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I cannot tell, so mot I thrive ;
It was not given by man alive.
Unwillingly himself he addressed, .
To do his master's high behest:
He lifted up the living corse,
And laid it on the weary horse ;
He led him into Branksome hall,
Before the beards of the warders all ;
And each did after swear and say,
There only passed a load 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 gronud,
And the blood welled freshly from the wound.
He thought to train him to the wood;
For, at a word be it understood,
He was always for ill, and never for good.
Seemed to the boy some comrade gay
Led him forth to the woods to play;
On the draw-bridge the warders stout
Saw a terrier and lurcher passing out.
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 elfish 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 s”
XIV. 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, amid the forest bower, Stood rooted like a lilye flower; And when at length, with trembling pace, He sought to find where Branksome lay, He feared to see that grisly face Glare from some thicket on his way. Thus, starting oft, he journeyed on, And deeper in the wood is gone ; For aye the more he sought his way, The farther still he went astray, 10ntil he heard the mountains round Ring to the baying of a hound.
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.
Iween 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!
The speaker issued from the wood,
And checked his fellow's surly mood,
And quelled the ban-dog's ire.
He was an English yeoman good,
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.
His coal-black hair, shorn round and close,
Set off his sun burned face ;
Old England's 'sign, Saint George's cross,
His barret-cap did grace;
His bugle horn hung by his side,
All in a wolf-skin baldric tied;
And his short faulchion sharp and clear,
Had pierced the throat of many a deer.
XVII, His kirtle, made of forest green, Reached scantly to his knee; And, at his belt, of arrows keen A furbished sheaf bore he ; His buckler scarce in breadth a span, No larger fence had he ; He never counted him a man, Would strike below the knee; His slacked bow was in his hand, And the leash that was his blood-hound's band.
- XV III.
He would not do the fair child harm,
But held him with his powerful arm,
That he might neither fight nor flee ;
For when the red cross spied he,
The boy strove long and violently.