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The Ladye sought the lofty hall,
Where many a bold retainer lay, And, with jocund din, among them all,
Her son pursued his infant play. A fancied moss-trooper, the boy
The truncheon of a spear bestrode,
In mimic foray* rode.
Share in his frolic gambols bore,
Were stubborn as the steel they wore. For the gray warriors prophesied,
How the brave boy, in future war, Should tame the Unicorn's pride, Exalt the Crescents and the Star f.
* Foray, a predatory inroad.
t Alluding to the armorial bearings of the Scotts and Cars.
The Ladye forgot her purpose high,
One moment, and no more;
As she paused at the arched door:
A stark moss-trooping Scott was he, As e'er couched border lance by knee: Through Solway sands, through Tanas moss, Blindfold, he knew the paths to cross; By wily turns, by desperate bounds, Had baffled Percy's best blood-hounds; In Eske, or Liddel, fords were none, But he would ride them, one by one; Alike to him was time or tide, December's snow, or July's pride; Alike to him was tide, or time, Moonless midnight, or matin prime:
Steady of heart, and stout *f hand,
"Sir William of Deloraine, good at need,
Greet the father well from me;
And to night he shall watch with thee,
"What he gives thee, see thou keep j
"O swiftly can speed my dapple-gray steed,,
Which drinks of the Teviot clear; Ere break of day," the warrior 'gan say,
"Again will I be here:
Than, noble dame, by me;
Wer't my neck-verse at Hairibee *."
* Hairibee, the place of executing the Border marauders at Carlisle. The neck-verse is the beginning of the 51st psalm, Miserere mei, &c. anciently read by criminals, claiming the benefit of clergy.
Soon in his saddle sate he fast,
The clattering hoofs the watchmen markf—
* Barbican, the defence of the outer gate of a feudal castle, t Peel, a Border tower.