Imágenes de páginas

But slept again, as slowly died

Vain is the wish-since other cares demand Its thunders on the hill's brown side.

Each vacant hour, and in another clime;

But still that northern harp invites my hand, XIX.

Which tells the wonder of thine earlier time; “ And is this all,” said Jutta stern,

And fain its numbers would I now command « That thou can'st teach and I can learn ?

To paint the beauties of that dawning fair, Hence! to the land of fog and waste,

When Harold, gazing from its lofty stand There fittest is thine influence placed,

Upon the western heights of Beaurepaire, Thou puwerless, sluggish Deity!

Saw Saxon Eadmer's towers begirt by winding Wear. But ne'er shall Briton bend the knee Again before so poor a god.”

II. She struck the altar with her rod;

Fair on the half-seen streams the sunbeams danced Slight was the touch, as when at need

Betraying it beneath the woodland bank, A damsel stirs her tardy steed;

And fair between the Gothic turrets glanced But to the blow the stone gave place,

Broad lights, and shadows fell on front and flank, And, starting from its balanced base,

Where tower and buttress rose in martial rank, Roll’d thundering down the moonlight dell,-- And girdled in the massive donjon Keep, Re-echo'd moorland, rock, and fell;

And from their circuit peal'd o'er bush and bank Into the moonlight tarn it dash'd,

The matin bell with summons long and deep, Their shores the sounding surges lash'd,

And echo answer'd still with long-resounding sweep And there was ripple, rage, and foam; But on that lake, so dark and lone,

Ill. Placid and pale the moonbeam shone

The morning mists rose from the ground, As Jutta hied her home.

Each merry bird awakend round,

As if in revelry;
Afar the bugles' clanging sound
Callid to the chase the lagging hound;

The gale breathed soft and free,
Harold the Dauntless.

And seem'd to linger on its way
To catch fresh odours from the spray,
And waved it in its wanton play

So light and gamesomely.

The scenes which morning beams reveal,

Its sounds to hear, its gales to feel
GREY towers of Durham! there was once a time In all their fragrance round him steal,
I view'd your battlements with such vague hope, It melted Harold's heart of steel,
As brightens life in its first dawning prime; And, hardly wotting why,
Not that e'en then came within fancy's scope He doft'd his helmet's gloomy pride,
A vision vain of mitre, throne, or cope;

And hung it on a tree beside,
Yet, gazing on the venerable hall,

Laid mace and falchion by,
Her flattering dreams would in perspective ope And on the greensward sate him down,

Some reverend room, some prebendary's stall, And from his dark habitual frown
And thus Hope me deceived as she deceiveth all."

Relax'd his rugged brow

Whoever hath the doubtful task Well yet I love thy mix'd and massive piles,

From that stern Dane a boon to ask,
Half church of God, half castle 'gainst the Scot,

Were wise to ask it now.
And long to roam these venerable aisles,
With records stored of deeds long since forgot;

There might I share my Surtees'' happier lot, His place beside young Gunnar took,
Who leaves at will his patrimonial field

And mark'd his master's softening look,
To ransack every crypt and hallow'd spot,

And in his eye's dark mirror spied And from oblivion rend the spoils they yield, The gloom of stormy thoughts subside, fiestoring priestly chant and clang of knightly shield. And cautious watch'd the fittest tide


1 In this stanza occurs one of many touches by which, in supposed to have nourished such an intention-one which no the introductory passages of Harold the Dauntless as of Trier- one could ever have dreamt of ascribing at any period of his main, Sir Walter Scott betrays his half-purpose of identifying days to Sir Walter Scott himself. the author with his friend William Erskine. That gentleman, the son of an Episcopalian clergy man, a stanch church- Robert Surtees of Mainsforth, Esq., P.S.A., author of man, and a man of the gentlest habits, if he did not in early “The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of life design to follow the paternal profession, mr.ight easily be Durham." 3 rols. folio, 1816-20-23.

To speak a warning word.

In anxious awe he bears away So when the torrent's billows shrink,

To moor his bark in Stromna's bay, The timid pilgrim on the brink

And murmurs from the bounding stern,
Waits long to see them wave and sink,

Rest thec, Dweller of the Cairn!'
Ere he dare brave the ford,
And often, after doubtful pause,

“ What cares disturb the mighty dead! His step advances or withdraws:

Each bonour'd rite was duly paid; Fearful to move the slumbering ire

No daring hand thy helm unlaced, Of his stern lord, thus stood the squire,

Thy sword, thy shield, were near thee placedyTill Harold raised his eye,

Thy flinty couch no tear profaned, That glanced as when athwart the shroud

Without, with hostile blood was stain'd; Of the dispersing tempest-cloud

Within, 'twas lined with moss and fern, The bursting sunbeams fly.

Then rest thee, Dweller of the Cairn !

“ He may not rest: from realms afar
Comes voice of battle and of war,
Of conquest wrought with bloody hand
On Carmel's cliffs and Jordan's strand,
When Odin's warlike son could daunt
The turban'd race of Termagaunt.”-

“ Arouse thee, son of Ermengarde,
Offspring of prophetess and bard!
Take barp, and greet this lovely prime
With some high strain of Runic rhyme,
Strong, deep, and powerful! Peal it round
Like that loud bell's sonorous sound,
Yet wild by fits, as when the lay
Of bird and bugle hail the day.
Such was my grandsire Eric's sport,
When dawn gleam'd on his martial court.
Heymar the Scald, with harp's high sound,
Summond the chiefs who slept around;
Couch'd on the spoils of wolf and bear,
They roused like lions from their lair,
Then rush'd in emulation forth
To enhance the glories of the North.
Proud Eric, mightiest of thy race,
Where is thy shadowy resting-place?
In wild Valhalla hast thou quaff’d
From foeman's skull metheglin draught,
Or wanderest where thy cairn was piled
To frown o'er oceans wide and wild ?
Or have the milder Christians given
Thy refuge in their peaceful heaven?
Where'er thou art, to thee are known
Our toils endured, our trophies won,
Our wars, our wanderings, and our woes."
He ceased, and Gunnar's song arose.

“ Peace,” said the Knight, “ the noble Scald
Our warlike fathers' deeds recallid,
But never strove to soothe the son
With tales of what himself had done.
At Odin's board the bard sits high
Whose harp ne'er stoop'd to flattery;
But highest he whose daring lay
Hath dared unwelcome truths to say.”
With doubtful smile young Gunnar eyed
His master's looks, and nought replied-
But well that smile his master led
To construe what he left unsaid.
“ Is it to me, thou timid youth,
Thou fear'st to speak unwelcome truth?
My soul no more thy censure grieves
Than frosts rob laurels of their leaves.
Say on-and yet—beware the rude
And wild distemper of my blood;
Loth were I that mine ire should wrong
The youth that bore my shield so long,
And who, in service constant still,
Though weak in frame, art strong in will." -
« Oh!" quoth the page, even there depends
My counsel-there my warning tends-
Oft seems as of my master's breast
Some demon were the sudden guest;
Then at the first misconstrued word
His hand is on the mace and sword,
From her firm seat his wisdom driven,
His life to countless dangers given.-
O! would that Gunnar could suffice
To be the fiend's last sacrifice,
So that, when glutted with my gore,
He fled and tempted thee no mora!”


[ocr errors]

“ Hawk and osprey scream’d for joy
O'er the beetling cliffs of Hoy,
Crimson foam the beach o'erspread,
The heath was dyed with darker red,
When o'er Eric, Inguar's son,
Dane and Northman piled the stone;
Singing wild the war-song stern,
• Rest thee, Dweller of the Cairn!'

“ Where eddying currents foam and boil
By Bersa's burgh and Græmsay's isle,
The seaman sees a martial form
Half-mingled with the mist and storm.

Then waved his hand, and shook his head
The impatient Dane, while thus he said:

Profane not, youth-it is not thine

2. To judge the spirit of our line

Ill fares the fainting Palmer, placed The bold Berserkar's rage divine,

'Mid Hebron's rocks or Rana's waste, Through whose inspiring, deeds are wrought Ill when the scorching sun is high, Past human strength and human thought.

And the expected font is dry,When full upon his gloomy soul

Worse when his guide o'er sand and heath, The champion feels the influence roll,

The barbarous Copt, has plann'd his death. He swims the lake, he leaps the wallHeeds not the depth, nor plumbs the fall

3. Unshielded, mail-less, on he goes

“ Ill fares the Knight with buckler eleft, Singly against a host of foes;

And ill when of his helm bereft,Their spears he holds like wither'd reeds,

Ill when his steed to earth is flung, Their mail like maiden's silken weeds;

Or from his grasp his falchion wrung; One 'gainst a hundred will he strive,

But worse, if instant ruin token, Take countless wounds, and yet survive.

When he lists rede by woman spoken.”— Then rush the eagles to his cry Of slaughter and of victory,

X. And blood he quaffs like Odin's bowl,

“ How now, fond boy ?-Canst thou think Deep drinks his sword,-deep drinks his soul;

ill," And all that meet him in his ire

Said Harold, “ of fair Metelill ?”— He gives to ruin, rout, and fire;

“She may be fair," the Page replied, Then, like gorged lion, seeks some den,

As through the strings he ranged,-And couches till he's man agen.

“ She may be fair; but yet,” he cried, Thou know'st the signs of look and limb,

And then the strain he changed,—When 'gins that rage to overbrimThou know'st when I am moved, and why;

sung. And when thou see'st me roll mine eye,

1. Set my teeth thus, and stamp my foot,

“She may be fair,” he sang," but yet Regard thy safety and be mute;

Far fairer have I seen But else speak boldly out whate'er

Than she, for all her locks of jet, Is fitting that a knight should hear.

And eyes so dark and sheen. I love thee, youth. Thy lay has power

Were I a Danish knight in arms, Upon my dark and sullen hour;

As one day I may be, So Christian monks are wont to say

My heart should own no foreign charms, – Demons of old were charm'd away;

A Danish maid for me.
Then fear not I will rashly deem
Ill of thy speech, whate'er the theme."


“I love my fathers' northern land, IX.

Where the dark pine-trees grow, As down some strait in doubt and dread

And the bold Baltic's echoing strand The watchful pilot drops the lead,

Looks o'er each grassy oe.' And, cautious in the midst to steer,

I love to mark the lingering sun, The shoaling channel sounds with fear;

From Denmark loth to go, So, lest on dangerous ground he swerved,

And leaving on the billows bright, The Page his master's brow observed,

To cheer the short-lived summer night,
Pausing at intervals to fling

A path of ruddy glow.
His hand o'er the melodious string,
And to his moody breast apply

3. The soothing charm of harmony,

“ But most the northern maid I love, While hinted half, and half exprest,

With breast like Denmark's snow, This warning song convey'd the rest.

And form as fair as Denmark's pine,

Who loves with purple heath to twine

Her locks of sunny glow;

And sweetly blend that shade of gold 66 Ill fares the bark with tackle riven,

With the cheek's rosy hue, And ill when on the breakers driven,

And Faith might for her mirror hold
III when the storm-sprite shrieks in air,

That eye of matchless blue.
And the scared mermaid tears her hair;
But worse when on her helm the hand
Of some false traitor holds command.


Up and away, that deepening bell * Tis hers the manly sports to love

Doth of the Bishop's conclave tell.
That southern maidens fear,

Thither will I, in manner due,
To bend the bow by stream and grove,

As Jutta bade, my claim to sue;
And lift the hunter's spear.

And, if to right me they are loth,
She can her chosen champion's flight

Then woe to church and chapter both !"
With eye undazzled see,

Now shift the scene, and let the curtaio fall, Clasp him victorious from the strife,

And our next entry be Saint Cuthbert's liall. Or on his corpse yield up her life,

A Danish maid for me!”

Harald the Dauntless.


Then smiled the Dane-" Thou canst so well
The virtues of our maidens tell,
Half could I wish my choice had been
Blue eyes, and hair of golden sheen,
And lofty soul;-yet what of ill
Hast thou to charge on Metelill ?”-
“ Nothing on her,”young Gunnar said,
“ But her base sire's ignoble trade.
Her mother, too-the general fame
Hath given to Jutta evil name,
And in her grey eye is a flame
Art cannot hide, nor fear can tame.-
That sordid woodman's peasant cot
Twice have thine honour'd footsteps sought,
And twice return'd with such ill rede
As sent thee on some desperate deed."--

FULL many a bard hath sung the solemn gloom
Of the long Gothic aisle and stone-ribb'd roof,
O’er-canopying shrine, and gorgeous tomb,
Carved screen, and altar glimmering far aloof,
And blending with the shade-a matchless proof
Of high devotion, which hath now wax'd cold; ?
Yet legends say, that Luxury’s brute hoof

Intruded oft within such sacred fold,
Like step of Bel’s false priest, track’d in his fane of ola.

Well pleased am 1, howe'er, that when the route
Of our rude neighbours whilome deign'd to come,
Uncall’d, and eke unwelcome, to sweep out
And cleanse our chancel from the rags of Rome,
They spoke not on our ancient fane the doom
To which their bigot zeal gave o'er their own,
But spared the martyr'd saint and storied tomb,

Though papal miracles had graced the stone,
And though the aisles still loved the organ's swelling


“Thou errest; Jutta wisely said,
He that comes suitor to a maid,
Ere link'd in marriage, should provide
Lands and a dwelling for his bride
My father's, by the Tyne and Wear,
I have reclaim’d.”—“0, all too dear,
And all too dangerous the prize,
E’en were it won," young Gunnar cries ;-
“ And then this Jutta's fresh device,
That thou shouldst seek, a heathen Dane,
From Durham's priests a boon to gain,
When thou hast left their vassals slain
In their own halls !”—Flash'd Harold's eye,
Thunder'd his voice—“False Page, you lie !
The castle, hall and tower, is mine,
Built by old Witikind on Tyne.
The wild-cat will defend his den,
Fights for her nest the timid wren;
And think'st thou I'll forego my right
For dread of monk or monkish knight!

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

2 “ All is hush'd, and still as death-'tis dreadful!

How reverend is the face of this tall pile,
Whose ancient pillars rear their marble heads
To bear aloft its arch'd and ponderous roof,
By its own weight made stedfast and immovable,
Looking tranquillity! It strikes an awe
And terror on my aching sight. The tombs

And monumental caves of death look cold,
And shoot a chilluess to my trembling heart."

CONGREVE'S Mourning Bride, Act ii. Scene L.
See also Joanna Baillie's “ De Montfort," Acts iv. and v.

3 See, in the Apocryphal Books, The History of Bel and the Dragon."

4 See, for the lives of Bishop Matthew and Bishop Morton, here alluded to, Mr. Surtees's History of the Bishopric of Durham : the venerable Shute Barrington, their honoured successor, ever a kind friend of Sir Walter Scott, died in 1826.


To Anthony Conyers and Alberic Vere, But now to earlier and to ruder times,

For the service Saint Cuthber:'s bless'd banner to bear, As subject meet, I tune my rugged rhymes, When the bands of the North come to foray the Wear; Telling how fairly the chapter was met,

Then disturb not our conclave with wrangling or And rood and books in seemly order set;

blame, Huge brass-clasp'd volumes, which the hand But in peace and in patience pass hence as ye came." Of studious priest but rarely scann'd, Now on fair carved desk display'd,

V. 'Twas theirs the solemn scene to aid.

Loud laugh’d the stern Pagan,—“ They're free from O’erhead with many a scutcheon graced,

the care And quaint devices interlaced,

Of fief and of service, both Conyers and Vere,A labyrinth of crossing rows,

Six feet of your chancel is all they will need, The roof in lessening arches shows;

A buckler of stone and a corslet of lead.Beneath its shade placed proud and high,

Ho, Gunnar!—the tokens;"-and, sever'd anew, With footstool and with canopy,

A head and a hand on the altar he threw. Sate Aldingar,-and prelate ne'er

Then shudder'd with terror both Canon and Monk, More haughty graced Saint Cuthbert's chair; They knew the glazed eye and the countenance Canons and deacons were placed below,

shrunk, In due degree and lengthen'd row.

And of Anthony Conyers the half-grizzled hair, Unmoved and silent each sat there,

And the scar on the hand of Sir Alberic Vere. Like image in his oaken chair;

There was not a churchman or priest that was there, Nor head, nor hand, nor foot they stirr'd,

But grew pale at the sight, and betook him to prayer. Nor lock of hair, nor tress of beard; And of their eyes severe alone

VI. The twinkle show'd they were not stone.

Count Harold laugh'd at their looks of fear:

“ Was this the hand should your banner bear III.

Was that the head should wear the casque The Prelate was to speech address'd,

In battle at the Church's task? Each head sunk reverent on each breast;

Was it to such you gave the place But ere his voice was heard-without

Of Harold with the heavy mace? Arose a wild tumultuous shout,

Find me between the Wear and Tyne Offspring of wonder mix'd with fear,

A knight will wield this club of mine,Such as in crowded streets we hear

Give him my fiefs, and I will say Hailing the flames, that, bursting out,

There's wit beneath the cowl of grey." Attract yet scare the rabble rout.

He raised it, rough with many a stain, Ere it had ceased, a giant hand

Caught from crush'd skull and spouting brain; Shook oaken door and iron band,

He wheel'd it that it shrilly sung, Till oak and iron both gave way,

And the aisles echo'd as it swung, Clash'd the long bolts, the hinges bray,

Then dash'd it down with sheer descent, And, ere upon angel or saint they can call,

And split King Osric's monument.Stands Harold the Dauntless in midst of the hall. “ How like ye this music? How trow ye the hand

That can wield such a mace may be reft of its land? IV.

No answer!-I spare ye a space to agree, “ Now save ye, my masters, both rocket and rood, And Saint Cuthbert inspire you, a saint if he be. Fromn Bishop with mitre to Deacon with hood! Ten strides through your chancel, ten strokes on your For here stands Count Harold, old Witikind's son,

bell, Come to sue for the lands which his ancestors won." And again I am with you-grave fathers, farewell,” The Prelate look'd round him with sore troubled eye, Unwilling to grant, yet afraid to deny;

VII. Wtile each Canon and Deacon who heard the Dane He turn’d from their presence, he clash'd the vai speak,

door, To be safely at home would have fasted a week:- And the clang of his stride died away on the floor; Then Aldingar roused him, and answer'd again, And his head from his bosom the Prelate uprears “ Thou suest for a boon which thou canst not obtain; With a ghost-seer's look when the ghost disappears The Church hath no fiefs for an unchristen's Dane. “ Ye Priests of Saint Cuthbert, now give me your Thy father was wise, and his treasure hath given,

rede, That the priests of a chantry might hymn him to For never of counsel had Bishop more need! heaver;

Were the arch-fiend incarnate in flesh and in bone, And the fiefs which whilome he possess’d as his due, The language, the look, and the laugh were his Have lapsed to the Church, and been granted anew


« AnteriorContinuar »