THE PALACE OF ART



I BUILT my soul a lordly pleasure-house,
  Wherein at ease for aye to dwell.
I said, 'O Soul, make merry and carouse,
    Dear soul, for all is well.'

A huge crag-platform, smooth as burnish'd brass,
  I chose.  The ranged ramparts bright
From level meadow-bases of deep grass
    Suddenly scaled the light.

Thereon I built it firm.  If ledge or shelf
  The rock rose clear, or winding stair.
My soul would live alone unto herself
    In her high palace there.

And 'while the world runs round and round,' I said,
  'Reign thou apart, a quiet king,
Still as, while Saturn whirls, his steadfast shade
    Sleeps on his luminous ring.'

To which my soul made answer readily:
  'Trust me, in bliss I shall abide
In this great mansion, that is built for me,
    So royal-rich and wide.'

    .     .    .    .    .    .    .    .

Four courts I made, East, West and South and North,
  In each a squared lawn, wherefrom
The golden gorge of dragons spouted forth
    A flood of fountain-foam.

And round the cool green courts there ran a row
  Of cloisters, branch'd like mighty woods,
Echoing all night to that sonorous flow
    Of spouted fountain-floods;

And round the roofs a gilded gallery
  That lent broad verge to distant lands,
Far as the wild swan wings, to where the sky
    Dipt down to sea and sands.

From those four jets four currents in one swell
  Across the mountain stream'd below
In misty folds, that floating as they fell
    Lit up a torrent-bow.

And high on every peak a statue seem'd
  To hang on tiptoe, tossing up
A cloud of incense of all odor stream'd
    From out a golden cup.

So that she thought, 'And who shall gaze upon
  My palace with unblinded eyes,
While this great bow will waver in the sun,
    And that sweet incense rise?'

For that sweet incense rose and never fail'd,
  And, while day sank or mounted higher,
The light aerial gallery, golden-rail'd,
    Burnt like a fringe of fire.

Likewise the deep-set windows, stain'd and traced,
  Would seem slow-flaming crismson fires
From shadow'd grots of arches interlaced,
    And tipt with frost-like spires.

    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

Full of long-sounding corridors it was,
  That over-vaulted grateful gloom,
Thro' which the livelong day my soul did pass,
    Well-pleased, from room to room.

Full of great rooms and small the palace stood,
  All various, each a perfect whole
From living Nature, fit for every mood
    And change of my still soul.

For some were hung with arras green and blue,
  Showing a gaudy summer-morn,
Where with puff'd cheek the belted hunter blew
    His wreathed bugle-horn.

One seem'd all dark and red – a tract of sand,
  And some one pacing there alone,
Who paced for ever in a glimmering land,
    Lit with a low large moon.

One show'd an iron coast and angry waves.
  You seem'd to hear them climb and fall
And roar rock-thwarted under bellowing caves,
    Beneath the windy wall.

And one, a full-fed river winding slow
  By herds upon an endless plain,
The ragged rims of thunder brooding low,
    With shadow-streaks of rain.

And one, the reapers at their sultry toil.
  In front they bound the sheaves,  Behind
Were realms of upland, prodigal in oil,
    And hoary to the wind.

And one a foreground black with stones and slags;
  Beyond, a line of heights; and higher
All barr'd with long white cloud the scornful crags;
    And highest, snow and fire.

And one, an English home – gray twilight pour'd
  On dewy pastures, dewy trees,
Softer than sleep – all things in order stored,
    A haunt of ancient Peace.

Nor these alone, but every landscape fair,
  As fit for every mood of mind,
Or gay, or grave, or sweet, or stern, was there,
    Not less than truth design'd.

    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

Or the maid-mother by a crucifix,
  In tracts of pasture sunny-warm,
Beneath branch-work of costly sardonyx
    Sat smiling, babe in arm.

Or in a clear-wall'd city on the sea,
  Near gilded organ-pipes, her hair
Wound with white roses, slept Saint Cecily;
    An angel look'd at her.

Or thronging all one porch of Paradise
  A group of Houris bow'd to see
The dying Islamite, with hands and eyes
    That said, We wait for thee.

Or mythic Uther's deeply-wounded son
  In some fair space of sloping greens
Lay, dozing in the vale of Avalon,
    And watch'd by weeping queens.

Or hollowing one hand against his ear,
  To list a foot-fall, ere he saw
The wood-nymph, stay'd the Ausonian king to hear
    Of wisdom and of law.

Or over hills with peaky tops engrail'd,
  And many a tract of palm and rice,
The throne of Indian Cama slowly sail'd
    A summer fann'd with spice.

Or sweet Europa's mantle blew unclasp'd,
  From off her shoulder backward borne;
From one hand droop'd a crocus; one hand grasp'd
    The mild bull's golden horn.

Or else flush'd Ganymede, his rosy thigh
  Half-buried in the eagle's down,
Sole as a flying star shot thro' the sky
    Above the pillar'd town.

Nor these alone; but every legend fair
  Which the supreme Caucasian mind
Carved out of Nature for itself was there,
    Not less than life design'd.

    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

Then in the towers I placed great bells that swung,
  Moved of themselves, with silver sound;
And with choice paintings of wise men I bung
    The royal dais round.

For these was Milton like a seraph strong,
  Beside him Shakespeare bland and mild;
And there the world-worn Dante grasp'd his song,
    And somewhat grimly smiled.

And there the Ionian father of the rest;
  A million wrinkles carved his skin;
A hundred winters snow'd upon his breast,
    From cheek and throat and chin.

Above, the fair hall-ceiling stately-set
  Many an arch high up did lift,
And angels rising and descending met
    With interchange of gift.

Below was all mosaic choicely plann'd
  With cycles of the human tale
Of this wide world, the times of every land
    So wrought they will not fail.

The people here, a beast of burden slow,
  Toil'd onward, prick'd with goads and stings;
Here play'd, a tiger, rolling to and fro
    The heads and crowns of kings;

Here rose, an athlete, strong to break or bind
  All force in bonds that might endure,
And here once more like some sick man declined,
    And trusted any cure.

But over these she trod; and those great bells
  Began to chime.  She took her throne;
She sat betwixt the shining oriels,
    To sing her songs alone.

And thro' the topmost oriels' colored flame
  Two godlike faces gazed below;
Plato the wise, and large-brow'd Verulam,
    The first of those who know.

And all those names that in their motion were
  Full-welling fountain-heads of change,
Betwixt the slender shafts were blazon'd fair
    In diverse raiment strange;

Thro' which the lights, rose, amber, emerald, blue,
  Flush'd in her temples and her eyes,
And from her lips, as morn from Memnon, drew
    Rivers of melodies.

No nightingale delighteth to prolong
  Her low preamble all alone,
More than my soul to hear her echo'd song
    Throb thro' the ribbed stone;

Singing and murmuring in her feastful mirth,
  Joying to feel herself alive,
Lord over Nature, lord of the visible earth,
    Lord of the senses five;

Communing with herself: 'All these are mine,
  And let the world have peace or wars,
'Tis one to me.'  She – when young night divine
    Crown'd dying day with stars,

Making sweet close of his delicious toils –
  Lit light in wreaths and anadems,
And pure quintessences of precious oils
    In hollow'd moons of gems,

To mimic heaven; and clapt her hands and cried,
  'I marvel if my still delight
In this great house so royal-rich and wide
    Be flatter'd to the height.

'O all things fair to sate my various eyes!
  O shapes and hues that please me well!
O silent faces of the Great and Wise,
    My Gods, with whom I dwell!

'O Godlike isolation which art mine,
  I can but count thee perfect gain,
What time I watch the darkening droves of swine
    That range on yonder plain.

'In filthy sloughs they roll a prurient skin,
  They graze and wallow, breed and sleep;
And oft some brainless devil enters in,
    And drives them to the deep.'

Then of the moral instinct would she prate
  And of the rising from the dead,
As hers by right of full-accomplish'd Fate;
    And at the last she said:

'I take possession of man's mind and deed.
  I care not what the sects may brawl.
I sit as God holding no form of creed,
    But contemplating all.'

    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

Full oft the riddle of the painful earth 
  Flash'd thro' her as she sat alone,
Yet not the less held she her solemn mirth,
    And intellectual throne.

And so she throve and prosper'd; so three years
  She prosper'd; on the fourth she fell,
Like Herod, when the shout was in his ears,
    Struck thro' with pangs of hell.

Lest she should fail and perish utterly,
  God, before whom ever lie bare
The abysmal deeps of personality,
    Plagued her with sore despair.

When she would think, where'er she turn'd her sight
  The airy hand confusion wrought,
Wrote, 'Mene, mene,' and divided quite
    The kingdom of her thought.

Deep dread and loathing of her solitude
  Fell on her, from which mood was born
Scorn of herself; again, from out that mood
    Laughter at her self-scorn.

'What! is not this my place of strength,' she said,
  'My spacious mansion built for me,
Whereof the strong foundation-stones were laid
    Since my first memory?'

But in dark corners of her palace stood
  Uncertain shapes; and unawares
On white-eyed plantasms weeping tears of blood,
    And horrible nightmares,

And hollow shades enclosing hearts of flame,
  And, with dim fretted foreheads all,
On corpses three-mouths-old at noon she came,
    That stood agaist the wall.

A spot of dull stagnation, without light
  Or power of movement, seem'd my soul,
Mid onward-sloping motions infinite
    Making for one sure goal;

A still salt pool, lock'd in with bars of sand,
  Left on the shore, that hears all night
The plunging seas draw backward from the land
    Their moon-led waters white;

A star that with the choral starry dance
  Join'd not, but stood, and standing saw
The hollow orb of moving Circumstance
    Roll'd round by one fix'd law.

Back on herself her serpent pride had curl'd.
  'No voice, she shriek'd in that lone hall,
'No voice breaks thro' the stillness of this world;
    One deep, deep silence all!'

She, mouldering with the dull earth's mouldering sod,
  Inwrapt tenfold in slothful shame,
Lay there exiled from eternal God,
    Lost to her place and name;

And death and life she hated equally,
  And nothing saw, for her despair,
But dreadful time, dreadful eternity,
    No comfort anywhere;

Remaining utterly confused with fears,
  And ever worse with growing time,
And ever unrelieved by dismal tears,
    And all alone in crime.

Shut up as in a crumbling tomb, girt round
  With blackness as a solid wall,
Far off she seem'd to hear the dully sound
    Of human footsteps fall:

As in strange lands a traveller walking slow,
  In doubt and great perplexity,
A little before moonrise hears the low
    Moan of an unknown sea;

And knows not if it be thunder, or a sound
  Of rocks thrown down, or one deep cry
Of great wild, beasts; then thinketh, 'I have found
    A new land, but I die.'

She howl'd aloud, 'I am on fire within.
  There comes no murmur of reply.
What is it that will take away my sin,
    And save me lest I die?'

So when four years were wholly finished,
  She threw her royal robes away.
'Make me a cottage in the vale,' she said,
    'Where I may mourn and pray.

'Yet pull not down my palace towers, that are
  So lightly, beautifully built;
Perchance I may return with others there
    When I have purged my guilt.'

–ÚŽŸ‚É–ß‚é

PIPPA PASSES



The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn:
God's in his heaven –
All's right with the world!

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–ÚŽŸ‚É–ß‚é

HOHENLINDEN



On Linden, when the sun was low,
All bloodless lay the untrodden snow;
And dark as winter was the flow
  Of Iser, rolling rapidly.

But Linden saw another sight,
When the drum beat at dead of night
Commanding fires of death to light
  The darkness of her scenery.

By torch and trumpet fast array'd,
Each horseman drew his battle-blade,
And furious every charger neigh'd
  To join the dreadful revelry.

Then shook the hills with thunder riven;
Then rush'd the steed, to battle driven;
And louder than the bolts of Heaven
  Far flash'd the red artillery.

But redder yet that light shall glow
On Linden's hills of stained snow;
And bloodier yet the torrent flow
  Of Iser, rolling rapidly.

'Tis morn; but scarce you level sun
Can pierce the war-clouds, rolling dun,
Where furious Frank and fiery Hun
  Shout in their sulphurous canopy.

The combat deepens.  On, ye Brave
Who rush to glory, or the grave!
Wave, Munich, all thy banners wave,
  And charge with all thy chivalry!

Few, few shall part, where many meet!
The snow shall be their winding-sheet,
And every turf beneath their feet
  Shall be a soldier's sepulchre.

–ÚŽŸ‚É–ß‚é

THE LADY GERALDINE



Ffrom Tuscan cam my ladies worthi race;
Faire Fflorence was sometime her auncient seate;
The westerne ile, whose pleasaunt showre doth face
Wylde Chambares cliffes, did geve her lyvely heate;
Ffostred she was with mylke of Irishe brest;
Her syer an erle, hir dame of princes bloud;
From tender yeres in Britaine she doth rest,
With a kinges child, where she tastes gostly foode;
Honsdon did furst present her to myn eyen;
Bryght ys her hew, and Geraldine shee highte;
Hampton me tawght to wishe her furst for myne;
And Windesor, alas! doth chace me from her sight.
Bewty of kind, her vertues from above,
Happy ys he that may obtaine her love.
ƒeƒLƒXƒg‰»FŽRŒû­K


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MAIDENHOOD


MAIDEN!  with the meek, brown eyes,
In whose orbs a shadow lies
Like the dusk in evening skies!

Thou whose locks outshine the sun,
Golden tresses, wreathed in one,
As the braided streamlets run!

Standing, with reluctant feet,
Where the brook and river meet,
Womanhood and childhood fleet!

Gazing, with a timid glance, 
On the brooklet's swift advance,
On the river's broad expanse!

Deep and still, that gliding stream
Beautiful to thee must seem,
As the river of a dream.

Then why pause with indecision,
When bright angels in thy vision
Beckon thee to fields Elysian?

Seest thou shadows sailing by,
As the dove, with startled eyes,
Sees the falcon's shadow fly?

Hearest thou voices on the shore,
That our ears perceive no more,
Deafened by the cataract's roar?

Oh, thou child of many prayers!
Life hath quicksands, – Life hath snares!
Care and age come unawares!

Like the swell of some sweet tune,
Morning rises into noon,
May glides onward into June.

Childhood is the bough, where slumbered
Birds and blossoms many-numbered; –
Age, that bought with snows encumbered.

Gather, then, each flower that grows,
When the young heart overflows,
To embalm that tent of snows.

Bear a lily in thy hand;
Gates of brass cannot withstand
One touch of that magic wand.

Bear through sorrow, wrong, and ruth,
In thy heart the dew of youth,
On thy lips the smile of truth.

Oh, that dew, like balm, shall steal
Into wounds that cannot heal,
Even as sleep our eyes doth seal;

And that smile, like sunshine, dart
Into many a sunless heart,
For a smile of God thou art.

ƒeƒLƒXƒg‰»FŽRŒû­K

–ÚŽŸ‚É–ß‚é

EDINBURGH AFTER FLODDEN


I

["News of battle." All last night, Sept. 10, 1573, there have been meteors and signs in the sky. What can be the meaning?]


News of battle! - news of battle!
  Hark! 'tis ringing down the street:
And the archways and the pavement
  Bear the clang of hurrying feet.
News of battle! who hath brought it?
  News of triumph?  Who should bring
Tidings from our noble army,
  Greetings from our gallant King?
All last night we watched the beacons
  Blazing on the hills afar,
Each one bearing, as it kindled,
  Message of the opened war.
All night long the northern streamers
  Shot across the trembling sky:
Fearful lights that never beckon
  Save when kings or heroes die.


II

[At the gates of Edinburgh is seen a wounded man on a weary horse ( Randolph Murray, Captain of the City Band.]


News of battle! who hath brought it?
  All are thronging to the gate;
"Warder - warder! open quickly!
  Man - is this a time to wait?"
And the heavy gates are opened:
  Then a murmur long and loud,
And a cry of fear and wonder
  Bursts from out the bending crowd.
For they see in battered harness
  Only one hard-stricken man;
And his weary steed is wounded,
  And his cheek is pale and wan:
Spearless hangs a bloody banner
  In his weak and drooping hand -
God! can that be Randolph Murray,
  Captain of the city band?


III

[The anxious people crowd round him: but he is silent.]


Round him crush the people, crying,
  "Tell us all - oh, tell us true!
Where are they who went to battle,
  Randolph Murray, sworn to you?
Where are they, our brothers - children?
  Have they met the English foe?
Why art thou alone, unfollowed?
  Is it weal or is it woe?"
Like a corpse the grisly warrior
  Looks from out his helm of steel;
But no word he speaks in answer -
  Only with his armed heel
Chides his weary steed, and onward
  Up the city streets they ride;
Fathers, sisters, mothers, children,
  Shrieking, praying by his side.
"By the God that made thee, Randolph!
  Tell us what mischance hath come."
Then he lifts his riven banner,
  And the asker's voice is dumb.


IV

[Meantime the Provost and the Council have met: the messenger is summoned before them to relate his story.]


The elders of the city
  Have met within their hall -
The men whom good King James had charged
  To watch the tower and wall.
"Your hands are weak with age," he said,
  "Your hearts are stout and true;
So bide ye in the Maiden Town,
  While others fight for you.
My trumpet from the Border-side
  Shall send a blast so clear,
That all who wait within the gate
  That stirring sound may hear.
Or, if it be the will of Heaven
  That back I never come,
And if, instead of Scottish shouts,
  Ye hear the English drum, -
Then let the warning bells ring out,
  Then gird you to the fray,
Then man the walls like burghers stout,
  And fight while fight you may.
'T were better that in fiery flame
  The roofs should thunder down,
Than that the foot of foreign foe
  Should trample in the town!"


V


Then in came Randolph Murray, -
  His step was slow and weak,
And, as he doffed his dinted helm,
  The tears ran down his cheek:
They fell upon his corslet
  And on his mailed hand,
As he gazed around him wistfully,
  Leaning sorely on his brand.
And none who then beheld him
  But straight were smote with fear,
For a bolder and a sterner man
  Had never couched a spear.
They knew so sad a messenger
  Some ghastly news must bring;
And all of them were fathers,
  And their sons were with the King.


VI

[The Provost calls on him to speak: "tell thy tidings, however sharp they be".]


And up then rose the Provost -
  A brave old man was he,
Of ancient name, and knightly fame,
  And chivalrous degree.
He ruled our city like a Lord
  Who brooked no equal here,
And ever for the townsman's rights
  Stood up 'gainst prince and peer.
And he had seen the Scottish host
  March from the Borough-muir,
With music-storm and clamorus shout,
And all the din that thunders out
  When youth's of victory sure.
But yet a dearer thought had he, -
  For, with a father's pride,
He saw his last remaining son
  Go forth by Randolph's side,
With casque on head and spur on heel,
  All keen to do and dare;
And proudly did that gallant boy
  Dunedin's banner bear.
Oh! woeful now was the old man's look,
  And he spake right heavily -
"Now, Randolph, tell thy tidings,
  However sharp they be!
Woe is written on thy visage,
  Death is looking from thy face:
Speak! though it be of overthrow -
  It cannot be disgrace!"


VII


Right bitter was the agony
  That wrung that soldier proud:
Thrice did he strive to answer,
  And thrice he groaned aloud.
Then he gave the riven banner
  To the old man's shaking hand,
Saying - "That is all I bring ye
  From the bravest of the land!
Ay! ye may look upon it -
  It was guarded well and long,
By your brothers and your children,
  By the valiant and the strong.
One by one they fell around it,
  As the arches laid them low,
Grimly dying, still unconquered,
  With their faces to the foe.
Ay! ye may well look upon it -
  There is more than honour there,
Else, be sure, I had not brought it
  From the field of dark despair.
Never yet was royal banner
  Steeped in such a costly dye;
It hath lain upon a bosom
  Where no other shroud shall lie.
Sirs! I charge you, keep it holy;
  Keep it as a sacred things,
For the stain ye see upon it
  Was the life-blood of your King!"


VIII

[A scene of weeping and general consternation.]


Woe, and woe, and lamentation!
  What a piteous cry was there!
Widows, maidens, mothers, children,
  Shrieking, sobbing in despair!
Through the street the death-word rushes,
  Spreading terror, sweeping on -
"Jesu Christ! our King has fallen -
  O Great God, King James is gone!
Holy Mother Mary, shield us,
  Thou who erst didst lose thy Son!
O the blackest day for Scotland
  That she ever knew before!
O our King - the good, the noble,
  Shall we see him never more?
Woe to us, and woe to Scotland!
  O our sons, our sons and men!
Surely some have 'scaped the Southron,
  Surely some will come again!"
Till the oak that fell last winter
  Shall uprear its shattered stem -
Wives and mothers of Dunedin -
  Ye may look in vain for them!


IX


But within the Council Chamber
  All was silent as the grave,
Whilst the tempest of their sorrow
  Shook the bosoms of the brave.
Well indeed might they be shaken
  With the weight of such a blow:
He was gone - their prince, their idol,
  Whom they loved and worshipped so!
Like a knell of death and judgment
  Rung from heaven by angel hand,
Fell the words of desolation
  On the elders of the land.
Hoary heads were bowed and trembling,
  Withered hands were clasped and wrung;
God had left the old and feeble,
  He had ta'en away the young.


X

[The Provost in his haste charges the messenger with blame in forsaking the host. "Why fail the King?"]


Then the Provost he uprose,
  And his lip was ashen white;
But a flush was on his brow,
  And his eye was full of light.
"Thou hast spoken, Randolph Murray,
  Like a soldier stout and true;
Thou hast done a deed of daring
  Had been perilled but by few.
For thou hast not shamed to face us,
  Nor to speak thy ghastly tale,
Standing - thou a knight and captain -
  Here, alive within thy mail!
Now, as my God shall judge me,
  I hold it braver done,
Than hadst thou tarried in thy place,
  And died above my son!
Thou needst not tell it: he is dead.
  God help us all this day!
But speak - how fought the citizens
  Within the furious fray?
For by the might of Mary!
  'T were something still to tell
That no Scottish foot went backward
  When the Royal Lion fell!"


XI

["No one failed him!" The battle raged till nightfall. I then leaped on horseback over the wall of corpses and came here.]


"No one failed him!  He is keeping
  Royal state and semblance still;
Knight and noble lie around him,
  Cold on Flodden's fatal hill.
Of the brave and gallant-hearted,
  Whom you sent with prayers away,
Not a single man departed
  From his Monarch yesterday.
Had you seen them, O my masters!
  When the night began to fall,
And the English spearmen gathered
  Round a grim and ghastly wall!
As the wolves in winter circle
  Round the leaguer on the heath,
So the greedy foe glared upward,
  Panting still for blood and death.
But a rampart rose before them,
  Which the boldest dared not scale;
Every stone a Scottish body,
  Every step a corpse in mail!
And behind it lay our Monarch,
  Clenching still his shivered sword;
By his side Montrose and Athole,
  At his feet a Southron lord.
All so thick they lay together,
  When the stars lit up the sky,
That I knew not who were stricken,
  Or who yet remained to die.
Few there were when Surrey halted,
  And his wearied host withdrew;
None but dying men around me,
  When the English trumpet blew.
Then I stooped, and took the banner,
  As you see it, from his breast,
And I closed our hero's eyelids,
  And I left him to his rest.
In the mountains growled the thunder,
  As I leaped the woeful wall,
And the heavy clouds were settling
  Over Flodden, like a pall."


XII

[Without the Council Chamber all is confusion. Weeping women besiege the doors; the death bells ring from the steeples.]


So he ended.  And the others
  Cared not any answer then;
Sitting silent, dumb with sorrow,
  Sitting anguish-struck, like men
Who have seen the roaring torrent
  Sweep their happy homes away,
And yet linger by the margin,
  Staring wildly on the spray.
But, without, the maddening tumult
  Waxes ever more and more,
And the crowd of wailing women
  Gather round the Council door.
Every dusky spire is ringing
  With a dull and hollow knell,
And the Miserere's singing
  To the tolling of the bell.
Through the streets the burghers hurry,
  Spreading terror as they go;
And the rampart's thronged with watchers
  For the coming of the foe.
From each mountain-top a pillar
  Streams into the torpid air,
Bearing token from the Border
  That the English host is there.
All without is flight and terror,
  All within is woe and fear -
God protect thee, Maiden City,
  For thy latest hour is near!


XIII


No! not yet, thou nigh Dunedin!
  Shalt thou totter to thy fall;
Though thy bravest and thy strongest
  Are not there to man the wall.
No, not yet! the ancient spirit
  Of our fathers hath not gone;
Take it to thee as a buckler
  Better far than steel or stone.
Oh, remember those who perished
  For thy birthright at the time
When to be a Scot was treason,
  And to side with Wallace crime!
Have they not a voice among us,
  Whilst their hallowed dust is here?
Hear ye not a summons sounding
  From each buried warrior's bier?
Up! - they say - and keep the freedom
  Which we won you long ago:
Up! and keep our graves unsullied
  From the insults of the foe!
Up! and if ye cannot save them,
  Come to us in blood and fire:
Midst the crash of falling turrets
  Let the last of Scots expire!


XIV

[The Provost rises. Enough of weeping: the time calls for action. All to their places; should the worst happen, let us all perish together with the city in ruins.]


Still the bells are tolling fiercely,
  And the cry comes louder in;
Mothers wailing for their children,
  Sisters for their slaughtered kin.
All is terror and disorder;
  Till the Provost rises up,
Calm, as though he had not tasted
  Of the fell and bitter cup.
All so stately from his sorrow,
  Rose the old undaunted chief,
That you had not deemed, to see him,
  His was more than common grief.
"Rouse ye, Sirs!" he said; "we may not
  Longer mourn for what is done;
If our King be taken from us,
  We are left to guard his son.
We have sworn to keep the city
  From the foe, whate'er they be,
And the oath that we have taken
  Never shall be broke by me.
Death is nearer to us, brethren,
  Than it seemed to those who died,
Fighting yesterday at Flodden,
  By their lord and master's side.
Let us meet it, then, in patience,
  Not in terror or in fear;
Though our hearts are bleeding yonder,
  Let our souls be steadfast here.
Up, and rouse ye!  Time is fleeting,
  And we yet have much to do;
Up! and haste ye through the city,
  Stir the burghers stout and true!
Gather all our scattered people,
  Fling the banner out once more, -
Randolph Murray! do thou bear it,
  As it erst was borne before:
Never Scottish heart will leave it,
  When they see their Monarch's gore!


XV


"Let them cease that dismal knelling!
  It is time enough to ring,
When the fortress-strength of Scotland
  Stoops to ruin like its King.
Let the bells be kept for warning,
  Not for terror or alarm;
When they next are heard to thunder,
  Let each man and stripling arm.
Bid the women leave their wailing -
  Do they think that woeful strain,
From the bloody heaps of Flodden,
  Can redeem their dearest slain?
Bid them cease, - or rather hasten
  To the churches every one;
There to pray to Mary Mother,
  And to her anointed Son,
That the thunderbolt above us
  May not fall in ruin yet;
That in fire and blood and rapine
  Scotland's glory may not set.
Let them pray, - for never women
  Stood in need of such a prayer! -
England's yeomen shall not find them
  Clinging to the altars there.
No! if we are doomed to perish,
  Man and maiden, let us fall,
And a common gulf of ruin
  Open wide to whelm us all!
Never shall the ruthless spoiler
  Lay his hot insulting hand
On the sisters of our heroes,
  Whilst we bear a torch or brand!
Up! and rouse ye, then, my brothers, -
  But when next ye hear the bell
Sounding forth the sullen summons
  That may be our funeral knell,
Once more let us meet together,
  Once more see each other's face;
Then, like men that need not tremble,
  Go to our appointed place.
God, our Father, will not fail us,
  In that last tremendous hour, -
If all other bulwarks crumble,
  HE will be our strength and tower:
Though the ramparts rock beneath us,
  And the walls go crashing down,
Though the roar of conflagration
  Bellow o'er the sinking town;
There is yet one place of shelter,
  Where the foeman cannot come,
Where the summons never sounded
  Of the trumpet or the drum.
There again we'll meet our children,
  Who, on Flodden's trampled sod,
For their king and for their country
  Rendered up their souls to God.
There shall we find rest and refuge,
  With our dear departed brave;
And the ashes of the city
  Be our universal grave!"


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