« PreviousContinue »
LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL. CANTO THIRD.
And said I that my limbs were old;
And that I might not sing of love ?—
How could I name love's very name,
In peace, Love tunes the shepherd's reed;
In war, he mounts the warrior's steed;
In halls, in gay attire is seen;
In hamlets, dances on the green.
Love rules the court, the camp, the grove,
And men below, and saints above; .
For love is heaven, and heaven is love.
So thought Lord Cranstoun, as I ween,
That warrior's steed, so dapple-gray,
Was dark with sweat, and splashed with clay;
His armour red with many a stain:
For it was William of Deloraine.
But no whit weary did he seem,
When, dancing in the sunny beam,
He marked the crane on the Baron's crest;
For his ready spear was in his rest.
Few were the words, and stern and high,
For question fierce, and proud reply,
In rapid round the Baron bent;
He sighed a sigh, and prayed a prayer: The prayer was to his patron saint,
The sigh was to his ladye fair. Stout Deloraine nor sighed nor prayed, Nor saint, nor ladye, called to aid; But he stooped his head, and couched his spear, And spurred his steed to full career. The meeting of these champions proud Seemed like the bursting thunder-cloud.
Stern was the dint the Borderer lent!
The stately Baron backwards bent;
Bent backwards to his horse's tail,
And his plumes went scattering on the gale;
The tough ash spear, so stout and true,
Into a thousand flinders flew.
But Cranstoun's lance, of more avail,
Pierced through, like silk, the Borderer's mail;
Through shield, and jack, and acton past,
But when he reined his courser round,
Lie senseless as the bloody clay,
And there beside the warrior stay, And tend him in his doubtful state, And lead him to Branksome castle-gate: His noble mind was inly moved For the kinsman of the maid he loved.