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Placed by a couch of Agra’s silken loom,
XXII. And part by moonshine pale, and part was hid in And much of wild and wonderful gloom.
In these rude isles might fancy cull ;
For thither came, in times afar,
Stern Lochlin's sons of roving war,
The Norsemen, train’d to spoil and blood,
Pale her dear cheek, as if for love she pined; Their barks the dragons of the wave.3
And there, in many a stormy vale, And, pensive, read from tablet eburnine,
The Scald had told his wondrous tale ;
That farour'd strain was Surrey's raptured line, Had witness'd grim idolatry.
Learn'd many a Saga's rhyme uncouth,-
Of that Sea-Snake, tremendous curid,
Whose monstrous circle girds the world;* And swept the goodly vision all away,
Of those dread Maids, whose hideous yell So royal envy roll'd the murky storm
Maddens the battle's bloody swell ;
Of Chiefs, who, guided through the gloom
Ransack'd the graves of warriors old,
Their falchions wrench'd from corpses' hold, The gory bridal bed, the plunder'd shrine, Waked the deaf tomb with war's alarms, The murder'd Surrey's blood, the tears of Geral- And bade the dead arise to arms ! dine !
With war and wonder all on flame,
To Roslin's bowers young Harold came,
Where, by sweet glen and greenwood tree,
He learn’d a milder minstrelsy; Applauses of Fitztraver's song ;
Yet something of the Northern spell
Mix'd with the softer numbers well.
HAROLD.7 St. Clair, who, feasting high at Home,
O listen, listen, ladies gay! Had with that lord to battle come.
No haughty feat of arms I tell ; Harold was born where restless seas
Soft is the note, and sad the lay,
That mourns the lovely Rosabelle.8
_" Moor, moor the barge, ye gallant crew! Still nods their palace to its fall,
And, gentle ladye, deign to stay ! Thy pride and sorrow, fair Kirkwall !— 9
Rest thee in Castle Ravensheuch,
Nor tempt the stormy firth to-day.
“ The blackening wave is edged with white : And throbbing heart, the struggling sail ;
To inchio and rock the sea-mews fly; For all of wonderful and wild
The fishers have heard the Water-Sprite, Had rapture for the lonely child.
Whose screams forbode that wreck is nigh.
of the ocean.
| See Appendix, Note 4 G. 9 lbid. Note 4 H. strel's residence in the south. We prefer it, upon the whole,
to either of the two former, and shall give it entire to our 3 The chiefs of the l'akingr, or Scandinavian pirates, assumed the title of Sækonungr, or Sea-kings. Ships, in the readers, who will probably be struck with the poetical effect
of the dramatic form into which it is thrown, and of the ininflated language of the Scalds, are often termed the serpents direct description by which every thing is most expressively
told, without one word of distinct narrative."-JEFFREY. • See Appendix, Note 4 1. 5 Ibid. Note 4 K.
8 “This was a family name in the house of St. Clair. Henry * See Appendix, Note 4 L.
St. Clair, the second of the line, married Rosabelle, fourth
daughter of the Earl of Stratherne. 7 "The third song is intended to represent that wild style of composition which prevailed among the bards of the North
9 See Appendix, Note 4 M. eru Continent, somewhat softened and adorned by the Min- 10 Inch, isle.
“ Last night the gifted Seer did view
A wet shroud swathed' round ladye gay; Then stay thee, Fair, in Ravensheuch :
Why cross the gloomy firth to-day!"-
And each St. Clair was buried there,
With candle, with book, and with knell;
The dirge of lovely Rosabelle.
“ "Tis not because Lord Lindesay's heir
To-night at Roslin leads the ball, But that my ladye-mother there
Sits lonely in her castle-hall.
“ Tis not because the ring they ride,
And Lindesay at the ring rides well, But that my sire the wine will chide,
If 'tis not fill’d by Rosabelle.”
Scarce mark'd the guests the darken'd hall,
A wondrous shade involved them all:
Of no eclipse had sages told;
Could scarce his own stretch'd hand behold.
O'er Roslin all that dreary night,
A wondrous blaze was seen to gleam; 'Twas broader than the watch-fire's light,
And redder than the bright moon-beam.
It glared on Roslin's castled rock,
It ruddied? all the copse-wood glen; 'Twas seen from Dryden's groves of oak,
And seen from cavernd Hawthornden.
Seem'd all on fire that chapel proud,
Where Roslin's chiefs uncoffin'd lie, Each Baron, for a sable shroud,
Sheathed in his iron panoply.
Seem'd all on fire within, around,
Deep sacristy3 and altar's pale; Shone every pillar foliage-bound,
And glimmer d all the dead men's mail.
A flash of lightning came;
The castle seemd on flame.
It broke, with thunder long and loud,
From sea to sea the larum rung;
To arms the startled warders sprung.
Blazed battlement and pinnet high,
Blazed every rose-carved buttress fairSo still they blaze, when fate is nigh
The lordly line of high St. Clair.
There are twenty of Roslin's barons bold
Lie buried within that proud chapelle; Each one the holy vault doth hold
But the sea holds lovely Rosabelle!
1 First Edit. “A wet shroud rolld."
lorers, when the interest, if any, was at an end. But what 9 First Edit. “It reddened," &c.
could I do? I had my book and my page still on my hands,
and must get rid of them at all events, Manage them as I 3 First Edit. “Both vaulted crypt," &c.
would, their catastrophe must have been insufficient to occupy 4 See Appendix, Note 4 N.
an entire canto; so I was fain to eke it out with the songs of 5 First Edil. " But the kelpie rung and the mermaids sung.
the minstrels."-Scott to Miss Seward-Life, vol. ii. pp. 218,
222. 8 “I observe a great poetic climar, designed, doubtless, in the two last of these songs, from the first."-ANNA SEWARD. 7 "The Goblin Page is, in our opinion, the capital defor
“We (G. Ellis and J. H. Frere) entertain some doubts about mity of the poem. We have already said the whole machinthe propriety of dwelling so long on the minstrel songs in the ery is nseless; but the magic studies of the lady, and the last canto. I say we doubt, because we are not aware of your rifled tomb of Michael Scott, give occasion to so much adhaving ancient authority for such a practice ; but though the mirable poetry, that we can, on no account, consent to part attempt was a bold one, inasmuch as it is not usual to add a with them. The page, on the other hand, is a perpetual burwhole canto to a story which is already finişhed, we are far den to the poet and to the readers; it is an undignified and from wishing that you had left it unattempted."-Elis to improbable fiction, which excites neither terror, admiration, Scott. “The sixth canto is altogether redundant; for the nor astonishment, but needlessly debases the strain of the poem should certainly have closed with the union of the whole work, and excites at once our incredulity and con•
And monks should sing, and bells should toll,
Just where the page had flung him down,
And some the waving of a gown.
For he was speechless, ghastly, wan,
Who spoke the spectre-hound in Man.'
That he had seen, right certainly,
Like pilgrim from beyond the sea; And knew-but how it matter'd notIt was the wizard, Michael Scott.
Of penitence and prayer divine,
Sought Melrose' holy shrine.
And he a solemn sacred plight
Of Michael's restless sprite.
Did every pilgrim go ;
Through all the lengthen'd row :
Forgotten their renown ;
And there they knelt them down :
In long procession came ;
tempt. He is not a 'tricksy spirit,' like Ariel, with whom scenes of which he is the hero; and in reading these passages the imagination is irresistibly enamoured, nor a tiny, monarch, we really could not help suspecting that they did not stand like Oberon, disposing of the destinies of mortals; he rather in the romance when the aged minstrel recited it to the royal appears to us to be an awkward sort of a mongrel between Charles and his mighty earls, but were inserted afterwards to Puck and Caliban, of a servile and brutal nature, and limited suit the taste of the cottagers among whom he begged his in his powers to the indulgence of petty malignity, and the in- bread on the border. We entreat Mr. Scott to enquire into fliction of despicable injuries. Besides this objection to his the grounds of this suspicion, and to take advantage of any character, his existence has no support from any general or decent pretext he can lay hold of for purging the · Lay' of established superstition. Fairies and devils, ghosts, angels, this ungraceful intruder.3 We would also move for a quo and witches, are creatures with whom we are all familiar, warranto against the Spirits of the River and the Mountain ; and who excite in all classes of mankind emotions with which for though they are come of a very high linenge, we do not we can easily be made to sympathize. But the history of know what lawful business they could have at Branksome Gilpin Horner was never believed out of the village where he Castle in the year 1550."-Jeffrey. is said to have made his appearance, and has no claims upon I See Appendix, Note 4 0. the credulity of those who were not originally of his acquain- ? Ibid. Note 4 P. tance. There is nothing at all interesting or elegant in the
3 See the Author's Introduction to the 'Lay,' p.