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Lord Marmion turned,—well was his need, -
And dashed the rowels' in his steed,
Like arrow through the archway sprung-
The ponderous grate behind him rung:

there was such scanty room, The bars, descending, razed his plume !

The steed along the drawbridge flies,
Just as it trembled on the rise :
Nor lighter does the swallow skim
Along the smooth lake's level brim :
And when Lord Marmion reached his band,
He halts, and turns with clenchèd hand,
And shout of loud defiance pours,
And shook his gauntlet10 at the towers.
“ Horse! horse!” the Douglas cried, “ and chase!”
But soon he reined his fury's pace:
"A royal messenger he came,
Though most unworthy of the name.-
A letter forged! Saint Jude to speed !
Did ever knight so foul a deed!
Saint Mary, mend my fiery mood !
Old age ne'er cools the Douglas blood,
I thought to slay him where he stood.
'Tis pity of him, too,” he cried;
“Bold can he speak, and fairly ride:
I warrant him a warrior tried.”_
With this his mandatell he recalls,
And slowly seeks his castle halls.

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9 rowel, the little wheel which forms

the sharp points of the spur.

10 gauntlet, a mailed glove. 11 mandate, command.

- 18



From Marmion," Canto VI.
“But see! look up! on Flodden bent,
The Scottish foe has fired his tent !” 2

And sudden, as he spoke,
From the sharp ridges of the hill
All downward to the banks of Til1,3

Was wreathed in sable smoke.
Volumed and vast, and rolling far,
The cloud enveloped Scotland's war,

As down the hill they broke;
Nor martial shout, nor minstrel tone,
Announced their march; their tread alone,
At times one warning trumpet blown,

At times a stifled hum,
Told England, from his mountain-throne,

King James* did rushing come.
Scarce could they hear, or see their foes,
Until at weapon-point they close-
With sword-sway, and with lance's thrust;

And such a yell was there,
Of sudden and portentous birth,
As if men fought upon the earth,

i Fought on January 24th, 1502. Flod

den Hill is the last and lowest height of the Cheviots towards

the north-east. % The rude tents, or rather shelters,

of bushes and boughs, &c., were burned as the


3 Till, a streamlet below Flodden

• King James IV.

And fiends in upper air.
Oh, life and death were in the shout,
Recoil and rally, charge and rout,

And triumph and despair.
Long looked the anxious squires ;5 their eye
Could in the darkness nought descry.
At length the freshening western blast,
Aside the shroud of battle cast;
And, first, the ridge of mingled spears,
Above the brightening cloud appears ;
And in the smoke the pennonse flew,
As in the storm the white sea-mew.
Then marked they, dashing broad and far,
The broken billows of the war,
And plumèd crests of chieftains brave,
Floating like foam upon the wave;

But nought distinct they see.
Wide raged the battle on the plain;
Spears shook, and falchions' flashed amain;
Fell England's arrow-flight like rain;
Crests rose, and stooped, and rose again,

Wild and disorderly.
Amid the scene of tumult, high
They saw Lord Marmion's falcon fly:
And stainless Tunstall's8 banner white,
And Edmund Howard's' lion bright,
Still bear them bravely in the fight;

5 squires, the attendants on knights,

who themselves were to become

knights after a time. 6 pennons,

small flags. ? falchions, small crooked swords.

8 Sir Brian Tunstall, a famous English

knight. 9 Sir Edmund Howard, an English


Although against them come,
Of gallant Gordonsło many a one
And many a stubborn Badenoch-man,
And many a rugged border clan,

With Huntleyll and with Home.11
Far on the left, unseen the while,
Stanleyl2 broke Lennox13 and Argyle ;13
Though there the western mountaineer,
Rushed with bare bosom on the spear,
And flung the feeble targe aside,
And with both hands the broad-sword plied.
'Twas vain.—But Fortune, on the right,-
With fickle smile, cheered Scotland's fight;
Then fell that spotless banner white-

The Howard's lion fell :
Yet still Lord Marmion's falcon flew
With wavering flight, while fiercer grew,

Around, the battle yell.
The Border slogan rent the sky!
“ A Home! a Gordon !” was the cry;

Loud were the clanging blows; Advanced-forced back-now low, now high, The pennon

sunk and rose; As bends the bark’s mast in the gale, When rent are rigging, shrouds and sail,

It wavered 'mid the foes.

10 The clan Gordon from Badenoch, &

district in the south-east of Inver

ness-shire. 11 The Earls of Huntley and Home,

Scotch leaders.

12 Sir Edward Stanley, an English

knight. 13 The Earls of Lennox and Argyle

Scotch leaders.

With that, straight up the hill there rode
Two horsemen drenched with gore,
And in their arms, a helpless load,
A wounded knight they bore.
His hand still strained 14 the broken brand;
His arms were smeared with blood and sand;
Dragged from among the horses' feet,
With dinted shield, and helmet bent,
The falcon crest and plumage gone,
Can that be haughty Marmion !
Young Blount his armour did unlace,
And gazing on his ghastly face,
Said “ By Saint George, he's gone !
That spear-wound has our master sped,
And see the deep cut on his head !
Good night to Marmion !"

Clare drew her from the sight away,
Till pain rung forth a lowly moan,
And half he murmured : “ Is there none,
Of all my halls have nurst,
Page, squire, or groom, one cup to bring
Of blessed water from the spring,

To slake my dying thirst !”
O woman! in our hours of ease,
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please
And variable as the shade
By the light quivering aspen made ;
When pain and anguish wring the brow,
A ministering angel thou !

14 strained, grasped.

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