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LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL. CANTO SECOND.
If thou would'st view fair Melrose aright,
When buttress and buttress, alternately,
Seem framed of ebon and ivory;
When silver edges the imagery,
And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;
When distant Tweed is heard to rave,
And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave,
Then go—but go alone the while—
Then view St David's ruined pile;
And, home returning, soothly swear,
Was never scene so sad and fair .'
Short halt did Deloraine make there;
For Branksome's chiefs had in battle stood,
And lands and livings, many a rood, Had gifted the shrine for their souls' repose.
Bold Deloraine his errand said;
* Aventayle, visor of the helmet.
"The Ladye of Branksome greets thee by me;
Says, that the fated hour is come,
To win the treasure of the tomb."—
With toil his stiffened limbs he reared; A hundred years had flung their snows
On his thin locks and floating beard.
And strangely on the Knight looked he,
And his blue eyes gleamed wild and wide; "And, dar'st thou, warrior! seek to see
What heaven and hell alike would hide ~! My breast, in belt of iron pent,
With shirt of hair and scourge of thorn; For threescore years, in penance spent,
My knees those flinty stones have worn;
Yet all too little to atone
In ceaseless prayer and penance drie,
"Penance, father, will I none;Prayer know I hardly one;For mass or prayer can I rarely tarry,
So speed me my errand, and let me be gone."
Again on the Knight looked the Churchman old, And again he sighed heavily: For he had himself been a warrior bold, And fought in Spain and Italy.