Sidor som bilder

Was raised for her a graven tomb
Which gives to other days her modest, just renown.


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.
Whom I have faintly tried to shadow forth?
How vain the thought! as if ye stood in need His dark gray eye, that wont so sly
For pattern ladies in dull books to read.

Beneath his helm to scowl,
Will she such antiquated virtues prize,

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
The inward pain such mighty efforts cost :

Did foemen fierce astound;
Or on the white-chalk'd floor, at midnight hour,
Her head with many a flaunting, full-blown flower, And stretch'd so balm, like lady's palm,
And bartisan of braided locks enlarged,

To every jester near,
Her flimsy gown with twenty flounces charged, That hand which through a prostrate foe
Wheels gayly round the room on pointed toe,

Oft thrust the ruthless spear.
Softly supported by some dandy beau:-

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.
Throngh all th' ambitious range of letter'd lore
With soul enthusiastic, fondly smitten

“ Who knocks without, so loud and stout?
With all that e'er in classic page was written, Some wandering knight, I ween,
And whilst her wit in critic task engages,

Who from afar, like a guiding star,
The technic praise of all praised things outrages ; Our blazing hall hath seen.
Whose finger, white and small, with ink-stain tipt, « If a stranger it be of high degree,
Still scorns with vulgar thimble to be clipt;
Who doth with proud pretence her claims advance Step forth amain, my pages twain,

(No churl durst make such din,) To philosophic, honour'd ignorance

And soothly ask him in.
Of all, that, in divided occupation,
Gives the base stamp of female degradation ; “Tell him our cheer is the forest deer,
Protests she knows not colour, stripe nor shade, Our bowl is mantling high,
Nor of what stuff her flowing robe is made, And the lord of the feast is John of the East,
But wears, from petty, frivolous fancies free, Who welcomes him courteously."
Whatever careful Betty may decree ;

The pages twain return'd again,
As certes, well she may, for Betty's skill

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:
The young, the rich, the loveliest of the land,
Who clothe the naked, and, each passing week,

Say plainly, then, what hast thou seen ?

Or dearly shalt thou rue.”
The wretched poor in their sad dwelling seek,
Wbo, cheer'd and grateful, feebly press and bless Faint spoke the second page with fear,
The hands which princes might be proud to kiss : And bent him on his knee,
Such will regard my tale, and give to fame “ Were I on your father's sword to swear,
A generous, helpful maid,-a good and noble dame. The same it appear'd to me.”

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,
That dwelt in mortal head ;-

And it rose with an elrich sound,
It is like a sound from the hollow ground, Till the lofty keep on its rocky steep,
Like the voice of the coffin'd dead.

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.
Do any return again?
“I bade my guest to a bloody feast,

Where the death's wound was his fare,
And the isle's bright maid, who my love betray'd,
She tore her raven hair.


“ 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,
For then the Swathed Knight walks his rounds With to-morrow's dawn, if it so must be,
With many a heavy moan.

E’en follow thy wayward will.”
All swathed is he in coffin weeds,

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,
No herd-boy's horn doth blow;

Up look'd his wistful Swain,
But the owlet hoots, and the pent blast sobs, And wagg’d his tail, and feebly whined;
And loud croaks the carrion crow.

He lighted down amain.
No marvel! for within its walls

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.
When, lo! a faint light through the porch

Still strong and stronger grew,
And shed o'er the walls and the lofty roof

Its wan and dismal hue.
And slowly entering then appear'd,

Approaching with soundless tread,
A funeral band in dark array,

As in honour of the dead.

Back from the bier with strong recoil,

Still onward as they go,
Doth he in vain his harrow'd head,

And writhing body throw.
For, closing round, a band of fiends

Full fiercely with him deal,
And force him o'er the bier to bend,

With their fangs of red-hot steel.
Still on they moved, and stopp'd at length,

In the midst of the trembling hall,
When the dismal dirge, from its loudest pitch,

Sunk to a dying fall.
But what of horror next ensued,

No mortal tongue can tell,
For the thrill'd life paused in Malcom's heir,

In a death-like trance he fell.
The morning rose with cheerful light,

On the country far and near,
But neither in country, tower, nor town,

Could they find Sir Malcom's heir.
They sought him east, they sought him west,

O'er hill and vale they ran,
And met him at last on the blasted heath,

A crazed and wretched man.
He will to no one utter his tale,

But the priest of St. Cuthbert's cell, And aye, when the midnight warning sounds,

He hastens his beads to tell.


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,
With bloody hands and surtout red,

Befould with many a stain.
Each with a cut-cord round his neck,

And red-strain'd, starting eyen,
Show'd that upon the gibbet tree

His earthly end had been.
And after these, in solemn state,

There came an open bier,
Borne on black, shapeless, rampant forms,

That did but half appear.
And on that bier a corse was laid,

As corse could never lie,
That did by decent hands composed

In nature's struggles die.
Nor stretch'd, nor swathed, but every limb

In strong distortion lay,
As in the throes of a violent death

Is fix'd the lifeless clay.
And in its breast was a broken knife,

With the black blood bolter'd round;
And its face was the face of an aged man,

With the filleted locks unbound.
Its features were fix'd in horrid strength,

And the glaze of its half-closed eye
A last dread parting look express'd,

Of wo and agony.
But, oh! the horrid form to trace,

That follow'd it close behind,
In fashion of the chief mourner,

What words shall minstrel find?
In his lifted hand, with straining grasp,

A broken knife he press'd,
The other half of the cursed blade

Was that in the corse's breast.
And in his blasted, horrid face,

Full strongly mark’d, I ween,
The features of the aged corse

In life's full prime were seen.
Ay, gnash thy teeth and tear thy hair,

And roll thine eyeballs wild,
Thou horrible, accursed son,

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 chief with dark-red brow,

And many a burly knight.
Each had fought in war's grim ranks,

And some on the surgy sea,
And some on Jordan's sacred banks,

For the cause of Christentie.
But who thinks now of blood or strife,

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."
Fy, fy! sir knight, thy tongue is keen,

"Tis sharper than thy steel.”-
“So, gentle lady, are thine eyen,

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.”

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And louder still comes jeer and boast,

As the flagons faster pour,
Till song, and tale, and laugh are lost

In a wildly mingled roar.
Ay, certes, 'tis an hour of glee,

For the baron himself doth smile,
And nods his head right cheerily,

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 ;
Nor wist they how the darkening hall

Lower'd like the close of doom.
Dull grew the goblet's sheen, and grim

The features of every guest,
And colourless banners aloft hung dim,

Like the clouds of the drizzly west.
Hath time pass'd then so swift of pace ?

Is this the twilight gray?
A flash of light pass'd through the place,

Like the glaring noon of day.
Fierce glanced the momentary blaze

O'er all the gallant train,
And each visage pale, with dazzled gaze,

Was seen and lost again.
And the thunder's rolling peal, from far,

Then on and onward drew,
And varied its sound like the broil of war,

And loud and louder grew.
Still glares the lightning blue and pale,

And roars th' astounding din ;
And rattle the windows with bickering hail,

And the rafters ring within.
And cowering hounds the board beneath

Are howling with piteous moan,
While lords and dames sit still as death,

And words are utter'd none.
At length in the waning tempest's fall,

As light from the welkin broke,
A frightend man rush'd through the hall,

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.”
Pale he became as the shrouded dead,

And his eyeballs fix'd as stone;
And down on his bosom dropp'd his head,

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.
“ Go, call St. Cuthbert's monk with speed,

And let him be quickly shriven,
And fetch ye a leech for his body's need,

To dight him for earth or heaven.”
“ No, fetch me a priest,” the baron said,

In a voice that seem'd utter'd with pain ;
And he shudder'd and shrunk, as he faintly bade

His noble guests remain.
“ Heaven's eye each secret deed doth scan,

Heaven's justice all should fear : What I confess to the holy man,

Both heaven and you shall hear.”
And soon St. Cuthbert's monk stood by

With visage sad, but sweet,
And cast on the baron a piteous eye,

And the baron knelt low at his feet. “O, father! I have done a deed

Which God alone did know;
A brother's blood these hands have shed,

With many a fiend-like blow :
“ For fiends lent strength like a powerful charm,

And my youthful breast impellid, And I laugh'd to see beneath my arm

The sickly stripling quell’d.
“ A mattock from its pit I took,

Dug deep for the Elden Tree,
And I tempted the youth therein to look

Some curious sight to see.
« The woodmen to their meal were gone,

And ere they return'd again,
I had planted that tree with my strength alone,

O'er the body of the slain.
“ Ah! gladly smiled my father then,

And seldom he smiled on me, When he heard that my skill, like the skill of men,

Had planted the Elden Tree.
“But where was his eldest son so dear,

Who nearest his heart had been ?
They sought him far, they sought him near,

But the boy no more was seen.
“ And thus his life and lands he lost,

And his father's love beside :
The thought that ever rankled most

In this heart of secret pride.
“ Ah! could the partial parent wot

The cruel pang he gives,
To the child neglected and forgot,

Who under his cold eye lives !
“ His elder rights did my envy move,

These lands and their princely hall; But it was our father's partial love,

I envied him most of all.

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