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Bright was the noontide of their day. And all serene its setting ray.

Harold the Dauntless.

And visage like the headsman's rude

That pauses for the sign.
“ O mark thee with the blessed rood,"
The Page implored ; “Speak word of good,
Resist the fiend, or be subdued!”

He sign'd the cross divine
Instant his eye hatb human light,
Less red, less keen, less fiercely bright;
His brow relax'd the obdurate frown,
The fatal mace sinks gently down,

He turns and strides away;
Yet oft, like revellers who leave
Unfinish'd feast, looks back to grieve,
As if repenting the reprieve

He granted to his prey.
Yet still of forbearance one sign hath he given,
And fierce Witikind's son made one step towards

heaven.

CANTO SIXTH.

1. Well do I hope that this my minstrel tale Will tempt no traveller from southern fields, Whether in tilbury, barouche, or mail, To view the Castle of these Seven Proud Shields. Small confirmation its condition yields To Meneville's high lay,—No towers are seen On the wild heath, but those that Fancy builds,

And, save a fosse that tracks the moor with greers, Is nought remains to tell of what may there have been,

XVIII. But though his dreaded footsteps part, Death is behind and shakes his dart; Lord William on the plain is lying, Beside him Metelill seems dying ! Bring odours---essences in hasteAnd lo! a flasket richly chased, But Jutta the elixir proves Ere pouring it for those she lovesThen Walwayn's potion was not wasted, For when three drops the hag had tasted,

So dismal was her yell,
Each bird of evil omen woke,
The raven gave his fatal croak,
And shriek'd the night-crow from the oak,
The screech-owl from the thicket broke,

And flutter'd down the dell !
So fearful was the sound and stern,
The slumbers of the full-gorged erne
Were startled, and from furze and fern

Of forest and of fell,
The fox and famish'd wolf replied,
(For wolves then prowl'd the Cheviot side.)
From mountain head to mountain head
The unhallow'd sounds around were sped;'
But when their latest echo fled,
The sorceress on the ground lay dead.

And yet grave authors, with the no small waste
Of their grave time, have dignified the spot
By theories, to prove the fortress placed
By Roman bands, to curb the invading Scot
Hutchinson, Horsley, Camden, I might quote,
But rather choose the theory less civil
Of boors, who, origin of things forgot,

Refer still to the origin of evil,
And for their master-mason choose that master-fiend

the Devil.

II. Therefore, 1 say, it was on fiend-built towers That stout Count Harold bent his wondering gaze, When evening dew was on the heather flowers, And the last sunbeams made the mountain blaze, And tinged the hattlements of other days With the bright level light ere sinking down.-Illumined thus, the Dauntless Dane surveys

The Seven Proud Shields that o'er the portal frown, And on their blazons traced high marks of old renown.

XIX. Such was the scene of blood and woes, With which the bridal morn arose

Of William and of Metelill; But oft, when dawning 'gins to spread, The summer morn peeps dim and red

Above the eastern hill, Ere, bright and fair, upon his road The King of Splendour walks abroad; So, when this cloud had pass'd away,

A wolf North Wales had on his armour-coat,
And Rhys of Powis-land a couchant stag;
Strath-Clwyd'sstrange emblem was a stranacd boat,
Donald of Galloway's a trotting nag;
A corn-sheaf gilt was fertile Lodon's brag;
A dudgeon-uagger was by Dunmail worn;
Northumbrian Adolf gave a sea-beat crag

Surmounted by a cross—such signs were borre Upon these antique shields, all wasted now and worr..

III. These scann'd, Count Harold sought the castle-door, Whose ponderous bolts were rusted to decay; Yet till that hour adventurous knight forbore 'The unobstructed passage to essay.

i See a note on the Lord of the Isles, Canto v.st. 31, inte.

p. 449,

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As if a bridal there of late had been,
Deck'd stood the table in each gorgeous hall;
And yet it was two hundred years, I ween,
Since date of that uphallow'd festival.
Flagons, and ewers, and standing cups, were all
Of tarnish'd gold, or silver nothing clear,
With throne begilt, and canopy of pall,

And tapestry clothed the walls with fragments sear-
Frail as the spider's mesh did that rich woof appear.

V.
In every bower, as round a hearse, was hung
A dusky crimson curtain o'er the bed,
And on each couch in ghastly wise were flung
The wasted relics of a monarch dead;
Barbaric ornaments around were spread,
Vests twined with gold, and chains of precious

stone,
And golden circlets, meet for monarch's head;

While grinn'd, as if in scorn amongst them thrown, l'he wearer's fleshless skull, alike with dust bestrown.

VII.
The minstrel-boy half smiled, half sigh’d,
And his half-filling eyes he dried,
And said, “ The theme I should but wrong,
Unless it were my dying song,
(Our Scalds have said, in dying hour
The Northern harp has treble power,)
Else could I tell of woman's faith,
Defying danger, scorn, and death.
Firm was that faith,-as diamond stone
Pure and unflaw'd,-her love unknown,
And unrequited ;-firm and pure,
Her stainless faith could all endure;
From clime to clime,-from place to place,
Through want, and danger, and disgrace,
A wanderer's wayward steps could trace.--
All this she did, and guerdon none
Required, save that her burial-stone
Should make at length the secret known,
Thus hath a faithful woman done.'—

For these were they who, drunken with delight,
On pleasure's opiate pillow laid their head,

1 “In an invention like this we are hardly to look for pro- until some hundred years after the era of the poem, and many babilities, but all these preparations and ornaments are not of the scenes described, like that last quoted, (stanzas iv, v. quite consistent with the state of society two hundred years vi.) belong even to a still later period. At least this defect is before the Danish Invasion, as far as we know any thing of it. act an imitation of Mr. Scott, who, being a skilful antiquary, In these matters, however, the author is never very scrupu- is extremely careful as to niceties of this sort."-Critical Res lous, and has too little regarded propriety in the minor cir- view. cumatances: thuy Harold is clad in a kind of armour not word

Not in each breast such truth is laid, But Eivir was a Danish maid.”_

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VIII. “ Thou art a wild enthusiast,” said Count Harold," for thy Danish maid And yet, young Gunnar, I will own Hers were a faith to rest upon. But Eivir sleeps beneath her stone, And all resembling her are gone. What maid e'er show'd such constancy In plighted faith, like thine to me? But couch thee, boy; the darksome shade Falls thickly round, nor be dismay'd

Because the dead are by.
They were as we; our little day
O'erspent, and we shall be as they.
Yet near me, Gunnar, be thou laid,
Thy couch upon my mantle made,
That thou mayst think, should fear invade,

Thy master slumbers nigh.”
Thus couch'd they in that dread abode,
Until the beams of dawning glow'd.

Sable their harness, and there came
Through their closed visors sparks of flame.
The first proclaim'd, in sounds of fear,
• Harold the Dauntless, welcome here!
The next cried, 'Jubilee! we've won
Count Witikind the Waster's son!'
And the third rider sternly spoke,

Mount, in the name of Zernebock!
From us, O Harold, were thy powers,
Thy strength, thy dauntlessness, are ours;
Nor think, a vassal thou of hell,
With hell can strive.' The fiend spoke true!
My inmost soul the summons knew,

As captives know the knell
That says the headsman's sword is bare,
And, with an accent of despair,

Commands them quit their cell.
I felt resistance was in vain,
My foot had that fell stirrup ta'en,
My hand was on the fatal mane,

When to my rescue sped
That Palmer's visionary form,
And—like the passing of a storm-

The demons yelld and fled !

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IX.
An alter'd man Lord Harold rose,
When he beheld that dawn unclose

There's trouble in his eyes,
and traces on his brow and cheek
Of mingled awe and wonder speak:

“ My page,” he said, “ arise ;Leave we this place, my page.”—No more He utter'd till the castle door They cross'd—but there he paused and said, “ My wildness hath awaked the dead

Disturb'd the sacred tomb!
Methought this night I stood on high,
Where Hecla roars in middle sky,
And in her cavern'd gulfs could spy

The central place of doom;
And there before my mortal eye
Souls of the dead came fitting by,
Whom fiends, with many a fiendish cry,

Bore to that evil den !
My eyes grew dizzy, and my brain
Was wilder'd, as the elvish train,
With shriek and howl, dragg’d on amain

Those who had late been men.

XI.
“ His sable cowl, flung back, revoa'd
The features it before conceal'd;

And, Gunnar, I could find
In him whose counsels strove to stay
So oft my course on wilful way,

My father Witikind!
Doom'd for his sins, and doom'd for mine,
A wanderer upon earth to pine
Until his son shall turn to grace,
And smooth for him a resting-place.
Gunnar, he must not haunt in vain
This world of wretchedness and pain :
I'll tame my wilful heart to live
In peace—to pity and forgive
And thou, for so the Vision said,
Must in thy Lord's repentance aid.
Thy mother was a prophetess,
He said, who by her skill could guess
How close the fatal textures join
Which knit thy thread of life with mine;
Then, dark, he hinted of disguise
She framed to cheat too curious eyes,
That not a moment ght divide
Thy fated footsteps from my side.
Methought while thus my sire did teach,
I caught the meaning of his speech,
Yet seems its purport doubtful now.”
His hand then sought his thoughtful brow
Then first he mark'd, that in the tower
His glove was left at waking hour.

X. " With haggard eyes and streaming hair, Jutta the Sorceress was there, And there pass’d Wulfstane, lately slain, All crush'd and foul with bloody stain.More had I seen, but that uprose A whirlwind wild, and swept the snows; And with such sound as when at need A champion spurs his horse to speed, Three arm'd knights rush on, who lead Caparison'd a sable steed.

XII. Trembling at first, and deadly pale, Had Gunnar heard the vision'd tale;

But when he learn :] the dubious close,
He blush'd like any opening rose,
And, glad to hide his tell-tale cheek,
Hied back that glove of mail to seek;
When soon a shriek of deadly dread
Summon'd his master to his aid.

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XIII. What sees Count Harold in that bower,

So late his resting-place ?
The semblance of the Evil Power,

Adored by all his race!
Odin in living form stood there,
His cloak the spoils of Polar bear;
For plumy crest a meteor shed
Its gloomy radiance o'er his head,
Yet veil'd its haggard majesty
To the wild lightnings of his eye.
Such height was his, as when in stone
O’er Upsal's giant altar shown:

So flow'd his hoary beard ;
Such was his lance of mountain-pine,
So did his sevenfold buckler shine ;-

But when his voice he rear'd,
Deep, without harshness, slow and strong,
The powerful accents roll’d along,
And, while he oke, his hand was laid
On captive Gunnar's shrinking head.

Nor glove, nor buckler, splent, nor nall,
Shall rest with thee—that youth releaso,
And God, or Demon, part in peace.”-

Eivir,” the Shape replied, " is mine,
Mark'd in the birth-hour with my sign.
Think'st thou that priest with drops of spray
Could wash that blood-red mark away?
Or that a borrow'd sex and name
Can abrogate a Godhead's claim ?”
Thrill'd this strange speech through Harold's

brain,
He clench'd his teeth in high disdain,
For not his new-born faith subdued
Some tokens of his ancient mood.-
“ Now, by the hope so lately given
Of better trust and purer heaven,
I will assail thee, fiend !”_Then rose
His mace, and with a storm of blows
The mortal and the Demon close.

XVI.
Smoke roll'd above, fire flash'd around,
Darken'd the sky and shook the ground;

But not the artillery of hell,
The bickering lightning, nor the rock
Of turrets to the earthquake's shock,

Could Harold's courage quell.
Sternly the Dane his purpose kept,
And blows on blows resistless heap'd,

Till quail'd that Demon Form, And-for his power to hurt or kill Was bounded by a higher will

Evanish'd in the storm. Nor paused the Champion of the North, But raised, and bore his Eivir forth, From that wild scene of fiendish strife, To light, to liberty, and life!

XIV.
Harold,” he said, “what rage is thine,
To quit the worship of thy line,

To leave thy Warrior-God ?
With me is glory or disgrace,
Mine is the onset and the chase,
Embattled hosts before my face

Are wither'd by a nod. Wilt thou then forfeit that high seat Deserved by many a dauntless feat, Among the heroes of thy line, Eric and fiery Thorarine ? Thou wilt not. Only I can give The joys for which the valiant live, Victory and vengeance-only I Can give the joys for which they die, The immortal tilt—the banquet full, The brimming draught from foeman's skull. Mine art thou, witness this thy glove, The faithful pledge of vassal's love.”

XVII.
He placed her on a bank of moss,

A silver runnel bubbled by,
And new-born thoughts his soul engross,
And tremors yet unknown across

His stubborn sinews fly,
The while with timid hand the dew
Upon her brow and neck he threw,
And mark'd how life with rosy hue
On her pale cheek revived anew,

And glimmer'd in her eye.
Inly he said, “That silken tress,
What blindness mine that could not guess!
Or how could page's rugged dress

That bosom's pride belie ? 0, dull of heart, through wild and wave In search of blood and death to rave, .

With such a partner nigh!”

XV. Tempter,” said Harold, firm of heart, “ I charge thee, hence! whate'er thou art, I do defy thee—and resist The kindling frenzy of my breast, Waked by thy words; and of my mail,

1 Mr. Adolphus, in his Letters on the Author of Waverley, in the Irish orphan of 'Rokeby,' and the conversion of Hap. 230, remarks on the coincidence between " the catastrophe rold's page into a female,"-all which he calls “specimens of of The Black Dwarf,' the ion of Mortham's lost son unsuccessful contrivance, at a great pense of probability.'

XVIII.
Then in the mirror'd pool he peerd,
Blanied his rough locks and shaggy beard,
The stains of recent conflict clear'd,-

And thus the Champion proved,
That he fears now who never fear'd,

And loves who never loved.
And Eivir-life is on her cheek,
And yet she will not move or speak,

Nor will her eyelid fully ope;
Perchance it loves, that half-shut eye,
Through its long fringe, reserved and shy,
Affection's opening dawn to spy ;
And the deep blush, which bids its dye
O’er cheek, and brow, and bosom fly,

Speaks shame-facedness and hope.

“ Eivir! since thou for many a day
Hast follow'd Harold's wayward way,
It is but meet that in the line
Of after-life I follow thine.
To-morrow is Saint Cuthbert's tide,
And we will grace his altar's side,

A Christian knight and Christian bride;
And of Witikind's son shall the marvel be said,
That on the same morn he was christen'd and wed:"

CONCLUSION.

XIX.
But vainly seems the Dane to seek
For terms his new-born love to speak,-
For words, save those of wrath and wrong,
Till now were strangers to his tongue;
So, when he raised the blushing maid,
In blunt and honest terms he said,
("Twere well that maids, when lovers woo,
Heard none more soft, were all as true,)

AND now, Ennui, what ails thee, weary niaid ?
And why these listless looks of yawning sorrow?
No need to turn the page, as if 'twere lead,
Or fling aside the volume till to-morrow.-
Be cheer'd-'tis ended-and I will not borrow,
To try thy patience more, one anecdote
From Bartholine, or Perinskiold, or Snorro.

Then pardon thou thy minstrel, who hath wrote
A Tale six cantos long, yet scorn'd to add a note.'

1« «Harold the Dauntless,' like · The Bridal of Trier passages, than in those rougher scenes of feud and fray, through main,' is a tolerably successful imitation of some parts of the which the poet of early times conducts his reader. His war. style of Mr. Walter Scott; but, like all imitations, it is clearly horse follows with somewhat of a hobbling pace the proud and distinguishable from the prototype; it wants the life and sea- impetuous courser whom he seeks to rival. Unfortunately, as soning of originality. To illustrate this familiarly from the it appears to us, the last style of poetical excellence is rather stage :--We have all witnessed a hundred imitations of popu- more aimed at here than in the former poem; and as we do not lar actors-of Kemble, for instance, in which the voice, the discover any improvement in the mode of treating it, Harold gesture, and somewhat eren of the look, were copied. In ex- the Dauntless scarcely appears to us to equal the Bridal of ternals the resemblance might be sufficiently correct; but Triermain. It contains, indeed, passages of similar merit, but where was the informing soul, the mind that dictated the ac- not quite so numerous; and such, we suspect, will ever be the tion and expression? Who could endure the tedium of secing case while the author continues to follow after this line of the imitator go through a whole character? In · Harold the poetry."-Scots Jag., Feb. 1817. Dauntless,' the imitation of Mr. Scott is pretty obvious, but we are weary of it before we arrive near the end. The author has talent, and considerable facility in versification, and on

“ This is an elegant, sprightly, and delightful little poem, this account it is somewhat lamentable, not only that he written apparently by a person of taste and genius, but who should not have selected a better model, but that he should either possesses not the art of forming and combining a plot, copy the parts of that model which are least worthy of study. or regards it only as a secondary and subordinate object. In Perliaps it was not easy to equal the energy of Mr. Scott's line, this we do not widely differ from him, but are sensible, meanor his picturesque descriptions. His peculiarities and defects time, that many others will ; and that the rambling and unwere more attainable, and with these the writer of this novel certain nature of the story will be the principal objection in verse has generally contented himself; he will also content urged against the poem before us, as well as the greatest bar a certain number of readers, who merely look for a few amu- to its extensive popularity. The character of Mr. Scott's ro. sing or surprising incidents. In these, however, ‘Harold the mances has effected a material change in our mode of estiDauntless' does not abound so much as • The Bridal of Trier- mating poetical compositions. In all the estimable works of main.' They are, indeed, romantic enough to satisfy all the our former pocts, from Spenser down to Thomson and Cowper, parlour-boarders of ladies’ schools in England; but they want the plot seems to have been regarded as good or bad, only in that appearance of probability which should give them inter- proportion to the advantages which it furnished for poetical est."-Critical Review, April, 1817.

description; but, of late years, one half, at least, of the merit of a poem is supposed to rest on the interest and management

of the tale. “We had formerly occasion to notice, with considerable · Wespeak not exclusively of that numerous class of readers praise, The Bridal of Triermain. We remarked it as a pretty whó peruse and estimate a new poem, or any poem, with the close imitation of Mr. Scott's poetry; and as that great master same feelings, and precisely on the same principles, as they seems, for the present, to have left his lyre unstrung, a substi- do a novel. It is natural for such persons to judge only by tho tute, even of inferior value, may be welcomed by the public. effect produced by the incidents; but we have ofteu been It appears to us, however, and still does, that the merit of surprised that some of our literary critics, even those to whose the present author consists rather in the soft and wildly tender judgment we were most to bow, should lay so much

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