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How could I name love's very name,
In peace, Love tunes the shepherd's reed;
In war, he mounts the warrior's steed;
In halls, in gay attire is seen;
In hamlets, dances on the green.
Love rules the court, the camp, the grove,
And men below, and saints above;
For love is heaven, and heaven is love.
So thought Lord Cranstoun, as I ween,
That warrior's steed, so dapple-gray,
Was dark with sweat, and splashed with clay;
His armour red with many a stain; / He seemed in such a weary plight, As if he had ridden the live-long night;
For it was William of Deloraine,
But no whit-weary did he seem,
Few were the words, and stern and high,
For question fierce, and proud reply,
In rapid round the Baron bent;
He sighed a sigh, and prayed a prayer: The prayer was to his patron saint,
The sigh was to his ladye fair. Stout Deloraine nor sighed, nor prayed, Nor saint, nor ladye, called to aid; But he stooped his head, and couched his spear, And spurred his steed to full career. The meeting of these champions proud Seemed like the bursting thunder-cloud.
Stern was the dint the Borderer lent!
The stately Baron backwards bent;
Bent backwards to his horse's tail,
And his plumes went scattering on the gale;
The tough ash spear, so stout and true,
Into a thousand flinders flew.
But Cranstoun's lance, of more avail,
Pierced through, like silk, the Borderer's mail;
Through shield, and jack, and acton, past,
But when he reined his courser round,
Lie senseless as the bloody clay,
And there beside the warrior stay, And tend him in his doubtful state, And lead him to Branksonie castle-gate: His noble mind was inly moved For the kinsman of the maid he loved.
"This shalt thou do without delay;
Away in speed Lord Cranstoun rode;
The Goblin-Page behind abode:
His lord's command he ne'er withstood,
Though small his pleasure to do good.
As the corslet off he took,
The Dwarf espied the Mighty Book I
Much he marvelled, a knight of pride
Like a book-bosom'd priest should ride:
He thought not to search or staunch the wound,
Until the secret he had found.
The iron band, the iron clasp,