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He halts, and turns with clenched hand,
And shout of loud defiance pours,
And shook his gauntlet at the towers. :
“ Horse ! horse !" the Douglas cried, “and chase !
But soon he reined his fury's pace :
“ A royal messenger he came,
Though most unworthy of the name.-
A letter forged ! Saint Jude to speed !
Did ever knight so foul a deed!
At first in heart it liked me ill,
When the King praised his clerkly skill.
Thanks to Saint Bothan, son of mine,
Save Gawain, ne'er could pen a line :
So swore I, and I swear it still,
Let my boy-bishop fret his fill.-
Saint Mary mend my fiery mood !
Old age ne'er cools the Douglas blood,
I thought to slay him where he stood.-
'Tis pity of him, too,” he cried ;
“ Bold can he speak, and fairly ride :
I warrant him a warrior tried.”—
With this his mandate he recals,
And slowly seeks his castle halls.
XVI. The day in Marmion's journey wore ; Yet, ere his passion's gust was o'er, They crossed the heights of Stanrigg-moor. His troop more closely there he scann'd, And missed the Palmer from the band.--“ Palmer or not, young Blount did say, “ He parted at the peep of day; Good sooth it was in strange array.”-. “ In what array ?” said Marmion, quick. “ My lord, I ill can spell the trick; But all night long, with clink and bang, Close to my couch did hammers clang; At dawn the falling drawbridge rang, And from a loop-hole while I peep, Old Bell-the-Cat came from the Keep, Wrapped in a gown of sables fair, As fearful of the morning air;
Beneath, when that was blown aside,
A rusty shirt of mail I spied,
By Archibald won in bloody work,
Against the Saracen and Turk :
Last night it hung not in the hall ;
I thought some marvel would befal.
And next I saw them saddled lead
Old Cheviot forth, the Earl's best steed;
A matchless horse, though something old,
Prompt to his paces, cool and bold.
I heard the Sheriff Sholto say,
The Earl did much the Master® pray
To use him on the battle-day;
But he preferred”-“ Nay, Henry, cease !
Thou sworn horse-courser, hold thy peace.-
Eustace, thou bear’st a brain—I pray,
What did Blount see at break of day?"- .
XVII. “ In brief, my lord, we both descried (For I then stood by Henry's side)
The Palmer mount, and outwards ride,
Upon the Earl's own favourite steed; All sheathed he was in armour bright, And much resembled that same knight, Subdued by you in Cotswold fight:
Lord Angus wished him speed.”---
The instant that Fitz Eustace spoke,
A sudden light on Marmion broke ;---
“ Ah! dastard fool, to reason lost!”
He muttered ; " 'Twas nor fay nor ghost,
I met upon the moonlight wold,
But living man of earthly mould.---
O dotage blind and gross !
Had I but fought as wont, one thrust
Had laid De Wilton in the dust,
My path no more to cross.-
How stand we now ?--he told his tale
To Douglas ; and with some avail ;
'Twas therefore gloomed his rugged brow.Will Surrey dare to entertain, Gainst Marmion, charge disproved and vain?
Small risque of that, I trow.--
Yet Clare's sharp questions must I shun;
Must separate Constance from the Nun-
() what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive !---
A Palmer too !-no wonder why
I felt rebuked beneath his eye :
I might have known there was but one,
Whose look could quell Lord Marmion."-
Stung with these thoughts, he urged to speed
His troop, and reached, at eve, the Tweed,
Where Lennel's convent closed their march.
(There now is left but one frail arch,
Yet mourn thou not its cells ;
Our time a fair exchange has made; .
Hard by, in hospitable shade,
A reverend pilgrim dwells,
Well worth the whole Bernardine brood,
That e'er wore sandal, frock, or hood.)