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THE

LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.

CANTO THIRD.

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THE

LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.

CANTO THIRD.

I.

AND said I that my limbs were old,
And said I that my blood was cold,
And that my kindly fire was fled,
And my poor wither'd heart was dead,

And that I might not sing of love?
How could I to the dearest theme,
That ever warm’d a minstrels Uream,

So foul, so false a recreant prove! How could I name love's very name, Nor wake my heart to notes of flame !

II.

In peace, Love tunes the shepherd's reed;
In war, he mounts the warrior's steed;

In balls, in gay attire is seen ;
In hamlets, dances on the green.
Love rules the court, the camp,

the grove,
And men below, and saints above;
For love is heaven, and heaven is love.

III.

So thought Lord Cranstoun, as I ween,
While, pondering deep the tender scene,
He rode through Branksome's hawthorn green.
But the page shouted wild and shrill,

And scarce his helmet could he don,
When downward from the shady hill

A stately knight came pricking on.
That warrior's steed, so dapple-gray,
Was dark with sweat, and splash'd with clay;

His armour red with many a stain :
He seem'd in such a weary plight,
As if he had ridden the livelong night;

For it was William of Deloraine.

IV.

'1

But no whit weary did he seem,
When, dancing in the sunny beam,
He mark'd the crane on the Baron's crest;?
For his ready spear was in his rest.

Few were the words, and stern and high,

1 The crest of the Cranstouns, in allusion to their name, is a crane dormant, holding a stone in his foot, with an emphatic Border motto, Thou shalt want ere I want.

That mark'd the foemen's feudal bate;
For question fierce, and proud reply,

Gave signal soon of dire debate.
Their very coursers seem'd to know
That each was other's mortal foe,
And snorted fire, when wheeld around,
To give each knight his vantage-ground.

V.

.

In rapid round the Baron bent ;

He sigh'd a sigh, and pray'd a prayer; The prayer was to his patron saint,

The sigh was to his ladye fair. Stout Deloraine nor sigh'd nor pray'd, Nor saint, nor ladye, call’d to aid ; But he stoop'd his head, and couch'd his spear, And spurr'd his steed to full career. The meeting of these champions proud Seem'd like the bursting thundercloud.

VI. Stern was the dint the Borderer lent ! The stately Baron backwards bent ; Bent backwards to his horse's tail, And his plumes went scattering on the gale ; The tough ash spear, so stout and true, Into a thousand flinders flew. But Cranstoun's lance, of more avail, Pierced through, like silk, the Borderer's mail; Through shield, and jack, and acton, past,

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