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But now, for every merry mate,
Rose the portcullis' iron grate;
They sound the pipe, they strike the string,
They dance, they revel, and they sing,
Till the rude turrets shake and ring.
Me lists not at this tide declare
The splendour of the spousal rite, How mustered in the chapel fair
Both maid and matron, squire and knight;Me lists not tell of owches rare, Of mantles green, and braided hair, And kirtles furred with miniver;What plumage waved the altar round, How spurs, and ringing chainlets, sound:And hard it were for bard to speak The changeful hue of Margaret's cheek;That lovely hue which comes and flies, As awe and shame alternate rise.
Some bards have sung, the Ladye high
Chapel or altar came not nigh;
Nor durst the rites of spousal grace,
So much she feared each holy place.
False slanders these:—I trust right well,
She wrought not by forbidden spell;
For mighty words and signs have power
O'er sprites in planetary hour:
Yet scarce I praise their venturous part,
Who tamper with such dangerous art. But this for faithful truth I say, The Ladye by the altar stood, Of sable velvet her array, And on her head a crimson hood,
With pearls embroidered and entwined,
Guarded with gold, with ermine lined;
A merlin sat upon her wrist,
Held by a leash of silken twist.
The spousal rites were ended soon:
'Twas now the merry hour of noon,
And in the lofty arched hall
Was spread the gorgeous festival.
Steward and squire, with heedful haste,
Marshalled the rank of every guest;
Pages, with ready blade, were there,
The mighty meal to carve and share:
O'er capon, heron-shew, and crane,
And princely peacock's gilded train,
And o'er the boar-head, garnished brave,
And cygnet from St Mary's wave;
O'er ptarmigan and venison,
The priest had spoke his benison.
Then rose the riot and the din,
Above, beneath, without, within!
For, from the lofty balcony,
Rung trumpet, shalm, and psaltery 5
Their clanging bowls old warriors quaffed,
Loudly they spoke, and loudly laughed;
Whispered young knights, in tone more mild,
To ladies fair, and ladies smiled.
The hooded hawks, high perched on beam,
The clamour joined with whistling scream,
And flapped their wings, and shook their bells,
In concert with the stag-hounds' yells.
Round go the flasks of ruddy wine,
From Bourdeaux, Orleans, or the Rhine;
Their tasks the busy sewers ply,
And all is mirth and revelry.
The Goblin Page, omitting still
No opportunity of ill,
Strove now, while blood ran hot and high,
To rouse debate and jealousy;
Till Conrad, lord of Wolfenstein,
By nature fierce, and warm with wine,
And now in humour highly crossed, About some steeds his band had lost, High words to words succeeding still, Smote, with his gauntlet, stout Hunthill;A hot and hardy Rutherford, Whom men call Dickon Draw-the-Sword. He took it on the Page's saye, Hunthill had driven these steeds away. Then Howard, Home, and Douglas rose, The kindling discord to compose:Stern Rutherford right little said, But bit his glove, and shook his head.— A fortnight thence, in Inglewood, Stout Conrad, cold, and drenched in blood, His bosom gored with many a wound, Was by a woodman's lyme-dog found;Unknown the manner of his death, Gone was his brand, both sword and sheath;