« PreviousContinue »
Such high resolve and constancy,
And, by his drugs, my rival fair In form so soft and fair.
A saint in heaven should be.
But ill the dastard kept his oath, “ I speak not to implore your grace;
Whose cowardice has undone us both.
“ And now my tongue the secret tells, Nor do I speak your prayers to gain;
Not that remorse my bosom swells, For if a death of lingering pain
But to assure my soul that none To cleanse my sins be penance vain,
Shall ever wed with Marmion. Vain are your masses too.
Had fortune my last hope betray'd, I listened to a traitor's tale,
This packet, to the king convey'd, I left the convent and the veil;
Had given him to the headsman's stroke, For three long years I bow'd my pride,
Although my heart that instant broke.A horse-boy in his train to ride;
Now, men of death, work forth your will, And well my folly's meed he gave,
For I can suffer and be still; Who forfeited, to be his slave,
And come he slow, or come he fast,
It is but Death who comes at last.
“ Yet dread me, from my living tomb, Forgot his vows, his faith forswore,
Ye vassal slaves of bloody Rome! And Constance was beloved no more.
If Marmion's late remorse should wake, 'Tis an old tale, and often told;
Full soon such vengeance will he take, But, did my fate and wish agree,
That you shall wish the fiery Dane Ne'er had been read, in story old,
Had rather been your guest again. Of maiden true betray'd for gold,
Behind, a darker hour ascends! That loved, or was avenged like me!
The altars quake, the crosier bends,
The ire of a despotic King “ The King approved his favourite's aim;
Rides forth upon destruction's wing. In vain a rival barr'd his claim,
Then shall these vaults, so strong and deep, Whose faith with Clare's was plight,
Burst open to the sea-winds' sweep; For he attaints that rival's fame
Some traveller then shall find my bones, With treason's charge—and on they came,
Whitening amid disjointed stones, In mortal lists to fight.
And, ignorant of priests' cruelty,
Marvel such relics here should be."
Fix'd was her look, and stern her air;
Back from her shoulders stream'd her hair; And hark! the throng, with thundering cry,
The locks that wont her brows to shade, Shout “ Marmion, Marmion!” to the sky,
Stared up erectly from her head; “ De Wilton to the block !"
Her figure seem'd to rise more high; Say ye, who preach heaven shall decide,
Her voice, despair's wild energy When in the lists two champions ride,
Had given a tone of prophecy. Say, was heaven's justice here?
Appall'd the astonished conclave sate; When, loyal in his love and faith,
With stupid eyes, the men of fate Wilton found overthrow or death,
Gazed on the light inspired form, Beneath a traitor's spear.
And listen’d for the avenging storm; How false the charge, how true he fell,
The judges felt the victim's dread; This guilty packet best can tell”—
No hand was moved, no word was said, Then drew a packet from her breast,
Till thus the Abbot's doom was given, Paused, gather's voice, and spoke the rest. Raising his sightless balls to heaven :
Sister, let thy sorrows cease ; “ Still was false Marmion's bridal staid;
Sinful brother, part in peace!"To Whitby's convent fled the maid,
From that dire dungeon, place of doom, The hated match to shun.
Of execution too, and tomb, • Ho! shifts she thus?' king Henry cried,
Paced forth the judges three; • Sir Marmion, she shall be thy bride,
Sorrow it were, and shame, to tell If she were sworn a nun.'
The butcher-work that there befell, One way remained—the king's command
When they had glided from the cell
Of sin and misery.
An hundred winding steps convey
That conclave to the upper day; He would to Whitby's shrine repair,
But ere they breathed the fresher air
They heard the slıriekings of despair,
While, reverent, all made room. And many a stifled groan:
An easy task it was, I trow, With speed their upward way they take,
King James's manly form to know, (Such speed as age and sear can make,)
Although, his courtesy to show, And cross'd themselves for terror's sake,
He doff'd, to Marmion bending low, As hurrying, tottering on,
His broider'd cap and plume. Even in the vesper's heavenly tone,
For royal were his garb and mien, They seem'd to hear a dying groan,
His cloak of crimson velvet piled, And bade the passing knell to toll
Trimm'd with the fur of martin wild; For welfare of a parting soul.
His vest of changeful satin sheen Slow o'er the inidnight wave it swung,
The dazzled eye beguiled; Northumbrian rocks in answer rung;
His gorgeous collar hung adown, To Warkworth cell the echoes roll’d,
Wrought with the badge of Scotland's crown, His beads the wakeful hermit told;
The thistle brave, of old renown; The Bamborough peasant raised his head,
His trusty blade, Toledo right, But slept ere half a prayer he said;
Descended from a baldric bright; So far was heard the migiity knell,
White were his buskins, on the heel The stag sprung up on Cheviot Fell,
His spurs inlaid of gold and steel; Spread his broad nostril to the wind,
His bonnet, all of crimson fair, Listed before, aside, behind,
Was button'd with a ruby rare: Then couch'd him down beside the hind,
And Marmion deem'd he ne'er had seen And quaked among the mountain fern,
A prince of such a noble mnien. To hear that sound, so dull and stern.
The Monarch's form was middle size;
For feat of strength, or exercise, COURT OF JAMES OF SCOTLAND.
Shaped in proportion fair;
And hazle was his eagle eye, Old Holy-Rood rung merrily
And auburn of the darkest dye That night, with wassal, mirth, and glee:
His short curled beard and hair. King James within her princely bower
Light was his footstep in the dance, Feasted the chiefs of Scotland's power,
And firm his stirrup in the lists; Summon’d to spend the parting hour;
And, oh! he had that merry glance For he had charged, that his array
That seldom lady's heart resists.
And loved to plead, lament, and sue;-
Suit lightly won, and short-lived pain,
For monarchs seldom sigh in vain. The merry dance, traced fast and light,
I said he joy'd in banquet-bower; The masquers quaint, the pageant bright,
But, mid his mirth, 'twas often strange, The revel loud and long.
How suddenly his cheer would change, This feast outshone his banquets past ;
His look o'ercast and lower, It was his blithest,—and his last.
If, in a sudden turn he felt The dazzling lamps, from gallery gay,
The pressure of his iron belt, Cast on the court a dancing ray;
That bound his breast in penance pain, Here to the harp did minstrels sing;
In memory of his father slain. There ladies touch'd a softer string;
Even so 'twas strange how, evermore, With long-ear'd cap, and motley vest,
Soon as the passing pang was o'er, The licensed fool retail'd his jest;
Forward he rush’d, with double glee, His magic tricks the juggler plied;
Into the stream of revelry: At dice and draughts the gallants vied;
Thus, dim-seen object of affright While some, in close recess apart,
Startles the courser in his flight,
And half he halts, half springs aside;
But feels the quickening spur applied, For often, in the parting hour,
And, straining on the tighten'd rein, Victorious love asserts his power
Scours doubly swift o'er hill and plain. O’er coldness and disdain ;
O'er James's heart, the courtiers say,
Sir Hugh the Heron's wife held sway:
To Scotland's court she came, Nor own her share of pain.
To be a hostage for her lord,
Who Cessford's gallant heart had gored, Through this mix'd crowd of glee and game And with the King to make accord, The King to greet Lord Marmion came,
Had sent his lovely dame.
Nor to that lady free alone
So boldly he entered the Netherby Hall, (all: Did the gay King allegiance own;
Among bride's men, and kinsmen, and brothers, and For the fair Queen of France
Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword, Sent him a turquois ring, and glove,
(For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word,) And charged him, as her knight and love, “O come ye in peace, or come ye in war, For her to break a lance;
Or to dance atour bridal,young Lord Lochinvar?”— And strike three strokes with Scottish brand, And march three miles on southern land,
“I long woo'd your daughter, my suit you denied ;
Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tideAnd bid the banners of his band
And now am I come, with this lost love of mine, In English breezes dance.
To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine. And thus, for France's Queen he drest
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far, His manly limbs in mailed vest; And thus admitted English fair
That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar.” His inmost counsels still to share ;
The bride kiss'd the goblet; the knight took it up, And thus, for both, he madly plann'd
He quaff’d off the wine, and he threw down the cup. The ruin of himself and land!
She look'd down to blush, and she look'd up to sigh, And yet, the sooth to tell,
With a smile on her lips, and a tear in her eye. Nor England's fair, nor France's Queen, He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar, Were worth one pearl-drop bright and sheen, “ Now tread we a measure!" said young Lochinvar. From Margaret's eyes that fell,
So stately his form, and so lovely his face, His own Queen Margaret, who, in Lithgow's bower,
That never a hall such a galliard did grace; All lonely sat, and wept the weary hour.
While her mother did fret, and her father did fume, The Queen sits lone in Lithgow pile,
And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and And weeps the weary day,
[by far The war against her native soil,
And the bride-maidens whisper, “ 'Twere better Her Monarch's risk in battle broil ;
To have match'd our fair cousin with young LochAnd in gay Holy-Rood, the while,
invar." Dame Heron rises with a smile
One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear, Upon the harp to play. Fair was her rounded arm, as o'er
When they reach'd the hall-door, and the charger
stood near; The strings her fingers flew; And as she touch'd and tuned them all,
So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung, Ever her bosom's rise and fall
So light to the saddle before her he sprung! Was plainer given to view;
“ She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and For all, for heat, was laid aside
(Lochinvar. Her wimple, and her hood untied.
They'll have fleet steeds that follow," quoth young And first she pitch'd her voice to sing,
There was mounting 'mong Græmes of the Netherby Then glanced her dark eye on the King,
(they ran : And then around the silent ring ;
Fosters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and And laugh’d, and blush'd, and oft did say
There was racing, and chasing, on Cannobie Lee, Her pretty oath, by yea, and nay,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see, She could not, would not, durst not play! So daring in love, and so dauntiess in war, At length, upon the harp, with glee,
Have ye e'er heard of gallant like youug Lochinvar! Mingled with arch simplicity, A soft yet lively air she rung,
The Monarch o'er the syren hung, While thus the wily lady sung.
And beat the measure as she sung;
And, pressing closer, and more near,
He whisper'd praises in her ear.
In loud applause the courtiers vied;
And ladies wink'd, and spoke aside. O, young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
The witching dame to Marmion threw Through all the wide Border his steed was the best; And save his good broad-sword he weapons had
A glance, where seem'd to reign
The pride that claims applauses due,
And of her royal conquest, too,
A real or feign'd disdain : There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.
Familiar was the look, and told,
Marmion and she were friends of old.
Since England gains the pass the while,
Headmost of all he stems the tide,
And stems it gallantly.
Eustace held Clare upon her horse,
Old Hubert led her rein,
Stoutly they braved the current's course,
And though far downward driven per force,
The southern bank they gain;
Behind them, straggling, came to shore,
As best they might, the train :
Each o'er his head his yew-bow bore,
A caution not in vain;
Deep need that day that every string,
By wet unharm’d, should sharply ring.
A moment then Lord Marmion staid,
And breath'd his steed, his men array'd,
Then forward moved his band,
Until, Lord Surrey's rear-guard won,
He halted by a cross of stone,
That, on a hillock standing lone,
Did all the field command. Around the base of Flodden-hill.
Hence miglit they see the full array
Of either host, for deadly fray;
Their marshall'd lines stretch'd east and west “ Hark! hark! my lord, an English drum!
And fronted north and south, And see ascending squadrons come
And distant salutation past
From the loud cannon mouth;
Not in the close successive rattle,
That breathes the voice of modern battle, Lord Surrey's o'er the Till!
But slow and far between.Yet more! yet more!-how fair array'd
The hillock gain'd, Lord Marmion staid: They file from out the hawthorn shade,
“ Here, by this cross," he gently said, And sweep so gallant by!
“ You well may view the scene. With all their banners bravely spread,
Here shalt thou tarry, lovely Clare:
0! think of Marmion in thy prayer! Saint George might waken from the dead,
Thou wilt not?- well,
-no less my care To see fair England's standards fly.”—
Shall, watchful, for thy weal prepare.“Stint in thy prate," quoth Blount; “ thou’dst best, You, Blount and Eustace, are her guard, And listen to our lord's behest."
With ten pick'd archers of my train; With kindling brow Lord Marmion said,
With England if the day go hard, “ This instant be our band array’d;
To Berwick speed amain. The river must be quickly crossid,
But, if we conquer, cruel maid ! That we may join Lord Surrey's host.
My spoil shall at your feet be laid, If fight King James,-as well I trust,
When here we meet again.”— That fight he will, and fight he must,
He waited not for answer there, The Lady Clare behind our lines
And would not mark the maid's despair, Shall tarry, while the battle joins.”—
Nor heed the discontented look Himself he swift on horseback threw,
From either squire; but spurr'd amain,
And, dashing through the battle-plain,
His way to Surrey took.
-The good Lord Marmion, by my life! Down to the Tweed his band he drew,
Welcome to danger's hour! And mutter'd as the flood they view,
Short greeting serves in time of strife:“ The pheasant in the falcon's claw,
Thus have I ranged my power: He scarce will yield to please a daw :
Myself will rule this central host,
Stout Stanley fronts their right,
My sons command the vaward post,
With Brian Tunstall, stainless knight; Where to the Tweed Leat's eddies creep,
Lord Dacre, with his horsemen light,
Shall be in rearward of the fight,
And succour those that need it most. Till squire, or groom, before him ride;
Now, gallant Marmion, well I know,
Would gladly to the vanguard go;
Wide raged the battle on the plain ; Edmund, the admiral, Tunstall there,
Spears shook, and faulchions flash'd amain; With thee their charge will blithely share;
Fell England's arrow-flight like rain; There fight thine own retainers too,
Crest rose, and stoop'd, and rose again, Beneath De Burg, thy steward true.”
Wild and disorderly. “ Thanks, noble Surrey!” Marmion said,
Amid the scene of tumult, high Nor further greeting there he paid;
They saw Lord Marmion's falcon fly: But, parting like a thunderbolt,
And stainless Tunstall's banner white, First in the vanguard made a halt,
And Edmund Howard's lion bright, Where such a shout there rose
Still bear them bravely in the fight: Of “ Marmion! Marmion !" that the cry
Although against them come, Up Flodden mountain shrilling high,
Of gallant Gordons many a one, Startled the Scottish foes.
And many a stubborn Highlandman, Blount and Fitz-Eustace rested still
And many a rugged border clan,
With Huntley, and with Home.
THE DEATH OF RODERICK DHU-
Thus, motionless, and moanless, drew “ Unworthy office here to stay!
His parting breath, stout Rhoderick Dhu!No hope of gilded spurs to-day.-
Old Allan-bane look'd on aghast, But, see! look up-on Flodden bent
While grim and still his spirit pass'd; The Scottish foe has fired his tent."
But when he saw that life was fled,
He pour'd his wailing o'er the dead.
“ And art thou cold and lowly laid, Volumed and vast, and rolling far,
Thy foeman's dread, thy people's aid, The cloud enveloped Scotland's war,
Breadalbane's boast, Clan-Alpine's shade! As down the hill they broke;
For thee shall none a requiem say? Nor martial shout, nor minstrel tone,
--For thee-who loved the minstrel's lay, Announced their march; their tread alone,
For thee, of Bothwell's house the stay, At times one warning trumpet blown,
The shelter of her exiled line, At times a stifled hum,
E'en in this prison-house of thine,
I'll wail for Alpine's honour'd pine!
“ What groans shall yonder vallies fill! Until at weapon-point they close.“
What shrieks of grief shall rend yon hill! They close, in clouds of smoke and dust,
What tears of burning rage shall thrill, With sword-sway, and with lances thrust;
When mourns thy tribe thy battles done, And such a yell was there,
Thy fall before the race was won, Of sudden and portentous birth,
Thy sword ungirt ere set of sun! As if men fought upon the earth,
There breathes not clansman of thy line, And fiends in upper air;
But would have given his life for thine.O life and death were in the shout,
O woe for Alpine's honour'd pine !
“ Sad was thy lot on mortal stage ! Long look'd the anxious squires; their eye
The captive thrush may brook the cage, Could in the darkness nought descry.
The prison'd eagle dies for rage.
Brave spirit, do not scorn my strain! At length the freshening western blast
And, when its notes awake again, Aside the shroud of battle cast;
Even she, so long beloved in vain, And, first, the ridge of mingled spears
Shall with my harp her voice combine, Above the brightening cloud appears;
And mix her woe and tears with mine,
To wail Clan-Alpine's honoured pine."-
Ellen, the while, with bursting heart,
Remain’d in lordly bower apart, And plumed crests of chieftains brave,
Where play'd, with many-colour'd gleams, Floating like foam upon the wave ;
Through storied pane the rising beams. But nought distinct they see:
In vain on gilded roof they fall,