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THE

LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.

CANTO FIFTH.

I.

Call it not vain :—they do not err,
Who say, that, when the Poet dies,

Mute Nature mourns her worshipper,
And celebrates his obsequies;

Who say, tall cliff, and cavern lone,

For the departed bard make moan;

That mountains weep in crystal rill;

That flowers in tears of balm distil;

Through his loved groves that breezes sigh,
And oaks in deeper groan reply;
And rivers teach their rushing wave
To murmur dirges round his grave.

II.

Not that, in sooth, o'er mortal urn
Those things inanimate can mourn;
But that the stream, the wood, the gale,
Is vocal with the plaintive wail
Of those, who, else forgotten long,
Lived in the poet's faithful song,
And, with the poet's parting breath,
Whose memory feels a second death.
The maid's pale shade, who wails her lot,
That love, true love, should be forgot,
From rose and hawthorn shakes the tear
Upon the gentle minstrel's bier:
The phantom knight, his glory fled,
Mourns o'er the field he heaped with dead;

Mounts the wild blast that sweeps amain,

And shrieks along the battle-plain:

The chief, whose antique crownlet long

Still sparkled in the feudal song,

Now, from the mountain's misty throne,

Sees, in the thanedom once his own,

His ashes undistinguished lie,

His place, his power, his memory die:

His groans the lonely caverns fill,

His tears of rage impel the rill;

All mourn the minstrel's harp unstrung,

Their name unknown, their praise unsung.

III.

Scarcely the hot assault was staid,

The terms of truce were scarcely made,

When they could spy, from Branksome's towers,

The advancing march of martial powers;

Thick clouds of dust afar appeared,

And trampling steeds were faintly heard;

Bright spears, above the columns dun,

Glanced momentary to the sun;

And feudal banners fair displayed

The bands that moved to Branksome's aid.

IV.

Vails not to tell each hardy clan,

From the fair Middle Marches came; The Bloody Heart blazed in the van,

Announcing Douglas, dreaded name! Vails not to tell what steeds did spurn, Where the Seven Spears of Wedderburne

Their men in battle-order set;
And Swinton laid the lance in rest,
That tamed of yore the sparkling crest

Of Clarence's Plantagenet.

Nor list, I say, what hundreds more,

From the rich Merse and Lammermore,

And Tweed's fair borders, to the war, 10

Beneath the crest of old Dunbar,

And Hepburn's mingled banners come,

Down the steep mountain glittering far,
And shouting still, " A Home! a Home!"

V. «.

Now squire and knight, from Branksome sent,
On many a courteous message went;
To every chief and lord they paid
Meet thanks for prompt and powerful aid;
And told them,—how a truce was made,
And how a day of fight was ta'en
'Twixt Musgrave and stout Deloraine;

And how the Ladye prayed them dear,
That all would stay the "fight to see,
And deign, in love and courtesy,
To taste of Branksome cheer.
Nor, while they bade to feast each Scot,
Were England's noble Lords forgot;

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