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But, after a suspended pause,
The Baron spoke :—“Of Nature's laws
So strong I hold the force,
That never superhuman cause
Could e'er control their course ;
And, three days since, had judged your aim
Was but to make your guest your game.
But I have seen, since past the Tweed,
What much has changed my sceptic creed,
And made me credit aught.”—He stayed,
And seemed to wish his words unsaid ;
But, by that strong emotion pressed,
Which prompts us to unload our breast,
Even when discovery's pain,
To Lindesay did at length unfold
The tale his village host had told,
At Gifford, to his train.
Nought of the Palmer says he there,
And nought of Constance, or of Clare:
The thoughts, which broke his sleep, he seems
To mention but as feverish dreams.
“In vain,” said he, “to rest I spread
My burning limbs, and couched my head,
Fantastic thoughts returned ;
And, by their wild dominion led,
My heart within me burned.
So sore was the delirious goad,
I took my steed, and forth I rode,
And, as the moon shone bright and cold,
Soon reached the camp upon the wold.
The southern entrance I passed through,
And halted, and my bugle blew.
Methought an answer met my ear,-
Yet was the blast so low and drear,
So hollow, and so faintly blown,
It might be echo of my own.
“ Thus judging, for a little space I listened, ere I left the place ;
But scarce could trust my eyes,
Nor yet can think they served me true,
When sudden in the ring I view,
In form distinct of shape and hue,
A mounted champion rise. -
I've fought, Lord-Lyon, many a day,
In single fight, and mixed affray,
And ever, I myself may say,
Have borne me as a knight;
But when this unexpected foe
Seemed starting from the gulf below,-
I care not though the truth I show,-
I trembled with affright;
And as I placed in rest my spear,
My hand so shook for very fear,
I scarce could couch it right.
" Why need my tongue the issue tell ? We ran our course, --my charger fell ;What could he 'gainst the shock of hell ?
I rolled upon the plain.
High o'er my head, with threatening hand,
The spectre shook his naked brand, -
Yet did the worst remain ;
My dazzled eyes I upward cast,-
Not opening hell itself could blast
Their sight, like what I saw!
Full on his face the moonbeam strook --
A face could never be mistook!
I knew the stern vindictive look,
And held my breath for awe.
I saw the face of one who, fed
To foreign climes, has long been dead. -
I well believe the last ;
For ne'er, from visor raised, did stare
A human warrior, with a glare
So grimly and so ghast.
Thrice o'er my head he shook the blade ;
But when to good Saint George I prayed,
(The first time e'er I asked his aid,)
He plunged it in the sheath ; And, on his courser mounting light, He seemed to vanish from my sight : The moonbeam drooped, and deepest night
Sunk down upon the heath.— 'Twere long to tell what cause I have
To know his face, that met me there,
Called by his hatred from the grave,
To cumber upper air :
Dead or alive, good cause had he
To be my mortal enemy.”
Marvelled Sir David of the Mount ;
Then, learned in story, 'gan recount
Such chance had happed of old,
When once, near Norham, there did fight
A spectre fell, of fiendish might,
In likeness of a Scottish knight,
With Brian Bulmer bold,
And trained him nigh to disallow
The aid of his baptismal vow.
“And such a phantom, too, 'tis said,
With Highland broadsword, targe, and plaid,
And fingers red with gore,
Is seen in Rothiemurcus glade,
Or where the sable pine-trees shade
Dark Tomantoul, and Achnaslaid,
Dromouchty, or Glenmore.
And yet, whate'er such legends say,
Of warlike demon, ghost, or fay,
On mountain, moor, or plain,
Spotless in faith, in bosom bold,
True son of chivalry should hold
These midnight terrors vain :
For seldom have such spirits power
To harm, save in the evil hour,
When guilt we meditate within,
Or harbour unrepented sin.”—
Lord Marmion turned him half aside,
And twice to clear his voice he tried,
Then pressed Sir David's hand, —
But nought, at length, in answer said ;
And here their farther converse stayed,
Each ordering that his band Should bowne them with the rising day, To Scotland's camp to take their way,
Such was the King's command.
Early they took Dun-Edin's road,
And I could trace each step they trode ;
Hill, brook, nor dell, nor rock, nor stone
Lies on the path to me unknown.
Much might it boast of storied lore;