Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

* In a comedy of Fletcher, called The Knight of the burning Peffle, old Merry-Thought enters repeating tre following verses :

When it was grown to dark midnight,

And all were fait aseer,
In came Margaret's grimiy ghoft,

And stood at Willian's feet.

This mas, probably, the leginning of fcire ballad, conmonly kniciun, at the time wulen that anilor wrote; and is all of it, I believe, that is any where to be inet with. These lines, naked of ornament and simple as they are, fruck my fancy: and, bringing frijs into my mind an unhappy adventure, much talkeid of formerly, gare birth to the following poem ; which was written many years ago

"TWA

1.
WAS at the flent, folemn hour,

When night and morning meet ; In glided MARGARET's grimly ghaft,

And stood at WILLIAM's feet.

II.
Her face was like an April moro,

Clad in a wintry cloud :
And clay-cold was her lilly-hand,

That held her sable shroud.

III.
So shall the faireft face appear,

When youth and years are fown':
Such is the robe that kings must wear,

When death has reft their crown.

IV.
Her bloom was like a springing flower,

That Gips the filver dew;
The role was budded in her cheek,

Just opening to the view.

V.
But Love, had like the canker-worm,

Confum'd her early prime :
The rose grew pale, and left her cheek ;

She dy d before her time.

VI.
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 fave.

VU,
This is the dumb and dreary hour,

When injur'd ghofts complain ;
When yawning grares give up their dead,

To haunt the faithless swain.

VIII.
Bethink thee, William, of thy fault,

Thy pledge and broken oath :
And give me

back
my

maiden-vow
And give me back my troth.

IX.
Why did you promise love to me,

And not that promise keep?
Why did

you

swear my eyes were bright, Yet leave those eyes to weep?

X.
How could you say my face was fair,

And yet ihat face forsake ?
How could you win my virgin heart,

Yet leave that heart to break ?

XI.

Why did you say my lip was sweet,

And made the scarlet pale?
And why did I, young witlefs maid !

Believe the flattering tale?

XIT. That face, alas ! no more is fair ;

Those lips no longer red : Dark are my eyes, now clos'd in death,

And every charm is fed.

- XIII. The hungry worm my fifter is ;

This winding sheet I wear :
And cold and weary lasts our night,

Till that last morn appear.

XIV.
But hark! the cock has warn'd me hence ;

A long and late adieu !
Come, fee, false man, how low she lies,

Who dy'd for love of you.

XV.
The lark sung loud; the morning mild,

With beams of rofy red:
Pale William quak'd in every limb,

And raving left his bed.

XVI. He hy'd him to the fatal place

Where Margaret's body lay : And stretch'd him on the green grass turf,

That wrap'd her breathless clay.

XVII.
And thrice he callid on Margaret's name,

And thrice he wept full sore :
Then laid his cheek to her cold grave,

And word spoke never more !

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

On the publication of this ballad, in the year 1760, Mr. Mallet subjoined an attestation of the truth of the facts related in it, which we shall give the reader literally :

Extract of a letter from the curate of Bowes in TorkJhire, on the subject of the preceding poem, to Mr. Copperthwaite at Marrick.

Worthy fir, As to the affair mentioned in yours; it happened long to before my time. I have therefore been obliged to consult " my clerk. and another person in the neighbourhood for " the truth of that melancholy event. The history of it is " as follows:

The family-name of the young man was Wrightson; " of the

young

maiden Railton. They were both much of " the same age; that is growing up to twenty. In their birih was no disparity; but in fortune, alas! she was

« FöregåendeFortsätt »