Sidor som bilder


In the lost battle,

For either in the tone,
Borne down by the flying,

Or something in the palmer's look,
Where mingles war's rattle

So full upon his conscience strook,
With groans of the dying.

That answer he found none.

Thus oft it haps, that when within

They shrink at sense of secret sin,
Eleu loro, &c. There shall he be lying.

A feather daunts the brave,

A fool's wise speech confounds the wise,
Her wing shall the eagle flap

And proudest princes veil their eyes
O’er the false-hearted,

Before their meanest slave.
His warm blood the wolf shall lap,
Ere life be parted.

Shame and dishonour sit

Well might he falter by his aid
By bis grave ever ;

Was Constance Beverly betray'd;
Blessing shall hallow it,-

Not that he augurd of the doom,
Never, O never.

Which on the living closed the tomb :

But, tired to hear the desperate maid Eleu loro, &c. Never, 0 never.

Threaten by turns, beseech, upbraid:

And wroth, because, in wild despair,

She practised on the life of Clare ;
It ceased, the melancholy sound,

Its fugitive the church he gave, And silence sunk on all around.

Though not a victim, but a slave; The air was sad; but sadder still

And deem'd restraint in convent strange It fell on Marmion's ear,

Would hide her wrongs and her revenge. And plain’d as if disgrace and ill,

Himself, proud Henry's favourite peer, And shameful death were near.

Held Romish thunders idle fear; He drew his mantle past his face,

Secure bis pardon he might hold, Between it and the band,

For some slight mulct of penance gold. And rested with his head a space,

Thus judging, he gave secret way, Reclining on his hand.

When the stern priests surprised their prey ; His thoughts I scan not; but I ween,

His train but deem'd the favourite page That, could their import have been seen,

Was left behind, to spare his age; The meanest groom in all the hall,

Or other if they deem'd, none dared
That e'er tied courser to a stall,

To mutter what he thought and heard:
Would scarce have wish'd to be their prey, Wo to the vassal, who durst pry
For Lutterward and Fontenaye.

Into Lord Marmion's privacy!

High minds, of native pride and force,
Most deeply feel thy pangs, Remorse!
Fear, for their scourge, mean villains have
Thou art the torturer of the brave!
Yet fatal strength they boast, to steel
Their minds to bear the wounds they feel.
E'en while they writhe beneath the smart
Of civil conflict in the heart.
For soon Lord Marmion raised his head,
And, smiling, to Fitz-Eustace said,
“ Is it not strange, that, as ye sung,
Seem'd in mine ear a death-peal rung,
Such as in nunneries they toll
For some departing sister's soul ?

Say, what may this portend !"-
Then first the palmer silence broke
(The livelong day he had not spoke,)

“ The death of a dear friend."

His conscience slept-he deem'd her well,
And safe secured in distant cell;
But, waken’d by her favourite lay,
And that strange palmer's boding say,
That fell so ominous and drear,
Full on the object of his fear,
To aid remorse's venom'd throes,
Dark tales of convent vengeance rose;
And Constance, late betray'd and scorn'd
All lovely on his soul return'd;
Lovely as when, at treacherous call,
She left her convent's peaceful wall,
Crimson'd with shame, with terror mute,
Dreading alike escape, pursuit,
Till love, victorious o'er alarms,
Hid fears and blushes in his arms.

Marmion, whose steady heart and eye
Ne'er changed in worst extremity;
Marmion, whose soul could scantly brook,
E'en from his king a haughty look ;
Whose accept of command controllid,
In camps, the boldest of the bold-
Thought, look, and utterance, fail'd him now,
Fallen was his glance, and flush'd his brow;

“ Alas !” he thought, “how changed that mien !
How changed these timid looks have been,
Since years of guilt, and of disguise,
Have steel'd her brow, and arm'd her eyes;
No more of virgin terror speaks
The blood that mantles in her cheeks;
Fierce, and unfeminine, are there,
Frenzy for joy, for grief, despair ;
And I the cause--for whom were given
Her peace on earth, her hopes in heaven!

XX. “ The king Lord Gifford's castle sought, Deep labouring with uncertain thought Even then he muster'd all his host, To meet upon the western coast; For Norse and Danish galleys plied Their oar within the Frith of Clyde. There floated Haco's banner trim, Above Norweyan warriors grim, Savage of heart, and large of limb; Threatening both continent and isle, Bute, Arran, Cunningham, and Kyle. Lord Gifford, deep beneath the ground, Heard Alexander's bugle sound, And tarried not his garb to change, But, in his wizard habit strange, Came forth,—a quaint and fearful sight! His mantle lined with foxskins white; His high and wrinkled forehead bore A pointed cap, such as of yore Clerks say that Pharoah's magi wore; His shoes were mark'd with cross and spell, Upon his breast a pentacle ; His zone, of virgin parchment thin, Or, as some tell, of dead man's skin, Bore many a planetary sign, Combust, and retrogade, and trine; And in his hand he held prepared, A naked sword without a guard.

“Would,” thought he, as the picture grows,
I on its stalk had left the rose !
O why should man's success remove
The very charms that wake his love!
Her convent's peaceful solitude
Is now a prison harsh and rude ;
And, pent within the narrow cell,
How will her spirit chafe and swell!
Her brook the stern monastic laws!
The penance how—and I the cause !
Vigil and scourge-perchance, e'en worse !”—
And twice he rose to cry “to horse!”
And twice his sovereign's mandate came,
Like damp upon a kindling Aame;
And twice he thought, “ Gave I not charge
She should be safe, though not at large ?
They durst not, for their island, shred
One golden ringlet from her head.”-

While thus in Marmion's bosom strove
Repentance and reviving love,
Like whirlwinds, whose contending sway
I've seen Loch Vennachar obey,
Their host the palmer's speech had heard,
And, talkative, took up the word :-

“ Ay, reverend pilgrim, you, who stray
From Scotland's simple land away,

To visit realms afar,
Full often learn the art to know
Of future weal, or future wo,

By word, or sign, or star.
Yet might a knight his fortune hear,
If, knight like, he despises fear,
Not far from hence ;-if fathers old
Aright our hamlet legend told.”—
These broken words the menials move
(For marvels still the vulgar love ;)
And, Marmion giving license cold,
His tale the host thus gladly told.


“A clerk could tell what years have flown
Since Alexander fill'd our throne
(Third monarch of that warlike name,)
And eke the time when here he came
To seek Sir Hugo, then our lord :
A braver never drew a sword;
A wiser never, at the hour
Of midnight, spoke the word of power ;
The same, whom ancient records call
The founder of the Goblin Hall.
I would, sir knight, your longer stay
Gave you that cavern to survey.
Of lofty roof, and ample size,
Beneath the castle deep it lies :
To hew the living rock profound,
The door to pave, the arch to round,
There never toild a mortal arm,
It all was wrought by word and charm;
And I have heard my grandsire say,
That the wild clamour and affray
Of those dread artisans of hell,
Who labour'd under Hugo's spell,
Sounded as loud as ocean's war,
Among the caverns of Dunbar.

XXI. “Dire dealings with the fiendish race Had mark'd strange lines upon his face; Vigil and fast had worn him grim; His eyesight dazzled seem'd, and dim, As one unused to upper day ; E’en his own menials with dismay Beheld, sir knight, the griesly sire, In this unwonted wild attire ; Unwonted,-for traditions run, He seldom thus beheld the sun.

I know,' he said, -his voice was hoarse, And broken seem'd its hollow force,"I know the cause, although untold, Why the king seeks his vassal's hold: Vainly from me my liege would know His kingdom's future weal or wo; But yet if strong his arm and heart, His courage may do more than art.

XXII. "Of middle air the demons proud, Who ride upon the racking cloud, Can read, in fix'd or wandering star, The issue of events afar, But still their sullen aid withhold, Save when by mightier force controll'd. Such late I summond to my hall; And though so potent was the call, That scarce the deepest nook of hell I deem'd a refuge from the spell; Yet, obstinate in silence still, The haughty demon mocks my skill. But thou,—who little knowest thy might, As born upon that blessed night,

[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

Wearied from doubt to doubt to flee,
We welcome fond credulity,
Guide confident, though blind.

Little for this Fitz-Eustace cared,
But, patient, waited till he heard,
At distance, prick'd to utmost speed,
The foot-tramp of a flying steed,

Come townward rushing on:
First, dead, as if on turf it trod,
Then clattering on the village road,
In other pace than forth he yode,*

Return'd Lord Marmion.
Down hastily he sprang from selle,
And, in his haste, well nigh he fell;
To the squire's hand the rein he threw,
And spoke no word as he withdrew:
But yet the moonlight did betray,
The falcon crest was soil'd with clay;
And plainly might Fitz-Eustace see,
By stains upon the charger's knee,
And his left side, that on the moor
He had not kept his footing sure.
Long musing on these wondrous signs,
At length to rest the squire reclines-
Broken and short; for still between,
Would dreams of terror intervene:
Eustace did ne'er so blithely mark
The first notes of the morning lark.


Scarce by the pale moonlight, were seen
The foldings of his mantle green:
Lightly be dreamt, as youth will dream,
Of sport by thicket, or by stream,
Of hawk or hound, of ring or glove,
Or, lighter yet, of lady's love.
A cautious tread his slumber broke,
And close beside him, when he woke,
In moonbearn hall, and half in gloom,
Stood a tall form with nodding plume;
But, ere his dagger Eustace drew,
His master Marmion's voice he knew.

"Fitz-Eustace! rise,- I cannot rest,
Yon churls wild legend haunts my breast,
And graver thoughts have chased my mood,
The air must cool my feverish blood;
And fain would I ride forth, to see
The scene of elfin chivalry.
Arise, and saddle me my steed,
And, gentle Eustace, take good heed
Thou dost not rouse the drowsy slaves;
I would not that the prating knaves
Had cause for saying, o'er their ale,
That I could credit such a tale.”
Then softly down the steps they slid,
Eustace tne stable door undid,
And, darkling, Marmion's steed array'd,
While, whispering, thus the baron said :-

XXIX. “ Didst never, good my youth, hear tell

That on the hour when I was born, St. George, who graced my sire's chapelle, Down from his steed of marble fell,

A weary wight forlorn ?
The flattering chaplains all agree,
The champion left his steed to me.
I would, the omen's truth to show,
That I could meet this elfin foe!
Blithe would I battle for the right
To ask one question at the sprite :-
Vain thought! for elves, if elves there be,
An empty race, by fount or sea,
To dashing waters dance and sing,
Or round the green oak wheel they ring."-
Thus speaking, he his steed bestrode,
And from the hostel slowly rode.

Fitz-Eustace follow'd him abroad,
And mark'd him pace the village road,
And listen'd to his horse's tramp,

Till, by the lessening sound,
He judged that of the Pictish camp

Lord Marmion sought the roun
Wonder it seem'd, in the squire's eyes,
That one, so wary held, and wise,-
Of whom, 'twas said, he scarce received
For gospel what the church believed,
Should, stirr’d by idle tale,
Ride forth in silence of the night,
As hoping half to meet a sprite,

Array'd in plate and mail.
For little did Fitz-Eustace know,
That passions, in contending flow

Unfix the strongest mind :


Ashestiel, Ettrick Forest. An ancient minstrel sagely said, “ Where is the life which late we led ?" That motely clown, in Ardenwood, Whom humorous Jaques with envy view'd, Not e'en that clown could amplify, On this trite text, so long as I. Eleven years we now may tell, Since we have known each other well; Since, riding side by side, our hand First drew the voluntary brand; And sure, through many a varied scene, Unkindness never came between. Away these winged years have flown, To join the mass of ages gone; And though deep mark'd, like all below, With checker'd shades of joy and wo; Though thou o'er realms, and seas hast ranged, Mark'd cities lost, and empires changed, While here, at home, my narrower ken Somewhat of manners saw, and men ; Though varying wishes, hopes, and fears, Fever'd the progress of these years, Yet now days, weeks, and months, but seem The recollection of a dream; So still we glide down to the sea Of fathomless eternity. Even now it scarcely seems a day, Since first I turn'd this idle lay;

* Used by old poets for went.

A task so often thrown aside,
When leisure graver cares denied,
That pow, November's dreary gale,
Whose voice inspired my opening tale,
That same November gale once more
Whirls the dry leaves on Yarrow shore.
Their vex'd boughs streaming to the sky,
Once more our naked birches sigh,
And Blackhouse heights, and Ettrick Pen,
Have donn'd their wintry shrouds again;
And mountain dark, and fooded mead,
Bid us forsake the banks of Tweed.
Earlier than wont along the sky,
Mix'd with the rack, the snowmists fly;
The shepherd, who, in summer sun,
Has something of our envy won,
As thou with pencil, I with pen,
The features traced of hill and glen ;
He who, outstretch'd the livelong day,
At ease among the heath-flowers lay,
View'd the light clouds with vacant look
Or slumber'd o'er his tatter'd book,
Or idly busied him to guide
His angle o'er the lessen'd tide ;-
At midnight now, the snowy plain
Finds sterner labour for the swain.

When red hath set the beamless sun,
Through heavy vapours dank and dun;
When the tired ploughman, dry and warm,
Hears, half asleep, the rising storm
Hurling the hail and sleeted rain,
Against the casement's tinkling pane:
The sounds that drive wild deer, and fox,
To shelter in the brake and rocks,
Are warnings which the shepherd ask
To dismal and to dangerous task.
Oft he looks forth, and hopes, in vain,
The blast may sink in mellowing rain ;
Till, dark above and white below,
Decided drives the flakes of snow,
And forth the hardy swain must go.
Long, with dejected look and whipe,
To leave his hearth the dogs repine ;
Whistling and cheering them to aid,
Around his backs he wreathes the plaid :
His flock he gathers, and he guides
To open downs and mountain sides,
Where fiercest though the tempest blow,
Least deeply lies the drift below.
The blast, that whistles o'er the fells,
Stiffens his locks to icicles;
Oft he looks back, while, streaming far,
His cottage window seems a star,-
Loses its feeble gleam,

and then Turns patient to the blast again, And, facing to the tempest's sweep, Drives through the gloom his lagging sheep. If fails bis heart, if his limbs fail, Benumbing death is in the gale; His paths, his landmarks, all unknown, Close to the hut no more his own, Close to the aid he sought in vain, The morn may find the stiffen'd swain: The widow sees, at dawning pale, His orphans raise their feeble wail: And, close beside him, in the snow, Poor Yarrow, partner of their wo,

Couches upon his master's breast,
And licks his cheek to break his rest.

Who envies now the shepherd's let,
His healthy fare, his rural cot,
His summer couch by greenwood tree,
His rustic kirn's* loud revelry,
His native hill-notes, tuned on high,
To Marion of the blithesome eye;
His crook, his scrip, his oaten reed,
And all Arcadia's golden creed?

Changes not so with us, my Skene,
Of human life the varying scene?
Our youthful summer oft we see
Dance by on wings of game and glee,
While the dark storm reserves its rage,
Against the winter of our age:
As he, the ancient chief of Troy,
His manhood spent in peace and joy,
But Grecian fires, and loud alarms,
Call'd ancient Priam forth to arms.
Then happy those-since earth must drain
His share of pleasure, share of pain,
Then happy those, beloved of heaven,
To whom the mingled cup is given
Whose lenient sorrows find relief,
Whose joys are chasten’d by their grief,
And such a lot, my Skene, was thine,
When thou of late wert doom'd to twine, -
Just when thy bridal hour was by,-
The cypress with the myrtle tie.
Just on thy bride her sire had smiled,
And bless'd the union of his child,
When love must change its joyous cheer,
And wipe affection's filial tear.
Nor did the actions, next his end,
Speak more the father than the friend :
Scarce had lamented Forbes paid
The tribute to his minstrel's shade;
The tale of friendship scarce was told,
Ere the narrator's heart was cold-
Far we may search before we find
A heart so manly and so kind!
But not around his honour'd urn,
Shall friends alone and kindred mourn;
The thousand eyes his care had dried,
Pour at his name a bitter tide;
And frequent falls the grateful dew,
For benefits the world ne'er knew.
If mortal charity dare claim
The Almighty's attributed name,
Inscribe above his mouldering clay,
“ The widow's shield, the orphan's stay."
Nor, though it wake thy sorrow, deem
My verse intrudes on this sad theme;
For sacred was the pen that wrote,
“ Thy father's friend forget thou not."
And grateful title may I plead,
For many a kindly word and deed,
To bring my tribute to his grave:-
'Tis little—but 'tis all I have.

To thee, perchance, this rambling strain Recalls our summer walks again ; When, doing naught,-and, to speak true, Not anxious to find aught to do,

* The Scottish harvest-home.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »