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For those, thou may'st not look upon,
Are gathering fast round the yawning stone!"—
Then Deloraine, in terror, took
From the cold hand the Mighty Book,
With iron clasped, and with iron bound:
He thought, as he took it, the dead man frowned;
But the glare of the sepulchral light,
Perchance, had dazzled the Warrior's sight.
When the huge stone sunk o'er the tomb,
The night returned, in double gloom;
For the moon hadgone down, and the stars were few;
And, as the Knight and Priest withdrew,
With wavering steps and dizzy brain,
They hardly might the postern gain.
'Tis said, as through the aisles they passed,
They heard strange noises on the blast;
And through the cloister-galleries small,
Which at mid-height thread the chancel wall,
Loud sobs, and laughter louder, ran,
XXIII."Now, hie thee hence," the Father said,"And when we are on death-bed laid, O may our dear Ladye, and sweet St John, Forgive our souls for the deed we have done!"
The Monk returned him to his cell, And many a prayer and penance sped;When the convent met at the noontide bell— The Monk of St Mary's aisle was dead! Before the cross was the body laid, With hands clasped fast, as if still he prayed.
The Knight breathed free in the morning wind, And strove his hardihood to find:He was glad when he passed the tombstones gray, Which girdle round the fair Abbaye;For the mystic Book, to his bosom prest, Felt like a load upon his breast; And his joints, with nerves of iron twined, Shook, like the aspen leaves in wind. Full fain was he when the dawn of day Began to brighten Cheviot gray;He joyed to see the chearful light, And he said Ave Mary, as well as he might.
The sun had brightened Cheviot gray,
The sun had brightened the Carter's * side;
And soon beneath the rising day
Smiled Branksome Towers and Teviot's tide. * A mountain on the border of England, above Jedburgh.
The wild birds told their warbling tale,
And wakened every flower that blows; And peeped forth the violet pale,
And spread her breast the mountain rose. And lovelier than the rose so red,
Yet paler than the violet pale, She early left her sleepless bed,
The fairest maid of Teviotdale..
Why does fair Margaret so early awake.
And don her kirtle so hastilie; And the silken knots,which in hurry she would make,
Why tremble her slender fingers to tie;
As she glides down the secret stair;
As he rouses him up from his lair;
The ladye steps in doubt and dread.
To meet Baron Henry, her own true knight.