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A wandering harper, scorned and poor,
He begged his bread from door to door;
And tuned, to please a peasant's ear,
The harp a king had loved to hear.
THE feast was over in Branksome Tower,
And the Ladye had gone to her secret bower;
Her bower that was guarded by word and by spell,
Deadly to hear, and deadly to tell-
No living wight, save the Ladye alone,
Had dared to cross the threshold stone.
The tables were drawn, it was idlesse all;
Knight, and page, and household squire Loitered through the lofty hall,
Or crowded round the ample fire ; The stag-hounds, weary with the chase,
Lay stretched upon the rushy floor, And urged, in dreams, the forest race,
From Teviot-stone to Eskdale Moor.
Nine-and-twenty knights of fame
Hung their shields in Branksome Hall; Nine-and-twenty squires of name
Brought them their steeds from bower to stall: Nine-and-twenty yeomen tall Waited, duteous on them all :
They were all knights of metal true,
Kinsmen to the bold Buccleuch. Ten of them were sheathed in steel, With belted sword, and spur on heel : They quitted not their harness bright, Neither by day, nor yet by night;
They lay down to rest,
With corslet laced,
Pillowed on buckler cold and hard ;
They carved at the meal
With gloves of steel, And they drank the red wine through the helmet
Ten squires, ten yeomen, mail-clad men,
Waited the beck of the warders ten;
Thirty steeds, both fleet and wight,
Stood saddled in stable day and night,
Barbed with frontlet of steel, I trow,
And with Jedwood-axe at saddle-bow;
A hundred more fed free at stall :-
Such was the custom at Branksome Hall.
Why do these steeds stand ready dight ?
Why watch these warriors, armed by night ?—
They watch to hear the blood-hound baying ;
They watch to hear the war-horn braying;
To see Saint George's red-cross streaming ;
To see the midnight beacon gleaming;
They watch against Southern foes and guile,
Lest Scroop, or Howard, or Percy's powers,
Threaten Branksome's lordly towers,
From Warkworth, or Naworth, or merry Carlisle.
may it be, the heavy sound Which moans old Branksome's turrets round;
The Ladye knew it well!
It was the Spirit of the Flood that spoke,
And he called on the Spirit of the Fell
RIVER SPIRIT. “Sleep'st thou, brother?”
_“ Brother, nay: On my hills the moon-beams play. From Craik Cross to Skelf hill
By every rill in every glen,
Merry elves their morris pacing,
To aërial minstrelsy,
Emerald rings on brown heath tracing
Trip it deft and merrily.
Up, and mark their nimble feet!
Up, and list their music sweet!”
RIVER SPIRIT. “Tears of an imprisoned maiden
Mix with my polluted stream ;
Margaret of Branksome, sorrow-laden,
Mourns beneath the moon's pale beam.
Tell me, thou who view'st the stars,
When shall cease these feudal jars ?
What shall be the maiden's fate ?
Who shall be the maiden's mate?”
“ Arthur's slow wain his course doth roll,
In utter darkness round the pole ;
The Northern Bear lowers black and grim ;
Orion's studded belt is dim :
Twinkling faint, and distant far,
Shimmers through mist each planet star;
Ill may I read their high decree!
But no kind influence deign they shower,
On Teviot's tide, and Branksome's Tower,
Till pride be quelled, and love be free."
BREATHES there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land ?
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned,
From wandering on a foreign strand ?
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.
O, young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;
And save his good broad-sword he weapons
He rode all unarmed, and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.
He stayed not for brake, and he stopped not for stone,
He swam the Eske river, where ford there was none;
But, ere he alighted at Netherby gate,
The bride had consented, the gallant came late:
For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war,
Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.
So boldly he entered the Netherby Hall,
Among bride's-men, and kinsmen, and brothers and all ;
Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword,
(For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word,)
“O come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,
Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?”
“I long wooed your daughter, my suit ye denied
Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide-
And now I am come, with this lost love of mine,
To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine,
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,
That would gladly be bride to the young
Lochinvar." The bride kissed the goblet; the knight took it up, He quaffed off the wine, and he threw down the
cup. She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sigh, With a smile on her lips, and a tear in her eye.