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THE

LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.

CANTO THIRD.

AND said I that my limbs were old;
And said I that my blood was cold,

And that my kindly fire was fled,
And my poor withered heart was dead,

And that I might not sing of love?—
How could I to the dearest theme,
That ever warmed a minstrel's dream,

So foul, so false, a recreant prove!

How could I name love's very name,

Nor wake

my

heart to notes of flame!

II.

In peace, Love tunes the shepherd's reed;

In war, he mounts the warrior's steed;

In halls, in gay attire is seen;

In hamlets, dances on the green.

Love rules the court, the camp, the grove,

And men below, and saints above;

For love is heaven, and heaven is love.

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III.

So thought Lord Cranstoun, as I ween,

While, pondering deep the tender scene,
He rode through Branksome's hawthorn green.
But the Page shouted wild and shrill-

And scarce his helmet could he don,

When downward from the shady hill

A stately knight came pricking on.

7

That warrior's steed, so dapple-gray,

Was dark with sweat, and splashed with clay;

His armour red with many a stain:

He seemed in such a weary plight,

As if he had ridden the live-long night;

For it was William of Deloraine.

IV.

But no whit weary

did he seem,

When, dancing in the sunny beam,

He marked the crane on the Baron's crest;

For his ready spear was in his rest.

Few were the words, and stern and high,

That marked the foemen's feudal hate;

For question fierce, and proud reply,

Gave signal soon of dire debate.
Their very coursers seemed to know
That each was other's mortal foe;
And snorted fire, when wheeled around,
To give each knight his vantage ground.

V.

In rapid round the Baron bent;

He sighed a sigh, and prayed a prayer :

The prayer was to his patron saint,

The sigh was to his ladye fair.

Stout Deloraine nor sighed, nor prayed,

Nor saint, nor ladye, called to aid;

But he stooped his head, and couched his spear,

And spurred his steed to full career.

The meeting of these champions proud

Seemed like the bursting thunder-cloud.

VI.

Stern was the dint the Borderer lent!

The stately Baron backwards bent;

Bent backwards to his horse's tail,

And his plumes went scattering on the gale;

The tough ash spear, so stout and true,

Into a thousand flinders flew.

But Cranstoun's lance, of more avail,

Pierced through, like silk, the Borderer's mail;

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