« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
The instant that Fitz-Eustace spoke,
O dotage blind and gross !
My path no more to cross.--
brow, Will Surrey dare to entertain Gainst Marmion charge disproved and
vain ? Small risk of that, I trow. Yet Clare's sharp questions must I shun, Must separate Constance from the nunOh! what a tangled web we weave When first we practise to deceive! A Palier too!--no wonder why I felt rebuked beneath his eye; I might have known there was but one Whose look could quell Lord Marmion.” Stung with these thoughts, he urged to
speed His troop, and reached at eve the Tweed, Where Lennel's convent closed their
Yet mourn thou not its cells;
A reverend pilgrim dwells,
Encamped on Flodden edge ; The white pavilions made a show Like remnants of the winter snow
Along the dusky ridge. Long Marmion looked :-at length his
Amid the shifting lines ;
The eastern sunbeam shines.
ing, Their flank inclining, wheeling, bend
Now drawing back, and now descend
ing, The skilful Marmion well could know They watched the motions of some foe Who traversed on the plain below. Even so it was. From Flodden ridge
The Scots beheld the English host Leave Barmore-wood, their evening
post, And heedful watched thein as they
crossed The Till by Twisel Bridge.1
High sight it is and haughty, while They dive into the deep defile ; Beneath the caverned cliff they fall,
Beneath the castle's airy wall. By rock, by oak, by hawthorn-tree. Troop after troop are disappearing ; Troop after troop their banners rear
Where flows the sullen Till,
In slow succession still,
the opposing hill.
1 On the evening previous to the memorable battle of Flodden, Surrey's head-quarters were at Barmore-wood, and King James held an inaccessible position on the ridge of Flodden-hill, one of the last and lowest eminences detached from the ridge of Cheviot. The Till, a deep and slow river, winded between the armies. On the morning of the 9th September, 1513, Surrey marched in a northwesterly direction, and crossed the Till, with his van and artillery, at Twifel-bridge, nigh where that river joins the Tweed, his rear-guard column passing about a mile higher, by a ford. This movement had the double effect of placing his army between King James and his supplies from Scotland and of striking the Scottish monarch with surprise, as he seems to have relied on the depth of the river in his front. But as the passage, both over the bridge and through the ford, was difficult and slow, it seems possible that the English might have been attacked to great ad. vantage, while struggling with these natural ob. stacles.-(Scott).
Since England gains the pass the while, And struggles through the deep defile? What checks the fiery soul of James ? Why sits that champion of the dames
Inactive on his steed, And sees, between him and his land, Between him and Tweed's southern
strand, His host Lord Surrey lead? What vails the vain knight-errant's
brand ?O Douglas, for thy leading wand !
Fierce Randolph, for thy speed ! Oli! for one hour of Wallace wight, Or well-skilled Bruce, to rule the fight And cry,“ Saint Andrew and our right!” Another sight had seen that morn, From Fate's dark book a leaf been torn, And Flodden had been Bannock
bourne ! The precious hour las passed in vain, And England's lost has gained the plain, Wheeling their march and circling still Around the base of Flodden hill. Ere yet the bands met Marmion's eye, Fitz-Eustace shouted loud and high, “ Hark! hark! my lord,an English drum! And see ascending squadrons come
Between Tweed's river and the hill, Foot, horse, and cannon! Hap what hap, My basnet to a prentice cap,
Lord Surrey's o'er the Till !Yet more! yet more !-how fair arrayed They file from out the hawthorn shade,
And sweep so gallant by! With all their banners bravely spread,
And all their armor flashing high, Saint George might waken from the
dead, To see fair England's standards fly.”“Stint in thy prate,” quoth Blount,
" thou dst best, And listen to our lord's behest.”. With kindling brow Lord Marmion said, “ This instant be our band arrayed ; The river must be quickly crossed, That we may join Lord Surrey's host. If fight King James,-as well I trust That fight he will, and fight he must,The Lady Clare behind our lines Shall tarry while the battle joins." Himself he swift on horseback threw, Scarce to the abbot bade adieu, Far less would listen to his prayer To leave behind the helpless Clare. Down to the Tweed his band he drew, And muttered as the flood they view,
“The pheasant in the falcon's claw, He scarce will yield to please a daw; Lord Augus may the abbot awe,
So Clare shall bide with me."
He ventured desperately :
And stems it gallantly.
Old Hubert led her rein,
force, The southern bank they gain. Behind them straggling came to shore,
As best they might, the train : Each o'er his head his yew-bow bore,
A caution not in vain;
Then forward moved his band,
Did all the field command.
Hence might they see the full array
From the loud cannon mouth ; Not in the close successive rattle That breathes the voice of modern battle,
But slow and far between. The hillock gained, Lord Marmion
stayed : “ Here, by this cross," he gently said,
“ You well may view the scene. Here shalt thou tarry, lovely Clare : Oh! think of Marmion in thy prayer !-Thou wilt not ?-well, no less my care Shall, watchful, for thy weal prepare. You, Blount and Eustace, are her guard,
With ten picked archers of my train ; With England if the day go hard,
To Berwick speed amain. -
When here we meet again.”
Nor heed the discontented look
From either squire, but spurred amain, And, dashing through the battle-plain,
His way to Surrey took. “ The good Lord Marmion, by my life!
Welcome to danger's hour !-Short greeting serves in time of strife.
Thus have I ranged my power: Myself will rule this central host,
Stout Stanley fronts their right, My sons command the vaward post,
With Brian Tunstall, stainless knight; Lord Dacre, with his horsemen light,
Shall be in rearward of the fight. And succor those that need it inost.
Now, gallant Marmion, well I know,
Would gladly to the vanguard go: Elmund, the Admiral, Tunstall there. With thee their charge will blithely
share ; There fight thine own retainers too Beneath De Burg, thy steward true." • Thanks, noble Surrey !” Marmion said, Nor further greeting there he paid, Bit, parting like a thunderbolt, First in the vanguard made a halt,
Where such a shout there rose Of" Marmion ! Marmion!” that the cry, Up Flodden mountain shrilling high,
Startled the Scottish foes.
With sword-sway and with lance's
And fiends in upper air:
And triumph and despair.
But nought distinct they see :
amain ; Fell England's arrow-flight like rain; Crests rose, and stooped, and rose again,
Wild and disorderly. Amid the scene of tumult, high They saw Lord Marmion's falcon fly; And stainless Tunstall's banner white, And Edmund Howard's lion bright, Still bear them bravely in the fight,
Although against them come Of gallant Gordons many a one, And many a stubborn Badenoch-man, And many a rugged Border clan,
With Huntly and with Home.Far on the left, unseen the while, Stanley broke Lennox and Argyle, Though there the western mountaineer Rushed with bare bosom on the spear, And flung the feeble targe aside, And with both hands the broadsword
plied. 'T was vain. But Fortune, on the right, With fickle smile cheered Scotland's
fight. Then fell that spotless banner white,
The Howard's lion fell ;
Around the battle-yell.
Blount and Fitz-Eustace rested still
Sadly to Blount did Eustace say,
And sudden, as he spoke,
Was wreathed in sable smoke.
As down the hill they broke ; Nor martial shout, nor minstrel tone, Announced their march; their tread
alone, At times one warning trumpet blown,
At times a stifled hum. Told England, from his mountain-throne
King James did rushing come. Scarce could they hear or see their foes Until at weapon-point they close.They close in clouds of smoke and dust,
Good-night to Marmion."“ Unnurtured Blount ! thy brawling
cease : He opes his eyes," said
Eustace; peace !”
Loud were the clanging blows ; Advanced,-forced back,-now low,
now high, The pennon sunk and rose ; As bends the bark's mast in the gale, When rent are rigging, shrouds, and sail,
It wavered mid the foes. No longer Blount the view could boar : “By heaven and all its saints! I swear
I will not see it lost! Fitz-Eustace, you with Lady Clare May bid your beads and patter prayer,
I gallop to the host." And to the fray he rode amain, Followed by all the archer train. The fiery youth, with desperate charge, Made for a space an opening large,
The rescued banner rose,But darkly closed the war around, Like pine-tree rooted from the ground
It sank among the foes. Then Eustace mounted too,-yet stayed, As loath to leave the helpless maid,
When, fast as shaft can fly, Bloodshot his eyes, his nostrils spread, The loose rein dangling from his head, Housing and saddle bloody red,
Lord Marmion's steed rushed by ; And Eustace, maddening at the sight,
A look and sign to Clara cast
To mark he would return in haste,
Left in that dreadful hour alone : Perchance her reason stoops or reels ; Perchance a courage, not her own,
Braces her mind to desperate tone.The scattered van of England wheels ;
She only said, as loud in air The tumult roared, “Is Wilton there?”-
They fly, or, maddened by despair, Fight but to die, --" Is Wilton there?" With that, straight up the hill there rode
Two horsemen drenched with gore, And in their arms, a helpless load,
A wounded knight they bore. His hand still strained the broken brand ; His arms where smeared with blood and
sand. Dragged from among the horses' feet, With dinted shield and helmet beat, The falcon-crest and plumage gone, Can that be haughty Marmionl... Young Blount his armor did unlace, And, gazing on his ghastly face,
Said, “ By Saint George, he's gone! That spear-wound has our master sped, And see the deep cut on his head !
When, doffed his casque, he felt free air,
To Dacre bear my signet-ring:
Tunstall lies dead upon the field,
The Admiral alone is left.
Leave Marmion here alone--to die.'
Clare drew her from the sight away, Till pain wrung forth a lowly moan, And half he murmured, “ Is there none
Of all my halls have nurst, Page, squire, or groom, one cup to bring Of blessed water from the spring,
To slake my dying thirst !” O Woman! in our hours of ease Uncertaint, coy, and hard to please, And variable as the shade By the light quivering aspen made; When pain and anguish wring the
brows, A ministering angel thou ! Scarce were the piteous accents said, When with the baron's casque the maid
To the nigh streamlet ran :
Sees but the dying man.
But in abhorrence backward drew ;
Was curdling in the streamlet blue. Where shall she turn P-behold her
Where mingles war's rattle with groans
of the dying!" So the notes rung: “ Avoid thee, Fiend with cruel hand Shake not the dying sinner's sand! Oh! look, my son, upon yon sign of the Redeemer's grace divine ;
Oh! think on faith and bliss !
But never aught like this."
And fired his glazing eye ;
And shouted “ Victory!-
Were the last words of Marmion.
Where water, clear as diamond spark,
In a stone basin fell. Above, some half-worn letters say, Drink. weary. pilgrim. drink. and.
pray, for. tbe. kind. soul. or, Sibyl. Grey.
Wbo. built. this. cross. and. well. She tilled the helm and back she hied, And with surprise and joy espied
A monk supporting Marmion's head ; A pious man, whom duty brought To dubious verge of battle fought,
To shrive the dying, bless the dead. 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.Oh! think of your immortal weal! In vain for Constance is your zeal !
She-died at Holy Isle.
Would spare me but a day !
Might bribe him for delay.
By this, though deep the evening fell,
Where Huntley, and where Home?
That to King Charles did come, When Rowland brave, and Olivier, And every paladin and peer,
On Roncesvalles died ! Such blasts 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 Sibyl'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.
With fruitless labor Clara bound
For that she ever sung. " In the lost battle borne down by the fly
But as they left the darkening heath