Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

The grass was fine, the sun was bright,

With truth I may aver it;
The ox was glad, as well he might,
Thought a green meadow no bad sight,
And frisk'd to show his huge delight,

Much like a beast of spirit.
“Stop, neighbours ! stop! why these alarms ?

The ox is only glad.”
But still they pour from cots and farms,
Halloo! the parish is up in arms,
(A hoazing hunt has always charms,)

Halloo! the ox is mad.
The frighted beast scamper'd about,

Plunge! through the hedge he drove-
The mob pursue with hideous rout,
A bull-dog fastens on his snout,
He gores the dog, his tongue hangs out

He's mad, he's mad, by Jove!
“Stop, neighbours, stop !" aloud did call

A sage of sober hue,
But all at once on him they fall,
And women squeak and children squall,
“ What! would you have him toss us all ?

And, damme! who are you?
Ah, hapless sage! his ears they stun,

And curse him o'er and o'er-
“ You bloody-minded dog!” (cries one,)
“ To slit your windpipe were good fun-
'Od bl- you for an impious* son

Of a Presbyterian w-re! “ You'd have him gore the parish-priest,

And run against the altarYou fiend!—The sage his warnings ceased, And north, and south, and west, and east, Halloo! they follow the poor beast,

Mat, Dick, Tom, Bob, and Walter.
Old Lewis, 'twas his evil day,

Stood trembling in his shoes;
The ox was his—what could he say?
His legs were stiffend with dismay,
The ox ran o'er him ’mid the fray,

And gave him his death's bruise.
The frighted beast ran on-but here,

The gospel scarce more true is-
My muse stops short in mid career-
Nay, gentle reader! do not sneer,
I cannot choose but drop a tear,

A tear for good old Lewis.
The frighted beast ran through the town,

All follow'd, boy and dad,
Bull-dog, parson, shopman, clown,
The Publicans rush'd from the Crown,
“Halloo! hamstring him! cut him down;"

They drove the poor oz mad.
Should you a rat to madness tease,

Why e'en a rat might plague you: There's no philosopher but sees

That rage and fear are one disease
Though that may burn and this may freeze,

They're both alike the ague.
And so this ox, in frantic mood,

Faced round like any bulle
The mob turn'd tail, and he pursued,
Till they with fright and fear were stew'd,
And not a chick of all this brood

But had his belly-full.
Old Nick's astride the beast, 'tis clear

Old Nicholas to a tittle!
But all agree he'd disappear,
Would but the parson venture near,
And through his teeth, right o'er the steer,

Squirt out some fasting-spittle.*
Achilles was a warrior fleet,

The Trojans he could worry-
Our parson too was swift of feet,
But show'd it chiefly in retreat!
The victor ox scour'd down the street,

The mob fled hurry-skurry,
Through gardens, lanes, and fields new-plow'd,

Through his hedge and through her hedge,
He plunged and toss'd, and bellow'd loud,
Till in his madness he grew proud
To see this helter-skelter crowd,

That had more wrath than courage.
Alas! to mend the breaches wide

He made for these poor ninnies,
They all must work, whate'er betide,
Both days and months, and pay beside
(Sad news for avarice and for pride)

A sight of golden guineas.
But here once more to view did pop

The man that kept his senses.
And now he cried—“Stop, neighbours ! stop!
The ox is mad! I would not swop,
No, not a schoolboy's farthing top

For all the parish fences.
“ The ox is mad! Ho! Dick, Bob, Mat!

What means this coward fuss?
Ho! stretch this rope across the plata
'Twill trip him up or if not that,
Why, damme, we must lay him flat-

See, here's my blunderbuss !"
“A lying dog! just now he said,
The ox was only glad,

Let's break his Presbyterian head!” “ Hush !” quoth the sage, “ you've been misled, No quarrels now let's all make head

You drove the poor or mad!
As thus I sat in careless chat,

With the morning's wet newspaper,
In eager haste, without his hat,
As blind and blundering as a bat,
In came that fierce aristocrat,

Our pursy woollen-draper.

* One of the many fine words which the most uneducated * According to the superstition of the west countries, if had about this time a constant opportunity of acquiring you meet the devil, you may either cut him in half with from the sermons in the pulpit, and the proclamations on a straw, or you may cause him instantly to disappear by the corners,

spitting over his horns.

[blocks in formation]

I play'd a sad and doleful air,

I sang an old and moving storyAn old rude song that fitted well

That ruin wild and hoary.

She listen'd with a flitting blush,

With downcast eyes and modest grace; For well she knew, I could not choose

But gaze upon her face.
I told her of the knight that wore

Upon his shield a burning brand;
And how for ten long years he wood

The ladie of the land:

INTRODUCTION TO THE TALE OF THE

DARK LADIE. The following poem is intended as the introduction to a somewhat longer one. The use of the old ballad word Ladie for Lady, is the only piece of obsoleteness in it; and as it is prosessedly a tale of ancient times, I trust that the affectionate lovers of venerable antiquity (as Camden says) will grant me their pardon, and perhaps may be induced to admit a force and propriety in it. A heavier objection may be adduced against the author, that in these times of fear and expectation, when novelties explode around us in all directions, he should presume to offer to the public a silly tale of old-fashioned love: and five years ago, I own I should have allowed and felt the force of this objection. But, alas! explosion has succeeded explosion so rapidly, that novelty itself ceases to appear new; and it is possible that now even a simple story,wholly uninspired with politics or personality, may find some allention amid the hubbub of revolutions, as to those who have remained a long time by the falls of Niagara, the lowest whispering becomes distinctly audible.-S. T. C.

Dec. 21, 1799.

I told her how he pined: and ab!

The deep, the low, the pleading tone With which I sung another's love,

Interpreted my own.

She listen'd with a flitting blush,

With downcast eyes and modest grace ; And she forgave me, that I gazed

Too fondly on her face!

O LEAVE the lily on its stem;

O leave the rose upon the spray ;
O leave the elder bloom, fair maids !

And listen to my lay.
A cypress and a myrtle-bough

This morn around my harp you twined, Because it fashion'd mournfully

Its murmurs in the wind.
And now a tale of love and wo,

A woful tale of love I sing;
Hark, gentle maidens, hark ! it sighs

And trembles on the string.
But most, my own dear Genevieve,

It sighs and trembles most for thee!
O come and hear what cruel wrongs

Befell the Dark Ladie.

But when I told the cruel scorn

That crazed this bold and lonely knight, And how he roam'd the mountain woods,

Nor rested day or night; And how he cross'd the woodman's paths,

Through briers and swampy mosses beat; How boughs rebounding scourged his limbs,

And low stubs gored his feet;
That sometimes from the savage den,

And sometimes from the darksome shade, And sometimes starting up at once

In green and sunny glade ;
There came and look'd him in the face

An angel beautiful and bright;
And how he knew it was a fiend,

This miserable knight!
And how, unknowing what he did,

He leapt amid a lawless band,
And saved from outrage worse than death

The ladie of the land !

Few sorrows hath she of her own,

My hope, my joy, my Genevieve! She loves me best, whene'er I sing

The songs that make her grieve.

[blocks in formation]

And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,

An undistinguishable throng, And gentle wishes long subdued,

Subdued and cherish'd long!

She wept with pity and delight,

She blush'd with love and maiden shame; And, like the murmurs of a dream,

I heard her breathe my name.

I saw a cloud of palest hue,

Onward to the moon it pass'd;
Still brighter and more bright it grew,
With floating colours not a few,

Till it reach'd the moon at last:
Then the cloud was wholly bright
With a rich and amber light!
And so with many a hope I seek,

And with such joy I find my Lewti:
And even so my pale wan cheek

Drinks in as deep a flush of beauty ! Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind, If Lewti never will be kind.

I saw her bosom heave and swell,

Heave and swell with inward sighsI could not choose but love to see

Her gentle bosom rise.

1

Her wet cheek glow'd : she stept aside

As conscious of my look she stepp'd: Then suddenly, with timorous eye,

She flew to me and wept.
She half-enclosed me with her arms,

She press'd me with a meek embrace; And bending back her head, look'd up,

And gazed upon my face.

The little cloud-it floats away,

Away it goes ; away so soon?
Alas! it has no power to stay ;
Its hues are dim, its hues are gray-

Away it passes from the moon !
How mournfully it seems to fly,

Ever fading more and more, To joyless regions of the sky,

And now 'tis whiter than before ! As white as my poor cheek will be,

When, Lewti! on my couch I lie, A dying man for love of thee. Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind And yet thou didst not look unkind.

'Twas partly love, and partly fear,

And partly 'twas a bashful art, That I might rather feel than see

The swelling of her heart.

I calm'd her fears, and she was calm,

And told her love with virgin pride; And so I won my Genevieve,

My bright and beauteous bride.
And now once more a tale of wo,

A woful tale of love I sing:
For thee, my Genevieve! it sighs,

And trembles on the string.

I saw a vapour in the sky,

Thin, and white, and very high ; I ne'er beheld so thin a cloud

Perhaps the breezes that can fly

Now below and now above,
Have snatch'd aloft the lawny shroud

Of lady fair-that died for love.
For maids, as well as youths, have perish'd
From fruitless love too fondly cherish’d.
Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind-
For Lewti never will be kind.

When last I sang the cruel scorn

That crazed this bold and lonely knight And how he roam'd the mountain woods,

Nor rested day or night:
I promised thee a sister tale

Of man's perfidious cruelty:
Come, then, and hear what cruel wrong
Befell the Dark Ladie.

Hush! my heedless feet from under

Slip the crumbling banks for ever: Like echoes to a distant thunder,

They plunge into the gentle river. The river-swans have heard my tread, And startle from their reedy bed.

O beauteous birds ! methinks ye measure Easily caught, ensnare him, 0 ye nymphs,

Your movements to some heavenly tune! Ye Oreads chaste, ye dusky Dryades ! O beauteous birds ! 'tis such a pleasure

And you, ye earth-winds ! you that make at morn To see you move beneath the moon,

The dew-drops quiver on the spider's webs! I would it were your true delight

You, O ye wingless airs ! that creep between To sleep by day and wake all night.

The rigid stems of heath and bitten furze,

Within whose scanty shade, at summer-noon I know the place where Lewti lies,

The mother-sheep hath worn a hollow bed When silent night has closed her eyes:

Ye, that now cool her fleece with dropless damp, It is a breezy jasmine bower,

Now pant and murmur with her feeding lamb. The nightingale sings o'er her head :

Chase, chase him, all ye fays, and elfin gnomes ! Voice of the night! had I the power

With prickles sharper than his darts bemock That leafy labyrinth to thread,

His little godship, making him perforce And creep, like thee, with soundless tread, Creep through a thorn-bush on yon hedgehog's I then might view her bosom white

back. Heaving lovely to my sight,

This is my hour of triumph! I can now As these two swans together heave

With my own fancies play the merry fool, On the gently swelling wave.

And laugh away worse folly, being free.

Here will I seat myself, beside this old, 0! that she saw me in a dream,

Hollow, and weedy oak, which ivy-twine And dreamt that I had died for care ;

Clothes as with network : here will I couch my All pale and wasted I would seem,

limbs, Yet fair withal, as spirits are !

Close by this river, in this silent shade, I'd die, indeed, if I might see

As safe and sacred from the step of man Her bosom heave, and heave for me!

As an invisible world—unheard, unseen, Soothe, gentle image! soothe my mind! And listening only to the pebbly brook To-morrow Lewti may be kind.

That murmurs with a dead, yet tinkling sound; 1795.

Or to the bees, that in the neighbouring trunk
Make honey-hoards. The breeze that visits me
Was never love's accomplice, never raised

The tendril ringlets from the maiden's brow,
THE PICTURE, OR THE LOVER'S

And the blue, delicate veins above her cheek; RESOLUTION.

Ne'er played the wanton-never half-disclosed THROUGH weeds and thorns, and matted under- The maiden's snowy bosom, scattering thence wood

Eye-poisons for some love-distemper'd youth, I force my way; now climb, and now descend Who ne'er henceforth may see an aspen grove O’er rocks, or bare or mossy, with wild foot Shiver in sunshine, but his feeble heart Crushing the purple whorts ; while oft unseen, Shall flow away like a dissolving thing. Hurrying along the drifted forest leaves,

Sweet breeze ! thou only, if I guess aright, The scared snake rustles. Onward still I toil, Liftest the feathers of the robin's breast, I know not, ask not whither! A new joy, That swells its little breast, so full of song, Lovely as light, sudden as summer gust,

Singing above me, on the mountain ash.
And gladsome as the first-born of the spring, And thou too, desert stream! no pool of thine,
Beckons me on, or follows from behind,

Though clear as lake in latest summer eve,
Playmate, or guide! The master-passion quell’d, Did e'er reflect the stately virgin's robe,
I feel that I am free. With dun-red bark

The face, the form divine, the downcast look The fir trees, and th' unfrequent slender oak, Contemplative! Behold! her open palm Forth from this tangle wild of bush and brake Presses her cheek and brow! her elbow rests Soar up, and form a melancholy vault

On the bare branch of half-uprooted tree, High o'er me, murmuring like a distant sea. That leans towards its mirror! Who erewhile

Here wisdom might resort, and here remorse; Had from her countenance turn'd, or look’d by Here too the lovelorn man who, sick in soul,

stealth, And of this busy human heart aweary,

(For fear is true love's cruel nurse,) be now Worships the spirit of unconscious life

With steadfast gaze and unoffending eye, In tree or wild-flower. Gentle lunatic!

Worships the watery idol, dreaming hopes If so he might not wholly ccase to be,

Delicious to the soul, but fleeting, vain, He would far rather not be that, he is;

E’en as that phantom world on which he gazed, But would be something that he knows not of, But not unheeded gazed! for see, ah! see, In winds, or waters, or among the rocks !

The sportive tyrant with her left hand plucks But hence, fond wretch! breathe not contagion The heads of tall flowers that behind her grow, here!

Lychnis, and willow-herb, and fox-glove bells : No myrtle-walks are these: these are no groves And suddenly, as one that toys with time, Where love dare loiter! If in sullen mood Scatters them on the pool! Then all the charm He should stray hither, the low stumps shall gore Is broken-all that phantom world so fair His dainty feet, the brier and the thorn

Vanishes, and a thousand circlets spread, Make his plumes haggard. Like a wounded bird And each misshapes the other. Stay a while,

maze

Poor youth, who scarcely darest lift up thine eyes ! Holds loosely its small handful of wild-flowers,
The stream will soon renew its smoothness, soon Unfilleted, and of unequal lengths.
The visions will return! And lo! he stays: A curious picture, with a master's haste
And soon the fragments dim of lovely forms Sketch'd on a strip of pinky-silver skin,
Come trembling back, unite, and now once more Peel'd from the birchen bark! Divinest maid !
The pool becomes a mirror; and behold

Yon bark her canvass, and those purple berries Each wild-flower on the marge inverted there, Her pencil! See, the juice is scarcely dried And there the half-uprooted tree-but where, On the fine skin! She has been newly here;

where the virgin's snowy arm, that lean'd And lo! yon patch of heath has been her couchOn its bare branch ? He turns, and she is gone! The pressure still remains ! O blessed couch! Homeward she steals through many a woodland For this mayest thou flower early, and the sun,

Slanting at eve, rest bright, and linger long
Which he shall seek in vain. Ill-fated youth ! Upon thy purple bells! O Isabel !
Go, day by day, and waste thy manly prime Daughter of genius! stateliest of our maids !
In mad love-yearning by the vacant brook, More beautiful than whom Alcæus woo'd,
Till sickly thoughts bewitch thine eyes, and thou The Lesbian woman of immortal song!
Behold'st her shadow still abiding there,

O child of genius! stately, beautiful,
The Naiad of the mirror!

And full of love to all, save only me,
Not to thee,

And not ungentle e'en to me! My heart,
O wild and desert stream! belongs this tale: Why beats it thus? Through yonder coppice-wood
Gloomy and dark art thou—the crowded firs Needs must the pathway turn, that leads straight-
Spire from thy shores, and stretch across thy bed,

way Making thee doleful as a cavern-well:

On to her father's house. She is alone! Save when the shy kingfishers build their nest The night draws on—such ways are hard to hitOn thy steep banks, no loves hast thou, wild And fit it is I should restore this sketch, stream!

Dropt unawares, no doubt. Why should I yearn This be my chosen haunt-emancipate

To keep the relic? twill but idly feed From passion's dreams, a freeman, and alone, The passion that consumes me. Let me haste! I rise and trace its devious course. O lead,

The picture in my hand which she has left, Lead me to deeper shades and lonelier glooms. She cannot blame me that I follow'd her; Lo! stealing through the canopy of firs,

And I may be her guide the long wood through.
How fair the sunshinc spots that mossy rock,
Isle of the river, whose disparted waves
Dart off asunder with an angry sound,
How soon to reunite! And see! they meet,

THE NIGHT-SCENE.
Each in the other lost and found : and see
Placeless, as spirits, one soft water-sun

A DRAMATIC FRAGMENT.
Throbbing within them, heart at once and eye!
With its soft neighbourhood of filmy clouds,
The stains and shadings of forgotten tears,

You loved the daughter of Don Manrique !
Dimness o'erswum with lustre! Such the hour
Of deep enjoyment, following love's brief feuds;

Loved ? And hark, the noise of a near waterfall!

SANDOVAL.
I
pass forth into light-I find myself

Did you not say you woo'd ber?
Beneath a weeping birch, (most beautiful
Of forest-trees, the lady of the woods,)

EARL HENRY.
Hard by the brink of a tall weedy rock

Once I loved
That overbrows the cataract. How bursts

Her whom I dared not woo!
The landscape on my sight! Two crescent hills
Fold in behind each other, and so make

SANDOVAL.
A circular yale, and land-lock'd, as might seem,

And wood, perchance, With brook and bridge, and gray stone cottages, One whom you loved not! Half hid by rocks and fruit trees. At my feet The whortleberries are bedewed with spray,

EARL HENRY Dash'd upwards by the furious waterfall,

0! I were most base, How solemnly the pendent ivy mass

Not loving Oropeza. True, I woo'd her, Swings in its winnow: all the air is calm.

Hoping to heal a deeper wound; but she The smoke from cottage chimneys, tinged with Met my advances with impassion'd pride, light,

That kindled love with love. And when her sire, Rises in columns; from this house alone,

Who in his dream of hope already grasp'd Close by the waterfall, the column slants,

The golden circlet in his hand, rejected And feels its ceaseless breeze. But what is this? My suit with insult, and in memory That cottage, with its slanting chimney smoke, Of ancient feuds pour'd curses on my head, And close beside its porch a sleeping child, Her blessings overtook and baffled them! His dear head pillow'd on a sleeping dog But thou art stern, and with unkindly countenance One arm between its fore-legs, and the hand Art inly reasoning whilst thou listenest to me.

SANDOVAL.

EARL HENRY.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »