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Yet well I ken the banks where ama

EPITAPH ranths blow, Have traced the fount whence streams of STOP, Christian passer-by ! — Stop, child nectar flow.

of God, Bloom, O ye amaranths ! bloom for whom And read with gentle breast. Beneath this

ye may, For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, A poet lies, or that which once seem'd he. — away!

0, lift one thought in prayer for S. T. C.; With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I That he who many a year with toil of stroll:

breath And would you learn the spells that drowse Found death in life, may here find life in my soul ?

death! Work without Hope draws nectar in a Mercy for praise, to be forgiven for fame sieve,

He asked, and hoped, through Christ. Do And Hope without an object cannot live.

thou the same !

SIR WALTER SCOTT

THE LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL

[Publ. January, 1805) Dum relego, scripsisse pudet; quia plurima cerno, Me quoque qui feci judice,

digna lini.

| And tuned, to please a peasant's ear,

The barp a king had loved to hear.
He passed where Newark's stately tower
Looks out from Yarrow's birchen bower:
The Minstrel gazed with wishful eye-
No humbler resting-place was nigh. 30
With hesitating step at last
The embattled portal arch he passed,
Whose ponderous grate and massy bar
Had oft rolled back the tide of war,
But never closed the iron door
Against the desolate and poor.
The Duchess marked his weary pace,
His timid mien, and reverend face,
And bade her page the menials tell
That they should tend the old man well: 40
For she had known adversity,
Though born in such a high degree;
In pride of power, in beauty's bloom,
Had wept o'er Monmouth's bloody tomb!

TO THE

RIGHT HONORABLE CHARLES, EARL OF DALKEITH, THIS POEM IS INSCRIBED BY

THE AUTHOR

INTRODUCTION

THE way was long, the wind was cold,
The Minstrel was infirm and old;
His withered cheek and tresses gray
Seemed to have known a better day;
The harp, his sole remaining joy,
Was carried by an orphan boy.
The last of all the bards was be,
Who sung of Border chivalry;
For, well-a-day! their date was fled,
His tuneful brethren all were dead;
And he, neglected and oppressed,
Wished to be with them and at rest.
No more on prancing palfrey borne,
He carrolled, light as lark at morn;
No longer courted and caressed,
High placed in hall, a welcome guest,
He poured, to lord and lady gay,
The unpremeditated lay:
Old tiines were changed, old manners

gone;
A stranger filled the Stuarts' throne; 20
The bigots of the iron time
Had called his harmless art a crime.
A wandering barper, scorned and poor,
He begged his bread from door to door,

When kindness had his wants supplied,
And the old man was gratified,
Began to rise his minstrel pride;
And he began to talk anon
Of good Earl Francis, dead and gone,
And of Earl Walter, rest him God! 50
A braver ne'er to battle rode;
And how full many a tale he knew
Of the old warriors of Buceleuch:
And would the noble Duchess deign
To listen to an old man's strain,
Though stiff his band, his voice though

weak,
He thought even get, the sooth to speak,
That, if she loved the harp to hear,
He could make music to her ear.

10

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Came wildering o'er his aged brain -
He tried to tune bis barp in vain, 70 O Caledonia, stern and wild,
The pitying Duchess praised its chime, | Meet nurse for a poetic child!
And gave him heart, and gave him time, Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
Till every string's according glee

Land of the mountain and the food,

20 Was blended into harmony.

Land of my sires! what mortal hand And then, he said, he would full fain

Can e'er untie the filial band He could recall an ancient strain

That knits me to thy rugged strand! He never thought to sing again.

Still, as I view each well-known scene, It was not framed for village churls,

Think what is now and what hath been, But for high dames and mighty earls; Seems as to me, of all bereft, He had played it to King Charles the Sole friends thy woods and streams were Good

80

left; When he kept court in Holyrood;

And thus I love them better still,
And much he wished, yet feared, to try Even in extremity of ill.
The long-forgotten melody.

By Yarrow's stream still let me stray, 30 Amid the strings his fingers strayed,

Though none should guide my feeble And an uncertain warbling made,

way; And oft he shook his hoary head.

Still feel the breeze down Ettrick break, But when he caught the measure wild, Although it chill my witbered cheek; The old man raised his face and smiled; | Still lay my head by Teviot-stone, And lightened up his faded eye

Though there, forgotten and alone, With all a poet's ecstasy!

The bard may draw his parting groan. In varying cadence, soft or strong, He swept the sounding chords along:

III The present scene, the future lot,

Not scorned like me, to Branksome Hall His toils, his wants, were all forgot;

The minstrels came at festive call; Cold diffidence and age's frost

Trooping they came from near and far, In the full tide of song were lost;

The jovial priests of mirth and war; 40 Each blank, in faithless memory void, Alike for feast and fight prepared, The poet's glowing thought sypplied; Battle and banquet both they shared. And, while his harp responsive rung,

Of late, before each martial clan 'T was thus the LATEST MINSTREL sung. 100 | They blew their death-note in the van,

But now for every merry mate

Rose the portcullis' iron grate;
CANTO SIXTH

They sound the pipe, they strike the

string,

They dance, they revel, and they sing, BREATHES there the man, with soul so Till the rude turrets shake and ring.

dead,
Who never to himself hath said,

IV
This is my own, my native land ?
Me lists not at this tide declare

50 Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned, The splendor of the spousal rite, As home his footsteps he hath turned How mustered in the chapel fair

From wandering on a foreign strand ? Both maid and matron, squire and If such there breathe, go, mark him well;

knight; For him no minstrel raptures swell;

Me lists not tell of owches rare, High though his titles, proud his name, 9 Of mantles green, and braided hair, Boundless bis wealth as wish can claim,- | And kirtles furred with miniver; Despite those titles, power, and pelf, What plumage waved the altar round, The wretch, concentred all in self,

How spurs and ringing chainlets sound: Living, shall forfeit fair renown,

And bard it were for bard to speak And, doubly dying, shall go down

The changeful hue of Margaret's cheek, 60 To the vile dust from whence he sprung, That lovely bue which comes and flies, Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.

| As awe and sbame alternate rise !

70

Some bards have sung, the Ladye high
Chapel or altar came not nigh,
Nor durst the rites of spousal grace,
So much she feared each holy place.
False slanders these: - I trust right well,
She wrought not by forbidden spell,
For mighty words and signs have power
O'er sprites in planetary hour;
Yet scarce I praise their venturous part
Who tamper with such dangerous art.
But this for faithful truth I say, —

The Ladye by the altar stood,
Of sable velvet her array,

And on her head a crimson hood, With pearls embroidered and entwined, Guarded with gold, with ermine lined; A merlin sat upon her wrist, Held by a leash of silken twist.

VII The Goblin Page, omitting still No opportunity of ill, Strove now, while blood ran hot and high, To rouse debate and jealousy; Till Conrad, Lord of Wolfenstein, By nature fierce, and warm with wine, And now in humor highly crossed About some steeds his band had lost, High words to words succeeding still, Smote with his gauntlet stout Hunthill, 120 A hot and hardy Rutherford, Whom men called Dickon Draw-the-Sword. He took it on the page's saye, Hunthill bad driven these steeds away. Then Howard, Home, and Douglas rose, The kindling discord to compose; Stern Rutherford right little said, But bit bis glove and shook his head. A fortnight thence, in Inglewood, Stout Conrad, cold, and drenched in blood, His bosom gored with many a wound, Was by a woodman's lyme-dog found: Unknown the manner of his death, Gone was his brand, both sword and sheath; But ever from that time, 't was said, That Dickon wore a Cologne blade.

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VI

VIII

The spousal rites were ended soon; 'T was now the merry hour of noon, And in the lofty arched hall Was spread the gorgeous festival. Steward and squire, with heedful haste, Marshalled the rank of every guest; Pages, with ready blade, were there, The mighty meal to carve and share: O’er capon, heron-shew, and crane, And princely peacock's gilded train, And o'er the boar-head, garnished brave, And cygnet from Saint Mary's wave, O'er ptarmigan and venison, The priest had spoke his benison. Then rose the riot and the din, Above, beneath, without, within ! For, from the lofty balcony, Rung trumpet, shalm, and psaltery: Their clanging bowls old warriors qnaffed, Loudly they spoke and loudly laughed; 100 Whispered young knights, in tone more

mild, To ladies fair, and ladies smiled. The hooded hawks, high perched on

beam, The clamor joined with whistling scream, And flapped their wings and shook their

bells,
In concert with the stag-hounds' yells.
Round go the flasks of ruddy wine,
From Bordeaux, Orleans, or the Rhine;
Their tasks the busy sewers ply,
And all is mirth and revelry.

110

The dwarf, who feared his master's eye Might his foul treachery espie, Now sought the castle buttery, Where many a yeoman, bold and free, 140 Revelled as merrily and well As those that sat in lordly selle. Watt Tinlinn there did frankly raise The pledge to Arthur Fire-the-Braes; And he, as by his breeding bound, To Howard's merrymen sent it round. To quit them, on the English side, Red Roland Forster loudly cried, 'A deep carouse to yon fair bride!' At every pledge, from vat and pail, 150 Foamed forth in floods the nut-brown ale, While shout the riders every one; Such day of mirth ne'er cheered their clan, Since old Buccleuch the name did gain, When in the cleuch the buck was ta'en.

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And he swore her death, ere he would see

A Scottish knight the lord of all !

XII

With bitter gibe and taunting jest;
Told how he fled at Solway strife,
And how Hob Armstrong cheered his wife;
Then, shunning still his powerful arm,
At unawares he wrought him harm;
From trencher stole his choicest cheer,
Dashed from his lips his can of beer;
Then, to his knee sly creeping on,
With bodkin pierced him to the bone:
The venomed wound and festering joint 170
Long after rued that bodkin's point.
The startled yeoman swore and spurned,
And board and flagons overturned.
Riot and clamor wild began;
Back to the hall the urchin ran,
Took in a darkling nook his post,
And grinned, and muttered, Lost I lost !

lost!'

That wine she had not tasted well,

(The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall) When dead, in her true love's arms, she

fell, For Love was still the lord of all. 210

He pierced her brother to the heart, Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle

wall;— So perish all would true love part,

That Love may still be lord of all !

And then he took the cross divine,
Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle

wall,
And died for her sake in Palestine,

So Love was still the lord of all. Now all ye lovers, that faithful prove, (The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall) 220 Pray for their souls who died for love, For Love shall still be lord of all!

By this, the dame, lest farther fray
Should mar the concord of the day,
Had bid the minstrels tune their lay. 180
And first stepped forth old Albert Grame,
The minstrel of that ancient name:
Was none who struck the harp so well
Within the Land Debatable;
Well friended too, his hardy kin,
Whoever lost, were sure to win;
They sought the beeves that made their

broth
In Scotland and in England both.
In homely guise, as nature bade,
His simple song the Borderer said.

XIII
As ended Albert's simple lay,

Arose a bard of loftier port,
| For sonnet, rhyme, and roundelay

Renowned in haughty Henry's court:
There rung thy harp, unrivalled long,
Fitztraver of the silver song!
The gentle Surrey loved his lyre —

Who has not heard of Surrey's fame ? 230 His was the hero's sonl of fire,

And his the bard's immortal name,
And his was love, exalted high
By all the glow of chivalry.

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XI

ALBERT GRÆME It was an English ladye bright,

(The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall) And she would marry a Scottish knight,

For Love will still be lord of all.

XIV

Blithely they saw the rising sun,

When he shone fair on Carlisle wall: But they were sad ere day was done,

Though Love was still the lord of all.

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Her sire gave brooch and jewel fine,

Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall; Her brother gave but a flask of wine, 201

For ire that Love was lord of all. For she had lands both meadow and lea, Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle

wall;

XV

Fitztraver, 0, what tongue may say The pangs thy faithful bosom knew,

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