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Little he eats, and long will wake,
And drinks but of the streams or Jake.
This were a guide o'er moor and dale ;
But, when our John hath quaffd his ale,
As little as the wind that blows,
And warms itself against his nose,
Kens he, or cares, which way he goes.”—
“Gramercy !" quoth Lord Marmion,
“ Full loth were I, that friar John,
That venerable man, for me,
Were placed in fear or jeopardy:
If this same palmer will me lead
From hence to Holy-Rood,
Like his good saint, I'll pay his meed,
Instead of cockle shell or bead,
With angels fair and good.
I love such holy ramblers ; still
They know to charm a weary hill,
With song, romance, or lay:
Some jovial tale, or glee, or jest,
Some lying legend, at the least,
They bring to cheer the way.”—
« Ah! noble sir,” young Selby said,
And finger on his lip he laid,
“ This man knows much, perchance, e'en more
Than he could learn by holy lore.
Still to himself he's muttering,
And shrinks, as at some unseen thing.
Last night we listen’d at his cell;
Strange sounds we heard, and, soooth to tell,
He murmur'd on till morn, howe'er,
No living mortal could be near.
Sometimes I thought I heard it plain,
As other voices spoke again.
I cannot tell-I like it not
Friar John hath told us it is wrote,
No conscience clear and void of wrong,
Can rest awake, and pray so long.
Himself still sleeps before his beads
Have mark'd ten aves, and two creeds.”—
“Let pass," quoth Marmion ; “by my fay,
This man shall guide me on my way,
Although the great arch fiend and he
Had sworn themselves of company;
So please you, gentle youth, to call
This palmer to the castle hall.”
The summond palmer came in place ;
His sable cowl o'erhung his face:
In his black mantle was he clad,
With Peter's keys, in cloth of red,
On his broad shoulders wrought;
The scallop shell his cap did deck ;
The crucifix around his neck
Was from Loretto brought;
His sandals were with travel tore,
Staff, budget, bottle, scrip, he wore:
The faded palm branch in bis hand,
Show'd pilgrim from the Holy Land.
When as the palmer came in hall,
Nor lord, nor knight, was there more tall,
Or had a statelier step withal,
Or look'd more high and keen:
For no saluting did he wait,
But strode across the hall of state,
And fronted Marmion where he sate,
As he his peer had been.
But his gaunt frame was worn with toil,
His cheek was sunk, alas, the while !
And when he struggled at a smile,
His eye look'd haggard wild :
Poor wretch! the mother that him bare,
If she had been in presence there,
In his wan face, and sunburn'd hair,
She had not known her child.
Danger, long travel, want, or wo,
Soon change the form that best we know-
For deadly fear can time outgo,
And blanch at once the hair;
Hard toil can roughen form and face,
And want can quench the eye's bright grace ;
Nor does old age a wrinkle trace,
More deeply than despair.
Happy whom none of these befall,
But this poor palmer knew them all.
Lord Marmion then his boon did ask;
The palmer took on him the task,
So he would march with morning tide,
To Scottish court to be his guide.
_" But I have solemn vows to pay,
And may not linger by the way,
To fair Saint Andrew's bound,
Within the ocean-cave to pray,
Where good Saint Rule his holy lay,
From midnight to the dawn of day,
Sung to the billows' sound;
Thence to Saint Fillan's blessed well,
Whose spring can frenzied dreams dispel,
And the crazed brain restore :-
Saint Mary grant, that cave or spring
Could back to peace my bosom bring,
Or bid it throb no more !"
And now the midnight draught of sleep,
Where wine and spices richly steep,
In massive bowl of silver deep,
The page presents on kuce.
Lord Marmion drank a fair good rest,
The captain pledged his noble guest,
The cup went through among the rest,
Who drain'd it merrily :
Alone the palmer pass'd it by,
Though Selby press'd him courteously.
This was the sign the feast was o'er :
It hush'd the merry wassel-roar,
The minstrels ceased to sound.
Soon in the castle naught was beard,
But the slow footsteps of the guard,
Pacing his sober round.
With early dawn Lord Marmion rose:
And first the chapel doors unclose;
Then, after morning rites were done,
(A hasty mass from friar John,)
And knight, and squire had broke their fast, And foresters, in greenwood trim,
On rich substantial repast,
Lead in the leash the gazehounds grim, Lord Marmion's bugles blew to borse :
Attentive, as the bratchet's* bay Then came the stirrup cup in course,
From the dark covert drove the prey, Between the baron and his host,
To slip them as he broke away. No point of courtesy was lost;
The startled quarry bounds amain, High thanks were by Lord Marmion paid, As fast the gallant greyhounds strain : Solemn excuse the captain made,
Whistles the arrow from the bow, Till, filing from the gate had past
Answers the harquebuss below; That noble train, their lord, the last.
While all the rocking bills reply, Then loudly rung the trumpet call;
To hoof-clang, hound, and hunters' cry, Thunder'd the cannon from the wall,
And bugles ringing lightsomely.”— And shook the Scottish shore ;
Of such proud huntings, many tales Around the castle eddied slow,
Yet linger in our lonely dales, Volumes of smoke as white as snow,
Up pathless Ettrick, and on Yarrow, And hid its turret's hoar;
Where erst the Outlaw drew bis arrow. Till they rolld forth upon the air,
But not more blith that sylvan court, And met the river breezes there,
Than we have been at humbler sport;
Which gave again the prospect fair.
Though small our pomp and mean our game,
Our mirth, dear Marriot, was the same,
Rememberest thou my greyhounds true ?
INTRODUCTION TO CANTO II.
O'er holt, or hill, there never few,
From slip, or leash, there never sprang, TO THE REV. JOHN MARRIOT, M. A.
More fleet of foot or sure of fang, Ashestiel, Ettrick Forest. Nor dull, between each merry chase, The scenes are desert now, and bare,
Pass’d by the intermitted space; Where flourish'd once a forest fair,
For we had fair resource in store,
When these waste glens with copse were lined, In classic, and in Gothic lore;
And peopled with the hart and hind.
We mark'd each memorable scene,
Yon thorn-perchance, whose prickly spears And held poetic talk between ;
Have fenced him for three hundred years, Nor hill, nor brook, we paced along,
While fell around his green compeers-
But had its legend or its song.
Yon lonely thorn, would he could tell
All silent now-for now are still The changes of his parent dell,
Thy bowers untenanted Bowhill ! Since he, so gray and stubborn now,
No longer, from thy mountains dun, Waved in each breeze a sappling bough;
The yeoman bears the well-known gun, Would he could tell how deep the shade,
And, while his honest heart grows warm, A thousand mingled branches made ;
At thought of his paternal farm, How broad the shadows of the oak,
Round to his mates a brimmer fills, How clung the rowan* to the rock,
And drinks,“ The chieftain of the hills !" And through the foliage show'd his head,
No fairy forms, in Yarrow's bowers, With narrow leaves, and berries red;
Trip o'er the walks, or tend the flowers, What pines on every mountain sprung,
Fair as the elves whom Janet saw, O’er every dell what birches hung,
By moonlight, dance on Carterhaugh; In every breeze what aspens shook,
No youthful baron's left to grace What alders shaded every brook !
The forest-sheriff's lonely chase, “Here, in my shade," methinks he'd say, And ape, in manly step and tone, “ The mighty stag at noontide lay:
The majesty of Oberon ; The wolf I've seen, a fiercer game,
And she is gone, whose lovely face (The neighbouring dingle bears his name,) Is but her least and lowest grace ; With lurching step around me prowl,
Though if to Sylphid queen 'twere given, And stop against the moon to howl;
To show our earth the charms of heaven, The mountain-boar, on battle set,
She could not glide along the air, His tusks upon my stem would whet,
With form more light, or face more fair. While doe and roe, and red-deer good,
No more the widow's deafen'd ear Have bounded by through gay greenwood. Grows quick, that lady's step to hear ; Then oft, from Newark's riven tower,
At noontide she expects her not, Sallied a Scottish monarch's power:
Nor busies her to trim the cot; A thousand vassals muster'd round,
Pensive she turns her humming wheel, With horse, and hawk, and horn, and hound; Or pensive cooks her orphan's meal ; And I might see the youth intent,
Yet blesses, ere she deals their bread, Guard every pass with crossbow bent;
The gentle hand by which they're fed. And through the brake the rangers stalk,
From Yair—which hills so closely bind, And falconers hold the ready hawk;
Scarce can the Tweed his passage find,
Though much he fret, and chafe, and toil,
Till all his eddying currents boil, -
Her long-descended lord is gone,
And left us by the stream alone.
And much I miss those sportive boys,
Companions of my mountain joys,
Just at the age 'twixt boy and youth,
When thought is speech, and speech is truth.
Close to my side with what delight,
They press’d to hear of Wallace wight,
When, pointing to his airy mound,
I call'd his ramparts holy ground !*
Kindled their brows to hear me speak;
And I have smiled, to feel my cheek,
Despite the difference of our years,
Return again the glow of theirs.
Ah! happy boys ! such feelings pure,
They will not, cannot long endure;
Condemn'd to stem the world's rude tide,
You may not linger by the side ;
For fate shall thrust you from the shore,
And passion ply the sail and oar.
Yet cherish the remembrance still,
Of the lone mountain, and the rill;
For trust, dear boys, the time will come
When fiercer transports shall be dumb,
And you will think, right frequently,
But, well I hope, without a sigh,
On the free hours that we have spent,
Together, on the brown hill's bent.
When, musing on companions gone,
We doubly feel ourselves alone,
Something, my friend, we yet may gain,-
There is a pleasure in this pain :
It soothes the love of lonely rest,
Deep in each gentler heart impress’d.
'Tis silent, amid worldly toils,
And stifled soon by mental broils ;
But, in a bosom thus prepared,
Its still small voice is often beard,
Whispering a mingled sentiment,
Twixt resignation and content.
Oft in my mind such thoughts awake,
By lone St. Mary's silent lake:
Thou know'st it well,-nor fen, nor sedge,
Pollute the pure lake's crystal edge ;
Abrupt and sheer, the mountains sink
At once upon the level brink;
And just a trace of silver sand
Marks where the water meets the land.
Far in the mirror bright and blue,
Each hill's huge outline you may view;
Shaggy with heath, but lonely bare,
Nor tree, nor bush, nor brake is there,
Save where, of land, yon slender line
Bears thwart the lake the scatter'd pine.
Yet e'en this nakedness has power,
And aids the feeling of the hour;
Nor thicket, dell, nor copse you spy,
Where living thing conceal'd might lie;
Nor point, retiring, hides a dell,
Where swain, or woodman lone, might dwell;
There's nothing left to fancy's guess,
You see that all is loneliness :
And silence aids--though the steep hills
Send to the lake a thousand rills;
In summer tide, so soft they weep,
The sound but lulls the ear asleep;
Your horse's hoof-trcad sounds too rude,
So stilly is the solitude.
Naught living meets the eye or ear,
But well I ween the dead are near;
For though, in feudal strife, a foe
Hath laid Our Lady's chapel low,
Yet still beneath the hallow'd soil,
The peasant rests him from his toil,
And, dying, bids his bones be laid,
Where erst his simple fathers pray'd.
If age had tamed the passion's life,
And fate had cut my ties to strise,
Here, have I thought, 'twere sweet to dwell,
And rear again the chaplain's cell,
Like that same peaceful hermitage,
Where Milton long'd to spend his age.
'Twere sweet to mark the setting day
On Bourhope's lonely top decay;
And, as it faint and feeble died,
On the broad lake and mountain's side,
To say, “ Thus pleasures fade away;
Youth, talents, beauty, thus decay,
And leave us dark, forlorn, and gray!”
Then gaze on Dryhope's ruin'd tower,
And think on Yarrow's faded flower:
And when that mountain-sound I heard,
Which bids us be for storm prepared,
The distant rustling of his wings,
his force the tempest brings, 'Twere sweet, ere yet his terrors rave, To sit upon the wizard's grave; That wizard priest's, whose bones are thrust From company of holy dust; On which no sunbeams ever shines(So superstition's creed divines,) Thence view the lake with sullen roar, Heave her broad billows to the shore ; And mark the wild swans mount the gale, Spread wide through mist their snowy sail, And ever stoop again, to lave Their bosoms on the surging wave ; Then, when against the driving hail, No longer might my plaid avail, Back to my lonely home retire, And light my lamp, and trim my fire: There ponder o'er some mystic lay, Till the wild tale had all its sway, And, in the bittern's distant shriek, I heard unearthly voices speak, And thought the wizard priest was come, To claim again his ancient home! And bade my busy fancy range To frame him fitting shape and strange, Till from the task my brow I clear'd, And smiled to think that I had fear'd.
But chief, 'twere sweet to think such life, (Though but escape from fortune's strife,) Something most matchless, good, and wise, A great and grateful sacrifice;
There is on a high mountainous range above the farm of Ashestiel, a fosse called Wallace's Trench.
And deem each hour to musing given,
A step upon the road to heaven.
Yet him, whose heart is ill at ease
Such peaceful solitudes displease :
He loves to drown his bosom's jar
Amid the elemental war:
And my black palmer's choice had been
Some ruder and more savage scene,
Like that which frowns round dark Lochskene.
There eagles scream from isle to shore ;
Down all the rocks the torrents roar;
O'er the black waves incessant driven,
Dark mists infest the summer heaven;
Through the rude barriers of the lake,
Away its hurrying waters break,
Faster and whiter dash and curl,
Till down yon dark abyss they hurl.
Rises the fog-smoke white as snow,
Thunders the viewless stream below,
Diving, as if condemn'd to lave
Some demon's subterranean cave,
Who, prison'd by enchanter's spell,
Shakes the dark rock with groan and yell.
And well that palmer's form and mien
Had suited with the stormy scene,
Just on the edge, straining his ken,
To view the bottom of the den,
Where, deep, deep down, and far within,
Toils with the rocks the roaring linn:
Then, issuing forth one foamy wave,
And wheeling round the Giant's Grave,
White as the snowy charger's tail,
Drives down the pass of Moffatdale.
Marriot, thy harp, on Isis strung, To many a Border theme has rung: Then list to me, and thou shalt know Of this mysterious man of wo.
II. 'Twas sweet to see these holy maids, Liked birds escaped to green wood shades,
Their first fight from the cage,
How timid, and how curious, too,
For all to them was strange and new,
And all the common sights they view,
Their wonderment engage.
One eyed the shrouds and swelling sail,
With many a benedicite ;
One at the rippling surge grew pale,
And would for terror pray ;
Then sbriek'd, because the sea-dog, nigh,
His round black head, and sparkling eye,
Rear'd o'er the foaming spray ;
And one would still adjust her veil,
Disorder'd by the summer gale,
Perchance lest some more worldly eye
Her dedicated charms might spy ;
Perchance, because such action graced
Her fair turn'd arm and slender waist.
Light was each simple bosom there,
Save two, who ill might pleasure share,-
The abbess, and the novice Clare.
The abbess was of noble blood,
But early took the veil and hood,
Ere upon life she cast a look,
Or knew the world that she forsook.
Fair, too, she was, and kind had been
As she was fair, but ne'er had seen
For her a timid lover sigh,
Now knew the influence of her eye.
Love, to her ear, was but a name,
Combined with vanity and shame;
Her hopes, her fears, her joys, were all
Bounded within the cloister wall:
The deadliest sin her mind could reach,
Was of monastic rule the breach;
And her ambition's highest aim,
To emulate Saint Hilda's fame.
For this she gave her ample dower,
To raise the convent's eastern tower;
For this, with carving rare and quaint,
She deck'd the chapel of the saint;
And gave the relique shrine of cost,
With ivory and gems embost.
The poor her convent's bounty blest,
The pilgrim in its halls found rest.
Black was her garb, her rigid rule
Reform'd on Benedictine school;
Her cheek was pale, her form was spare :
Vigils, and penitence austere
Had early quench'd the light of youth,
But gentle was the dame in sooth ;
Though, vain of her religious sway,
She loved to see her maids obey,
Yet nothing stern was she in cell,
And the nuns loved their abbess well.
Sad was this voyage to the dame;
Summon'd to Lindisfarn, she came,
There, with Saint Cuthbert's abbot old,
And Tynemouth's prioress, to hold
The breeze, which swept away the smoke
Round Norham Castle roll'd,
When all the loud artillery spoke,
With lightning-flash, and thunder stroke,
As Marmion left the Hold.
It curl'd not Tweed alone, that breeze,
For, far upon Northumbrian seas
It freshly blew, and strong,
Where, from high Whitby's cloister'd pile,
Bound to saint Cuthbert's Holy Isle,
It bore a bark along.
Upon the gale she stopp'd her side,
And bounded o'er the swelling tide,
As she were dancing home ;
The merry seamen laugh'd, to see
Their gallant ship so lustily
Furrow the green sea-foam. Much joy'd they in their honour'd freight; For, on the deck, in chair of state, The abbess of Saint Hilda placed, With five fair nuns, the galley graced.
A chapter of Saint Benedict,
For inquisition stern and strict,
On two apostates from the faith,
And, if need were, to doom to death.
V. Naught say I here of sister Clare, Save this, that she was young and fair ; As yet a novice unprofess'd, Lovely and gentle, but distress'd. She was betroth'd to one now dead, Or worse, who had dishonour'd Aed. Her kinsman bade her give her hand To one, who loved her for her land; Herself, almost heart-broken now, Was bent to take the vestal vow, And shroud, within Saint Hilda's gloom, Her blasted hopes and wither'd bloom,
At Coquet-isle their beads they tell
To the good saint who own'd the cell ;
Then did the Alne attention claim,
And Warkworth, proud of Percy's name;
And next they cross'd themselves, to hear
The whitening breakers sound so pear,
Where, boiling through the rocks, they roar
On Dunstanborough's cavern'd shore :
Thy tower, proud Bamborough, mark'd they
King Ida's castle, huge and square,
From its tall rock look'd grimly down,
And on the swelling ocean frown;
Then from the coast they bore away,
And reach'd the Holy Island's bay.
The tide did now its flood-mark gain,
And girdled in the saint's domain :
For, with the flow and ebb, the style
Varies from continent to isle;
Dryshod, o'er sands, twice every day,
The pilgrims to the shrine find way;
Twice every day, the waves efface
Of staves and sandali'd feet the trace.
As to the port the galley few,
Higher and higher rose to view
The castle, with its battled wall,
The ancient monastery's ball,
A solemn, rude, and dark-red pile,
Placed on the margin of the isle.
VI. She sate upon the galley's prow, And seem'd to mark the waves below; Nay, seem'd to fix her look and eye, To count them as they glided by. She saw them not—'twas seeming allFar other scene her thoughts recall, A sun-scorch'd desert, waste and bare, Nor wave nor breezes, murmur'd there ; There saw she, where some careless hand O'er a dead corpse had beap'd the sand, To hide it till the jackalls come, To tear it from the scanty tomb.See what a woful look was given, As she raised up her eyes to heaven!
VII. Lovely, and gentle, and distress'dThese charms might tame the fiercest breast; Harpers have sung, and poets told, That he, in fury uncontrollid, The shaggy monarch of the wood, Before a virgin, fair and good, Hath pacified his savage mood. But passions in the human frame, Oft put the lion's rage to shame; And jealousy, by dark intrigue, With sordid avarice in league, Had practised, with her bowl and knife, Against the mourner's harmless life. This crime was charged 'gainst those who lay Prison'd in Cuthbert's islet gray.
In Saxon strength that abbey frown'd,
With massive arches broad and round,
That rose alternate, row and row,
On ponderous columns, short and low,
Built ere the art was known,
By pointed aisle, and shafted stalk,
The arcades of an alley'd walk
To emulate in stone.
On the deep walls the heathen Dane
Had pour'd his impious rage in vain ;
And needful was such strength to these,
Exposed to the tempestuous seas,
Scourged by the wind's eternal sway,
Open to rovers fierce as they,
Which could twelve hundred years withstand
Winds, waves, and northern pirates' hand.
Not but that portions of that pile,
Rebuilded in a later style,
Show'd where the spoiler's band had been ;
Not but the wasting seabreeze keen
Had worn the pillar's carving quaint,
And moulder'd in his niche the saint,
And rounded, with consuming power,
The pointed angles of each tower :
Yet still entire the abbey stood,
Like veteran, worn, but unsubdued.
VIII. And now the vessel skirts the strand Of mountainous Northumberland, Towns, towers, and halls sucessive rise, And catch the nuns' delighted eyes. Monk Wearmouth soon behind them lay, And Tynemouth's priory and bay ; They mark'd, amid her trees, the hall Of Lofty Seaton-Delaval ; They saw the Blythe and Wansbeck floods Rush to the sea through sounding woods ; They past the tower of Widderington, Mother of many a valiant son ;
Soon as they near'd his turrets strong,
The maidens raised Saint Hilda's song,
And with the seawave and the wind,
Their voices, sweetly sbrill, combined,
And made harmonious close ;