl, and visage pale,
Before their eyes the Wizard lay,
When the huge stone sunk o'er the tomb, As if he had not been dead a day.
The night return'd in double gloom : His hoary beard in silver rollid,
For the moon had gone down, and the He seem'd some seventy winters old ;
stars were few ; A palmer's amice wrapp'd him round, And, as the Knight and Priest withdrew, With a wrought Spanish baldric | With wavering steps and dizzy brain, bound,
They hardly might the postern gain. Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea : 'Tis said, as through the aisles they His left hand held his Book of Might;
pass'd, A silver cross was in his right;
They heard strange noises on the blast; The lamp was placed beside his And through the cloister-galleries small, knee :
Which at mid-height thread the chancel High and majestic was his look,
wall, At which the fellest fiend had shook, Loud sobs, and laughter louder, ran, And all unruffled was his face :
And voices unlike the voice of man; They trusted his soul had gotten grace. As if the fiends kept holiday,
Because these spells were brought to day, XX.
I cannot tell how the truth may be; Often had William of Deloraine
I say the tale as 'twas said to me.
“Now, hie thee hence," the Father said, Yet now remorse and awe he own'd;
“And when we are on death-bed laid, His breath came thick, his head swam O may our dear Ladye, and sweet St. round,
John, When this strange scene of death he Forgive our souls for the deed we have saw,
done!" Bewilder'd and unnerv'd he stood,
The Monk return'd him to his cell, And the priest pray'd fervently and loud : And many a prayer and penance With eyes averted prayed he; He might not endure the sight to see, When the convent met at the noontide Of the man he had loved so brotherly.
The Monk of St. Mary's aisle was XXI. And when the priest his death-prayer Before the cross was the body laid, had pray'd,
With hands clasp'd fast, as if still he Thus unto Deloraine he said :
pray'd. “Now, speed thee what thou hast to do, Or, Warrior, we may dearly rue ;
XXIV. For those, thou may'st not look upon, | The Knight breathed free in the Are gathering fast round the yawning morning wind, stone !"
And strove his hardihood to find : Then, Deloraine, in terror, took
He was glad when he pass'd the tombFrom the cold hand the Mighty Book,
stones grey, With iron clasp'd, and with iron bound : Which girdle round the fair Abbaye ; He thought, as he took it, the dead man For the mystic Book, to his bosom prest, frown'd;
Felt like a load upon his breast;
| And she glides through the greenwood
at dawn of light | To meet Baron Henry, her own true
And his joints, with nerves of iron
twin'd, Shook, like the aspen leaves in wind. Full fain was he when the dawn of day, Began to brighten Cheviot grey; He joy'd to see the cheerful light, And he said Ave Mary, as well as he might.
XXV. The sun had brighten'd Cheviot grey, The sun had brighten'd the Carter's *
side; · And soon beneath the rising day Smiled Branksome towers and Teviot's
tide. The wild birds told their warbling tale,
And waken'd every flower that blows; And peeped forth the violet pale, And spread her breast the mountain
rose. And lovelier than the rose so red,
Yet paler than the violet pale, She early left her sleepless bed,
The fairest maid of Teviotdale.
XXVIII. The Knight and Ladye fair are met, And under the hawthorn's boughs are
set. A fairer pair were never seen To meet beneath the hawthorn green. He was stately, and young, and tall; Dreaded in battle, and loved in hall: And she, when love, scarce told, scarce
hid, Lent to her cheek a livelier red; When the half sigh her swelling breast Against the silken ribbon prest; When her blue eyes their secret told, Though shaded by her locks of goldWhere would you find the peerless fair, With Margaret of Branksome might
XXVI. Why does fair Margaret so early awake,
And don her kirtle so hastilie : | And the silken knots, which in hurry
she would make, Why tremble her slender fingers to tie; Why does she stop, and look often around,
As she glides down the secret stair ; And why does she pat the shaggy blood
hound, As she rouses him up from his lair ; And, though she passes the postern alone, Why is not the watchman's bugle blown?
XXVII. The Ladye steps in doubt and dread, Lest her watchful mother hear her tread: The Ladye caresses the rough blood
hound, Lest his voice should waken the castle
round; The watchman's bugle is not blown, For he was her foster-father's son ;
* A mountain on the Border of England, above jedburgh.
xxix. And now, fair dames, methinks I see You listen to my minstrelsy ; Your waving locks ye backward throw, And sidelong bend your necks of snow: Ye ween to hear a melting tale, Of two true lovers in a dale; And how the Knight, with tender fire,
To paint his faithful passion strove; Swore he might at her feet expire,
But never, never cease to love ; And how she blush'd and how she sigh'd, And, half consenting, half denied, And said that she would die a maid ;Yet, might the bloody feud be stay'd, Henry of Cranstoun, and only he, Margaret of Branksome's choice should
XXX. Alas ! fair dames, your hopes are vain ! My harp has lost the enchanting strain;
Its lightness would my age reprove: My hairs are grey, my limbs are old, My heart is dead, my veins are cold :
I may not, must not, sing of love.