Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

adventure much talked of formerly, gave birth to the following poem, which was written many years ago."

"

The two introductory lines (and one or two others elsewhere) had originally more of the ballad simplicity, viz.

"When all was wrapt in dark midnight,

And all were fast asleep," &c.

'TWAS at the silent, solemn hour,

When night and morning meet;
In glided Margaret's grimly ghost,
And stood at William's feet.
Her face was like an April morn
Clad in a wintry cloud;
And clay-cold was her lily hand
That held her sable shrowd.

5

So shall the fairest face appear,

When youth and years are flown;

10

Such is the robe that kings must wear,
When death has reft their crown.

Her bloom was like the springing flower,

That sips the silver dew;

The rose was budded in her cheek;

15

Just opening to the view.

But love had, like the canker-worm,

Consum'd her early prime :

The rose grew pale and left her cheek;

She dy'd before her time.

"Awake!" she cry'd, "thy true love calls,
Come from her midnight grave;

Now let thy pity hear the maid
Thy love refus'd to save.

"This is the dark and dreary hour
When injur'd ghosts complain;

Now yawning graves give up their dead,
To haunt the faithless swain.

"Bethink thee, William, of thy fault,
Thy pledge and broken oath;

And give me back

my maiden Vow,

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

66

But hark! the cock has warn'd me hence!

[blocks in formation]

Where Margaret's body lay,

And stretch'd him on the grass-green turf,

That wrapt her breathless clay;

And thrice he call'd on Margaret's name,

65

And thrice he wept full sore;

Then laid his cheek to her cold grave,

And word spake never more.

** In a late publication, entitled, The Friends, &c. Lond. 1773, 2 vols. 12mo (in the first volume), is inserted a copy of the foregoing ballad, with very great variations, which the editor of that work contends was the original; and that Mallet adopted it for his own, and altered it, as here given. But the superior beauty and simplicity of the present copy gives it so much more the air of an original, that it will rather be believed that some transcriber altered it from Mallet's, and adapted the lines to his own taste; than which nothing is more common in popular songs and ballads.

XVII.

Lucy and Colin

Was written by Thomas Tickell, Esq., the celebrated friend of Mr. Addison, and editor of his works. He was son of a clergyman in the North of England; had his education at Queen's College, Oxon.; was under-secretary to Mr. Addison and Mr. Craggs, when successively secretaries of state: and was lastly (in June, 1724) appointed secretary to the Lords Justices in Ireland, which place he held till his death in 1740. He acquired Mr. Addison's patronage by a poem in praise of the opera of Rosamond, written while he was at the University.

It is a tradition in Ireland, that this song was written at Castletown, in the county of Kildare, at the request of the then Mrs. Conolly,— probably on some event recent in that neighbourhood.

OF Leinster, fam'd for maidens fair,
Bright Lucy was the grace;
Nor e'er did Liffy's limpid stream
Reflect so fair a face,

Till luckless love and pining care
Impair'd her rosy hue,

Her coral lip, and damask check,

And eyes of glossy blue.

5

[blocks in formation]

Three times, all in the dead of night,
A bell was heard to ring;
And at her window, shrieking thrice,
The raven flap'd his wing.

Too well the love-lorn maiden knew
That solemn boding sound;
And thus, in dying words, bespoke
The virgins weeping round.

"I hear a voice you cannot hear,
Which says, I must not stay;

I see a hand you cannot see,
Which beckons me away.

"By a false heart and broken vows,
In early youth, I die.

Am I to blame, because his bride
Is thrice as rich as I?

[ocr errors][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

“To-morrow in the church to wed,

man,

40

Impatient, both prepare;

But know, fond maid, and know, false

That Lucy will be there.

"Then bear my corse, ye comrades, boar,

The bridegroom blithe to meet;

He in his wedding-trim so gay,

I in my winding-sheet."

She spoke, she died;-her corse was borne,

45

The bridegroom blithe to meet;

He in his wedding-trim so gay,

She in her winding-sheet.

Then what were perjur'd Colin's thoughts?
How were those nuptials kept?

50

The bride-men flock'd round Lucy dead,
And all the village wept.

Confusion, shame, remorse, despair,
At once his bosom swell;

The damps of death bedew'd his brow,
He shook, he groan'd, he fell.

55

From the vain bride (ah, bride no more!)

The varying crimson fled,

When, stretch'd before her rival's corse,
She saw her husband dead.

60

[blocks in formation]

And plighted maid are seen;

With garlands gay and true-love knots
They deck the sacred green.

r;

Remember Colin's dreadful fate,

And fear to meet him there.

But, swain forsworn, whoe'er thou art,
This hallow'd spot forbear

70

XVIII.

The Boy and the Mantle.

AS REVISED AND ALTERED BY A MODERN HAND.1

Mr. Warton, in his ingenious observations on Spenser, has given his opinion, that the fiction of the Boy and the Mantle is taken from an old French piece entitled, Le Court Mantel, quoted by M. de St. Palaye, in his curious "Mémoires sur l'ancienne Chevalerie," Paris, 1759, 2 tom. 12mo; who tells us the story resembles that of Ariosto's enchanted cup. "Tis possible our English poet may have taken the hint of this subject from that old French romance; but he does not appear to have copied it in the manner of execution: to which (if one may judge from the specimen given in the Mémoires) that of the ballad does not bear the least resemblance. After all, 'tis most likely that all the old

1 The "modern hand" was Percy's.-Editor.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »