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THE

LAY

OF

THE LAST MINSTREL.

CANTO THIRD.

THE

LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.

CANTO THIRD.
L

And said I that my limbs were old,
And said I that my blood was cold,
And that my kindly fire was fled,
And my poor withered heart was dead,

And that I might not sing of love ?—
How could I to the dearest theme,
That ever warmed a minstrel's dream,

So foul, so false a recreant prove 1

How could I name love's very name,
Nor wake my harp to notes of flame!

II.

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.

III.

So thought Lord Cranstoun, as I ween,
While, pondering deep the tender scene,
He rode through Branksome's hawthorn green.
But the Page shouted wild and shrill—
And scarce his helmet could he don,
When downward from the shady hill
A stately knight came pricking on.

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.

IV.

But no whit weary did he seem,
When, dancing in the sunny beam,
He marked the crane on the Baron's crest;
For his ready spear was in his rest.

Few were the words, and stern and high,
That marked the foemen's feudal hate;
For question fierce, and proud reply,
Gave signal soon of dire debate.
Their very coursers seemed to know
That each was other's mortal foe;
And snorted fire, when wheeled around,
To give each knight his vantage ground.

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