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THE MAID OF NEIDPATH
“But yet his saddened brow confessed
A passing shade of doubt and awe; Some fiend was whispering in his breast,
Beware of injured Bothwellhaugh!”
" The death-shot parts! the charger
springs; Wild rises tumult's startling roar ! Aud Murray's plumy helmet rings
Rings on the ground to rise no more.
" What joy the raptured youth can feel,
To hear her love the loved one tellOr he who broaches on his steel
The wolf by whom his infant fell.
“ But dearer to my injured eye
To see in dust proud Murray roll ; And mine was ten times trebled joy
To hear him groan his felon soul.
O, LOVERS' eyes are sharp to see,
and lovers' ears in hearing ; And love in life's extremity
Can lend an hour of cheering. Disease had been in Mary's bower,
And slow decay from mourning, Though now she sits on Neidpath's
tower To watch her love's returning. All sunk and dim her eyes so bright,
Her formi decayed by pining, Till through her wasted hand at night
You saw the taper shining ; By fits, a sultry hectic hue
Across her cheek was flying; By fits, so ashy pale she grew,
Her maidens thought her dying. Yet keenest powers to see and bear
Seemed in her frame residing; Before the watch-dog pricked his ear,
She heard her lover's riding ; Ere scarce a distant form was kenned,
She knew, and waved to greet him ; And o'er the battlement did bend,
As on the wing to meet him. He came--he passed-an leedless gaze,
As o'er some stranger glancing; Her welcome, spoke in faltering phrase,
Lost in his courser's prancing-The castle arch, whose hollow tone
Returns each whisper spoken, Could scarcely catch the feeble noan Which told her heart was broken.
“My Margaret's spectre glided near.
With pride her bleeding victim saw, And shrieked in his death-dleafened ear,
Remember injured Bothwellhaugh!' “ Then speed thee, noble Chatlerault!
Spread to the wind thy bannered tree ! Each warrior bend his Clydesdale bow
Murray is fallen and Scotland free!” Vaults every warrior to his steed;
Loud bugles join their wild acclaim* Murray is fallen and Scotland freed ! Couch, Arran, couch thy spear of
But see! the minstrel vision fails-
Or sink in Evan's lonely roar. For the loud bugle pealing high,
The blackbird whistles down the vale, And sunk in ivied ruins lie
The bannered towers of Evandale.
For chiefs intent on bloody deed,
And Vengeance shouting o'er the slain, Lo! high-born Beanty rules the steed,
Or graceful guides the silken rein.
WAKEN, lords and ladies gay,
And long may Peace and Pleasure own
The maids who list the minstrel's tale; Nor e'er a ruder guest be known On the fair banks of Evandale !
Waken, lords and ladies gay,
Louder, louder chant the lay,
A TALE OF FLODDEN FIELD
See Lockhart's Life of Scott, Vol. III, Chap. 16.
DAY set on Norham's castled steep,
And Cheviot's mountains lone ; The battled towers, the donjon keep, · The loophole grates where captives
weep, The flanking walls that round it sweep,
In yellow lustre shone.
Seemed forms of giant height;
In lines of dazzling light. Saint George's banner, broad and gay, Now faded, as the facing ray
Less þright, and less, was fung; The evening gale had scarce the power To wave it on the donjon tower,
So heavily it hung. The scouts had parted on their search,
The castle gates were barred ;
The warder kept his guard,
Beneath a pepnon gay ;
Beneath the sable palisade
For well the blast he knew;
Bring pasties of the doe,
And all our trumpets blow;
Lord Marmion waits below!"
Sped forty yeomen tall, The iron-studded gates unbarred, Raised the portcullis' ponderous guard The lofty palisade unsparred,
And let the drawbridge fall. Along the bridge Lord Marmion rode, Proudly his red-roan charger trode, His helm hung at the saddle bow ; Well by his visage you might know He was a stalworth knight and keen, And had in many a battle been ; The scar on his brown cheek revealed A token true of Bosworth field ; His eyebrow dark and eye of fire Showed spirit proud and prompt to ire, Yet lines of thought upon his cheek Did deep design and counsel speak. His forehead, by his casque worn bare, His thick moustache and curly hair, Coal-black, and grizzled here and there,
But more through toil than age,
His square-turned joints and strength of
limb, Showed him no carpet knight so trim, But in close fight a champion grim,
In camps a leader sage. Well was he armed from head to heel, In mail and plate of Milan steel ; But his strong helm, of mighty cost, Was all with burnished gold embossed. Amid the plumage of the crest A falcon hovered on her nest, With wings outspread and forward
breast; E'en such a falcon, on his shield, Soared sable in an azure field : The golden iegend bore aright, " Who checks at me, to death is dight." Blue was the charger's broidered rein ; Blue ribbons decked his arching mane; The knightly housing's ample fold Was velvet blue and trapped with gold. Behind him rode two gallant squires, Of noble name and knightly sires : They burned the gilded spurs to claim, For well could each a war-horse tame, Could draw the bow, the sword could
sway, And lightly bear the ring away ; Nor less with courteous precepts stored, Could dance in hall, and carve at board, And frame love-ditties passing rare, And sing them to a lady fair. Four men-at-arms came at their backs, With halbert, bill, and battle-axe ; They bore Lord Marmion's lance so
strong And led his sumpter-mules along, And ambling palfrey, when at need Him listed ease his battle-steed. The last and trustiest of the four On high his forky pennon bore ; Like swallow's tail in shape and hue, Fluttered the streamer glossy blue, Where, blazoned sable, as before, The towering falcon seemed to soar. Last, twenty yeomen, two and two In hosen black and jerkins blue, With falcons broidered on each breast, Attended on their lord's behest. Each, chosen for an archer good, Knew hunting-craft by lake or wood ; Each one a six-foot bow could bend, And far a cloth-yard shaft could send; Each held a boar-spear tough and strong, And at their belts their quivers rung. Their dusty palfreys and array Showed they had marched a weary way.
'Tis meet that I should tell you now, How fairly armed, and ordered how,
The soldiers of the guard,
Stood in the castle-yard ;
For welcome-shot prepared:
Old Norliam never heard. The guards their morrice-pikes advanced,
The trumpets flourished brave, The cannon from the ramparts glanced,
And thundering welcome gave. A blithe salute, in martial sort,
The minstrels well might sound, For, as Lord Marmion crossed the court,
He scattered angels round. “Welcome to Norham, Marmion!
Stout heart and open hand! Well dost thou brook thy gallant roar,
Thou flower of English land!” Two pursuivants, whom tabards deck, With silver scutcheon round their neck,
Stood on the steps of stone
They hailed Lord Marmion :
of Tamworth tower and town ; And he, their courtesy to requite, Gave them a chain of twelve marks
weight, All as he lighted down. “Now, largesse, largesse, Lord Marmion,
Knight of the crest of gold !
Ne'er guarded heart so bold."
Where the guests stood all aside, And loudly flourished the trumpet-call,
And the heralds loudly cried, “Room, lordlings, room for Lord Mar
In the lists at Cottiswold :
'Gainst Marmion's force to stand ; To him he lost his lady-love,
And to the king his land. Ourselves beheld the listed field,
A sight both sad and fair ;
We saw Lord Marmion pierce his shield, And crowned it high with wine.
“Now pledge me here, Lord Marmion ; We saw the victor win the crest
But first I pray thee fair, He wears with worthy pride,
Where hast thou left that page of thine And on the gibbet tree, reversed,
That used to serve thy cup of wine, His foeman's scutcheon tied.
Whose beauty was so rare ? Place, nobles, for the Falcon-Knight! When last in Raby-towers we met, Room, room, ye gentles gay.
The boy I closely eyed, For linn who conquered in the right, And often marked his cheeks were wet Marmion of Fontenaye !"
With tears he fain would hide.
His was no rugged horse-boy's hand, Then stepped, to meet that noble lord, To burnish shield or sharpen brand, Sir Hugh the Heron bold,
Or saddle battle-steed, Baron of Twisell and of Ford,
But meeter seemed for lady fair, And Captain of the Hold ;
To fan her cheek, or curl lier hair, He led Lord Marmion to the deas,
Or through embroidery, rich and rare, Raised o'er the pavement high,
The slender silk to lead :
His bosom-when he sighed,
Could scarce repel its pride! “How the fierce Tbirwalls, and Rid- Say, hast thou given that lovely youth leys all,
To serve in lady's bower ? Stout Willimondswick,
Or was the gentle page, in sooth, And Ilardriding Dick,
A gentle paramour ?" And Hughie of Hawdon, and Will o' the Wall,
Lord Marmion ill could brook such jest ; Have set on Sir Albany Featherston- He rolled his kindling eye, haugh,
With pain his rising wrath suppressed, And taken his life at the Dead-man's. Yet made a calm reply ; shaw."
“That boy thou thought so goodly fair, Scantly Lord Marmion's ear could. He might not brook the Northern air. brook
More of his fate if thou wouldst learn, The harper's barbarous lay,
I left him sick in Lindisfarne.
And well those pains did pay : Why does thy lovely lady gay
Gone on some pious pilgrimage ?
Whispered light tales of Heron's dame. I pray you bide some little space In this poor tower with me.
Unmarked, at least unrecked, the taunt Here may you keep your arms from rust, Careless the knight replied :
May breathe your war-horse well ; “No bird whose feathers gaily flaunt Seldom hath passed a week but joust Delights in cage to bide ; Or feat of arins befell.
Norham is grim and grated close, The Scots can rein a mettled steed, Hemmed in by battlement and fosse, Bud love to couch a spear ;
And many a darksome tower, Saint George ! a stirring life they lead And better loves my lady bright
That have such neighbors near ! To sit in liberty and light Then stay with us a little space,
In fair Queen Margaret's bower. Our Northern wars to learn ;
We hold our greyhound in our hand, I pray you for your lady's grace !"
Our falcon on our glove,
For dame that loves to rove?
She'll stoop when she has tried lo! A mighty wassail-bowl he took,
* Nay, if with Royal James's bride
Bethan's ale, And driven the beeves of Lauderdale, Harried the wives of Greenlaw's goods, And given them light to set their
• Now, in good sooth,” Lord Marmion
cried, “ Were I in warlike-wise to ride, A better guard I would not lack Than your stout forayers at my back; But as in form of peace I go, A friendly messenger, to know, Why, through all Scotland, near and
far, Their king is mustering troops for war, The sight of plundering Border spears Might justify suspicious fears, And deadly feud or thirst of spoil Break out in some unseemly broil. A herald were my fitting guide ; Or friar, sworn in peace to bide ; Or parıloner, or travelling priest, Or strolling pilgrim, at the least." The Captain mused a little space, And passed his hand across his face.“ Fain would I find the guide you want, But ill may spare a pursuivant, The only men that safe can ride Mine errands on the Scottish side : And though a bishop built this fort, Few holy brethren here resort; Even our good chaplain, as I ween, Since our last siege we have not seen, The mass he might not sing or say Upon one stinted meal a day ; So, safe he sat in Durbanı aisle,
And prayed for our success the while.
Nephew," quoth Heron, “ by my fay, Well hast thou spoke ; say forth thy
say.”“ Here is a holy Palmer come, From Salem first, and last from Rome ; One that hath kissed the blessed tomb, And visited each holy shrine In Araby and Palestine;