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It ceased, the melancholy sound;
It fell on Marmion's ear,
And shameful death, were near.
Between it and the band,
Reclining on his hand.
High minds, of native pride and force,
Say, what may this portend V—
"The death of a dear friend."
Marmion, whose steady heart and eye
Marmion, whose soul could scantly brook,
For either in the tone,
That answer he found none.
A feather daunts the brave;
Before their meanest slave.
Well might he faulter !—by his aid
Not that he augur d of the doom,
Which on the living closed the tomb;
But, tired to hear the desperate maid
Threaten by turns, beseech, upbraid;
And wroth, because, in wild despair,
She practised on the life of Clare;
Its fugitive the church he gave,
Though not a victim but a slave;
And deemed restraint in convent strange,
Would hide her wrongs, and her revenge.
Himself, proud Henry's favourite peer,
Held Romish thunders, idle fear;
Secure his pardon he might hold,
For some slight mulct of penance-gold.
Thus judging, he gave secret way,
When the stern priests surprised their prey:
His-train but deemed the favourite page
Was left behind, to spare his age;
Or other if they deemed, none dared
To mutter what he thought and heard:
Woe to the vassal, who durst pry
His conscience slept—he deemed her well,