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The warriors on the turrets high,
Seemed forms of giant height: Their armour, as it caught the rays, Flashed back again the western blaze,
In lines of dazzling light.
St George's banner, broad and gay,
Less bright, and less, was flung;
So heavily it hung. The scouts had parted on their search,
The castle gates were barr'd; Above the gloomy portal arch, Timing his footsteps to a march,
The warder kept his guard, Low humming, as he paced along, Some ancient Border gathering song.
A distant trampling sound he hears;
Beneath a pennon gay;
Before the dark array.
His bugle-horn he blew;
For well the blast he knew;
* This word properly applies to a flight ef water-fowl; but is plied, by analogy, to a body of horse.
There is a Knight of the North Country,
"Now broach ye a pipe of Malvoisie,
Bring pasties of the doe,
And all our trumpets blow;
Lord Marmion waits below."— Then to the Castle's lower ward
Sped forty yeomen tall, The iron-studded gates unbarred, Raised the portcullis' ponderous guard, The lofty palisade unsparred,
And let the draw-bridge fall.
Along the bridge Lord Marmion rode, Proudly his red-roan charger trod,
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 eye-brow dark, and eye of fire,
Shewed 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,
But more through toil than age;
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 burnish'd gold emboss'd;
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 legend 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 trapp'd with gold.
Behind him rode two gallant squires,