Excerpt from Canto Sixth. The Battle.
O woman! in our hours of ease,
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
And variable as the shade
By the light quivering aspen made;
When pain and anguish wring the brow,
A ministering angel thou!
Scarce were the piteous accents said,
When, with the baron’s casque, the maid
To the nigh streamlet ran:
Forgot were hatred, wrongs, and fears;
The plaintive voice alone she hears,
Sees but the dying man.
She stooped her by the runnel’s side,
But in abhorrence backward drew;
For, oozing from the mountain’s side,
Where raged the war, a dark-red tide
Was curdling in the streamlet blue.
Where shall she turn?—behold her mark
A little fountain cell,
Where water, clear as diamond-spark,
In a stone basin fell.
Above some half-worn letters say,
“Drink . weary . pilgrim . drink . and . pray .
For . the . kind . soul . of . Sybil . Gray .
Who . built . this . cross . and . well . ”
She filled the helm, and back she hied,
And with surprise and joy espied
A monk supporting Marmion’s head;
A pious man, whom duty brought
To dubious verge of battle fought,
To shrive the dying, bless the dead.
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