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And hark! and hark! the deep-mouthed bark
Comes nigher still, and nigher;
Bursts on the path a dark blood-hound,
His tawny muzzle tracked the ground,
And his red eye shot fire.
Soon as the wildered child saw he,
He flew at him right furiouslie.
I ween, you would have seen with joy
The bearing of the gallant boy,
When, worthy of his noble sire,
His wet cheek glowed 'twixt fear and ire!
He faced the blood-hound manfully,
And held his little bat on high;
So fierce he struck, the dog, afraid,
At cautious distance hoarsely bayed,
But still in act to spring;
When dashed an archer through the glade,
And when he saw the hound Avas stayed,
He drew his tough bow-string;
But a rough voice cried, " Shoot not, hoy! Ho! shoot not, Edward—'tis a hoy!"
The speaker issued from the wood,
And checked his fellow's surly mood,
And quelled the ban-dog's ire:
He was an English yeoman good,
And born in Lancashire. Well could he hit a fallow deer
Five hundred feet him fro; With hand more true, and eye more clear,
No archer bended bow.
His coal-black hair, shorn round and close,
Set off his sun-burned face;
Old England's sign, St George's cross,
His barret-cap did grace;
His bugle horn hung by his side,
All in a wolf-skin baldric tied;
And his short faulchion, sharp and clear,
Had pierced the throat of many a deer.
His kirtle, made of forest green,
Reached scantly to his knee;
And, at his belt, of arrows keen
A furbished sheaf bore he;
His buckler scarce in breadth a span,
No longer fence had he;
He never counted him a man,
Would strike below the knee;
His slackened bow was in his hand,
And the leash, that was his blood-hound's band.
He would not do the fair child harm,
But held him with his powerful arm,
That he might neither fight nor flee;
For when the Red-Cross spied he,
The boy strove long and violently.
"Now, by St. George," the archer cries,
"Edward, methinks we have a prize!
This boy's fair face, and courage free,
Shews he is come of high degree."
"Yes! I am come of high degree,
For I am the heir of bold Buccleuch;
And, if thou dost not set me free,
False Southron, thou shalt dearly rue!
For Walter of Harden shall come with speed.
And William of Deloraine, good at need,
And every Scott, from Esk to Tweed;
And, if thou dost not let me go,
Despite thy arrows, and thy bow,
I'll have thee 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."
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,