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Well may you think, the wily Page
Cared not to face the Ladye sage.
He counterfeited childish fear,
And shrieked, and shed full many a tear,
And moaned and plained in manner wild.
The attendants to the Ladye told,
Some fairy, sure, had changed the child, That wont to be so free and bold. Then wrathful was the noble dame; She blushed blood-red for very shame :— "Hence! ere the clan his faintness view; Hence with the weakling to Buccleuch! Watt.Tinlinn, thou shalt be his guide' To Rangleburn's lonely side.— Sure some fell fiend has cursed our line, That coward should e'er be son of mine!"
A heavy task Watt Tinlinn had,
To guide the counterfeited lad.
Soon as his palfrey felt the weight .
Of that ill-omen'd elvish freight,
He bolted, sprung, and reared amain,
Nor heeded bit, nor curb, nor rein.
It cost Watt Tinlinn mickle toil
To drive him but a Scottish mile; ,
But, as a shallow brook they crossed,
The elf, amid the running stream,
His figure changed, like form in dream,
And fled, and shouted, "Lost! lost! lost!"
Full fast the urchin ran and laughed,
But faster still a cloth-yard shaft . .
Whistled from startled Tinlinn's yew,
And pierced his shoulder through and through.
Although the imp might not be slain,
And though the wound soon healed again,
Yet, as he ran, he yelled for pain;
And Watt of Tinlinn, much aghast,
Rode back to Branksome, fiery fast.
Soon on the hill's steep verge he stood,
That looks o'er Branksome's towers and wood;
And martial murmurs, from below,
Proclaimed the approaching southern foe.
Through the dark wood, in mingled tone,
Were Border-pipes and bugles blown;
The coursers' neighing he could ken,
And measured tread of marching men;
While broke at times the solemn hum,
The Alinayn's sullen kettle-drum;
And banners tall, of crimson sheen,
Above the copse appear;
And, glistening through the hawthorns green,
Shine helm, and shield, and spear.
Light forayers first, to view the ground,
Spurred their fleet coursers loosely round;
Behind, in close array, and fast,
The Kendal archers, all in green,
Obedient to the bugle blast, Advancing from the wood are seen. To back and guard the archer band. Lord Dacre's bill-men were at hand: A hardy race, on Irthing bred, With kirtles white, and crosses red, Arrayed beneath the banner tall, That streamed o'er Acre's conquered wall; And minstrels, as they marched in order, Played," Noble Lord Dacre, he dwells on the Border,
Behind the English bill and bow,
The mercenaries firm and slow,
Moved on to fight, in dark array,
By Conrad led of Wolfenstein,
Who brought the band from distant Rhine,
And sold their blood for foreign pay.
The camp their home, their law the sword,
They knew no country, owned no lord:
They were not armed like England's sons,
But bore the levin-darting guns;
Buff-coats, all frounced and 'broidered o'er,
And morsing-horns * and scarfs they wore;
Each better knee was bared, to aid
The warriors in the escalade;
All, as they marched, in rugged tongue,
Songs of Teutonic feuds they sung.
But louder still the clamour grew,
And louder still the minstrels blew,
When, from beneath the greenwood tree,
Rode forth Lord Howard's chivalry;
His men at arms, with glaive and spear,
Brought up the battle's glittering rear.
There many a youthful knight, full keen
To gain his spurs, in arms was seen;
With favour in his crest, or glove,
Memorial of his ladye-love.