Not far advanced was morning day,
When Marmion did his troop array
To Surrey's camp to ride;
He had safe conduct for his band,
Beneath the royal seal and hand,
And Douglas gave a guide.
The train from out the castle drew,
But Marmion stopped to bid adieu:
"Though something I might plain," he said,
"Of cold respect to stranger guest,
Sent hither by your king's behest,
While in Tantallon's towers I staid,
Part we in friendship from your land,
And, noble Earl, receive my hand."
But Douglas round him drew his cloak,
Folded his arms, and thus he spoke:
"My manors, halls, and bowers shall still
Be open, at my sovereign's will,
To each one whom he lists, howe'er Unmeet to be the owner's peer.
My castles are my king's alone,
From turret to foundation stone;
The hand of Douglas is his own;
And never shall, in friendly grasp,
The hand of such as Marmion clasp."
Burned Marmion's swarthy cheek like fire,
And shook his very frame for ire;
And — "This to me!" he said, —
"An't were not for thy hoary beard,
Such hand as Marmion's had not spared
To cleave the Douglas' head!
And, first, I tell thee, haughty peer,
He who does England's message here,
Although the meanest in her state,
May well, proud Angus, be thy mate:
And, Douglas, more, I tell thee here,
Even in thy pitch of pride,
Here, in thy hold, thy vassals near,
I tell thee, thou'rt defied!