Sidor som bilder

In each a slender meal was laid,
Of roots, of water, and of bread:
By each, in Benedictine dress,
Two haggard monks stood motionless;
Who, holding high a blazing torch,
Show'd the grim entrance of the porch ;
Reflecting back the smoky beam,
The dark-red walls and arches gleam.
Hewn stones and cement were display'd,
And building tools in order laid.

These executioners were chose,
As men who were with mankind foes.
And, with despite and envy fired,
Into the cloister had retired;

Or who, in desperate doubt of grace,
Strove by deep penance to efface

Of some foul crime the stain;
For, as the vassals of her will,
Such men the church selected still,
As either joy'd in doing ill,

Or thought more grace to gain, If, in her cause, they wrestled down Feelings their nature strove to own. By strange device were they brought there, They knew not how, and knew not where.

And now that blind old abbot rose,

To speak the chapter's doom,
On those the wall was to enclose,

Alive, within the tomb; But stopp'd because that woful maid, Gathering her powers, to speak essay'd. Twice she essay'd, and twice, in vain ; Her accents might no utterance gain; Naught but imperfect murmurs slip From her convulsed and quivering lip:

'Twist each attempt all was so still, You seem'd to hear a distant rill

'Twas ocean's swells and falls; For though this vault of sin and fear Was to the sounding surge so near, A tempest there you scarce could hear;

So massive were the walls.

Nor do I speak your prayers to gain ;
For if a death of lingering pain,
To cleanse my sins, be penance vain,

Vain are your masses, too.
I listen'd to a traitor's tale,
I left the convent and the veil,
For three long years I bow'd my pride,
A horse-boy in his train to ride ;
And well my folly's meed he gave,
Who forfeited, to be his slave,
All here, and all beyond the grave.-
He saw young Clara's face inore fair,
He knew her of broad lands the heir,
Forgot his vows, his faith forswore,
And Constance was beloved no more.
'Tis an old tale, and often told;

But, did my fate and wish agree,
Ne'er had been read, in story old,
Of maiden true betray'd for gold,
That loved, or was avenged, like me!

“ The king approved his favourite's aim;
In vain a rival barr'd his claim,

Whose faith with Clare's was plight,
For he attaints that rival's fame
With treason's charge--and on they came,
In mortal lists to fight.

Their oaths are said,
Their prayers are pray'd,

Their lances in the rest are laid,
They meet in mortal shock;
And hark! the throng, with thundering cry
Shout · Marmion, Marmion, to the sky!

De Wilton to the block !' Say ye, who preach Heaven shall decide, When in the lists two champions ride,

Say, was Heaven's justice here? When, loyal in his love and faith, Wilton found overthrow or death,

Beneath a traitor's spear. How false the charge, how true be fell, This guilty packet best can tell.”— Then drew a packet from her breast, Paused, gather'd voice, and spoke the rest.

XXIX. “ Still was false Marmion's bridal staid: To Whitby's convent fied the maid,

The hated match to shun. Ho! shifts she thus ?" King Henry cried, Sir Marmion, she shall be thy bride,

If she were sworn a nun.'
One way remain'd—the king's command
Sent Marmion to She Scottish land:
I linger'd here a Sescue plann'd

For Clara and for me:
This caitiff monk, for gold, did swear,
He would to Whitby's shrine repair,
And, by his drugs, my rival sair

A saint in heaven should be.
But ill the dastard kept his oath,
Whose cowardice has undone us both.

“And now my tongue the secret tells,
Now that remorse my bosom swells,

At length, an effort sent apart
The blood that curdled to her heart,

And light came to her eye ;
And colour dawn'd upon her cheek,
A hectic and a flutter'd streak,
Like that left on the Cheviot peak,

By autumn's stormy sky;
And when her silence broke at length,
Still as she spoke she gather'd strength,

And arm’d herself to bear;
It was a fearful sight to see
Such high resolve and constancy,

In form so soft and fair.

XXVII. " I speak not to implore your grace ; Well know I, for one minute's space

Successless might I sue:

But to assure my soul, that none
Shall ever wed with Marmion.
Had fortune my last hope betray'd,
This packet to the king convey'd,
Had given him to the headsman's stroke,
Although my heart that instant broke.
Now, men of death, work forth your will,
For I can suffer, and be still;
And, come he slow, or come he fast,
It is but Death who comes at last.

“ Yet dread me, from my living tomb,
Ye vassal slaves of bloody Rome!
If Marmion's late remorse should wake,
Full soon such vengeance will be take,
That you shall wish the fiery Dane
Had rather been your guest again.
Behind, a darker hour ascends !
The altars quake, the crosier bends,
The ire of a despotic king
Rides forth upon destruction's wing.
Then shall these vaults, so strong and deep,
Burst open to the sea-wind's sweep;
Some traveller then shall find my bones,
Whitening amid disjointed stones,
And, ignorant of priests' cruelty,
Marvel such relics here should be."

And bade the passing knell to toll
For welfare of a parting soul.
Slow o’er the midnight wave it swung,
Northumbrian rocks in answer rung;
To Warkworth cell the echoes rollid,
His beads the wakeful hermit told;
The Bamborough peasant raised his head,
But slept ere half his prayer he said;
So far was heard the mighty kpell,
The stag sprung up on Cheviot Fell,
Spread his broad nostrils to the wind,
Listed before, aside, behind,
Then couch'd him down beside the hind,
And quaked among the mountain fern,
To hear that sound so dull and stern.


XXXII. Fix'd was her look, and stern her air; Back from her shoulders stream'd her hair; The locks, that wont her brow to shade, Stared up erectly from her head; Her figure seem'd to rise more high ; Her voice, despair's wild energy Had given a tone of prophecy. Appall’d the astonish'd conclave sate; With stupid eyes, the men of fate Gazed on the late inspired form, And listen'd for the avenging storm ; The judges felt the victim's dread; No hand was moved, no word was said, Till thus the abbot's doom was given, Raising his sightless balls to heaven :“ Sister let thy sorrows cease ; Sinful brother, part in peace !" From that dire dungeon, place of doom Of execution, too, and tomb,

Paced forth the judges three ;
Sorrow it were, and shame, to tell
The butcher-work that there befel,
When they had glided from the cell
Of sin and misery.

A hundred winding steps convey
That conclave to the upper day;
But, ere they breathed the fresher air,
They heard the shriekings of despair,

And many a stifled groan:
With speed their upward way they take,
(Such speed as age and fear can make,)

And cross'd themselves for terror's sake, As hurrying, tottering on; E’en in the vesper's heavenly tone They seem'd to hear a dying groan,


Ashestiel, Ettrick Forest Like April morning clouds, that pass, With varying shadow, o'er the grass, And imitate, on field and furrow; Life checker'd scene of joy and sorrow; Like streamlet of the mountain porth, Now in a torrent racing forth, Now winding slow its silver train, And almost slumbering on the plain ; Like breezes of the autumn day, Whose voice inconstant dies away, And ever swells again as fast, When the ear deems its murmur past; Thus various, my romantic theme Flits, winds, or sinks, a morning dream. Yet pleased, our eye pursues the trace Of light and shade's inconstant race; Pleased, views the rivulet afar, Weaving its maze irregular; And pleased, we listen as the breeze Heaved its wild sigh through autumn trees; Then wild as cloud, or stream, or gale, Flow on, flow unconfined, my tale. Need I to thee, dear Erskine, tell, I love the license all too well, In sounds now lowly, and now strong, To raise the desultory song ? Ost, when 'mid such capricious chime, Some transient fit of lofty rhyme, To thy kind judgment seem'd excuse For many an error of the muse; Oft hast thou said, “ If, still mis-spent, Thine hours to poetry are lent: Go, and, to tame thy wandering course, Quaff from the fountain at the source ; Approach those masters, o'er whose tomb, Immortal laurels ever bloom : Instructive of the feebler bard, Still from the grave their voice is heard; From them, and from the path they show'd Choose honour'd guide and practised road; Nor ramble on through brake and maze, With harpers rude of barbarous day.

“Or, deem'st thou not our later time, Yields topic meet for classic rhyme ?




I. Tre livelong day Lord Marmion rode. The mountain path the palmer show'd ; By glen and streainlet winded still, Where stunted birches hid the rill. They might not choose the lowland road, For the Merse forayers were abroad, Who, fired with hate and thirst of prey, Had scarcely fail'd to bar their way. Oft on the trampling band, from crown Of some tall cliff, the deer look'd down; On wing of jet, from his repose In the deep heath, the black cock rose; Sprung from the gorse the timid roe, Nor waited for the bending bow; And when the stony path began, By which the naked peak they wan, Up flew the snowy ptarmigan. The noon had long been past before They gain'd the height of Lammermoor; Thence winding down the northern way, Before them, at the closing day, Old Gifford's towers and hamlet lay.

I deem'd such nooks the sweetest shade
The sun in all his round survey'd ;
And still I thought that shatter'd tower
The mightiest work of human power;
And marvell’d, as the aged hind
With some strange tale bewitch'd my mind,
Of forayers, who, with headlong force,
Down from that strength had spurr'd their horse,
Their southern rapine to renew,
Far in the distant Cheviot's blue,
And home returning, fill'd the hall
With revel, wassel-rout, and brawl.-
Methought that still with trump and clang
The gateway's broken arches rangi
Methought grim features, seam'd with scars,
Glared through the window's rusty bars.
And ever, by the winter hearth,
Old tales I heard of wo or mirth,
Of lovers' zleights, of ladies' charms,
Of witches' spells, of warriors' arms;
Of patriot battles, won of old,
By Wallace wight and Bruce the bold;
Of later fields of feud and fight,
When, pouring from their highland height,
The Scottish clans in headlong sway,
Had swept the scarlet ranks away.
While, stretch'd at length upon the floor,
Again I fought each combat o'er,
Pebbles and shells, in order laid,
The mimic ranks of war display'd ;
And onward still the Scottish lion bore,
And still the scatter'd Soutbron fed before.

Still, with vain fondness, could I trace,
Anew, each kind familiar face,
That brightend at our evening fire;
From the thatch'd mansion's gray-hair'd sire,
Wise without learning, plain and good,
And sprung of Scotland's gentler blood;
Whose eye in age, quick, clear, and keen,
Show'd what in youth its glance had been ;
Whose doom discording neighbours sought,
Content with equity unbought;
To him the venerable priest,
Our frequent and familiar guest,
Whose life and manners well could paint
Alike the student and the saint;
Alas! whose speech too oft I broke
With gambol rude and timeless joke:
For I was wayward, bold, and wild,
A self-will'd imp, a grandame's child;
But, half a plague, and half a jest,
Was still endured, beloved, carest.

From me, thus nurtured, dost thou ask
The classic poet's well-conn'd task?
Nay, Erskine, pay, on the wild hill
Let the wild heathbell flourish still;
Cherish the tulip, prune the vine,
But freely let the woodbine twine,
And leave untrimm'd the eglantine:
Nay, my friend, nay,-since oft thy praise
Hath given fresh vigour to my lays,
Since oft thy judgment could refine
My flattend thought, or cumbrous line,
Still kind, as is thy wont, attend,
And in the minstrel spare the friend;
Though wild as cloud, as stream, as gale,
Flow forth, flow unrestrain'd, my tale!

No summons calls them to the tower,
To spend the hospitable hour.
To Scotland's camp the lord was gone,
His cautious dame, in bower alone,
Dreaded her castle to unclose,
So late, to unknown friends or foes.

On through the hamlet as they paced,
Before a porch, whose front was graced
With bush and flaggon trimly placed,

Lord Marmion drew his reign:
The village inn seem'd large, though rude:
Its cheerful fire and hearty food

Might well relieve his train. Down from their seats the horsemen sprang, With jingling spurs the court-yard rang; They bind their horses to the stall, For forage, food, and firing call, And various clamour fills the hall; Weighing the labour with the cost, Toils everywhere the bustling host.

Soon, by the chimney's merry blaze,
Through the rude hostel might you gaze;
Might see, where in dark nook aloof,
The rafters of the sooty roof

Bore wealth of winter cheer;
Of sea fowl dried, and solands store,
And gammons of the tusky boar,

And savoury haunch of deer.
The chimney arch projected wide ;
Above, around it, and beside,

Were tools for housewifes' hand : Nor wanted, in that martial day, The implements of Scottish fray,

The buckler, lance, and brand. Beneath its shade, the place of state, On oaken settle Marmion sate,

Ill may we hope to please your ear,
Accustom'd Constant's strains to hear.
The harp full destly can he strike,
And wake the lover's lute alike;
To dear Saint Valentine, no thrush
Sings livelier from a springtide bush;
No nightingale her lovelorn tune
More sweetly warbles to the moon.
Wo to the cause, whate'er it be,
Detains from us his melody,
Lavish'd on rocks, and billows stern,
Or duller monks of Lindisfern.
Now must I venture, as I may,
To sing his favourite roundelay."


And view'd, around the blazing hearth,
His followers mix in noisy mirth,
Whom with brown ale, in jolly tide,
From ancient vessels ranged aside,
Full actively their host supplied.

Theirs was the glee of martial breast,
And laughter theirs at little jest ;
And oft Lord Marmion deign'd to aid,
And mingle in the mirth they made:
For though, with men of high degree,
The proudest of the proud was he,
Yet, train’d in camps, he knew the art
To win the soldier's hardy heart.
They love a captain to obey,
Boisterous as March, yet fresh as May;
With open hand, and brow as free,
Lover of wine and minstrelsy,
Ever the first to scale a tower,
As venturous in a ladye's bower:-
Such buxom chief shall lead his host
From India's fires to Zembla's frost.

V. Resting upon his pilgrim staff,

Right opposite the palmer stood: His thin dark visage seen but half,

Half hidden by his hood. Still fix'd on Marmion was his look, Which he, who ill such gaze could brook,

Strove by a frown to quell; But not for that, though more than once Full met their stern encountering glance,

The palmer's visage fell.

IX. A mellow voice Fitz-Eustace had, The air he chose was wild and sad; Such have I heard, in Scottish land, Rise from the busy harvest band, When falls before the mountaineer, On lowland plains, the ripen'd ear. Now one shrill voice the notes prolong, Now a wild chorus swells the song: Ost have I listen'd, and stood still, As it came soften'd up the hill, And deem'd it the lament of men Who languish'd for their native glen; And thought how sad would be such sound, On Susquehannah's swampy ground, Kentucky's wood-encumber'd brake, Or wild Ontario's boundless lake, Where heart-sick exiles, in the strain, Recall’d fair Scotland's hills again!


By fits less frequent from the crowd
Was heard the burst of laughter loud;
For still as squire and archer stared
On that dark face and matted beard,

Their glee and game declined.
All gaze at length in silence drear,
Unbroke, save when in comrade's ear
Some yeomen, wondering in his fear,

Thus whisper'd forth his mind:
“Saint Mary! saw'st thou ere such sight?
How pale bis cheek, his eye how bright,
Whene'er the firebrand's fickle light

Glances beneath his cow!!
Full on our lord he sets his eye;
For his best palfray, would not I

Endure that sullen scowl.”

Where shall the lover rest,

Whom the fates sever
From his true maiden's breast,

Parted for ever?
Where, through groves deep and high,

Sounds the far billow, Where early violets die,

Under the willow.


Eleu loro, &c. Soft shall be his pillow.

There, through the summer day,

Cool streams are laving; There while the tempests sway,

Scarce are boughs waving: There, thy rest shalt thou take,

Parted for ever, Never again to wake,

Never, 0 never.

VII. But Marmion, as to chase the awe Which thus had quelld their hearts, who saw The ever-varying firelight show That tigure stern and face of wo,

Now call'd upon a squire:“Fitz Eustace, know'st thou not some lay, To speed the lingering night away?

We slumber by the fire.”


Eleu loro, &c. Never, O never.

VIII. “So please you,” thus the youth rejoin'd, "Our choicest minstrel's left behind.

Where shall the traitor rest,

He, the deceiver,
Who could win maiden's breast,

Ruin, and leave her?

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