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Was raised for her a graven tomb
LORD JOHN OF THE EAST.
The fire blazed bright till deep midnight, And now, ye polish'd fair of modern times,
And the guests sat in the hall, If such indeed will listen to my rhymes,
And the lord of the feast, Lord John of the East, What think ye of her simple, modest worth,
Was the merriest of them all.
Beneath his helm to scowl,
Flash'd keenly bright, like a new-waked sprite Who with superb signoras proudly vies,
As pass’d the circling bowl. Trilling before the dear admiring crowd
In laughter light, or jocund lay, With outstretch'd, straining throat, bravuras loud,
That voice was heard, whose sound, Her high-heaved breast press'd hard, as if to boast
Stern, loud, and deep, in battle-fray
Did foemen fierce astound;
To every jester near,
Oft thrust the ruthless spear.
The gallants sang, and the goblets rang, Will she, forsooth! or any belle of spirit,
And they revell'd in careless state, Regard such old, forgotten, homely merit ?
Till a thundering sound, that shook the ground, Or she, whose cultured, high-strain's talents soar
Was heard at the castle gate.
“ Who knocks without, so loud and stout?
Who from afar, like a guiding star,
(No churl durst make such din,) To philosophic, honour'd ignorance
And soothly ask him in.
The pages twain return'd again,
And a wild, scared look had they ; Leaves her in purfle, furbelow, or frill,
“Why look ye so ?-is it friend or foe?” No whit behind the very costliest fair
Did the angry baron say. That wooes with daily pains the public stare : Who seems almost ashamed to be a woman, “ A stately knight without doth wait, And yet the palm of parts will yield to no man But further he will not hie, But holds on battle-ground eternal wrangling, Till the baron himself shall come to the gate, The plainest case in mazy words entangling : And ask him courteously.”— Will she, I trow, or any kirtled sage, Admire the subject of my artless page ?
“ By my mother's shroud, he is full proud!
What earthly man is he?” And yet there be of British fair, I know,
“ I know not, in truth,” quoth the trembling youth, Who to this legend will some favour show
“ If earthly man it be. From kindred sympathy; whose life proceeds In one unwearied course of gentle deeds,
“ In Raveller's plight, he is bedight, And pass untainted through the earthly throng, With a vest of the crim'sy meet; Like souls that to some better world belong. But his mantle behind, that streams on the wind, Nor will I think, as sullen cynics do,
Is a corse's bloody sheet.” Still libelling present times, their number few.
“Out, paltry child! thy wits are wild, Yea, leagued for good they act, a virtuous band,
Thy comrade will tell me true:
Say plainly, then, what hast thou seen ?
Or dearly shalt thou rue.”
Then dark, dark lower'd the baron's eye,
But his loosen'd limbs shook fast, and pour'd And his red cheek changed to wan;
The big drops from his brow, For again at the gate more furiously,
As louder still the third time roar'd The thundering din began.
The thundering gate below. “And is there ne'er of my vassals here,
“O rouse thee, baron, for manhood's worth! Of high or low degree,
Let good or ill befall, That will unto this stranger go,
Thou must to the stranger knight go forth, Will go for the love of me?”
And ask him to your hall.” Then spoke and said, fierce Donald the Red,
- “ Rouse thy bold breast,” said each eager guest, (A fearless man was he,)
“ What boots it shrinking so? “ Yes; I will straight to the castle gate,
Be it fiend, or sprite, or murder'd knight, Lord John, for the love of thee.”
In God's name thou must go. With heart full stout, he hied him out,
“Why shouldst thou fear? dost thou not wear Whilst silent all remain ;
A gift from the great Glendower, Nor moved a tongue those gallants among,
Sandals blest by a holy priest, Till Donald return'd again.
O'er which naught ill bath power ?” “O speak,” said his lord,“ by thy hopes of grace, All ghastly pale did the baron quail, What stranger must we hail ?”
As he turn'd him to the door, But the haggard look of Donald's face
And his sandals blest, by a holy priest, Made his faltering words to fail.
Sound feebly on the floor. “It is a knight in some foreign guise,
Then back to the hall and his merry mates all, His like did I never behold;
He cast his parting eye, For the stony look of his beamless eyes
“God send thee amain, safe back again!" Made my very life-blood cold.
He heaved a heavy sigh. “ I did him greet in fashion meet,
Then listen'd they, on the lengthen'd way, And bade him your feast partake,
To his faint and lessening tread, But the voice that spoke, when he silence broke, And, when that was past, to the wailing blast, Made the earth beneath me quake.
That wail'd as for the dead. “O such a tone did tongue ne'er own
But wilder it grew, and stronger it blew,
And it rose with an elrich sound,
Fell hurling to the ground. “I bade him to your social board.
Each fearful eye then glanced on high, But in he will not bie,
To the lofty-window'd wall, Until at the gate this castle's lord
When a fiery trace of the baron's face Shall entreat him courteously.
Through the casements shone on all. “ And he stretch'd him the while with a ghastly But the vision'd glare pass'd through the air, smile,
And the ragi tempest ceased, And sternly bade me say,
And never more on sea or shore, 'Twas no depute's task your guest to ask
Was seen Lord John of the East. To the feast of the woody bay.”
The sandals, blest by a holy priest, Pale grew the baron, and faintly said,
Lay unscath'd on the swarded green, As he heaved his breath with pain,
But never again on land or main, “ From such a feast as there was spread,
Lord John of the East was seen.
Where the death's wound was his fare,
“ The seafowl screams, and the watch-tower gleams, o go not by Duntorloch's walls And the deafening billows roar,
When the moon is in the wane, Where he unblest was put to rest,
And cross not o'er Duntorloch's bridge, On a wild and distant shore.
The farther bank to gain. " Do the hollow grave and the whelming wave For there the Lady of the Stream Give their dead again ?
In dripping robes you'll spy, Doth the surgy waste waft o'er its breast
A-singing to her pale, wan babe, The spirits of the slain ?”
An elrich lullaby.
And stop not at the house of Merne,
“ Yet rest this night beneath my roof, On the eve of good Saint John,
The wind blows cold and shrill,
E’en follow thy wayward will.”
But nothing moved was Malcom's heir, And a wound is in his breast,
And never a word did he say, And he points still to the gloomy vault,
But cursed his father in his heart, Where they say his corse doth rest.
And sternly strode away. But pass not near Glencromar's tower,
And his coal-black steed he mounted straight, Though the sun shine e'er so bright;
As twilight gather'd round, More dreaded is that in the noon of day,
And at his feet with eager speed Than these in the noon of night.
Ran Swain, his faithful hound. The nightshade rank grows in the court,
Loud rose the blast, yet ne'ertheless And snakes coil in the wall,
With furious speed rode he, And bats lodge in the rifted spire,
Till night, like the gloom of a cavern'd mine, And owls in the murky hall.
Had closed o'er tower and tree. On it there shines no cheerful light,
Loud rose the blast, thick fell the rain, But the deep-red setting sun
Keen Aash'd the lightning red, Gleams bloody red on its battlements
And loud the awful thunder roar'd When day's fair course is run.
O'er his unshelter'd head. And fearfully in night's pale beams,
At length full close before him shot When the moon peers o'er the wood,
A Aash of sheeted light, Its shadow grim stretch'd o'er the ground
And the high-arch'd gate of Glencromar's tower, Lies blackening many a rood.
Glared on his dazzled sight. No sweet bird's chirping there is heard,
His steed stood still, nor step would move,
Up look'd his wistful Swain,
He lighted down amain.
Through porch and court he pass'd, and still Was done the deed unblest,
His listening ear he bow'd, And in its noisome vaults the bones
Till beneath the hoofs of his trampling steed Of a father's murderer rest.
The paved hall echoed loud. le laid his father in the tomb
And other echoes answer gave With deep and solemn wo,
From arches far and grand; As rumour tells, but righteous Heaven
Close to his horse and his faithful dog Would not be mocked so.
He took his fearful stand. There rest his bones in the mouldering earth, The night-birds shriek'd from the creviced roof, By lord and by carle forgot ;
And the fitful blast sung shrill; But the foul, fell spirit that in them dwelt, But ere the midwatch of the night, Rest hath it done, I wot!
Were all things hush'd and still. “ Another night,” quoth Malcom's heir,
But in the midwatch of the night, As he turn’d him fiercely round,
When hush'd was every sound, And closely clench'd his ireful hand,
Faint, doleful music struck his ear, And stamp'd upon the ground:
As if waked from the hollow ground. “ Another night within your walls
And loud and louder still it grew, I will not lay my head,
And upward still it wore, Though the clouds of heaven my roof should be, Till it seem'd at the end of the farthest aisle And the cold, dank earth my bed.
To enter the eastern door. “ Your younger son has now your love,
0! never did music of mortal make And my step-dame false your ear;
Such dismal sounds contain ; And his are your hawks, and his are your hounds, A horrid elrich dirge it seemd, And his your dark-brown deer.
A wild, unearthly strain. “ To him you have given your noble steed, The yell of pain, and the wail of wo, As fleet as the passing wind;
And the short, shrill shriek of fear, But me have you shamed before my friends, Through the winnowing sound of a furnace flame, Like the son of a base-born hind.”
Confusedly struck his ear. Then answered him the white-hair'd chief, And the serpent's biss, and the tiger's growl, Dim was his tearful eye,
And the famish'd vulture's cry, « Proud son, thy anger is all too keen,
Were mix'd at times, as with measured skill, Thy spirit is all too high.
In this horrid harmony.
Up brizzled the locks of Malcom's heir,
And his heart it quickly beat, And his trembling steed shook under his hand,
And Swain cower'd close to his feet.
Still strong and stronger grew,
Its wan and dismal hue.
Approaching with soundless tread,
As in honour of the dead.
Back from the bier with strong recoil,
Still onward as they go,
And writhing body throw.
Full fiercely with him deal,
With their fangs of red-hot steel.
In the midst of the trembling hall,
Sunk to a dying fall.
No mortal tongue can tell,
In a death-like trance he fell.
On the country far and near,
Could they find Sir Malcom's heir.
O'er hill and vale they ran,
A crazed and wretched man.
But the priest of St. Cuthbert's cell, And aye, when the midnight warning sounds,
He hastens his beads to tell.
THE ELDEN TREE.
The first that walk'd were torchmen ten
To lighten their gloomy road, And each wore the face of an angry fiend,
And on cloven goats' feet trod. And the next that walk'd as mourners meet,
Were murderers twain and twain,
Befould with many a stain.
And red-strain'd, starting eyen,
His earthly end had been.
There came an open bier,
That did but half appear.
As corse could never lie,
In nature's struggles die.
In strong distortion lay,
Is fix'd the lifeless clay.
With the black blood bolter'd round;
With the filleted locks unbound.
And the glaze of its half-closed eye
Of wo and agony.
That follow'd it close behind,
What words shall minstrel find?
A broken knife he press'd,
Was that in the corse's breast.
Full strongly mark’d, I ween,
In life's full prime were seen.
And roll thine eyeballs wild,
With a father's blood defiled!
A FEAST was spread in the baron's hall,
And loud was the merry sound, As minstrels play'd at lady's call,
And the cup went sparkling round. For gentle dames sat there, I trow,
By men of mickle might,
And many a burly knight.
And some on the surgy sea,
For the cause of Christentie.
Or Moorish or Paynim foe? Their eyes beam bright with social life,
And their hearts with kindness glow. “ Gramercie, chieftain, on thy tale !
It smacks of thy merry mood.”— “Ay, monks are sly, and women frail,
Since rock and mountain stood."
"Tis sharper than thy steel.”-
As we poor lovers feel. “ Come, pledge me well, my lady gay,
Come, pledge me, noble frere ; Each cheerful mate on such a day,
Is friend or mistress dear.”
And louder still comes jeer and boast,
As the flagons faster pour,
In a wildly mingled roar.
For the baron himself doth smile,
And quaffs his cup the while. What recks he now of midnight fear,
Or the night wind's dismal moan? As it tosses the boughs of that Elden Tree,
Which he thinketh so oft upon ? Long years have past since a deed was done,
By its doer only seen, And there lives not a man beneath the sun,
Who wotteth that deed hath been.
So gay was he, so gay were all,
They mark'd not the growing gloom ;
Lower'd like the close of doom.
The features of every guest,
Like the clouds of the drizzly west.
Is this the twilight gray?
Like the glaring noon of day.
O'er all the gallant train,
Was seen and lost again.
Then on and onward drew,
And loud and louder grew.
And roars th' astounding din ;
And the rafters ring within.
Are howling with piteous moan,
And words are utter'd none.
As light from the welkin broke,
And words to the baron spoke. “The thunder hath stricken your tree so fair,
Its roots on green-sward lie.”— “ What tree ?"_“The Elden planted there
Some thirty years gone by.” “ And wherefore starest thou on me so,
With a face so ghastly wild ?” « White bones are found in the mould below,
Like the bones of a stripling child.”
And his eyeballs fix'd as stone;
And he utter'd a stifled groan.,
Then from the board, each guest amazed,
Sprang up, and curiously Upon his sudden misery gazed,
And wonder'd what might be. Out spoke the ancient seneschal,
“ I pray ye stand apart, Both gentle dames and nobles all,
This grief is at his heart.
And let him be quickly shriven,
To dight him for earth or heaven.”
In a voice that seem'd utter'd with pain ;
His noble guests remain.
Heaven's justice all should fear : What I confess to the holy man,
Both heaven and you shall hear.”
With visage sad, but sweet,
And the baron knelt low at his feet. “O, father! I have done a deed
Which God alone did know;
With many a fiend-like blow :
And my youthful breast impellid, And I laugh'd to see beneath my arm
The sickly stripling quell’d.
Dug deep for the Elden Tree,
Some curious sight to see.
And ere they return'd again,
O'er the body of the slain.
And seldom he smiled on me, When he heard that my skill, like the skill of men,
Had planted the Elden Tree.
Who nearest his heart had been ?
But the boy no more was seen.
And his father's love beside :
In this heart of secret pride.
The cruel pang he gives,
Who under his cold eye lives !
These lands and their princely hall; But it was our father's partial love,
I envied him most of all.