Our vicar still preaches that Peter and Poule
Laid a swinging long curse on the bonny brown bowl,
That there ’s wrath and despair in the jolly black-jack,
And the seven deadly sins in a flagon of sack;
Yet whoop, Barnaby! off with thy liquor,
Drink upsees out, and a fig for the vicar!
Our vicar he calls it damnation to sip
The ripe ruddy dew of a woman’s dear lip,
Says that Beelzebub lurks in her kerchief so sly,
And Apollyon shoots darts from her merry black eye;
Yet whoop, Jack! kiss Gillian the quicker,
Till she bloom like a rose, and a fig for the vicar!
Our vicar thus preaches,—and why should
For the dues of his cure are the placket and pot;
And ’tis right of his office poor laymen to lurch
Who infringe the domains of our good Mother Church.
Yet whoop, bully-boys! off with your liquor,
Sweet Marjorie ’s the word and a fig for the vicar!
The warder’s challenge, heard without,
Stayed in mid-roar the merry shout.
A soldier to the portal went,—
’Here is old Bertram, sirs, of Ghent;
And—beat for jubilee the drum!—
A maid and minstrel with him come.’
Bertram, a Fleming, gray and scarred,
Was entering now the Court of Guard,
A harper with him, and, in plaid
All muffled close, a mountain maid,
Who backward shrunk to ’scape the view
Of the loose scene and boisterous crew.
‘What news?’ they roared:—’ I only know,
From noon till eve we fought with foe,
As wild and as untamable
As the rude mountains where they dwell;
On both sides store of blood is lost,
Nor much success can either boast.’—
’But whence thy captives, friend? such spoil
As theirs must needs reward thy toil.
Old cost thou wax, and wars grow sharp;
Thou now hast glee-maiden and harp!
Get thee an ape, and trudge the land,
The leader of a juggler band.’
’No, comrade;—no such fortune mine.
After the fight these sought our line,
That aged harper and the girl,
And, having audience of the Earl,
Mar bade I should purvey them steed,
And bring them hitherward with speed.
Forbear your mirth and rude alarm,
For none shall do them shame or harm.—
‘Hear ye his boast?’ cried John of Brent,
Ever to strife and jangling bent;
’Shall he strike doe beside our lodge,
And yet the jealous niggard grudge
To pay the forester his fee?
I’ll have my share howe’er it be,
Despite of Moray, Mar, or thee.’
Bertram his forward step withstood;
And, burning in his vengeful mood,
Old Allan, though unfit for strife,
Laid hand upon his dagger-knife;
But Ellen boldly stepped between,
And dropped at once the tartan screen:—
So, from his morning cloud, appears
The sun of May through summer tears.
The savage soldiery, amazed,
As on descended angel gazed;
Even hardy Brent, abashed and tamed,
Stood half admiring, half ashamed.