Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

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 Or blessed water from the spring,

To slake my dying thirst!"

0, 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's side,
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. find. Soul.of. Sybil. Gray.

Who .built. this . cross. and. well.
She fillid 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.

Short space,

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.

few words, are mine to spare; Forgive and listen, gentle Clare!"

“Alas!” she said, “the while, 0, 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.

It 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 stanch the gushing wound;
The Monk, with unavailing cares ,
Exhausted all the Church's prayers.
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!"

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

0, 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.”

that for a space did fail,
Now trebly thundering swell’d 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.

The war,

By this, though deep the evening fell,
Still rose the battle's deadly swell,
For still the Scots, around their King,
Unbroken, fought in desperate ring.
Where's now their victor vaward wing,

Where Huntly, and where Home?
O for a blast of that dread horn,
On Fontarabian echoes borne,

That to King Charles did come,
When Rowland brave, and Olivier,
And every paladin and peer,

On Roncesvalles died ! Such blast might warn them, not in vain, To quit the plunder of the slain, And turn the doubtful day again,

While yet on Flodden side,
Afar, the Royal Standard flies,
And round it toils, and bleeds, and dies,

Our Caledonian pride!
In vain the wish
While spoil and havoc mark their way,
Near Sybil's Cross the plunderers stray.
“O, Lady," cried the Monk, "away!"

And placed her on her steed,
And led her to the chapel fair,

Of Tillmouth upon Tweed. There all the night they spent in prayer, And at the dawn of morning, there She met her kinsman, Lord Fitz-Clare.

for far away,

But as they left the dark’ning heath,
More desperate grew the strife of death.
The English shafts in volleys haild,
In headlong charge their horse assail'd;
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-men ply the ghastly blow,

Unbroken was the ring;
The stubborn spear-men still made good
Each stepping where his comrade stood ,

The instant that he fell.
No thought was there of dastard flight;
Link'd in the serried phalanx 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 shatter'd 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,

While many a broken band ,
Disorder'd, through her currents dash,

To gain the Scottish land;
To town and tower, to down 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 bear
of the stern strife, and carnage drear,

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

And broken was her shield!

« ForrigeFortsæt »