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Although against them come,
Of gallant Gordons many a one,
And many a stubborn Highlandman,
And many a rugged Border clan,
With Huntly, and with Home.
Far on the left, unseen the while,
Stanley broke Lennox and Argyle;
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.
No longer Blount the view could bear:
"By Heaven, and all its saints! I swear,
I will not see it lost!
Fitz-Eustace, you with Lady Clare
May bid your beads, and patter prayer,
I gallop to the host!"
And to the fray he rode amain,
Followed by all the archer train.
The fiery youth, with desperate charge,
Made, for a space, an opening large—
The rescued banner rose-
But darkly closed the war around,
Like pine-tree, rooted from the ground,
It sank among the foes.
Then Eustace mounted too-yet stayed,
As loth to leave the helpless maid,
When, fast as shaft can fly,
Bloodshot his eyes, his nostrils spread,
The loose rein dangling from his head,
Housing and saddle bloody red,
Lord Marmion's steed rushed by;
And Eustace, maddening at the sight,
A look and sign to Clara cast,
To mark he would return in haste,
Then plunged into the fight.
Ask me not what the maiden feels,
Left in that dreadful hour alone:
Perchance her reason stoops or reels;
Perchance a courage, not her own,
Braces her mind to desperate tone.
The scattered van of England wheels;
She only said, as loud in air
The tumult roared, "Is Wilton there?"
They fly, or maddened by despair,
Fight but to die.-"Is Wilton there?"-
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 the broken brand;
His arms were smeared with blood, and sand;
Dragged from among the horses' feet,
With dinted shield, and helmet beat,
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!"....
"Unnurtured Blount!-thy brawling cease:
He opes his eyes," said Eustace; "peace!"
When, doff'd his casque, he felt free air,
Around 'gan Marmion wildly stare!-
"Where's Harry Blount? Fitz-Eustace where?
Linger ye here, ye hearts of hare!
Redeem my pennon,-charge again!
Cry- Marmion to the rescue!'-Vain!
Last of my race, on battle plain
That shout shall ne'er be heard again!--
Yet my last thought is England's :-fly,
To Dacre bear my signet-ring;
Tell him his squadrons up to bring.-
Fitz-Eustace, to Lord Surrey hie:
Tunstall lies dead upon the field;
His life-blood stains the spotless shield;
Edmund is down-my life is reft-
The admiral alone is left.
Let Stanley charge with spur of fire-
With Chester charge, and Lancashire,
Full upon Scotland's central host,
Or victory and England's lost.
Must I bid twice? Hence, varlets! fly
Leave Marmion here alone-to die!"
They parted, and alone he lay;
Clare drew her from the sight away,
Till pain wrung forth a lowly moan,
And half he murmur'd-" 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!
Scarce were the piteous accents said,
When, with the Baron's casque, 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 stoop'd 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,
44 Drink, weary. pilgrim. drink, and. pray.
For. the, kind. soul, of. Sybil. Grey.
Who. built, this, cross, and, well."
She fill'd 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 shrieve the dying, bless the dead.
Deep drank Lord Marmion of the wave, And as she stoop'd his brow to lave"Is it the hand of Clare," he said, "Or injured Constance, bathes my head? Then, as remembrance rose,— "Speak not to me of shrift or prayer! I must redress her woes.
Short space, few words, are mine to spare;
Forgive and listen, gentle Clare!"
"Alas!" she said, "the while,-
O think of your immortal weal!
In vain for Constance is your zeal;
She died at Holy Isle."-
Lord Marmion started from the ground,
As light as if he felt no wound;
Though in the action burst the tide
In torrents from his wounded side.
“Then it was truth!"-he said-" I knew
That the dark presage must be true.-
I would the Fiend, to whom belongs
The vengeance due to all her wrongs,
Would spare me but a day!
For wasting fire, and dying groan,
And priests slain on the altar stone,
Might bribe him for delay.
may not be !-this dizzy trance-
Curse on yon base marauder's lance,
And doubly cursed my failing brand!
A sinful heart makes feeble hand."-
Then, fainting, down on earth he sunk,
Supported by the trembling Monk.
With fruitless labour, Clara bound,
And strove to staunch the gushing wound;
The Monk, with unavailing cares,
Exhausted all the church's prayers;
Ever he said, that, close and near,