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XXIV. So passed 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, Enjoyed and blessed the lovely hour. Far more fair Margaret loved and blessed The hour of silence and of rest. On the high turret sitting lone, She waked at times the lute's soft tone; Touched a wild note, and all between Thought of the bower of hawthorns green. Her golden hair streamed free from band, Her fair cheek rested on her hand, Her blue eyes sought the west afar, For lovers love the western star.
xxv. Is yon the star, o'er Penchryst Pen, That rises slowly to her ken, And, spreading broad its wavering light, Shakes its loose tresses on the night? Is yon red glare the western star ? Oh! 'tis the beacon-blaze of war ! Scarce could she draw her tightened breath, For well she knew the fire of death!
Far downward, in the castle yard,
XXVII. The seneschal, whose silver hair Was reddened by the torches' glare, Stood in the midst, with gesture proud, And issued forth his mandates loud :"On Penchryst glows a bale of fire. And three are kindling on Priesthaughswire :
Ride out, ride out,
The foe to scout!
That ever are true and stout-
While loud the harness rung,
The ready horsemen sprung:
And out! and out!
In hasty rout,
And east, and west, and north,
XXIX. The ready page, with hurried hand, Awaked the need-fire's slumbering brand,
And ruddy blushed the heaven: For a sheet of flame, from the turret high, Waved like a blood-flag on the sky
All flaring and uneven; And soon a score of fires, I ween, From height, and hill, and cliff, were seen; Each with warlike tidings fraught ; Each from each the signal caught; Each after each they glanced to sight, As stars arise upon the night. They gleamed on many a dusky tarn, Haunted by the lonely earn; On many a cairn's grey pyramid, Where urns of mighty chiefs lie hid; Till high Dunedin the blazes saw, From Soltra and Dumpender Law; And Lothian heard the Regent's order, That all should bowne them for the Border.
The ceaseless sound of steel;
Sent forth the 'larum peal:
Was frequent heard the heavy jar,
XXXI. The noble Dame, amid the broil, Shared the grey seneschal's high toil, And spoke of danger with a smile; Cheered the young knights, and council sage Held with the chiefs of riper age. No tidings of the foe were brought, Nor of his numbers knew they aught, Nor what in time of truce he sought.
Some said that there were thousands ten; And others weened that it was nought
But Leven Clans, or Tynedale men,
Might drive them lightly back again.
Ceased the high sound-the listening throng
'Ay, once he had—but he was dead!'
Sweet Teviot: on thy silver tide
The glaring bale-fires blaze no more; No longer steel-clad warriors ride
Along thy wild and willowed shore; Where'er thou wind'st, by dale or hill, All, all is peaceful, all is still,
As if thy waves, since Time was born, Since first they rolled upon the Tweed, Had only heard the shepherd's reed,
Nor started at the bugle-horn.
Unlike the tide of human time,
Which, though it change in ceaseless flow, Retains each grief, retains each crime
Its earliest course was doomed to know;
Low as that tide has ebbed with me,
Fell by the side of great Dundee.