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On foot the yeoman too, but dress’d
In his steel jack, a swarthy vest,
With iron quilted well;
Each at his back, (a slender store,)
His forty days provision bore,
As feudal statutes tell.
His arms were halbert, axe, or spear,
A cross-bow there, a hagbut here,
A dagger-knife, and brand.
Sober he seem'd, and sad of cheer,
As loath to leave his cottage dear,
And march to foreign strand ;
Or musing, who would guide his steer,
To till the fallow land
Yet deem not in his thoughtful eye
Did aught of dastard terror lie;
More dreadful far his ire,
Than theirs, who, scorning danger's name,
In eager mood to battle came,
Their valour like light straw on flame,
A fierce but fading fire.
Not so the Borderer :-bred to war,
He knew the battle's din afar,
And joy'd to hear it swell.
His peaceful day was slothful ease;
Nor harp, nor pipe, his ear could please,
Like the loud slogan yell. On active steed, with lance and blade, The light-arm'd pricker plied his trade
Let nobles fight for fame; Let vassals follow where they lead, Burghers, to guard their townships, bleed,
But war's the Borderer's game. Their gain, their glory, their delight, To sleep the day, maraud the night,
O’er mountain, moss, and moor ;
Joyful to fight they took their way,
Scarce caring who might win the day,
Their booty was secure.
These, as Lord Marmion's train pass’d by,
Look'd on at first with careless eye,
Nor marvell’d aught, well taught to know
The form and force of English bow.
But when they saw the Lord array'd
In splendid arms, and rich brocade,
Each Borderer to his kinsman said,
“ Hist, Ringan! seest thou there!
Canst guess which road they'll homeward ride?
O! could we but on Border side,
By Eusedale glen, or Liddell's tide,
Beset a prize so fair!
That fangless Lion, too, their guide,
Might chance to lose his glistering hide;
Brown Maudlin, of that doublet pied,
Could make a kirtle rare.”
Next, Marmion mark’d the Celtic race
Of different language, form, and face,
A various race of man;
Just then the chiefs their tribes array'd,
And wild and garish semblance made,
The chequer'd trews, and belted plaid,
And varying notes the war-pipes bray'd,
To every varying clan ; Wild through the red or sable hair Look'd out their eyes, with savage stare,
On Marmion as he past; Their legs above the knee were bare ; Their frame was sinewy, short, and spare,
And harden’d to the blast ; Of taller race, the chiefs they own Were by the eagle's plumage known. The hunted red-deer's undress’d hide Their hairy buskins well supplied ; The graceful bonnet deck'd their head; Back from their shoulders hung the plaid.
A broadsword of unwieldy length,
A dagger proved for edge and strength,
A studded targe they wore,
And quivers, bows, and shafts--but, O!
Short was the shaft, and weak the bow,
To that which England bore.
The Isles-men carried at their backs
The ancient Danish battle-axe.
They raised a wild and wondering cry,
As with his guide rode Marmion by.
Loud were their clamouring tongues, as when
The clanging sea-fowl leave the fen,
And, with their cries discordant mix'd,
Grumbled and yell’d the pipes betwixt.
Thus through the Scottish camp they passid,
And reach'd the City gate at last,
Where all around, a wakeful guard,
Arm'd burghers kept their watch and ward