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XXXI.

Of the best that would ride at her Beneath an oak, moss'd o'er by eld,

command: The Baron's Dwarf his courser held,

The trysting-place was Newark Lee. And held his crested helm and spear :

Wat of Harden came thither amain, That Dwarf was scarce an earthly man,

And thither came John of Thirlestane, If the tales were true that of him ran

And thither came William of Deloraine; Through all the Border, far and near.

They were three hundred spears and 'Twas said, when the Baron a-hunting

three. rode

Through Douglas-bum, up Yarrow Through Reedsdale's glens, but rarely

stream, trode,

Their horses prance, their lances gleam. He heard a voice cry, “Lost ! lost !

They came to St Mary's lake ere day; lost!"

But the chapel was void, and the Baron And, like tenis-ball by racket toss'd,

away.

They burn'd the chapel for very rage, A leap, of thirty feet and three, Made from the gorse this elfin shape,

And cursed Lord Cranstoun's GoblinDistorted like some dwarfish ape,

Page. And lighted at Lord Cranstoun's knee.

XXXIV. Lord Cranstoun was some whit dis

And now, in Branksome's good greenmay'd; 'Tis said that five good miles he rade,

wood, To rid him of his company;

As under the aged oak he stood, But where he rode one mile, the Dwarf

The Baron's courser pricks his ears,

As if a distant noise he hears. ran four, And the Dwarf was first at the castle

The Dwarf waves his long lean arm on

• high, door.

And signs to the lovers to part and fly: XXXII.

No time was then to vow or sigh. Use lessens marvel, it is said :

Fair Margaret through the hazel-grove, This elfish Dwarf with the Baron staid : Flew like the startled cushat-dove : * Little he ate, and less he spoke,

The Dwarf the stirrup held and rein; Nor mingled with the menial flock :

Vaulted the Knight on his steed amain, And oft apart his arms he toss'd,

And, pondering deep that morning's And often mutter'd "Lost! lost! lost!”

scene, He was waspish, arch, and litherlie,

Rode eastward through the hawthorns But well Lord Cranstoun served he:

green. And he of his service was full fain ; For once he had been ta'en or slain,

WHILE thus he pour'd the lengthen'd An it had not been for his ministry.

tale, All between Home and Hermitage,

The Minstrel's voice began to fail : Talk'dof Lord Cranstoun's Goblin-Page.

Full slyly smiled the observant page,

And gave the wither'd hand of age
XXXIII,

A goblet, crown'd with mighty wine, For the Baron went on pilgrimage,

The blood of Velez' scorched vine. And took with him this elvish Page, He raised the silver cup on high,

To Mary's Chapel of the Lowes : And, while the big drop fill'd his eye, For there, beside our Ladye's lake,

Pray'd God to bless the Duchess long, An offering he had sworn to make, And all who cheer'd a son of song. And he would pay his vows.

The attending maidens smiled to see But the Ladye of Branksome gather'd | How long, how deep, how zealously, a band

* Wood-pigeon.

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Stern was the dint the Borderer lent !
The stately Baron backwards bent;
Bent backwards to his horse's tail,
And his plumes went scattering on the

gale:
The tough ash spear, so stout and true,
Into a thousand flinders flew.
But Cranstoun's lance, of more avail,
Pierced through, like silk, the Borderer's

mail ;

So thought Lord Cranstoun, as I ween, | While, pondering deep the tender scene, He rode through Branksome's hawthorn

green. But the Page shouted wild and shrill,

And scarce his helmet could he don, When downward from the shady hill

A stately knight came pricking on. That warrior's steed, so dapple-grey, Was dark with sweat, and splash'd with

clay ;
His armour red with many a stain :
He seem'd in such a weary plight,
As if he had ridden the live-long night;
For it was William of Deloraine.

IV.
Put so whit weary did he seem,
When, dancing in the sunny beam,

Through shield, and jack, and acton, past,
Deep in his bosom broke at last. —
Still sate the warrior, saddle-fast,
Till, stumbling in the mortal shock,
Down went the steed, the girthing broke,
Hurl'd on a heap lay man and horse.
The Baron onward pass'd his course;
Nor knew---so giddy roll'd his brain-
His foe lay stretched upon the plain.

* The crest of the Cranstouns, in allusion to their name, is a crane dormant, holding a stone in his foot, with an emphatic Border motto: Thou shalt want ere I want.

VII.
But when he rein'd his courser round,
And saw his foeman on the ground

Lie senseless as the bloody clay,
He bade his page to stanch the wound,

And there beside the warrior stay, And tend him in his doubtful state, And lead him to Branksome castle-gate: His noble mind was inly moved For the kinsman of the maid he loved. This shalt thou do without delay: No longer here myself may stay; Unless the swifter I speed away, Short shrift will be at my dying day.

VIII. Away in speed Lord Cranstoun rode; The Goblin-Page behind abode; His lord's command he ne'er withstood, Though small his pleasure to do good. As the corslet off he took, The dwarf espied the Mighty Book ! Much he marvell'd a knight of pride, Like a book-bosom'd priest should ride : He thought not to search or stanch the

wound Until the secret he had found.

IX. The iron band, the iron clasp, Resisted long the elfin grasp : For when the first he had undone, It closed as he the next begun. Those iron clasps, that iron band, Would not yield to unchristen'd hand, Till he smeard the cover o'er With the Borderer's curdled gore; A moment then the volume spread, And one short spell therein he read, It had much of glamour * might, Could make a ladye seem a knight; The cobwebs on a dungeon wall Seem tapestry in lordly hall; A nut-shell seem a gilded barge, A sheeling + seem a palace large, And youth seem age, and age seem

youth-
All was delusion, nought was truth.

X.
He had not read another spell,
When on his cheek a buffet fell,

* Magical delusion. A shepherd's hut.

So fierce, it stretch'd him on the plain,
Beside the wounded Deloraine.
From the ground he rose dismay'd,
And shook his huge and matted head;
One word he mutter'd, and no more,
“Man of age, thou smitest sore!"-
No more the Elfin Page durst try
Into the wondrous Book to pry;
The clasps, though smeard with Christ-

ian gore,
Shut faster than they were before.
He hid it underneath his cloak.-
Now, if you ask who gave the stroke,
I cannot tell, so mot I thrive;
It was not given by man alive.

XI.
Unwillingly himself he address'd
To do his master's high behest :
He lifted up the living corse,
And laid it on the weary horse ;
He led him into Branksome Hall,
Before the beards of the warders all ;
And each did after swear and say,
There only pass'd a wain of hay.
He took him to Lord David's tower,
Even to the Ladye's secret bower ;
And, but that stronger spells were spread,
And the door might not be opened,
He had laid him on her very bed.
Whate'er he did of gramarye, *
Was always done maliciously;
He flung the warrior on the ground,
And the blood well’d freshly from the
wound.

xn.
As he repass'd the outer court,
He spied the fair young child at sport :
He thought to train him to the wood;
For, at a word, be it understood,
He was always for ill, and never for

good.
Seem'd to the boy, some comrade gay
Led him forth to the woods to play;
On the drawbridge the warders stout
Saw a terrier and lurcher passing out.

XIII.
He led the boy o'er bank and fell,
Until they came to a woodland brook;

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The running stream dissolved the spell,

And his own elvish shape he took. Could he have had his pleasure vilde, He had crippled the joints of the noble

child; Or, with his fingers long and lean, Had strangled him in fiendish spleen: But his awful mother he had in dread, And also his power was limited; So he but scowl'd on the startled child, And darted through the forest wild; The woodland brook he bounding cross'd, And laugh'd, and shouted, “Lost ! lost ! lost!"

XIV. Full sore amaz'd at the wondrous change,

And frighten'd as a child might be, At the wild yell and visage strange,

And the dark words of gramarye, The child, amidst the forest bower, Stood rooted like a lily flower ; And when at length, with trembling

pace, į He sought to find where Branksome

lay,
He feard to see that grisly face,

Glare from some thicket on his way.
Thus, starting oft, he journey'd on,
And deeper in the wood is gone, -
For aye the more he sought his way,
The farther still he went astray,-
Cntil he heard the mountains round
Ring to the baying of a hound.

XVI.
The speaker issued from the wood,
And check'd his fellow's surly mood,

And quell'd the ban-dog's ire :
He was an English yeoman good,

And born in Lancashire. Well could he hit a fallow-deer

Five hundred feet him fro; With hand more true, and eye more clear,

No archer bended bow. Hiscoal-black hair,shorn round and close,

Set off his sun-burn'd face :
Old England's sign, St. George's cross,

His barret-cap did grace ;
His bugle-horn hung by his side,

All in a wolf-skin baldric tied;
And his short falchion, sharp and clear,
Had pierced the throat of many a deer.

XVII.
His kirtle, made of forest green,

Reach'd scantly to his knee;
And, at his belt, of arrows keen

A furbish'd sheaf bore he; His buckler, scarce in breadth a span,

No larger fence had he; He never counted him a man,

Would strike below the knee: His slacken'd bow was in his hand, | And the leash, that was his blood-hound's band.

XVIII. He would not do the fair child harm. But held him with his powerful arm, That he might neither fight nor flee; For when the Red-Cross spied he, The boy strove long and violently. “Now, by St. George," the archer cries, “Edward, methinks we have a prize! This boy's fair face, and courage free, Show he is come of high degree.”

XIX. “Yes! I am come of high degree,

For I am the heir of bold Buccleuch ;

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Comes nigher still, and nigher : Bursts on the path a dark blood-hound, His tawny muzzle track'd the ground, And his red eye shot fire. Soon as the wilder'd child saw he, He flew at him right furiouslie. I ween you would have seen with joy The bearing of the gallant boy, When, worthy of his noble sire, His wet cheek glow'd 'twixt fear and ire! He faced the blood-hound manfully, And held his little bat on high; So herce he struck, the dog, afraid, At cautious distance hoarsely bay'd,

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“Gramercy, for thy good-will, fair boy!
My mind was never set so high ;
But if thou art chief of such a clan,
And art the son of such a man,
And ever comest to thy command,
Our wardens had need to keep good

order ; My bow of yew to a hazel wand, Thou'lt make them work upon the

border. Meantime, be pleased to come with me, For good Lord Dacre shalt thou see ; I think our work is well begun, When we have taken thy father's son.”

Much she wonder'd to find him lie, On the stone threshold stretch'd

along ; She thought some spirit of the sky Had done the bold moss-trooper

wrong, Because, despite her precept dread, Perchance he in the book had read; But the broken lance in his bosom stood, And it was earthly steel and wood.

XXIII. She drew the splinter from the wound, And with a charm she stanch'd the

blood; She bade the gash be cleansed and

bound: No longer by his couch she stood; But she has ta'en the broken lance,

And wash'd it from the clotted gore,

And salved the splinter o'er and o'er.
William of Deloraine, in trance,
Whene'er she turned it round and

round,
Twisted as if she gall'd his wound.

Then to her maidens she did say,
That he should be whole man and

sound, Within the course of a night and

day. Full long'she toil'd; for she did rue Mishap to friend so stout and true.

XXIV. So pass'd the day—the evening fell, 'Twas near the time of curfew bell; The air was mild, the wind was calm, The stream was smooth, the dew was

balm ; E'en the rude watchman, on the tower, Enjoy'd and bless'd the lovely hour. Far more fair Margaret loved and bless'd The hour of silence and of rest. On the high turret sitting lone, She waked at times the lute's soft tone; Touch'd a wild note, and all between Thought of the bower of hawthorns

green. Her golden hair stream'd free from band, Her fair cheek rested on her hand, Her blue eyes sought the west afar, For lovers love the western star.

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Although the child was led away,
In Branksome still he seem'd to stay,
For so the Dwarf his part did play;
And, in the shape of that young boy,
He wrought the castle much annoy.
The comrades of the young Buccleuch
He pinch'd, and beat, and overthrew;
Nay, some of them he wellnigh slew.
He tore Dame Maudlin's silken tire,
And, as Sym Hall stood by the fire,
He lighted the match of his bandelier, *
And wofully scorch'd the hackbuteer.+
It may be hardly thought or said,
The mischief that the urchin made,
Till many of the castle guess'd,
That the young Baron was possess'd !

XXII. Well I ween the charm he held The noble Ladye had soon dispellid ; But she was deeply busy then To tend the wounded Deloraine. * Bandelier, belt for carrying ammunition. + Hackbuteer, musketeer.

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