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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.
The Ladye forgot her purpose high,
Then from amid the armed train, She called to her William of Deloraine.
A stark moss-trooping Scott was he,
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.
"Sir William of Deloraine, good at need,
Say that the fated hour is come,
"What he gives thee, see thou keep;
XXIV."O swiftly can speed my dapple-gray steed,
"Again will I be here:
Than, noble dame, by me;
* 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.
Soon in his saddle sate he fast,
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.