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He led him into Branksome hall, Before the beards of the warders all;
And each did after swear and say,
There only passed a wain of hay.
He took him to Lord David's tower,
Even to the Ladye's secret bower;
And, but that stronger spells were spread,
And the door might not be opened,
He had laid him on her very bed.
Whate'er he did of gramarye,*
Was always done maliciously;
He flung the warrior on the ground,
And the blood welled freshly from the wound.
As he repassed the outer court,
Seemed to the boy, some comrade gay
XIII. He led the boy o'er bank and fell,
Until they came to a woodland brook; The running stream dissolved the spell, And his own elvish shape he took. Could he have had his pleasure vilde, He had crippled the joints of the noble child; Or, with his fingers long and lean, Had strangled him in fiendish spleen: But his awful mother he had in dread, And also his power was limited; So he but scowled on the startled child, And darted through the forest wild; The woodland brook he bounding crossed, And laughed, and shouted, "Lost! lost! lost!"
Full sore amazed at the wonderous change,
And frightened, as a child might be, At the wild yell and visage strange,
And the dark words of gramarye, The child, amidst the forest bower, Stood rooted like a lily flower}
And when at length, with trembling pace,
He feared to see that grisly face
XV. And hark! and hark! the deep-mouthed bark Comes nigher still, and nigher; Bursts on the path a dark blood-hound, His tawny muzzle tracked the ground, And his red eye shot fire. Soon as the wildered child saw he, He flew at him right furiouslie. I ween you would have seen with joy The bearing of the gallant boy, When, worthy of his noble sire, His wet cheek glowed 'twixt fear and ire! He faced the blood-hound manfully, And held his little bat on high; So fierce he struck, the dog, afraid, At cautious distance hoarsely bayed, But still in act to spring; When dashed an archer through the glade, And when he saw the hound was stayed, He drew his tough bow-string;
But a rough voice cried, " Shoot not, hoy! Ho! shoot not, Edward—'tis a boy !"—
The speaker issued from the wood,
And quelled the ban-dog's ire:
And born in Lancashire. Well could he hit a fallow deer
Five hundred feet him fro; With hand more true, and eye more clear,
No archer bended bow.
Set off his sun-burned face;
His barret-cap did grace;
All in a wolf-skin baldric tied;