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Who loves not more the night of June
Than dull December's gloomy noon?
The moonlight than the fog of frost ?
And can we say,
which cheats the most?
But who shall teach my harp to gain
A sound of the romantic strain,
Whose Anglo-Norman tones whilere
Could win the Second Henry's ear,
Famed Beauclerc called, for that he loved
The minstrel, and his lay approved ?
Who shall these lingering notes redeem,
Decaying on Oblivion's stream;
Such notes as from the Breton tongue
Marie translated, Blondel sung ?-
0! born Time's ravage to repair,
And make the dying Muse thy care;
Who, when his sithe her hoary foe
Was poising for the final blow,
The weapon from his hand could wring,
And break his glass, and shear his wing,
And bid, reviving in his strain,
The gentle poet live again;
Thou, who canst give to lightest lay
An unpedantic moral gay,
Nor less the dullest theme bid fit
On wings of unexpected wit;
In letters as in life approved,
Example honoured, and beloved,
Dear Ellis! to the bard impart
A lesson of thy magic art,
To win at once the head and heart,
At once to charm, instruct, and mend,
My guide, my pattern, and my friend!
Such minstrel lesson to bestow
Be long thy pleasing task-but, O!
No more by thy example teach
What few can practise, all can preach;
With even patience to endure
Lingering disease, and painful cure,
And boast affliction's pangs subdued
By mild and manly fortitude.
Enough, the lesson has been given:
Forbid the repetition, Heaven!
Come listen, then! for thou hast known,
And loved the Minstrel's varying tone;
Who, like his Border sires of old,
Waked a wild measure, rude and bold,
Till Windsor's oaks, and Ascot plain,
With wonder heard the northern strain.
Come, listen!—bold in thy applause,
The bard shall scorn pedantic laws;
And, as the ancient art could stain
Achievements on the storied pane,
Irregularly traced and planned,
But yet so glowing and so grand;
So shall be strive, in changeful hue,
Field, feast, and combat, to renew,
And loves, and arms, and harpers' glee,
And all the pomp of chivalry.
1. The train has left the hills of Braid; The barrier guard have open made, (So Lindesay bade,) the palisade,
That closed the tented ground,
And carried pikes as they rode through,
Into its ample bound.
Fast ran the Scottish warriors there,
Upon the Southern band to stare ;
with their wonder rose,
To see such well-appointed foes ;
Such length of shafts, such mighty bows,
So huge, that many simply thought,
But for a vaunt such weapons wrought;
And little deemed their force to feel
Through links of mail, and plates of steel,
When rattling upon Flodden vale,
The cloth-yard arrows flew like háil.
Nor less did Marmion's skilful view
Glance every line and squadron through ;
And much he marvelled one small land
Could marshal forth such various band :
For men-at-arms were here,
Heavily sheathed in mail and plate,
Like iron towers for strength and weight,
On Flemish steeds of bone and height,
With battle-ax and spear.
Young knights and squires, a lighter train,
Practised their chargers on the plain,
By aid of leg, of hand, and rein,
Each warlike feat to show;
To pass, to wheel, the croupe to gain,
And high curvet, that not in vain
The sword-sway might descend amain
On foeman's casque below.
He saw the hardy burghers there
March armed, on foot, with faces bare,
For visor they wore none;
Nor waving plume, nor crest of knight,
But burnished were their corslets bright;
Their brigantines, and gorgets light,
Like very silver shone.
Long pikes they had for standing fight,
Two-handed swords they wore,
And many wielded mace of weight,
And bucklers bright they bore.