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The Poetical Works of George MacDonald (Parables)

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Lady Margaret, her hert richt gret,

  Luiks ower the castle wa'; Lord Archibold rides oot at the yett,

  Ahint him his merry men a'.

Wi' a' his band, to the Holy Land

  He's boune wi' merry din, His shouther's doss a Christ's cross,

  In his breist an ugsome sin.

But the cross it brunt him like the fire.

  Its burnin never ceast; It brunt in an' in, to win at the sin

  Lay cowerin in his breist.

A mile frae the shore o' the Deid Sea

  The army haltit ae nicht; Lord Archie was waukrife, an' oot gaed he

  A walkin i' the munelicht.

Dour-like he gaed, wi' doon-hingin heid,

  Quhill he cam, by the licht o' the mune, Quhaur michty stanes lay scattert like sheep,

  An' ance they worshipt Mahoun.

The scruff an' scum o' the deid shore gleamt

  An' glintit a sauty gray; The banes o' the deid stack oot o' its bed,

  The sea lickit them as they lay.

He sat him doon on a sunken stane,

  An' he sighit sae dreary an' deep: "I can thole ohn grutten, lyin awauk,

  But he comes whan I'm asleep!

"I wud gie my soul for ever an' aye

  Intil en'less dule an' smert, To sleep a' nicht like a bairn again,

  An' cule my burnin hert!"

Oot frae ahint a muckle stane

  Cam a voice like a huddy craw's: "Behaud there, Archibold Gordon!" it said,

  "Behaud--ye hae ower gude cause!"

"I'll say quhat I like," quod Archibold,

  "Be ye ghaist or deevil or quhat!" "Tak tent, lord Archie, gien ye be wise--

  The tit winna even the tat!"

Lord Archibold leuch wi' a loud ha, ha,

  Eerisome, grousum to hear: "A bonny bargain auld Cloots wad hae,

  It has ilka faut but fear!"

"Dune, lord Archibold?" craikit the voice;

  "Dune, Belzie!" cried he again.-- The gray banes glimmert, the white saut shimmert--

  Lord Archie was him lane.

Back he gaed straught, by the glowerin mune,

  An' doun in his plaid he lay, An' soun' he sleepit.--A ghaist-like man

  Sat by his heid quhill the day.

An' quhanever he moanit or turnit him roun,

  Or his broo gae token o' plycht, The waukin man i' the sleepin man's lug

  Wud rown a murgeon o' micht.

An' the glint o' a smile wud quaver athort

  The sleepin cheek sae broun, An' a tear atween the ee-lids wud stert,

  An' whiles rin fairly doun.

An' aye by his lair sat the ghaist-like man,

  He watchit his sleep a' nicht; An' in mail rust-broun, wi' his visorne doun,

  Rade at his knee i' the fecht.

Nor anis nor twyis the horn-helmit chiel

  Saved him frae deidly dad; An' Archie said, "Gien this be the deil

  He's no sac black as he's ca'd."

But wat ye fu' weel it wasna the deil

  That tuik lord Archie's pairt, But his twin-brother John he thoucht deid an' gone,

  Wi' luve like a lowe in his hert.

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