« AnteriorContinuar »
Then, as remembrance rose,
Speak not to me of shrift or prayer !
I must redress her woes.
Short space, few words, are mine to spare ;
Forgive and listen, gentle Clare !"
“Alas !” she said, "the while, Oh, think of your immortal weal! In vain for Constance is your zeal ;
She-died at Holy Isle.”
Lord Marmion started from the ground
As light as if he felt no wound ;
Though in the action burst the tide
In torrents from his wounded side.
" Then it was truth,” he said ; “ I knew
That the dark presage must be true.
I would the fiend, to whom belongs
The vengeance due to all her wrongs,
Would spare me but a day!
For wasting fire, and dying groan,
And priests slain on the altar stone,
Might bribe him for delay.
It may not be ! this dizzy trance-
Curse on yon base marauder's lance,
And doubly cursed my failing brand!
A sinful heart makes feeble hand.”
Then, fainting, down on earth he sunk,
Supported by the trembling monk.
With fruitless labour, Clara bound,
And strove to stanch the gushing wound:
The monk, with unavailing cares,
Exhausted all the church's prayers.
Ever, he said, that, close and near,
A lady's voice was in his ear,
And that the priest he could not hear,
For that she ever sung, “In the lost battle, borne down by the flying, Where mingles war's rattle with groans of the dy
So the notes rung!
“ Avoid thee, fiend! with cruel hand,
Shake not the dying sinner's sand!
Oh, look, my son, upon yon sign
of the Redeemer's grace divine ;
Oh, think on faith and bliss !
By many a deathbed I have been,
And many a sinner's parting seen,
But never aught like this !”
The war, that for a space did fail,
Now, trebly thundering, swelld the gale,
And STANLEY! was the cry;
A light on Marmion's visage spread,
And fired his glazing eye :
With dying hand, above his head
He shook the fragment of his blade,
And shouted “ Victory!
Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on!"
Were the last words of Marmion.
By this, though deep the evening fell,
Still rose the battle's deadly swell,
For still the Scots, around their king,
Unbroken, fought in desperate ring.
Where's now their victor vaward wing,
Where Huntley and where Home ?
Oh, for a blast of that dread horn,
On Fontarabian echoes borne,
That to King Charles did come,
When Rowland brave, and Olivier,
And every paladin and peer,
On Roncesvalles died !
Such blast might warn them, not in vain,
To quit the plunder of the slain,
And turn the doubtful day again
While yet on Flodden side,
Afar, the royal standard flies,
And round it toils, and bleeds, and dies,
Our Caledonian pride !
In vain the wish : for, far away,
While spoil and havoc mark their way,
Near Sibyl's Cross the plunderers stray.
Oh, lady,” cried the monk, "away !"
And placed her on her steed,
And led her to the chapel fair,
Of Tilmouth upon Tweed.
There all the night they spent in prayer,
And at the dawn of morning, there
She met lier kinsman, Lord Fitz-Clare.
But as they left the dark’ning heath,
More desperate grew the strife of death.
The English shafts in volleys hail’d,
In headlong charge their horse assail'd ;
Front, flank, and rear, the squadrons sweep,
To break the Scottish circle deep,
That fought around their king.
But yet, though thick the shafts as snow,
Though charging knights like whirlwinds go,
Though billmen ply the ghastly blow,
Unbroken was the ring ;
The stubborn spearmen still make good
Their dark, impenetrable wood,
Each stepping where his comrade stood
The instant that he fell.
No thought was there of dastard flight :
Link'd in the serried phalanx tight,
Groom fought like noble, squire like knight,
As fearlessly and well ;
Till utter darkness closed her wing,
O’er their thin host and wounded king.
Then skilful Surrey's sage commands
Led back from strife his shatter'd bands;
And from the charge they drew,
As mountain-waves, from wasted lands,
Sweep back to ocean blue.
Then did their loss his foemen know;
Their king, their lords, their mightiest low,
They melted from the field as snow,
When streams are swoln and south winds blow,
Dissolves in silent dew.
Tweed's echoes heard the ceaseless plash,
While many a broken band,
Disorder'd, through her currents dash,
To gain the Scottish land ;
To town and tower, to down and dale,
To tell red Flodden's dismal tale,
And raise the universal wail.
Tradition, legend, tune, and song,
Shall many an age that wail prolong :
Still from the sire the son shall hear
Of the stern strife and carnage drear,
Of Flodden's fatal field,
Where shiver'd was fair Scotland's spear,
And broken was her shield !
Day dawns upon the mountain's side :
There, Scotland! lay thy bravest pride,
Chiefs, knights, and nobles many a one:
The sad survivers all are gone.
View not that corpse mistrustfully,
Defaced and mangled though it be ;
Nor to yon Border castle high,
Look northward with upbraiding eye ;
Nor cherish hope in vain,
That, journeying far on foreign strand,
The royal pilgrim to his land
May yet return again.
He saw the wreck his rashness wrought;
Reckless of life, he desperate fought,
And fell on Flodden plain :
And well in death his trusty brand,
Firm clinch'd within his manly hand,
Beseem'd the monarch slain.
THE LANDING OF THE BRITISH TROOPS IN SPAIN IN 1809. AFAR was heard that thrice-repeated cry,
In which old Albion's heart and tongue unite, Whene'er her soul is up and pulse beats high,
Whether it hail the winecup or the fight, (light. And bid each arm be strong, or bid each heart be Don Roderick turn'd him as the shout grew loud :
A varied scene the changeful vision show'd; For, where the ocean mingled with the cloud,
A gallant navy stemm'd the billows broad. From mast and stern St. George's symbol flow'd,
Blent with the silver cross to Scotland dear; Mottling the sea, their landward barges row'd,
And Hash'd the sun on bayonet, brand, and spear, And the wild beach return'd the seaman's jovial
cheer. It was a dread, yet spirit-stirring sight!
The billows foam'd beneath a thousand oars; Fast as they land the red-cross ranks unite,
Legions on legions brightning all the shores. Then banners rise, and cannon-signal roars,
Then peals the warlike thunder of the drum, Thrills the loud fife, the trumpet-flourish pours,
And patriot hopes awake, and doubts are dumb, For, bold in Freedom's cause, the bands of ocean
come! A various host they come, whose ranks display
Each mode in which the warrior meets the fight; The deep battalion locks its firm array,
And meditates his aim the marksman light; Far glance the light of sabres flashing bright, Where mounted squadrons shake the echoing
mead, Lacks not artillery breathing flame and night,
Nor the fleet ordnance whirl'd by rapid steed, That rivals lightning's flash in ruin and in speed.