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THE LAST MINSTREL. 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 he, 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 carolled, 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 times were changed, old manners gone; A stranger filled the Stuarts' throne; The bigots of the iron time Had called his harmless art a crime. 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. He passed where Newark's stately tower Looks out from Yarrow's birchen bower: The Minstrel gazed with wishful eyeNo humbler resting-place was nigh. 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: For she had known adversity, Though born in such a high degree; In pride of power, in beauty's bloom, Hnd wept o'er Monmouth's bloody tomb.

The humble boon was soon obtain'd; The aged Minstrel audience gained. But, when he reached the room of state, Where she, with all her ladies, sate, Perchance he wished his boon denied : For, when to tune his barp he tried, His trembling hand had lost the ease, Which marks security to please; And scenes, long past, of joy and pain, Came wildering o'er his aged brainIle tried to tune his harp in vain. The pitying Duchess praised its chime, And gave him heart, and gave him time, Till every string's according glee Was blended into harmony. And then, he said, he would full fain He could recall an ancient strain, He never thought to sing again. It was not framed for village churls, But for high dames and mighty earls; He had played it to King Charles the Good, When he kept court in Holyrood; And much he wished, yet feared, to try, The long-forgotten melody. Amid the strings his fingers strayed, And an uncertain warbling made, And oft he shook his hoary head. But when he caught the measure wild, The old man raised his face, and smiled; And lightened up his faded eye, With all a poet's ecstacy! In varying cadence, soft or strong, He swept the sounding chords along: The present scene, the future lot, His toils, his wants, were all forgot: Cold diffidence and age's frost, In the full tide of song were lost; Each blank, in faithless memory void, The poet's glowing thought supplied ; And, while his harp responsive rung, 'Twas thus the Latest Minstrel sung.

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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!
A braver ne'er to battle rode;
And how full many tale he knew,

MARGARET AT HER FATHER'S BIER. Can piety the discord heal,

Or staunch the death-feud's enmity? Can Christian lore, can patriot real,

Can love of blessed charity?

In old Lord David's western tower, No! vainly to each holy shrine,

And listens to a heavy sound, In mutual pilgrimage they drew;

That moans the mossy turrets round. Implored, in vain, the grace divine

For chiefs, their own red falchions slew : While Cessford owns the rule of Car,

DELORAINE GOES TO THE GRAVE OF While Ettrick boasts the line of Scott,

The slaughtered chiefs, the mortal jar,
The havoc of the feudal war,

If thou would'st view fair Melrose aright,
Shall never, never be forgot!

Go visit it by the pale moon-light;

For the gay beams of lightsome day In sorrow, o'er Lord Walter's bier

Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray. The warlike foresters had bent;

When the broken arches are black in night,

And each shafted oriel glimmers white;
And many a flower, and many a tear,
Old Teviot's maids and matrons lent:

When the cold light's uncertain shower

Streams on the ruined central tower; But o'er her warrior's bloody bier

When buttress and buttress, alternately,
The Ladye dropped nor flower nor tear!

Seem framed of ebon and ivory;
Vengeance, deep-brooding o'er the slain,
Had locked the source of softer woe;

When silver edges the imagery,
And burning pride, and high disdain,

And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;

When distant Tweed is heard to rave,
Forbade the rising tear to flow;
Until, amid his sorrowing clan,

And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave, Her son lisped from the nurse's knee

Then go-but go

alone the while“ And, if I live to be a man,

Then view St. David's ruin'd pile; My father's death revenged shall be!"

And, home returning, soothly swear, Then fast the mother's tears did seek

Was never scene so sad and fair! To dew the infant's kindling cheek.

Short halt did Deloraine make there; All loose her negligent attire,

Little recked he of the scene so fair: All loose her golden hair,

With dagger's hilt, on the wicket strong, Hung Margaret o'er her slaughtered sire,

He struck full loud, and struck full long. And wept in wild despair.

The porter hurried to the gateBut not alone the bitter tear

“ Who knocks so loud, and knocks so late?"Had filial grief supplied ;

“ From Branksome 1,” the warrior cried; For hopeless love, and anxious fear,

And strait the wicket opened wide; Had lent their mingled tide:

For Branksome's chiefs had in battle stood, Nor in her mother's altered eye

To fence the rights of fair Melrose; Dared she to look for sympathy.

And lands and livings, many a rood, Her lover, 'gainst her father's clan,

Had gifted the shrine for their soul's repose. With Car in arms had stood,

Bold Deloraine his errand said;
When Mathouse-burn to Melrose ran,
All purple with their blood;

The porter bent his humble head;

With torch in hand, and feet unshod,
And well she knew her mother dread,
Before Lord Cranstoun she should wed,

And noiseless step, the path he trod :

The arched cloisters, far and wide,
Would see her on her dying bed.
Of noble race the Ladye came;

Rang to the warrior's clanking stride;
Her father was a clerk of fame,

Till, stooping low his lofty crest, Of Bethune's line of Picardie:

He entered the cell of the ancient priest, He learned the art, that none may name,

And lifted his barred aventayle,

To hail the monk of St. Mary's aisle.
Io Padua, far beyond the sea.
Men said, he changed his mortal frame

“ The Ladye of Branksome greets thee by me; By feat of magic mystery;

Says, that the fated hour is come, For when, in studious mood, he paced

And that to-night I shall watch with thee, St. Andrew's cloistered hall,

To win the treasure of the tomb."His form no darkening shadow traced

From sackcloth couch the monk arosé, Upon the sunny wall!

With toil his stiffened limbs he reared;

A hundred years had flung their snows
And of his skill, as bards avow,

On his thin locks and floating beard.
He taught that Ladye fair,
Till to her bidding she could bow

And strangely on the knight looked he,
The viewless forms of air.

And his blue eyes gleamed wild and wide; And now she sits in secret bower,

“ And, dar'st thou, warrior! seek to see

What heaven and hell alike would hide?

O fading honours of the dead!
My breast, in belt of iron pent,

O high ambition, lowly laid !
With shirt of hair and scourge of thorn,
For threescore years, in penance spent,

The moon on the east oriel shone
My knees those flinty stones have worn;

Through slender shafts of shapely stone, Yet all too little to atone

By foliaged tracery combined; For knowing what should ne'er be known.

Thou would'st have thought some fairy's hand Would'st thou thy every future year

'Twixt poplars straight the ozier wand, In ceaseless prayer and penance drie,

In many a freakish knot, had twined; Yet wait thy latter end with fear

Then framed a spell, when the work was done, Then, daring warrior, follow me!"

And changed the willow-wreaths to stone.

The silver light, so pale and faint, « Penance, father, will I none;

Shewed many a prophet, and many a saint, Prayer know I hardly one;

Whose image on the glass was dyed; For mass or prayer can I rarely tarry,

Full in the midst, his cross of red Save to patter an Ave Mary,

Triumphant Michael brandished, When I ride on a Border foray:

And trampled the apostate's pride.
Other prayer can I none;

The moon-beam kissed the holy pane,
So speed me my errand, and let me be gone."- And threw on the pavement a bloody stain.
Again on the knight looked the churchman old, They sate them down on a marble stone,
And again he sighed heavily ;

A Scottish monarch slept below;
For he had himself been a warrior bold,

Thus spoke the monk, in solemn tone-
And fought in Spain and Italy.

“ I was not always a man of woe;
And he thought on the days that were long since by, For Paynim countries I have trod,
When his limbs were strong, and his courage was And fought beneath the cross of God:
Now slow, and faint, he led the way, (high :- Now, strange to my eyes thine arms appear,
Where, cloistered round, the garden lay;

And their iron clang sounds strange to my ear.
The pillared arches were over their head,
And beneath their feet were the bones of the dead.

“ In these far climes, it was my lot

To meet the wond'rous Michael Scott; Spreading herbs, and flowerets bright,

A wizard of such dreaded fame, Glistened with the dew of night;

That when, in Salamanca's cave, Nor herb, nor floweret, glistened there,

Him listed his magic wand to wave, But was carved in the cloister arches as fair.

The bells would ring in Notre Dame! The monk gazed long on the lovely moon,

Some of his skill he taught to me; Then into the night he looked forth ;

And, Warrior, I could say to thee And red and bright the streamers light

The words that cleft Eildon hills in three, Were dancing in the glowing north.

And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone. So had lie seen, in fair Castile,

But to speak them were a deadly sin;
The youth in ing squadrons start; And for having but thought them my heart withia,
Sudden the flying jennet wheel,

A triple penance must be done.
And hurl the unexpected dart.
He knew, by the streamers that shot so bright,

“ When Michael lay on his dying bed, That spirits were riding the northern light.

His conscience was awakened ;

He bethought him of his sinful deed, By a steel-clenched postern door,

And he gave me a sign to come with speed: They entered now the chancel tall;

I was in Spain when the morning rose, The darkened roof rose high aloof

But I stood by his bed ere evening close.
On pillars, lofty, and light, and small :

The words may not again be said,
The key-stone, that locked each ribbed aisle, That he spoke to me, on death-bed laid;
Was a fleur-de-lis, or a quatre-feuille;

They would rend this Abbaye's massy nave,
The corbells were carved grotesque and grim; And pile it in heaps above his grave.
And the pillars, with clustered shafts so trim,
With base and with capital flourished around,

“ I swore to bury his mighty book, Seemed bundles oflances which garlands had bound.

That never mortal might therein look;

And never to tell where it was hid, Full many a scutcheon and banner, riven,

Save at his Chief of Branksome's need; Shook to the cold night-wind of heaven,

And when that need was past and o'er, Around the screened altar's pale;

Again the volume to restore. And there the dying lamps did burn,

I buried him on St. Michael's night, Before thy low and lonely urn,

When the bell tolled one, and the moon was bright, O gallant chief of Otterburne!

And I dug his chamber among the dead, And thine, dark knight of Liddesdale !

When the floor of the chancel was stained red,

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Till the toil-drops fell from his brows, like rain.
It was by dint of passing strength,

That he moved the massy stone at length.
I would you had been there to see
How the light broke forth so gloriously,
Streamed upward to the chancel roof,
And through the galleries far aloof!

No earthly flame blazed e'er so bright:
It shone like heaven's own blessed light;
And, issuing from the tomb,
Shewed the monk's cowl, and visage pale,
Danced on the dark-browed warrior's mail,
And kissed his waving plume.

Before their eyes the wizard lay,
As if he had not been dead a day.
His hoary beard in silver rolled,
He seemed some seventy winters old;

A palmer's amice wrapped him round, With a wrought Spanish baldric bound,

Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea: His left hand held his book of might; A silver cross was in his right;

The lamp was placed beside his knee: High and majestic was his look, At which the fellest fiends had shook, And all unruffled was his face; They trusted his soul had gotten grace.

Often had William of Deloraine
Rode through the battle's bloody plain,
And trampled down the warriors slain,

And neither known remorse or awe; Yet now remorse and awe he owned;

His breath came thick, his head swam round, When this strange scene of death he saw. Bewildered and unnerved he stood,

And the priest prayed fervently, and loud: With eyes averted prayed he;

He might not endure the sight to see, Of the man he had loved so brotherly.

And when the priest his death-prayer had prayed, Thus unto Deloraine he said:

"Now speed thee what thou hast to do, Or, warrior, we may dearly rue;

For those, thou may'st not look upon,

Are gathering fast round the yawning stone!"Then Deloraine, in terror, took

From the cold hand the mighty book,

With iron clasped, and with iron bound:

He thought, as he took it, the dead man frowned;
But the glare of the sepulchral light,
Perchance, had dazzled the warrior's sight.

When the huge stone had sunk o'er the tomb,
The night returned in double gloom,

For the moon had gone down, and the stars were few;
And as the knight and priest withdrew,
With wavering steps and dizzy brain,
They hardly might the postern gain.
'Tis said, as through the aisles they past,
They heard strange noises on the blast;
And through the cloister-galleries small,
Which at mid-height thread the chancel wall,
Loud sobs, and laughter louder, ran,

And voices unlike the voice of man ;

As if the fiends kept holiday,
Because these spells were brought to day.-
I cannot tell how the truth may be;

I say the tale as 'twas said to me.


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, concentered 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 Caledonia! stern and wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child!
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of my sires! what mortal hand
Can e'er untie the filial band,

That knits me to thy rugged strand!

And in the lofty arched hall Still, as I view each well-known scene,

Was spread the gorgeous festival. Think what is now, and what hath been,

Steward and squire, with heedful haste, Seems, as to me, of all bereft,

Marshalled the rank of every guest; Sole friends thy woods and streams were left; Pages, with ready blade, were there, And thus I love them better still,

The mighty meal to carve and share; Even in extremity of ill.

O'er capon, heron-shew, and crane, By Yarrow's stream still let me stray,

And princely peacock's gilded train, Though none should guide my feeble way;

And o'er the boar-head, garnished brave, Still feel the breeze down Ettrick break,

And cygnet from St. Mary's wave, Although it chill my withered cheek;

O'er ptarmigan and venison, Still lay my head by Teviot stone,

The priest had spoke his benison. Though there, forgotten and alone,

Then rose the riot and the din, The Bard may draw his parting groan.

Above, beneath, without, within!

For, from the lofty balcony, Not scorned like me! to Branksome Hall

Rung trumpet, shalm, and psaltery; The Minstrels came, at festive call;

Their clanging bowls old warriors quaffed, Trooping they came, from near and far,

Loudly they spoke, and loudly laughed; The jovial priests of mirth and war:

Whispered young knights, in tone more mild, Alike for feast and fight prepared,

To ladies fair, and ladies smiled. Battle and banquet both they shared.

The hooded hawks, high perched on beam, Of late, before each martial clan,

The clamour joined with whistling scream, They blew their death-note in the van,

And flapped their wings, and shook their bells, But now, for every merry mate,

In concert with the stag-hounds' yells. Rose the portcullis' iron grate;

Round go the flasks of ruddy wine, They sound the pipe, they strike the string,

From Bourdeaux, Orleans, or the Rhine ; They dance, they revel, and they sing,

Their tasks the busy sewers ply,
Till the rude turrets shake and ring.

And all is mirth and revelry.
Me lists not at this tide declare
The splendour of the spousal rite,

How mustered in the chapel fair
Both maid and matron, squire and knight;

In low dark rounds the arches hung,

From the rude rock the side-walls sprung; Me lists not tell of owches rare, Of mantles green, and braided hair,

The grave-stones, rudely sculptured o'er, And kirtles furred with miniver;

Half sunk in earth, by time half wore,

Were all the pavement of the floor;
What plumage waved the altar round,

The mildew drops fell one by one,
How spurs, and ringing chainlets, sound:
And hard it were for Bard to speak

With tinkling plash, upon the stone.

A cresset, in an iron chain,
The changeful hue of Margaret's cheek,
That lovely hue which comes and flies,

Which served to light this drear domain,
As awe and shame alternate rise.

With damp and darkness seemed to strive,

As if it scarce might keep alive; Some bards have sung, the Ladye high

And yet it dimly served to shew Chapel or altar came not nigh;

The awful conclave met below. Nor durst the rights of spousal grace,

There, met to doom in secrecy, So much she feared each holy place.

Were met the heads of convents three; False slanders these :- I trust right well

All servants of Saint Benedict, She wrought not by forbidden spell:

The statutes of whose order strict For mighty words and signs have power

On iron table lay; O'er sprites in planetary hour:

In long black dress, on seats of stone,
Yet scarce I praise their venturous part,

Behind were these three judges shewn,
Who tamper with such dangerous art.
But this for faithful truth I say,

By the pale cresset's ray:

The Abbess of Saint Hilda's, there,
The Ladye by the altar stood,
Of sable velvet her array,

Sate for a space with visage bare,

Until, to hide her bosom's swell, And on her head a crimson hood,

And tear-drops that for pity fell, With pearls embroidered and entwined,

She closely drew her veil: Guarded with gold, with ermine lined;

Yon shrouded figure, as I guess, A merlin sat upon her wrist,

By her proud mien avd flowing dress, Held by a leash of silken twist.

Is Tynemouth's haughty Prioress, The spousal rites were ended soon;

And she with awe looks pale: 'Twas now the merry hour of noon,

And he, that Ancient Man, whose sight

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