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DES CRIPTIVE POEMS.

NORHAM CASTLE.

[The ruinous castle of Norham (anciently called Ubbanford) is situated on the southern bank of the Tweed, about six miles above Berwick, and where that river is still the boundary between England and Scotland. The extent of its ruins, as well as its historical importance, shows it to have been a place of magnificence as well as strength. Edward I. resided there when he was created umpire of the dispute concerning the Scottish succession. It was repeat. edly taken and retaken during the wars between Fngland and Scotland, and, indeed, scarce any happened in which it had not a principal share. Norham Castle is situated on a steep bank. which overhangs the river. The ruins of the castle are at presen: considerable, as well as picturesque. They consist of a large shattered tower, with many vaults, and fragments of other edifices, *nclosed within an outward wall of great circuit.)

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 armor, as it caught the rays,
Flashed back again the western blaze,
In lines of dazzling light.

St. George's banner, broad and gay,
Now faded, as the fading ray
Less bright, and less, was flung;
The evening gale had scarce the power
To wave it on the donjon tower,
So heavily it hung.
The scouts had parted on their search,
The castle gates were barrel;
Above the gloomy portal arch,
Timing his footsteps to a march,
The warder kept his guard;
Low humming, as he paced along,
Some ancient Border gathering-song.

A distant trampling sound he hears;

He looks abroad, and soon appears,

O'er Horncliff hill, a plump of spears, Beneath a pennon gay;

A horseman, darting from the crowd,
Like lightning from a summer cloud,
Spurs on his mettled courser proud
Before the dark array.
Beneath the sable palisade,
That closed the castle barricade,
His bugle-horn he blew ;
The warder hasted from the wall,
And warned the captain in the hall, .
For well the blast he knew ;
And joyfully that knight did call
To sewer, squire, and seneschal.

“Now broach ye a pipe of Malvoisie,
Bring pasties of the doe,
And quickly make the entrance free,
And bid my heralds ready be,
And every minstrel sound his glee,
And all our trumpets blow;
And, from the platform, spare ye not
To fire a noble salvo-shot:
Lord Marmion waits below.”
Then to the castle's lower ward
Sped forty yeomen tall,
The iron-studded gates unbarred,
Raised the portcullis' ponderous guard,
The lofty palisade unsparred,
And let the drawbridge fall.

Along the bridge Lord Marmion rode,
Proudly his red-roan charger trode,
His helm hung at the saddle-bow ;
Well by his visage you might know
He was a stalworth knight, and keen,
And had in many a battle been.
The scar on his brown cheek revealed
A token true of Bosworth field;
His eyebrow dark, and eye of fire,
Showed spirit proud, and prompt to ire.
Yet lines of thought upon his cheek
Did deep design and counsel speak.
His forehead, by his casque worn bare,
His thick mustache, and curly hair,
Coal-black, and grizzled here and there,
But more through toil than age;

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His square-turned joints, and strength of limb,

Showed him no carpet-knight so trim,

But in close fight a champion grim,
In camps a leader sage.

Well was he armed from head to heel,
In mail and plate of Milan steel;
But his strong helm, of mighty cost,
Was all with burnished gold embossed ;
Amid the plumage of the crest,
A falcon hovered on her nest,
With wings outspread, and forward breast;
E’en such a falcon, on his shield,
Soared sable in an azure field :
The golden legend bore aright,
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Blue was the charger's broidered rein;
Blue ribbons decked his arching mane;
The knightly housing's ample fold
Was velvet blue, and trapped with gold. '

Behind him rode two gallant squires
Of noble name and knightly sires;
They burned the gilded spurs to claim ;
For well could each a war-horse tame,
Could draw the bow, the sword could sway,
And lightly bear the ring away;
Nor less with courteous precepts stored,
Could dance in hall, and carve at board,
And frame love-ditties passing rare,
And sing them to a lady fair.

Four men-at-arms came at their backs,
With halbert, bill, and battle-axe ;
They bore Lord Marmion's lance so strong,
And led his sumpter-mules along,
And ambling palfrey, when at need
Him listed ease his battle-steed.
The last and trustiest of the four
On high his forky pennon bore;
Like swallow's tail, in shape and hue,
Fluttered the streamer glossy blue,
Where, blazoned sable, as before,
The towering falcon seemed to soar.
Last, twenty yeomen, two and two,
In hosen black, and jerkins blue,
With falcons broidered on each breast,
Attended on their lord's behest :
Each, chosen for an archer good,
Knew hunting-craft by lake or wood;
Each one a six-foot bow could bend,
And far a cloth-yard shaft could send ;
Each held a boar-spear tough and strong,
And at their belts their quivers rung.
Their dusty palfreys and array
Showed they had marched a weary way.

SiR WALTER scort.

MELROSE ABBEY.

IF thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright,
Go visit it by the pale moonlight;
For the gay beams of lightsome day
Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray.
When the broken arches are black in night,
And each shafted oriel glimmers white;
When the cold light's uncertain shower
Streams on the ruined central tower;
When buttress and buttress, alternately,
Seem framed of ebon and ivory;
When silver edges the imagery,
And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;
When distant Tweed is heard to rave,
And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave,
Then go, - but go alone the while, –
Then view St. David's ruined pile ;
And, home returning, soothly swear,
Was never scene so sad and fair

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HEAP on more wood – the wind is chill; But let it whistle as it will, We'll keep our Christmas merry still. Each age has deemed the new-born year The fittest time for festal cheer : Even, heathen yet, the savage Dane At Iol more deep the mead did drain; High on the beach his galleys drew, And feasted all his pirate crew; Then in his low and pine-built hall, Where shields and axes decked the wall, They gorged upon the half-dressed steer; Caroused in seas of sable beer; While round, in brutal jest, were thrown The half-gnawed rib and marrow-bone, Or listened all, in grim delight, While scalds yelled out the joys of fight. Then forth in frenzy would they hie, While wildly loose their red locks fly, And dancing round the blazing pile They make such barbarous mirth the while, As best might to the mind recall The boisterous joys of Odin's hall. And well our Christian sires of old Loved when the year its course had rolled, And brought blithe Christmas back again, With all its hospitable train. Domestic and religious rite Gave honor to the holy night; On Christmas eve the bells were rung: On Christmas eve the mass was sung; That only night in all the year, Saw the stoled priest the chalice rear. The damsel donned her kirtle sheen ; The hall was dressed with holly green; Forth to the wood did merry-men go, s To gather in the mistletoe. H

Then opened wide the baron's hall
To vassal, tenant, serf, and all;
Power laid his rod of rule aside,
And Ceremony doffed his pride;
The heir, with roses in his shoes,
That night might village partner choose;
The lord, underogating, share
The vulgar game of “post and pair.”
All hailed with uncontrolled delight
And general voice the happy night
That to the cottage, as the crown,
Brought tidings of salvation down.
The fire, with well-dried logs supplied,
Went roaring up the chimney wide;
The huge hall table's oaken face,
Scrubbed till it shone the day to grace,
Bore then upon its massive board
No mark to part the squire and lord;
Then was brought in the lusty brawn,
By old blue-coated serving-man ;
Then the grim boar's head frowned on high,
Crested with bays and rosemary.
Well can the green-garbed ranger tell
How, when, and where the monster fell;
What dogs before his death he tore,
And all the baiting of the boar.
The wassail round, in good brown bowls,
Garnished with ribbons, blithely trowls,
There the huge sirloin reeked ; hard by
Plum-porridge stood, and Christmas pie,
Nor failed old Scotland to produce
At such high tide, her savory goose.
Then came the merry maskers in ;
And carols roared with blithesome din,
If unmelodious was the song,
It was a hearty note, and strong.
Who lists may in their mumming see
Traces of ancient mystery;
White skirts supplied the masquerade,
And smutted cheeks the visors made;
But, oh what maskers, richly dight,
Can boast of bosoms half so light !

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Kneel to repeat his paternoster o'er ;
Far off the noises of the world retreat;
The loud vociferations of the street
Become an undistinguishable roar.

So, as I enter here from day to day,
And leave my burden at this minster gate,
Kneeling in prayer, and not ashamed to pray,

The tumult of the time disconsolate
To inarticulate murmurs dies away,
While the eternal ages watch and wait.

II.

How strange the sculptures that adorn these
towers
This crowd of statues, in whose folded sleeves
Birds build their nests; while canopied with
leaves
Parvis and portal bloom like trellised bowers,
And the vast minster seems a cross of flowers |
But fiends and dragons on the gargoyled eaves
Watch the dead Christ between the living
thieves,
And, underneath, the traitor Judas lowers'
Ah from what agonies of heart and brain,
What exultations trampling on despair,
What tenderness, what tears, what hate of
wrong,
What passionate outcry of a soul in pain,
Uprose this poem of the earth and air,
This mediaeval miracle of song !

III.

I enter, and I see thee in the gloom
Of the long aisles, 0 poet saturnine !
And strive to make my steps keep pace with
thine.
The air is filled with some unknown perfume;
The congregation of the dead make room
For thee to pass; the votive tapers shine;
Like rooks that haunt Ravenna's groves of pine
The hovering echoes fly from tomb to tomb.
From the confessionals I hear arise
Rehearsals of forgotten tragedies,
And lamentations from the crypts below;
And then a voice celestial, that begins
With the pathetic words, “Although your sins
As scarlet be,” and ends with “as the snow.”
IV.
I lift mine eyes, and all the windows blaze
With forms of saints and holy men who died,
Here martyred and hereafter glorified ;
And the great Rose upon its leaves displays
Christ's Triumph, and the angelic roundelays,
With splendor upon splendor multiplied;
And Beatrice again at 1)ante's side
No more rebukes, but smiles her words of

And then the organ sounds, and unseen choirs
Sing the old Latin hymns of peace and love,
And benedictions of the Holy Ghost;
And the melodious bells among the spires
O'er all the house-tops and through heaven
above
Proclaim the elevation of the Host

V.
O star of morning and of liberty

O bringer of the light, whose splendor shines

Above the darkness of the Apennines,

Forerunner of the day that is to be The voices of the city and the sea, The voices of the mountains and the pines, Repeat thy song, till the familiar lines Are footpaths for the thought of Italy' Thy fame is blown abroad from all the heights, Through all the nations, and a sound is he’” As of a mighty wind, and men devout, Strangers of Rome, and the new proselytes, In their own language hearthy wondrous worl,

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praise.

And feudal banners “flout the sky * Above his princely towers.

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