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XXVII.

The ladye steps in doubt and dread,

Lest her watchful mother hear her tread;

The ladye caresses the rough blood-hound,

Lest his voice should waken the castle round;

The watchman's bugle is not blown,

For he was her foster-father's son;

And she glides through the greenwood at dawn of

light,

To meet Baron Henry, her own true knight.

XXVIII.

The Knight and Ladye fair are met,

And under the hawthorn's boughs are set.

A fairer pair were never seen

To meet beneath the hawthorn green.

He was stately, and young, and tall;

Dreaded in battle, and loved in hall :
And she, when love, scarce told, scarce hid,

Lent to her cheek a livelier red;

When the half sigh her swelling breast

Against the silken ribband pressed;
When her blue eyes their secret told,

Though shaded by her locks of gold

Where would you find the peerless fair,

With Margaret of Branksome might compare!

XXIX.

And now, fair dames, methinks I see

You listen to my minstrelsy;

Your waving locks ye backward throw,

And sidelong bend your necks of snow :-

Ye ween to hear a melting tale,

Of two true lovers in a dale;

And how the Knight, with tender fire,
To paint his faithful passion strove;

Swore, he might at her feet expire,

But never, never cease to love;

And how she blushed, and how she sighed,

And, half consenting, half denied,

And said that she would die a maid;

Yet, might the bloody feud be stayed,
Henry of Cranstoun, and only he,

Margaret of Branksome's choice should be.

XXX.

Alas! fair dames, your hopes are vain!
My harp has lost the enchanting strain;

Its lightness would my age reprove :
My hairs are gray, my limbs are old,
My heart is dead, my veins are cold :-

I

may not, must not, sing of love.

XXXI.

Beneath an oak, mossed o'er by eld,
The Baron's Dwarf his courser held,

And held his crested helm and spear: That Dwarf was scarcely an earthly man, If the tales were true, that of him ran

Through all the Border, far and near.

'Twas said, when the Baron a-hunting rode
Through Reedsdale's glens, but rarely trod,

He heard a voice cry, "Lost! lost! lost!"
And, like tennis-ball by raquet tossed,

A leap, of thirty feet and three,
Made from the gorse this elfin shape,
Distorted like some dwarfish ape,

And lighted at Lord Cranstoun's knee. Lord Cranstoun was some whit dismayed;

"Tis said that five good miles he rade,

To rid him of his company;

But where he rode one mile, the Dwarf ran four, And the Dwarf was first at the castle door.

XXXII.

Use lessens marvel, it is said.

This elfish Dwarf with the Baron staid;

Little he ate, and less he spoke,

Nor mingled with the menial flock;

E

And oft apart his arms he tossed,

And often muttered, "Lost! lost! lost!"
He was waspish, arch, and litherlie,

But well Lord Cranstoun served he:
And he of his service was full fain;
For once he had been ta'en or slain,

An' it had not been his ministry.

All, between Home and Hermitage,
Talked of Lord Cranstoun's Goblin Page.

XXXIII.

For the Baron went on pilgrimage,

And took with him this elvish Page,
To Mary's chapel of the Lowes:
For there, beside Our Ladye's lake,
An offering he had sworn to make,

And he would pay his vows.

But the Ladye of Brank some gathered a band

Of the best that would ride at her command;

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