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So sweet was Harold's piteous lay,
Scarce marked the guests the darkened hall, Though, long before the sinking day,
A wond'rous shade involved them all:
It was not eddying mist or fog,
Drained by the sun from fen or bog;
Of no eclipse had sages told;
And yet, as it came on apace,
Each one could scarce his neighbour's face,
Could scarce his own stretched hand, behold.
A secret horror checked the feast,
And chilled the soul of every guest;
Even the high Dame stood half aghast,
She knew some evil on the blast;
The elvish Page fell to the ground,
And, shuddering, muttered, "Found! found!
Then sudden through the darkened air
. A flash of lightning came; -
So broad, so bright, so red the glare,
The castle seemed on flame;
Glanced every rafter of the hall,
Glanced every shield upon the wall;
Each trophied beam, each sculptured stone,
Were instant seen, and instant gone;
Full through the guests' bedazzled band
Resistless flashed the levin-brand,
And filled the hall with smouldering smoke,
As on the elvish Page it broke.
It broke with thunder long and loud,
Dismayed the brave, appalled the proud, From sea to sea the larum rung;
On Berwick wall, and at Carlisle withal, To arms the startled warders sprung. When ended was the dreadful roar, The elvish Dwarf was seen no more!
Some heard a voice in Branksome Hall,
Some saw a sight, not seen by all;
That dreadful voice was heard by some,
Cry, with loud summons, "Gylbin, Come!"
And on the spot where burst the brand,
Just where the Page had flung him down.
Some saw an arm, and some a hand,
And some the waving of a gown.
The guests in silence prayed and shook,
And terror dimmed each lofty look:
But none of all the astonished train
Was so dismayed as Deloraine;
His blood did freeze, his brain did burn,
Twas feared his mind would ne'er return:
For he was speechless, ghastly, wan,
Like him, of whom the story ran,
Who spoke the spectre-hound in Man *.
At length, by fits, he darkly told,
With broken hint, and shuddering cold—
* The Isle of Man.—See Note.
That he had seen, right certainly, A shape with amice wrapped around, With a wrought Spanish baldric bound, Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea; And knew—but how it mattered not— It was the wizard, Michael Scott.
XXVIII. The anxious crowd, with horror pale, All trembling, heard the wond'rous tale; No sound was made, no word was spoke, Till noble Angus silence broke;
And he a solemn sacred plight Did to St Bryde of Douglas make, That he a pilgrimage would take To Melrose Abbey, for the sake Of Michael's restless sprite. Then each, to. ease his troubled breast, To some blessed saint his prayers addressed
Some to St Modan made their vows,
Some to St Mary of the Lowes,
Some to the Holy Rood of Lisle,
Some to our Ladye of the Isle;
Each did his patron witness make,
That he such pilgrimage would take,
And monks should sing, and bells should toll,
All for the weal of Michael's soul.
While vows were ta'en, and prayers were prayed,
Tis said the noble Dame, dismayed,
Renounced, for aye, dark magic's aid.
Nought of the bridal will I tell,
Which after in short space befel;
Nor how brave sons, and daughters fair,
Blessed Teviot's Flower, and Cranstoun's heir:
After such dreadful scene, 'twere vain
To wake the note of mirth again;