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Some ancient sculptor's art has shown
I watch'd him through the doubtful fray,
XX. Not then by Wycliffe might be shown, How his pride startled at the tone In which his complice, fierce and free, Asserted guilt's equality. In smoothest terms his speech he wove, Of endless friendship, faith, and love; Promised and vow'd in courteous sort, But Bertram broke professions short. “ Wycliffe, be sure not here I stay, No, scarcely till the rising day; Warn’d by the legends of my youth, I trust not an associate's truth. Do not my native dales prolong Of Percy Rede the tragic song, Train'd forward to his bloody fall, By Girsonfield, that treacherous Hall ?? Oft, by the Pringle's haunted side, The shepherd sees his spectre glide. And near the spot that gave me name, The moated mound of Risingham, Where Reed upon her margin sees Sweet Woodburne's cottages and trees,
XXI. “ When last we reason'd of this deed, Nought, I bethink me, was agreed, Or by what rule, or when, or wbere, The wealth of Mortham we should share; Then list, while I the portion name, Our differing laws give each to claim. Thou, vassal sworn to England's throne, Her rules of heritage must own; They deal thee, as to nearest heir, Thy kinsman's lands and livings fair, And these I yield :-do thou revere The statutes of the Bucanier.11 Friend to the sea, and foeman sworn To all that on her waves are borne, When falls a mate in battle broil, His comrade heirs his portion'd spoil ; When dies in fight a daring foe, He claims his wealth who struck the blow; And either rule to me assigns Those spoils of Indian seas and mines, Hoarded in Mortham's caverns dark; Ingot of gold and diamond spark, Chalice and plate from churches borne, And gems from shrieking beauty torn, Each string of pearl, each silver bar, And all the wealth of western war. I go to search, where, dark and deep, Those Trans-atlantic treasures sleep. Thou must along—for, lacking thee, The heir will scarce find entrance free; And then farewell. I haste to try Each varied pleasure wealth can buy; When cloyed each wish, these wars afford Fresh work for Bertram's restless sword.”
XXII. An undecided answer hung On Oswald's hesitating tongue.
1 MS.-" That changed as with a whirlwind's sway."
BYRON'S Works, vol. x. p. 275. 8 MS.-" Hot Rupert on the spur pursues;
Whole troops of fliers choked the Ouse." 4 See Appendix, Note F.
See Appendix, Note G.
6 MS.-" Taught by the legends of my youth
To trust to no associate's truth." ? See Appendix, Note H. 8 MS.-" Still by the spot that gave me name,
The moated camp of Risingham,
Half hid by rifted rocks and trees." 9 See Appendix, Note I. 10 MS.-" With bow in hand," &c. 11 See Appendix, Note K.
Despite his craft, he heard with awe
Hour after hour he loved to pore This ruffian stabber fix the law;
On Shakspeare's rich and varied lore, While his own troubled passions veer
But turn'd from martial scenes and light, Through hatred, joy, regret, and fear:
From Falstaff's feast and Percy's fight, Joy'd at the soul that Bertram flies,
To ponder Jaques' moral strain, He grudged the murderer's mighty prize,
And muse with Hamlet, wise in vain; Hated his pride's presumptuous tone,
And weep himself to soft repose
O'er gentle Desdemona's woes.
XXV. “ His charge,” he said, “would ill allow
In youth he sought not pleasures found His absence from the fortress now;
By youth in horse, and hawk, and hound, WILFRID on Bertram should attend,
But loved the quiet joys that wake His son should journey with his friend."
By lonely stream and silent lake;
In Deepdale's solitude to lie,
Where all is cliff and copse and sky;
To climb Catcastle's dizzy peak, And wreathed to savage smile his frown.
Or lone Pendragon's mound to seek.” “ Wilfrid, or thou—'tis one to me,
Such was his wont; and there his dream Whichever bears the golden key.
Soar'd on some wild fantastic theme, Yet think not but I mark, and smile
Of faithful love, or ceaseless spring, To mark, thy poor and selfish wile !
Till Contemplation's wearied wing If injury from me you fear,
The enthusiast could no more sustain,
And sad he sunk to earth again.
He loved—as many a lay can tell, Could rouse the distant sentinel?
Preserved in Stanmore's lonely dell; Start not-it is not my design,
For his was minstrel's skill, he caught But, if it were, weak fence were thine;
The art unteachable, untaught; And, trust me, that, in time of need,
He loved-his soul did nature frame This hand hath done more desperate deed.
For love, and fancy nursed the flame; Go, haste and rouse thy slumbering son;
Vainly he loved—for seldom swain Time calls, and I must needs be gone.
Of such soft mould is loved again;
Silent he loved-in every gaze
Was passion,3 friendship in his phrase.
So mused his life away—till died Polluted Wilfrid's gentle heart;
His brethren all, their father's pride. A heart too soft from early life
Wilfrid is now the only heir To hold with fortune needful strife.
Of all his stratagems and care, His sire, while yet a hardier race?
And destined, darkling, to pursue
Ambition's maze by Oswald's clue.
Wilfrid must love and woos the bright Were centred in her sickly boy.
Matilda, heir of Rokeby's knight. No touch of childhood's frolic mood
To love her was an easy hest, Show'd the elastic spring of blood;
The secret empress of his breast; 1 MS. " while yet around him stood
such over-strained, and even morbid sensibility, as are porA numerous race of hardier mood."
trayed in the character of Edwin, existing in so rude a state of
society as that which Beattie has represented, --but these g “And oft the craggy cliff he loved to climb, When all in mist the world below was lost,
qualities, even when found in the most advanced and polished What dreadful pleasure! there to stand sublime,
stages of life, are rarely, very rarely, united with a robust and Like shipwreck'd mariner on desert coast."
healthy frame of body. In both these particulars, the chaBEATTIE'S Minstrel.
racter of Wilfrid is exempt from the objections to which we
think that of the Minstrel liable. At the period of the Civil 8 MS.-"Was love, but friendship in his phrase."
Wars, in the higher orders of Society, intellectual refinement 4 “ The prototype of Wilfrid may perhaps be found in had advanced to a degree sufficient to give probability to its Beattie's Edwin; but in some essential respects it is made existence. The remainder of our argument will be best exmore true to nature than that which probably served for its plained by the beautiful lines of the poet," (stanzas xxv. and original. The possibility may perhaps be questioned, its great xxvi. ) --- Critical Review. improbability is unquestionable,) of such excessive refinement, 6 MS.--" And first must Wilfrid woo," &c.
To woo her was a harder task
XXVIII. So did the suit of Wilfrid stand, When war's loud summons waked the land. Three banners, floating o'er the Tees, The wo-forboding peasant sees ; In concert oft they braved of old The bordering Scot's incursion bold; Frowning defiance in their pride, Their vassals now and lords divide. From his fair hall on Greta banks, The Knight of Rokeby led his ranks, To aid the valiant northern Earls, Who drew the sword for royal Charles. Mortham, by marriage near allied,-His sister had been Rokeby's bride, Though long before the civil fray, In peaceful grave the lady lay,– Philip of Mortham raised his band, And march'd at Fairfax's command; While Wycliffe, bound by many a train Of kindred art with wily Vane, Less prompt to brave the bloody field, Made Barnard's battlements his shield, Secured them with his Lunedale powers, And for the Commons held the towers.
But Wilfrid, son to Rokeby's foo,
XXX. Thus wore his life, though reason strove For mastery in vain with love, Forcing upon his thoughts the sum Of present woe and ills to come, While still he turn’d impatient ear From Truth's intrusive voice severe. Gentle, indifferent, and subdued, In all but this, unmoved he view'd Each outward change of ill and good : But Wilfrid, docile, soft, and mild, Was Fancy's spoild and wayward child; In her bright: car she bade him ride, With one fair form to grace his side, Or, in some wild and lone retreat, 10 Flung her high spells around his seat,
XXIX. The lovely heir of Rokeby's Knights Waits in his halls the event of fight; For England's war revered the claim Of every unprotected name, And spared, amid its fiercest rage, Childhood and womanhood and age.
I MS.-" The fuel fond her favour threw." 2 MS.-"Now frowning dark on different side,
Their vassals and their lords divide." 3 MS.--"Dame Alice and Matilda bright,
Daughter and wife of Rokeby's Knight,
Wait in his halls," &c.
And Rokeby and his son were foes,
Of kindred friendship and the muse." 6 MS.—" A ping, with fond hypocrisy,
The careless step," &c. 6 The MS. has not this couplet.
Bathed in her dews his languid head,
XXXII. Her fairy mantle o'er him spread,
More wouldst thou know-yon tower survey, For him her opiates gave to flow,
Yon couch unpress'd since parting day, Which he who tastes can ne'er forego,
Yon untrimm'd lamp, whose yellow gleam And placed him in her circle, free
Is mingling with the cold moonbeam, From every stern reality,
And yon thin form !--the hectic red Till, to the Visionary, seem
On his pale cheek unequal spread ;3 Her day-dreams truth, and truth a dream.
The head reclined, the loosen'd hair,
The limbs relax'd, the mournful air.-
See, he looks up ;-a woful smile
Lightens his wo-worn cheek a while,Winning from Reason's hand the reins,
'Tis fancy wakes some idle thought, Pity and woe! for such a mind
To gild the ruin she has wrought; Is soft, contemplative, and kind;
For, like the bat of Indian brakes, And woe to those who train such youth,
lier pinions fan the wound she makes, And spare to press the rights of truth,
And soothing thus the dreamer's pain, The mind to strengthen and anneal,
She drinks his life-blood from the vein.“ While on the stithy glows the steel!
Now to the lattice turn his eyes, O teach him, while your lessons last,
Vain hope! to see the sun arise. To judge the present by the past;
The moon with clouds is still o'ercast, Remind him of each wish pursued,
Still howls by fits the stormy blast; How rich it glow'd with promised good;
Another hour must wear away, Remind him of each wish enjoy'd,
Ere the East kindle into day, How soon his hopes possession cloy'd !
And hark! to waste that weary hour,
He tries the minstrel's magic power.
TO THE Moox.5 One disenchants the winner's eyes,
Hail to thy cold and clouded beam, And strips of all its worth the prize.
Pale pilgrim of the troubled sky! While one augments its gaudy show,
Hail, though the mists that o'er thee stream More to enhance the loser's woe.
Lend to thy brow their sullen dye !6 The victor sees his fairy gold,
How should thy pure and peaceful eye Transform’d, when won, to drossy mold,
Untroubled view our scenes below, But still the vanquish'd mourns his loss,
Or how a tearless beam supply And rues, as gold, that glittering dross.
To light a world of war and woe!
Fair Queen! I will not blame thee now,
As once by Greta's fairy side;
Did then an angel's beauty hide.
Still are the thoughts to memory dear, For, while a softer strain I tried,
They hid my blush, and calm’d my fear.
The moon was cloudless now and clear,
Then did I swear thy ray serene
Was form’d to light some lonely dell, By two fond lovers only seen,
Reflected from the crystal well, Or sleeping on their mossy cell,
Or quivering on the lattice bright, Or glancing on their couch, to tell
How swiftly wanes the summer night!
1 MS." Here's Risingham brings tidings sure,
“We cannot close the first Canto without bestowing the Mortham has fall'n on Marston-moor;
highest praise on it. The whole design of the picture is exAnd he hath warrant to secure," &c.
cellent; and the contrast presented to the gloomy and fearful
opening by the calm and innocent conclusion, is masterly. 2 MS.--"Sce that they give his warrant way."
Never were two characters more clearly and forcibly set in 3 With the MS. of stanzas xxviii. to xxxiv. Scott thus ad opposition than those of Bertram and Wilfrid. Oswald comdresses his printer:-“ I send you the whole of the canto. 1pletes the group; and, for the moral purposes of the painter, wish Erskine and you would look it over together, and con- is perhaps superior to the others. He is admirably designed sider whether, upon the whole matter, it is likely to make an impression. If it does really come to good, I think there are
- That middle course to stcer no limits to the interest of that style of composition; for the
To cowardice and craft so dear.'" variety of life and character are boundless.
Donthly Rriero. " I don't know whether to givo Matilda a mother or not. 4 See Appendix, Note L. Decency requires she could have one; but she is as likely to be in my way as the gudeman's mother, according to the pro 6 MS.--" Betwixt the gate and Baliol's tower." verb, is always in that of the gudewife. Yours truly, W. S."Abbotsford, (Oct. 1812.)
6 MS.-" Those deep-hewn banks of living stone."