Imágenes de páginas


Since our grey cliffs the din of conflict knew, But we, weak minstrels of a laggard day,

Or, pealing through our vales, victorious bugles blew Skill'd but to imitate an elder page, Timid and raptureless, can we repay'

VIII. The debt thou claim’st in this exhausted age? “ Decay'd our old traditionary lore, Thou givest our lyres a theme, that might engage Save where the lingering fays renew their ring,

Those that could send thy name o'er sea and land, By milk-maid seen beneath the hawthorn hoar, While sea and land shall last; for Homer's rage Or round the marge of Minchmore's haunted A theme; a theme for Milton's mighty hand

spring:5 How much unmeet for us, a faint degenerate band !? Save where their legends grey-hair’d shepherds sing,

That now scarce win a listening ear but thine,

Of feuds obscure, and Border ravaging,
Ye mountains stern! within whose rugged breast And rugged deeds recount in rugged line,

The friends of Scottish freedom found repose ; Of moonlight foray made on Teviot, Tweed, or Tyne. Yo torrents! whose hoarse sounds have soothed their rest,

IX. Returning from the field of vanquish'd foes ; “ No! search romantic lands, where the near Sun Say have ye lost each wild majestic close,

Gives with unstinted boon ethereal flame, That erst the choir of Bards or Druids flung; Where the rude villager, his labour done, What time their hymn of victory arose,

In verse spontaneous chants some favour'd name, And Cattraeth’s glens with voice of triumph rung, Whether Olalia's charms his tribute claim, And mystic Merlin harp'd, and grey-hair'd Llywarch Her eye of diamond, and her locks of jet; sung!3

Or whether, kindling at the deeds of Græme,7

He sing, to wild Morisco measure set,

Old Albin's red claymore, green Erin's bayonet! 0! if your wilds such minstrelsy retain, As sure your changeful gales seem oft to say,

X. When sweeping wild and sinking soft again, “ Explore those regions, where the flinty crest Like trumpet-jubilee, or harp's wild sway;

Of wild Nevada ever gleams with snows, If ye can echo such triumphant lay,

Where in the proud Alhambra's ruin'd breast Then lend the note to him has loved you long! Barbaric monuments of pomp repose; Who pious gather'd each tradition grey,

Or where the banners of more ruthless foes That floats your solitary wastes along,

Than the fierce Moor, float o'er Toledo's fane, And with affection vain gave them new voice in song. From whose tall towers even now the patriot throws

An anxious glance, to spy upon the plain

The blended ranks of England, Portugal, and Spain.
For not till now, how oft soe'er the task
Of truant verse hath lighten'd graver care,

XI. From Muse or Sylvan was he wont to ask,

“ There, of Numantian fire a swarthy spark In phrase poetic, inspiration fair;

Still lightens in the sun-burnt native's eye; Careless he gave his numbers to the air,

The stately port, slow step, and visage dark, They came unsought for, if applauses came ; Still mark enduring pride and constancy. Nor for himself prefers he now the prayer;

And, if the glow of feudal chivalry Let but his verse befit a hero's fame,

Beam not, as once, thy nobles' dearest pride, Immortal be the verse !—forgot the poet's name.

Iberia! oft thy crestless peasantry

Have seen the plumed Hidalgo quit their side, VII.

Have seen, yet dauntless stood—'gainst fortune fought Hark, from yon misty cairn their answer tost :*

and died. “ Minstrel! the fame of whose romantic lyre, Capricious-swelling now, may soon be lost,

XII. Like the light flickering of a cottage fire; “ And cherish'd still by that unchanging race, If to such task presumptuous thou aspire,

Are themes for minstrelsy more high than thine; Seek not from us the meed to warrior due: Of strange tradition many a mystic trace, Age after age has gather'd son to sire,

Legend and vision, prophecy and sign;

1 MS.—“Unform'd for rapture, how shall we repay."
: MS." Thou girest our verse a theme that might engage

Lyres that could richly yield thee back its due ;
A theme, might kindle Homer's mighty rage;

A theme more grand than Maro ever knew-
How much unmeet for us, degenerate, frail, and few!"

3 See Appendix, Note A.
* MS.-" Hark, from grey Needpath's mists, the Brothers'


Hark, from the Brothers' cairn the answer tost." 8 See Appendix, Note B. 6 Ibid, Noto C. 7 Ibid, Note D. 3 MS.-" And lingering still 'mid that unchanging race."

Where wonders wild of Arabesque combine

Who, for the cap of steel and iron mace, With Gothic imagery of darker shade,

Bear slender darts, and casques bedeck'd with gold, Forming a model meet for minstrel line.

While silver-studded belts their shoulders grace, Go, seek such theme !”—The Mountain Spirit Where ivory quivers ring in the broad falchion's place."

With filial awe I heard- I heard, and I obey'd.'

In the light language of an idle court,

They murmur'd at their master's long delay,
And held his lengthen d orisons in sport :-

“What! will Don Roderick here till morning stay, The Vision of Don Roderick.

To wear in shrift and prayer the night away! 1.

And are his hours in such dull penance past, REARING their crests amid the cloudless skies, For fair Florinda's plunder'd charms to pay?"_

And darkly clustering in the pale moonlight, Then to the east their weary eyes they cast, Toledo's holy towers and spires arise,

And wish'd the lingering dawn would glimmer forth As from a trembling lake of silver white.

at last.
Their mingled shadows intercept the sight
Of the broad burial-ground outstretch'd below,

And nought disturbs the silence of the night; But, far within, Toledo's Prelate lent
All sleeps in sullen shade, or silver glow,

An ear of fearful wonder to the King;
All save the heavy swell of Teio's ceaseless flow.? The silver lamp a fitful lustre sent,

So long that sad confession witnessing:

For Roderick told of many a hidden thing, All save the rushing swell of Teio's tide,

Such as are lothly utter'd to the air, Or, distant heard, a courser's neigh or tramp; When Fear, Remorse, and Shame, the bosom wring, Their changing rounds as watchful horsemen ride, And Guilt his secret burden cannot bear,

To guard the limits of King Roderick's camp. And Conscience seeks in speech a respite from Deo For, through the river's night-fog rolling damp,

spair. Was many a proud pavilion dimly seen,3 Which glimmer'd back, against the moon's fair lamp,

VI. Tissues of silk and silver twisted sheen,

Full on the Prelate's face, and silver hair, And standards proudly pitch'd, and warders arm’d The stream of failing light was feebly rollid:7 between.

But Roderick’s visage, though his head was bare,

Was shadowa his hand and mantle's fold. III.

While of his hidden soul the sins he told, But of their Monarch's person keeping ward,

Proud Alaric's descendant could not brook, Since last the deep-mouth'd bell of vespers tollid, That mortal man his bearing should behold, The chosen soldiers of the royal guard

Or boast that he had seen, when Conscience shook, The post beneath the proud Cathedral hold: Fear tame a monarch's brow, Remorse a warrior's A band unlike their Gothic sires of old,



| “The Introduction,” we confess," says the Quarterly of Mr. Scott's unrivalled excellence in the descriptions, both Reviewer, “ does not please us so well as the rest of the poem, of natural scenery and romantic manners and costume, these though the reply of the Mountain Spirit is exquisitely writ- stanzas will be thought no mean addition." ten." The Edinburgh critic, after quoting stanzas ix. x. and 6 See Appendix, Note E. xi. says—“ The Introduction, though splendidly written, is too 7 MS.-" The feeble lamp in dying lustre long for so short a poem ; and the poct's dialogue with his na.

The waves of broken light were feebly

}rolla." tive mountains is somewhat too startling and unnatural. The 8 MS.--" The haughty monarch's heart could evil-brook." most spirited part of it, we think, is their direction to Spa- 9 The Quarterly Reviewer says, “ The moonlight scenery nish themes."

of the camp and burial-ground is evidently by the same power2 The Monthly Review, for 1811, in quoting this stanza, says ful hand which sketched the Abbey of Melrose ; ad in this -"Scarcely any poet, of any age or country, has excelled Mr. picture of Roderick's confession, there are traits of even a Scott in bringing before our sight the very scene which he is higher cast of sublimity and pathos.” describing-in giving a reality of existence to every object The Edinburgh Reviewer introduces his quotations of the i on which he dwells; and it is on such occasions, especially ii., v., and vi. stanzas thus, -" The poem is substantially disuited as they seem to the habits of his mind, that his style vided into two compartments ;-the one representing the faitself catches a character of harmony, which is far from being bulous or prodigious acts of Don Roderick's own time,--and universally its own. How vivid, yet how soft, is this pic- the other the recent occurrences which have since signalized ture!"

the same quarter of the world. Mr. Scott, we think, is most 3 MS.-"For, stretch'd beside the river's margin damp, at home in the first of these fields; and we think, upon the

Their proud pavilions hide the meadow green." whole, has most success in it. The opening affords a fine spe 4 MS.-" Bore javelins slight," &c.

cimen of his unrivalled powers of description." The Critical Reviewer, having quoted stanzas i. ii. and iii. The reader may be gratified with having the following lines sayg—“To the specimens with which his former works abound, from Mr. Southey's Roderick, inserted here :


XI. The old man's faded cheek wax'd yet more pale, “ III-fated Prince! recall the desperate word, As many a secret sad the King bewray’d;

Or pause ere yet the omen thou obey! As sign and glance eked out the unfinish'd tale, Bethink, yon spell-bound portal would afford 6

When in the midst his faltering whisper staid.-- Never to former Monarch entrance-way; “ Thus royal Witiza? was slain,”-—he said ;

Nor shall it ever ope, old records say, " Yet, holy Father, deem not it was I.”

Save to a King, the last of all his line, Thus still Ambition strives her crimes to shade.- What time his empire totters to decay, « Oh ! rather deem 'twas stern necessity!

And treason digs, beneath, her fatal mine, Self-preservation bade, and I must kill or die. And, high above, impends avenging wrath divine.”—


XII. “ And if Florinda's shrieks alarm’d the air,

“ Prelate ! a Monarch's fate brooks no delay; If she invoked her absent sire in vain,

Lead on!”—The ponderous key the old man took, And on her knees implored that I would spare, And held the winking lamp, and led the way,

Yet, reverend priest, thy sentence rash refrain !- By winding stair, dark aisle, and secret nook, All is not as it seems the female train

Then on an ancient gateway bent his look ; Know by their bearing to disguise their mood :”- And, as the key the desperate King essay'd, But Conscience here, as if in high disdain,

Low mutter'd thunders the Cathedral shook, Sent to the Monarch's cheek the burning blood- And twice he stopp'd, and twice new effort made, He stay'd his speech abrupt—and up the Prelate Till the huge bolts rollid back, and the loud hinges stood.


IX. “ O harden'd offspring of an iron race !

What of thy crimes, Don Roderick, shall I say? What alms, or prayers, or penance, can efface

Murder's dark spot, wash treason's stain away!
For the foul ravisher how shall I pray,

Who, scarce repentant, makes his crime his boast ?
How hope Almighty vengeance shall delay,
Unless in mercy to yon Christian host,
re the shepherd, lest the guiltless sheep be


Long, large, and lofty, was that vaulted hall;

Roof, walls, and floor, were all of marble stone,
Of polish'd marble, black as funeral pall,

Carved o'er with signs and characters unknown.
A paly light, as of the dawning, shone
Through the sad bounds, but whence they could

not spy;
For window to the upper air was none;

Yet, by that light, Don Roderick could descry
Wonders that ne'er till then were seen by mortal eye.

Then kindled the dark Tyrant in his mood,

And to his brow return'd its dauntless gloom;
“ And welcome then,” he cried, “ be blood for blood,

For treason treachery, for dishonour doom ! Yet will I know whence come they, or by whom.

Show, for thou canst-give forth the fated key,
Ånd guide me, Priest, to that mysterious room,

Where, if aught true in old tradition be,
His nation's future fates a Spanish King shall see.”-

Grim sentinels, against the upper wall,

Of molten bronze, two Statues held their place;
Massive their naked limbs, their stature tall,

Their frowning foreheads golden circles grace. Moulded they seem'd for kings of giant race,

That lived and sinn'd before the avenging flood; This grasp'da scythe, that rested on a mace; (stood,

This spread his wings for flight, that pondering Each stubborn seem'd and stern, immutable of mood.

“ Then Roderick knelt
Before the holy man, and strove to speak:
• Thou seest,' he cried, thou seest'-but memory
And suffocating thoughts represt the word,
And shudderings, like an ague fit, from head
To foot convulsed him: till at length, subduing
His nature to the effort, he exclaim'd,
Spreading his hands, and lifting up his face,
As if resolved in penitence to bear
A human eye upon his shame- Thou seest
Roderick the Goth! That name should have sufficed
To tell the whole abhorred history:
He not the less pursued,--the ravisher,
The cause of all this ruin !- Having said,
In the same posture motionless he knelt,
Arms straiten'd down, and bands outspread, and eyes

Raised to the Monk, like one who from his voice

Expected life or death."Mr. Southey, in a note to these lines, says, " The Vision of Don Roderick supplies a singular contrast to the picture which is represented in this passage. I have great pleasure in quoting the stanzas (v. and vi.); if the contrast had been intentional, it could not have been more complete."

1 The predecessor of Roderick upon the Spanish throne, and slain by his connivance, as is affirmed by Rodriguez of Toledo, the father of Spanish history. 2 MS.-" He spare to smite the shepherd, lest the sheep be

lost." 3 MS.—" And guide me, prelate, to that secret room." • See Appendix, Note F. 5 MS.-" Or pause the omen of thy fate to weigh!

Bethink, that brazen portal would afford."


XIX. Fix'd was the right-hand Giant's brazen look First shrill'd an unrepeated female shriek ! Upon his brother's glass of shifting sand,

It seemed as if Don Roderick knew the call, As if its ebb he measured by a book,

For the bold blood was blanching in his cheek.— Whose iron volume loaded his huge hand;

Then answer'd kettle-drum and atabal, In which was wrote of many a fallen land,

Gong-peal and cymbal-clank the ear appal, Of empires lost, and kings to exile driven:

The Tecbir war-cry, and the Lelie's yell, And o'er that pair their names in scroll expand- Ring wildly dissonant along the hall.

“ Lo, Destiny and Time! to whom by Heaven Needs not to Roderick their dread import tellThe guidance of the earth is for a season “ The Moor!” he cried, "the Moor!--ring out the

Tocsin bell !



XX. Even while they read, the sand-glass wastes away; “ They come ! they come ! I see the groaning landa

And, as the last and lagging grains did creep, White with the turbans of each Arab horde; That right-hand Giant ’gan his club? upsway, Swart Zaarah joins her misbelieving bands, As one that startles from a heavy sleep.

Alla and Mahomet their battle-word, Full on the upper wall the mace's sweep

The choice they yield, the Koran or the SwordAt once descended with the force of thunder, See how the Christians rush to arms amain ! And hurtling down at once, in crumbled heap, In yonder shout the voice of conflict roar’d,3 The marble boundary was rent asunder,

The shadowy hosts are closing on the plainAnd gave to Roderick's view new sights of fear and Now, God and Saint lago strike, for the good cause wonder.

of Spain !


XXI. For they might spy, beyond that mighty breach, “By Heaven, the Moors prevail! the Christians yield!

Realms as of Spain in vision'd prospect laid, Their coward leader gives for flight the sign! Castles and towers, in due proportion each,

The sceptred craven mounts to quit the fieldAs by some skilful artist's hand portray'd:

Is not yon steed Orelio ? Yes, 'tis mine ! Here, crossed by many a wild Sierra's shade, But never was she turn'd from battle-line:

And boundless plains that tire the traveller's eye ; Lo! where the recreant spurs o'erstock andstone! There, rich with vineyard and with olive glade, Curses pursue the slave, and wrath divine ! (tone,

Or deep-embrown’d by forests huge and high, Rivers ingulph him!”-“ Hush,” in shuddering Ur wash'd by mighty streams, that slowly mur- The Prelate said ;-“rash Prince, yon vision's form's mur'd by.

thine own."


XXII. And here, as erst upon the antique stage,

Just then, a torrent cross'd the flier's course; Pass'd forth the band of masquers trimly led, The dangerous ford the Kingly Likeness tried; In various forms, and various equipage,

But the deep eddies whelm'd both man and horse, While fitting strains the hearer's fancy fed; Swept like benighted peasant down the tide ;5 So, to sad Roderick's eye in order spread,

And the proud Moslemah spread far and wide, Successive pageants fill’d that mystic scene, As numerous as their native locust band; Showing the fate of battles ere they bled,

Berber and Ismael's sons the spoils divide, And issue of events that had not been;

With naked scimitars mete out the land, And, ever and anon, strange sounds were heard be- And for the bondsmen base the freeborn natives



I MS.—" Arm-mace-club."
2 See Appendix, Note G.
3 “Oh, who could tell what deeds were wrought that day:

Or who endure to hear the tale of rage,
Hatred, and madness, and despair, and fear,
Horror, and wounds, and agony, and death,
The cries, the blasphemies, the shrieks, and groans,
And prayers, which mingled in the din of arms,
In one wild uproar of terrific sounds."

SOUTHEY's Roderick, vol. ii. p. 171.
4 See Appendix, Note H.

U pon the banks Of Sella was Orelia found, his legs

And flanks incarnadined, his poitrel smear'd
With froth and foam and gore, his silver mane
Sprinkled with blood, which hung on every hair,
Aspersed like dew-drope ; trembling there he stood,
From the toil of battle, and at times sent forth
His tremulous voice, far-echoing, loud, and shrill,
A frequent, anxious cry, with which he seem'd
To call the master whom he loved so well,
And who had thus again forsaken him.
Siverian's helm and cuirass on the grass
Lay near; and Julian's sword, its hilt and chain
Clotted with blood; but where was he whose hand
Had wielded it so well that glorious day?"

SOUTHEY's Roderick.



XXVII. Then rose the grated Harem, to enclose

From the dim landscape roll the clouds awayThe loveliest maidens of the Christian line;

The Christians have regain’d their heritage; Then, menials, to their misbelieving foes,

Before the Cross has waned the Crescent's ray Castile's young nobles held forbidden wine;

And many a monastery decks the stage, Then, too, the holy Cross, salvation's sign,

And lofty church, and low-brow'd hermitage. By impious hands was from the altar thrown, The land obeys a Hermit and a Knight,And the deep aisles of the polluted shrine

The Genii those of Spain for many an age; Echo'd, for holy hymn and organ-tone,

This clad in sackcloth, that in armour bright, The Santon's frantic dance, the Fakir's gibbering And that was Valour named, this BIGOTRY was




XXVIII. How fares Don Roderick ?—E'en as one who spies VALOUR was harness'd like a Chief of old, Flames dart their glare o'er midnight's sable Arm’datall points, and prompt for knightly gest;woof,

His sword was temper'd in the Ebro cold, And hears around his children's piercing cries, Morena's eagle plume adorn'd his crest, And sees the pale assistants stand aloof;

The spoils of Afric's lion bound his breast. While cruel Conscience brings him bitter proof, Fierce he stepp'd forward and flung down his His folly or his crime have caused his grief;

gage; And while above him nods the crumbling roof, As if of mortal kind to brave the best.

He curses earth and Heaven-himself in chief- Him follow'd his Companion, dark and sage, Desperate of earthly aid, despairing Heaven's relief! As he, my Master, sung the dangerous Archimage.


XXIX. That scythe-arm'd Giant turn’d his fatal glass Haughty of heart and brow the Warrior came, And twilight on the landscape closed ber In look and language proud as proud might be, wings;

Vaunting his lordship, lineage, fights, and fame : Far to Asturian hills the war-sounds pass,

Yet was that barefoot monk more proud than And in their stead rebeck or timbrel rings;

he : And to the sound the bell-deck'd dancer springs, And as the ivy climbs the tallest tree,

Bazaars resound as when their marts are met, So round the loftiest soul his toils he wound, In tourney light the Moor his jerrid flings,

And with his spells subdued the fierce and free, And on the land as evening seem'd to set,

Till ermined Age and Youth in arms renown'd, The Imaum's chant was heard from mosque or mina- Honouring his scourge and hair-cloth, meekly kiss'd ret.

the ground.

So pass’d that pageant. Ere another came,

The visionary scene was wrapp'd in smoke,
Whose sulph'rous wreaths were crossd by sheets of

flame; With every flash a bolt explosive broke, Till Roderick deem'd the fiends had burst their yoke,

And waved 'gainst heaven the infernal gonfalone ! For War a new and dreadful language spoke,

Never by ancient warrior heard or known; Lightning and smoke her breath, and thunder.was

her tone.

And thus it chanced that Valour, peerless

Who ne'er to King or Kaiser veil'd his crest,
Victorious still in bull-feast or in fight,

Since first his limbs with mail he did invest,
Stoop'd ever to that Anchoret's behest ;

Nor reason'd of the right, nor of the wrong,
But at his bidding laid the lance in rest,
And wrought fell deeds the troubled world

For he was fierce as brave, and pitiless as strong.

1 " The manner in which the pageant disappears is very 3 “ These allegorical personages, which are thus described, beautiful."- Quarterly Revietc.

are sketched in the true spirit of Spenser ; but we are not sure

that wc altogether approve of the association of such imagi2 " We come now to the Second Period of the Vision; and nary beings with the real events that pass over the stage: and we cannot avoid noticing with much commendation the dex- these, as well as the form of ambition which precedes the terity and graceful case with which the first two scenes are path of Bonaparte, have somewhat the air of the immortals connected. Without abruptness, or tedious apology for tran of the Luxemburg gallery, whose naked limbs and tridents, sition, they melt into cach other with very harmonious effect; thunderbolts and caducei, are so singularly contrasted with and we strongly recommend this example of skill, perhaps, the ruffs and whiskers, the queens, archbishops, and cardi exhibited without any effort, to the imitation of contempo nals of France and Navarre."-Quarterly Review. rary poets. "-- Monthly Revicu.

* "Armed at all points, exactly cap-a-pee."-Hamlet.

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