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XIX.

The Ladye sought the lofty hall,

Where many a bold retainer lay, And, with jocund din, among them all,

Her son pursued his infant play. A fancied moss-trooper, the boy

The truncheon of a spear bestrode, And round the hall, right merrily,

In mimic foray* rode. Even bearded knights, in arms grown old,

Share in his frolic gambols bore, Albeit their hearts, of rugged mould,

Were stubborn as the steel they wore. For the gray warriors prophesied,

How the brave boy, in future war, Should tame the Unicorn's pride,

Exalt the Crescents and the Star, f

* Foray, a predatory inroad.

f Alluding to the armorial bearings of the Scotts and Carrs.

XX.

The Ladye forgot her purpose high,
One moment, and no more;One moment gazed with a mother's eye,
As she paused at the arched door:

Then from amid the armed train, She called to her William of Deloraine.

XXI.

A stark moss-trooping Scott was he,
As e'er couched border lance by knee:
Through Solway sands, through Tarras moss,
Blindfold, he knew the paths to cross;
By wily turns, by desperate bounds,
Had baffled Percy's best blood-hounds;
In Eske, or Liddel, fords were none,
But he would ride them, one by one;
Alike to him was time or tide,
December's snow, or July's pride;
Alike to him was tide, or time,
Moonless midnight, or matin prime:

Steady of heart, and stout of hand, As ever drove prey from Cumberland;Five times outlawed had he been, By England's king, and Scotland's queen.

XXII.

"Sir William of Deloraine, good at need,
Mount thee on the wightest steed;
Spare not to spur, nor stint to ride,
Until thou come to fair Tweedside;
And in Melrose's holy pile
Seek thou the Monk of St Mary's aisle.
Greet the Father well from me;'

Say that the fated hour is come,
And to-night he shall watch with thee,
To win the treasure of the tomb:
For this will be St Michael's night,
And, though stars be dim, the moon is bright;
And the Cross, of bloody red,
Will point to the grave of the mighty dead.

XXIII.

"What he gives thee, see thou keep;
Stay not thou for food or sleep:
Be it scroll, or be it book,
Into it, knight, thou must not look;
If thou readest, thou art lorn!
Better had'st thou ne'er been born."

XXIV."O swiftly can speed my dapple-gray steed,
Which drinks of the Teviot clear;
Ere break of day," the warrior 'gan say,

"Again will I be here:
And safer by none may thy errand be done,

Than, noble dame, by me;
Letter nor line know I never a one, Wer't my neck-verse at Hairibee."*

* Hairibee, the place of executing the border marauders, at Carlisle. The neck-verse is the beginning of the 51st psalm, Miserere mei, &c anciently read by criminals, claiming the benefit of clergy.

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XXV.

Soon in his saddle sate he fast,
And soon the steep descent he past,
Soon crossed the sounding barbican, *
And soon the Teviot side he won.
Eastward the wooded path he rode,
Green hazels o'er his basnet nod;
He passed the Peel + of Goldiland,
And crossed old Borthwick's roaring strand;
Dimly he viewed the Moat-hill's mound,
Where Druid shades still flitted round:
In Hawick twinkled many a light;
Behind him soon they set in night;
And soon he spurred his courser keen
Beneath the tower of Hazeldean.

XXVI.

The clattering hoofs the watchmen mark;— "Stand, ho! thou courier of the dark."

* Barbican, the defence of the outer gate of a feudal castle, t Peel, a Border tower.

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