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And, lingering last, deception dear,
The choir's high sounds die on my ear.
Now slow return the lonely down,
The silent pastures bleak and brown,
The farm begirt with copse-wood wild,
The gambols of each frolic child,
Mixing their shrill cries with the tone
Of Tweed's dark waters rushing on.

Prompt on unequal tasks to run,
Thus Nature disciplines her son :
Meeter, she says, for me to stray,
And waste the solitary day
In plucking from yon fen the reed,
And watching it float down the Tweed;
Or idly list the shrilling lay
With which the milk-maid cheers her way,
Marking its cadence rise and fail,
As from the field, beneath her pail,
She trips it down the uneven dale :
Meeter for me, by yonder cairn,
The ancient shepherd's tale to learn,
Though oft he stop in rustic fear,
Lest his old legends tire the ear
Of one, who, in his simple mind,
May boast of book-learned taste refined.

But thou, my friend, canst fitly tell,
(For few have read romance so well,)
How still the legendary lay
O'er poet's bosom holds its sway;

How on the ancient minstrel strain Time lays his palsied hand in vain; And how our hearts at doughty deeds, By warriors wrought in steely weeds, Still throb for fear and pity's sake; As when the Champion of the lake Enters Morgana's fated house, Or in the Chapel Perilous, Despising spells and demons' force, Holds converse with the unburied corse; Or when, Dame Ganore's grace to move, (Alas ! that lawless was their love,) He sought proud Tarquin in his den, And freed full sixty knights; or when, A sinful man, and unconfessed, He took the Sangreal's holy quest, And, slumbering, saw the vision high, He might not view with waking eye.

The mightiest chiefs Scorned not such legends to prolong; They gleam through Spenser's elfin dream, And mix in Milton's heavenly theme; And Dryden, in immortal strain, Had raised the Table Round again, But that a ribald king and court Bade him toil on, to make them sport; Demanded for their niggard pay, Fit for their souls, a looser lay, Licentious satire, song, and play;

British song

The world defrauded of the high design,
Profaned the God-given strength, and marred

the lofty line.
Warmed by such names, well may we then,
Though dwindled sons of little men,
Essay to break a feeble lance
In the fair fields of old romance;
Or seek the moated castle's cell,
Where long through talisman and spell,
While tyrants ruled, and damsels wept,
Thy Genius, Chivalry, hath slept:
There sound the harpings of the North,
Till he awake and sally forth,
On venturous quest to prick again,
In all his arms, with all his train,
Shield, lance, and brand, and plume, and scarf,
Fay, giant, dragon, squire, and dwarf,
And wizard with his wand of might,
And errant maid on palfrey white. -
Around the Genius weave their spells,
Pure Love, who scarce his passion tells;
Mystery, half veiled and half revealed;
And Honour, with his spotless shield;
Attention, with fixed eye; and Fear,
That loves the tale she shrinks to hear;
And gentle Courtesy; and Faith,
Unchanged by sufferings, time, or death;
And Valour, lion-mettled lord,
Leaning upon his own good sword.

Well has thy fair achievement shown, A worthy meed may thus be won; Ytene's* oaksbeneath whose shade, Their theme the merry minstrels made, Of Ascapart, and Bevis bold, And that Red King,t who, while of old Through Boldrewood the chase he led, By his loved huntsman's arrow bledYtene's oaks have heard again Renewed such legendary strain; For thou hast sung, how He of Gaul, That Amadis, so famed in hall, For Oriana, foiled in fight The Necromancer's felon might; And well in modern verse hast wove Partenopex's mystic love: Hear then, attentive to my lay, A knightly tale of Albion's elder day.

* The new forest in Hampshire, anciently so called.

Wanam Rufus.

MARMION.

.

CANTO FIRST.

THE CASTLE.

I.
Day set on Norham's castled steep,
And Tweed's fair river broad and deep,

And Cheviot's mountains lone:
The battled towers, the donjon keep,
The loop-hole grates where captives weep,
The flanking walls that round it sweep,

In yellow lustre shone.
The warriors on the turrets high,
Moving athwart the evening sky,

Seemed forms of giant height :
Their armour, as it caught the rays,
Flashed back again the western blaze,

In lines of dazzling light

II.
St. George's banner, broad and gay,
Now faded, as the fading ray

Less bright, and less, was flung:

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