Thursday, September 9, 2010

Battle of Flodden Field

Walter Scott's poem "Marmion" is set at the Battle of Flodden Field, which took place on September 9, 1513.  Scott's Lord Marmion is a favorite of England's Henry VIII, against whose army James IV of Scotland fought.  James and most of his nobles were killed at Flodden Field, a disastrous event in Scottish history.


And why stands Scotland idly now,
Dark Flodden! on thy airy brow,
Since England gains the pass the while,
And struggles through the deep defile?
What checks the fiery soul of James?
Why sits that champion of the dames
Inactive on his steed,
And sees, between him and his land,
Between him and Tweed's southern strand,
His host Lord Surrey lead?
What 'vails the vain knight-errant's brand?--
O, Douglas, for thy leading wand!
Fierce Randolph, for thy speed!
O for one hour of Wallace wight,
Or well-skill'd Bruce, to rule the fight,
And cry--'Saint Andrew and our right!'
Another sight had seen that morn,
From Fate's dark book a leaf been torn,
And Flodden had been Bannockbourne!--
The precious hour has pass'd in vain,
And England's host has gain'd the plain;
Wheeling their march, and circling still,
Around the base of Flodden hill.

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