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What vails the vain knight-errant's brand ?-
0, Douglas, for thy leading wand!
Fierce Randolph, for thy speed !
O 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 has passed in vain,
And England's host 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 armour 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.”—
XXII. 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 Angus may the Abbot awe,
So Clare shall bide with me." . .
Then on that dangerous ford, and deep,
Where to the Tweed Leat's eddies creep,
He ventured desperately:
And not a moment will he bide, : :
Till squire, or groom, before him ride;
Headmost of all he stems the tide,
And stems it gallantly.
Eustace held Clare upon her horse,
Old Hubert led her rein,
Stoutly they braved the current's course,
And though far downward driven per 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 ;
Deep need that day that every string,
By wet unharmed, should sharply ring.
A moment then Lord Marmion staid,
And breathed his steed, his men arrayed,
Then forward moved his band,
Until, Lord Surrey's rear-guard won,
He halted by a cross of stone,
That, on a hillock standing lone,
Did all the field command.
XXIII. Hence might they see the full array Of either host, for deadly fray; .
Their marshalled lines stretched east and west,
And fronted north and south,
And distant salutation past
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:
O! 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.-
But, if we conquer, cruel maid !
My spoils shall at your feet be laid,
When here we meet agaiņ.”