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THE

LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.

CANTO FOURTH.

L

Sweet Teviot! on thy silver tide
The glaring bale-fires blaze no more;

No longer steel-clad warriors ride
Along thy wild and willowed shore;

Where'er thou wind'st, by dale or hill,

All, all is peaceful, all is still,

As if thy waves, since Time was born, Since first they rolled upon the Tweed, Had only heard the shepherd's reed,

Nor started at the bugle-horn.

II.

Unlike the tide of human time,

Which, though it change in ceaseless flow, Retains each grief, retains each crime,

Its earliest course was doomed to know;
And, darker as it downward bears,
Is stained with past and present tears.

Low as that tide has ebbed with me,
It still reflects to Memory's eye
The hour, my brave, my only boy,

Fell by the side of great Dundee.
Why, when the volleying musket played
Against the bloody Highland blade,
Why was not I beside him laid
Enough—he died the death of fame;
Enough—he died with conquering Graeme.

III.

Now over border dale and fell,

Full wide and far was terror spread; For pathless marsh, and mountain cell,

The peasant left his lowly shed. The frightened flocks and herds were pent Beneath the peel's rude battlement; And maids and matrons dropped the tear, While ready warriors seized the spear. From Branksome's towers, the watchman's Dun wreaths of distant smoke can spy, Which, curling in the rising sun, Shewed southern ravage was begun.

IV.

Now loud the heedful gate-ward cried—
"Prepare ye all for blows and blood!

Watt Tinlinn, from the Liddel-side,
Comes wading through the flood.

Full oft the Tynedale snatchers knock

At his lone gate, and prove the lock;

It was but last St Barnabright
They sieged him a whole summer night,
But fled at morning; well they knew,
In vain he never twanged the yew.
Right sharp has been the evening shower,
That drove him from his Liddel tower;
And, by my faith," the gate-ward said,
"I think 'twill prove a Warden-Raid." *

V.

While thus he spoke, the bold yeoman
Entered the echoing barbican.
He led a small and shaggy nag,
That through a bog, from hag to hag,f
Could bound like any Billhope stag.
It bore his wife and children twain
A half-clothed serff was all their train.
His wife, stout, ruddy, and dark-browed,
Of silver broach and bracelet proud,

* An inroad commanded by the Warden in person.
+ The broken ground in a bog.
J Bonds-man.

Laughed to her friends among the crowd.
He was of stature passing tall,
But sparely formed, and lean withal;
A battered morion on his brow
A leathern jack, as fence enow,
On his broad shoulders loosely hung;
A border axe behind was slung;

His spear, six Scottish ells in length,
Seemed newly dyed with gore;

His shafts and bow of wonderous strength, His hardy partner bore.

VI

Thus to the Ladye did Tinlinn shew
The tidings of the English foe:—
"Belted Will Howard is marching here,
And hot Lord Dacre, with many a spear,
And all the German hackbut-men, *
Who have long lain at Askerten:
They crossed the Liddel at curfew hour,
And burned my little lonely tower;

* Musketeers.

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