NOW joy for you who from the towers
Of Brancepeth look in doubt and fear,
Telling melancholy hours!
Proclaim it, let your Masters hear
That Norton with his band is near!
The watchmen from their station high
Pronounced the word,--and the Earls descry,
Well-pleased, the armed Company
Marching down the banks of Were.
Said fearless Norton to the pair
Gone forth to greet him on the plain--
'This meeting, noble Lords! looks fair,
I bring with me a goodly train;
Their hearts are with you: hill and dale
Have helped us: Ure we crossed, and Swale,
And horse and harness followed--see
The best part of their Yeomanry!
--Stand forth, my Sons!--these eight are mine,
Whom to this service I commend;
Which way soe'er our fate incline,
These will be faithful to the end;
They are my all'--voice failed him here--
'My all save one, a Daughter dear!
Whom I have left, Love's mildest birth,
The meekest Child on this blessed earth.
I had--but these are by my side,
These Eight, and this is a day of pride!
The time is ripe. With festive din
Lo! how the people are flocking in,--
Like hungry fowl to the feeder's hand
When snow lies heavy upon the land.'
He spake bare truth; for far and near
From every side came noisy swarms
Of Peasants in their homely gear;
And, mixed with these, to Brancepeth came
Grave Gentry of estate and name,
And Captains known for worth in arms
And prayed the Earls in self-defence
To rise, and prove their innocence.--
'Rise, noble Earls, put forth your might
For holy Church, and the People's right!'
The Norton fixed, at this demand,
His eye upon Northumberland,
And said; 'The Minds of Men will own
No loyal rest while England's Crown
Remains without an Heir, the bait
Of strife and factions desperate;
Who, paying deadly hate in kind
Through all things else, in this can find
A mutual hope, a common mind;
And plot, and pant to overwhelm
All ancient honour in the realm.
--Brave Earls! to whose heroic veins
Our noblest blood is given in trust,
To you a suffering State complains,
And ye must raise her from the dust.
With wishes of still bolder scope
On you we look, with dearest hope;
Even for our Altars--for the prize,
In Heaven, of life that never dies;
For the old and holy Church we mourn,
And must in joy to her return.
Behold!'--and from his Son whose stand
Was on his right, from that guardian hand
He took the Banner, and unfurled
The precious folds--'behold,' said he,
'The ransom of a sinful world;
Let this your preservation be;
The wounds of hands and feet and side,
And the sacred Cross on which Jesus died.
--This bring I from an ancient hearth,
These Records wrought in pledge of love
By hands of no ignoble birth,
A Maid o'er whom the blessed Dove
Vouchsafed in gentleness to brood
While she the holy work pursued.'
'Uplift the Standard!' was the cry
From all the listeners that stood round,
'Plant it,--by this we live or die.'
The Norton ceased not for that sound,
But said; 'The prayer which ye have heard,
Much-injured Earls! by these preferred,
Is offered to the Saints, the sigh
Of tens of thousands, secretly.'
'Uplift it!' cried once more the Band,
And then a thoughtful pause ensued:
'Uplift it!' said Northumberland--
Whereat, from all the multitude
Who saw the Banner reared on high
In all its dread emblazonry,
A voice of uttermost joy brake out:
The transport was rolled down the river of Were,
And Durham, the time-honoured Durham, did hear,
And the towers of Saint Cuthbert were stirred by the shout!
Now was the North in arms:--they shine
In warlike trim from Tweed to Tyne,
At Percy's voice: and Neville sees
His Followers gathering in from Tees,
From Were, and all the little rills
Concealed among the forked hills--
Seven hundred Knights, Retainers all
Of Neville, at their Master's call
Had sate together in Raby Hall!
Such strength that Earldom held of yore;
Nor wanted at this time rich store
Of well-appointed chivalry.
--Not loth the sleepy lance to wield,
And greet the old paternal shield,
They heard the summons;--and, furthermore,
Horsemen and Foot of each degree,
Unbound by pledge of fealty,
Appeared, with free and open hate
Of novelties in Church and State;
Knight, burgher, yeoman, and esquire;
And Romish priest, in priest's attire.
And thus, in arms, a zealous Band
Proceeding under joint command,
To Durham first their course they bear;
And in Saint Cuthbert's ancient seat
Sang mass,--and tore the book of prayer,--
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"The White Doe Of Rylstone, Or, The Fate Of The Nortons - Canto Third" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 17 Oct. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/42409/the-white-doe-of-rylstone,-or,-the-fate-of-the-nortons-----canto-third>.