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And, spattering foul, a shower of blood
Next, dropp'd from high a mangled arm;
The fingers strain'd an half-drawn blade:
Woe to Moneira's sullen rills!
Woe to Glenfinlas' dreary glen!
The pride of Albin's line is o'er,
EVE OF SAINT JOHN.
THE Baron of Smaylho'me rose with day,
Without stop or stay, down the rocky way
He went not with the bold Buccleuch,
He went not 'gainst the English yew,
Yet his plate-jack* was brac'd, and his helmet was lac'd,
And his vaunt-brace of proof he wore;
At his saddle-gerthe was a good steel sperthe,
The Baron return'd in three days' space,
And weary was his courser s pace,
He came not from where Ancram Moor
Ran red with English blood;
Where the Douglas true, and the bold Buccleuch, 'Gainst keen lord Evers stood.
Yet was his helmet hack'd and hew'd,
His acton pierc d and tore;
His axe and his dagger with blood embru'd,
But it was not English gore.
He lighted at the Chapellage,
He held him close and still;
And he whistled thrice for his little foot-page,
His name was English Will.
"Come thou hither, my little foot-page;
Come hither to my knee;
Thou art young, and tender of age,
I think thou art true to me.
"Come, tell me all that thou hast seen,
And look thou tell me true!
Since I from Smaylho me tow'r have been,
"My lady, each night, sought the lonely light,
For, from height to height, the beacons bright
"The bittern clamour'd from the moss,
The wind blew loud and shrill;
The plate-jack is coat armour; the vaunt-brace, or wam-brace,
armour for the body; the sperthe, a battle-de.
Yet the craggy pathway sho did cross,
"I watch'd her steps, and silent came
No watchnian stood by the dreary flame;
"The second night I kept her in sight,
Till to the fire she came,
And, by Mary's might! an armed Knight
"And many a word that warlike lord
But the rain fell fast, and loud blew the blast, And I heard not what they were.
"The third night there the sky was fair,
And the mountain biast was still,
As again I watch'd the secret pair,
"And I heard her name in the midnight hour, And name this holy eve;
And say, Come this night to thy lady's bower; Ask no bold Baron's leave.
"He lifts his spear with the bold Buccleuch;
The door she'll undo to her knight so true,
"I cannot come; I must not come;
I dare not come to thee;
On the eve of Saint John I must wander alone: In thy bower I may not be.'
"Now, out on thee, faint-hearted knight !
For the eve is sweet, and when lovers meet,
"And I'li chain the blood-hound, and the warder
shall not sound,
And rushes shall be strew'd on the stair;
So, by the black rood-stone, and by holy St John,
"Though the blood-hound be mute, and the rush
And the warder his bugle should not blow, Yet there sleepeth a priest in the chamber to the east,
And my foot-step he would know.'
"O fear not the priest, who sleepeth to the east!
"He turn'd him around, and grimly he frown'd;
He who says the mass-rite for the soul of that knight,
May as well say mass for me.
At the lone midnight hour, when bad spirits
In thy chamber will I be.'
With that he was gone, and my lady left alone,
Then changed, I trow, was that bold Baron's brow,
"Now, tell me the mien of the knight thou hast
For, by Mary, he shall die!"
"His arms shone full bright, in the beacon's red light:
His plume it was scarlet and blue;
On his shield was a hound, in a silver leash bound,
"Thou liest, thou liest, thou little foot-page,
For that knight is cold, and low laid in the mould,
The black-rood of Melrose was a crucifix of black marble, and of superior sanctity.
+ Eildon-tree is said to be the spot where Thomas the Rhymer uttered his prophecies.
"Yet hear but my word, my noble lord!
The bold Baron's brow then changed, I trow,
"The grave is deep and dark-and the corpse is
stiff and stark
So I may not trust thy tale.
"Where fair Tweed flows round holy Melrose, And Eildon slopes to the plain,
Full three nights ago, by some secret foe,
That gay gallant was slain.
"The varying light deceived thy sight,
And the wild winds drowned the name;
For the Dryburgh bells ring, and the white monks
For Sir Richard of Coldinghame!"
He pass'd the court-gate, and he op'd the tow'r grate,
And he mounted the narrow stair
To the bartizan-seat, where, with maids that on
He found his lady fair.
That lady sat in mournful mood;
Look'd over hill and dale;
Over Tweed is fair flood, and Mertoun's wood,
And all down Teviotdale.
"Now hail, now hail, thou lady bright !"
What news, what news, from Ancram fight?
"The Ancram Moor is red with gore,
For many a southern fell;
And Buccleuch has charged ns, evermore
The lady blush'd red, but nothing she said;