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THE

LAY

OF

THE LAST MINSTREL.

CANTO SECOND.

THE

LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.

CANTO SECOND.

I.

If thou would'st View fair Melrose aright,

Go visit it by the pale moon-light;

For the gay beams of lightsome day

Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray.

When the broken arches are black in night,

And each shafted oriel glimmers white;

When the cold light's uncertain shower

Streams on the ruined central tower;

When buttress and buttress, alternately,

Seem framed of ebon and ivory;

When silver edges the imagery,

And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;

When distant Tweed is heard to rave,

And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave,

Then go—but go alone the while—

Then view St David's ruined pile;

And, home returning, soothly swear,

Was never scene so sad and fair!

II.

Short halt did Deloraine make there;
Little recked he of the scene so fair:
With dagger's hilt, on the wicket strong,
He struck full loud, and struck full long.
The porter hurried to the gate—
"Who knocks so loud, and knocks so late ?"—
"From Branksome I," the warrior cried;
And strait the wicket opened wide:

For Branksome's chiefs had in battle stood,
To fence the rights of fair Melrose;

And lands and livings, many a rood,

Had gifted the shrine for their souls' repose.

III.

Bold Deloraine his errand said;
The porter bent his humble head;
With torch in hand, and feet unshod,
And noiseless step, the path he trod:
The arched cloisters, far and wide,
Rang to the warrior's clanking stride;
Till, stooping low his lofty crest,
He entered the cell of the ancient priest,
And lifted his barred aventayle, *
To hail the Monk of St Mary's aisle.

* Aventayle, visor of the helmet.

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