Page images

Scarce were the piteous accents said,
When, with the baron's casque,15 the maid
To the nigh streamlet ran :
Forgot were hatred, wrongs, and fears;
The plaintive voice alone she hears,

Sees but the dying man.
She stooped her by the runnel's side,

But in abhorrence backward drew;
For, oozing from the mountain wide
Where raged the war, a dark red tide

Was curdling in the streamlet blue.
Where shall she turn ?-behold her mark

A little fountain-cell,
Where water, clear as diamond spark,

In a stone basin fell. Above, some half-worn letters say: " Drink , weary • pilgrim . drink . and pray . for the kind . soul.of. Sybil , Grey.

wako . Wnilt . this . cross , and well." She filled the helm, and back she hied, And with surprise and joy espied

A Monk supporting Marmion's head;
A pious man, whom duty brought,
To dubious verge of battle fought,

To shrive the dying, bless the dead.
With fruitless labour, Clara bound,
And strove to stanch, the gushing wound:
The Monk, with unavailing cares,
Exhausted all the Church's prayers ;



15 casque, helmet. 16 runnel, brook,

17 shrive, to hear confession and

grant absolution.

Ever, he said, that, close and near,
A lady's voice was in his ear,
And that the priest he could not hear ;

For that she ever sung, " In the lost battle, borne down by the flying, Where mingles war's rattle with groans of the dying!18

So the notes rung ;
" Avoid thee, Fiend !-with cruel hand,
Shake not the dying sinner's sand !
Oh, look, my son, upon yon sign
Of the Redeemer's grace divine ;

Oh think on faith and bliss !-
By many a death-bed I have been,
And many a sinner's parting seen,

But never aught like this."
The war, that for a space did fail,
Now trebly thundering, swelled the gale,

And “ STANLEY !" was the cry:
A light on Marmion's visage spread,

And fired his glazing eye:
With dying hand above his head,
He shook the fragment of his blade,

And shouted " Victory ! -
Charge, Chester, charge; On, Stanley, on;" .
Were the last words of Marmion.

But as they left19 the darkening heath,
More desperate grew the strife of death.
The English shafts in volleys hailed,

In headlong charge their horse assailed : 18 Part of a song once sung by one ho 19 i.e., the Monk and Clara, who had


witnessed the


Front, flank, and rear, the squadrons sweep,
To break the Scottish circle deep,

That fought around their King.
But yet, though thick the shafts as snow,
Though charging knights like whirlwinds go,
Though bill-meno ply the ghastly blow,

Unbroken was the ring ;
The stubborn spearmen still made good,
Their dark impenetrable wood,
Each stepping where his comrade stood,

The instant that he fell.
No thought was there of dastard flight;
Linked in the serried20 phalanxa tight,
Groom fought like noble, squire like knight,

As fearlessly and well
Till utter darkness closed her wing
O’er their thin host and wounded King.
Then skilful Surrey's sage commands
Led back from strife his shattered bands;

And from the charge they drew,
As mountain-waves, from wasted lands

Sweep back to ocean blue.
Then did their loss his foemen know ;
Their King, their Lords, their mightiest low,
They melted from the field, as snow,
When streams are swoln, and south winds blow,

Dissolves in silent dew.
Tweed's echoes heard the ceaseless plash,

19 bill-men, men armed with an

axe, with a hooked point above it,
on a long pole.

20 serried, close, crowded.
21 phalanx, a close body of sol-



many a broken band,
Disordered, through her currents dash,

To gain the Scottish land ;
To town and tower, to town and dale,
To tell red Flodden's dismal tale,
And raise the universal wail.

Tradition, legend, tune, and song,
Shall many an age that wail prolong:
Still, from the sire, the son shall hear
Of the stern strife, and carnage drear

Of Flodden's fatal field,
Where shivered was fair Scotland's spear,

And broken was her shield !


JAMES MONTGOMERY.-Born, 1771; Died, 1851.

James Montgomery was born in Irvine, Ayrshire, and though one of the most blameless of men, was, in early life, twice imprisoned by the wretched Government of the day, for his zeal for Reform, then greatly needed in England. He was finally released, and from that time till 1854, was connected with the Press, in Sheffield. His poems are numerous, and include, “ The World before the Flood," " The Pelican Island," "The West Indies," &c.


THERE is a land, of every land the pride,
Beloved by Heaven o'er all the world beside;
Where brighter suns dispense serener light,
And milder moons emparadise the night;

[ocr errors]

A land of beauty, virtue, valour, truth,
Time-tutored age, and love-exalted youth.
The wandering mariner, whose eye explores
The wealthiest isles, the most enchanting shores,
Views not a realm so beautiful and fair,
Nor breathes the spirit of a purer air:
In every clime the magnet of his soul,
Touched by remembrance, trembles to that pole.
For in this land of Heaven's peculiar grace,
The heritage of nature's noblest race,
There is a spot of earth supremely blest,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest,
Where man, creation's tyrant, casts aside
His sword and sceptre, pageantry and pride,
While in his softened looks benignly” blend
The sire, the son, the husband, brother, friend:
Here woman reigns; the mother, daughter, wife,
Strew with fresh flowers the narrow way of life!
In the clear heaven of her delightful eye
An angel-guard of loves and graces lie;
Around her knees domestic duties meet,
And fireside pleasures gambols at her feet.
Where shall that land, that spot of earth be found ?
Art thou a man?-a patriot ?-look around;
Oh, thou shalt find, howe'er thy footsteps roam,
That land thy country, and that spot thy home!


pageantry, pomp, display, 2 benignly, kindly, lovingly.

gambol, to play and romp.

« PreviousContinue »