Page images

“Now, by Saint George,” the archer cries, “Edward, methinks, we have a prize 1 This boy's fair face, and courage free, . Shews he is come of high degree.”

[ocr errors]

“Yes! I am come of high degree,
For I am the heir of bold Buccleuch;
And if thou dost not set me free,
False Suthron, thou shalt dearly rue !
For Walter of Harden shall come with speed,
And William of Deloraine, good at need,
And every Scott from Eske to Tweed ;
And, if thou dost not let me go,
Despite thy arrows and thy bow,
Ill have the hanged to feed the crow!”

“Gramercy, for thy good will, fair boy!
My mind was never set so high ;
But if thou art chief of such a clan,
And art the son of such a man,
And ever comest to thy command,

Our wardens had need to keep good order;

My bow of yew to a hazel wand,
Thou'lt make them work upon the border.

Meantime, be pleased to come with me,
For good lord Dacre shalt thou see ;
I think our work is well begun,
When we have taken thy father's son.”

[ocr errors]

Although the child was led away,
In Branksome still he seemed to stay,
For so the dwarf his part did play;
And, in the shape of that young boy,
He wrought the castle much annoy.
The comrades of the young Buccleuch
He pinched, and beat, and overthrew ;
Nay, some of them he well nigh slew.
He tore Dame Maudlin's silken tire ;
And as Sym Hall stood by the fire,
He lighted the match of his bandelier,”
And wofully scorched the hackbutteer.f
It may hardly be thought, q said,
The mischief that the urchin made,
Till many of the castle guessed,
That the young baron was possessed

*Bandelier, belt for carrying ammunition, f Hackbutteer, musketeer,

- XXII. Well I ween the charm he held

The noble ladye had soon dispelled ;
But she was deeply busied then
To tend the wounded Deloraine.
Much she wondered to find him lie,
On the stone threshold, stretched along ;
She thought some spirit of the sky
Had done the bold mosstrooper wrong ;
Because despite her precept dread,
Perchance he in the book had read ;
But the broken lance in his bosom stood,
And it was earthly steel and wood.

She drew the splinter from the wound,

And with a charm she staunched the blood ; She bade the gash be cleansed and bound; No longer by his couch she stood; But she has ta'en the broken lance, And washed it from the clotted gore, And salved the splinter o'er and o'er. William of Deloraine, in trance, Whene'er she turned it round and round, Twisted, as if she galled his wound. Then to her maidens she did say, That he should be whole man and sound, Within the course of a night and day.

Full long she toiled; for she did rue
Mishap to friend so stout and true.


So passed the day, the evening fell,
'Twas near the time of curfew bell;
The air was mild, the wind was calm,
The stream was smooth, the dew was balm;
E’en the rude watchman, on the tower,
Enjoyed and blessed the lovely hour.
Far more fair Margaret loved and blessed
The hour of silence and of rest.
On the high turret, sitting lone,
She waked at times the lute's soft tone;
Touched a wild note, and all between
Thought of the bower of hawthorn's green;
Her golden hair streamed free from band,
Her fair cheek rested on her hand,
Her blue eye sought the west afar,
For lovers love the western star.

[ocr errors]

Is yon the star, o'er Penchryst Pen,
That rises slowly to her ken,

And spreading broad its wavering light,
Shakes its loose tresses on the night 2
Is yon red glare the western star :
O, 'tis the beacon blaze of war! .
Scarce could she draw her tightened breath,
For well she knew the fire of death !


The warder viewed it blazing strong,
And blew his war-note loud and long,
Till, at the high and haughty sound,
Rock, wood, and river, rung around;
The blast alarmed the festal hall,
And startled forth the warriors all ;
Far downward, in the castle-yard,
Full many a torch and cresset glared;
And helms and plumes, confusedly tossed,
Were in the blaze half seen, half lost;
And spears in wild disorder shook,
Like reeds beside a frozen brook.


The Seneschal, whose silver hair
Was reddened by the torches' glare,
Stood in the midst, with gesture proud,
And issued forth his mandates loud,

« PreviousContinue »