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The fragment which their giant foe
Redoubling echoes rollid about, While echoing cave and cliff sent out
The answering symphony Of all those mimic notes which dwell In hollow rock and sounding dell.
XIII. Joy shook his torch above the band, By many a various passion fann'd; As elemental sparks can feed On essence pure and coarsest weed, Gentle, or stormy, or refined, Joy takes the colours of the mind. Lightsome and pure, but unrepress’d, He fired the bridegroom's gallant breast; More feebly strove with maiden fear, Yet still joy glimmer'd through the tear On the bride's blushing cheek, that shows Like dewdrop on the budding rose; While Wulfstane's gloomy smile declared The glee that selfish avarice shared, And pleased revenge and malice high Joy's semblance took in Jutta's eye. On dangerous adventure sped, The witch deem'd Harold with the deal, For thus that morn her Demon said :“ If, ere the set of sun, be tied The knot 'twixt bridegroom and his bride, The Dane shall have no power of ill O'er William and o’er Metelill.” And the pleased witch made answer, Must Harold have pass'd from the paths of men ! Evil repose may his spirit have,May hemlock and mandrake find root in his
grave,-May his death-sleep be dogged by dreams of dis
may, And his waking be worse at the answering day.”
XV. Backward they bore;-yet are there two
For battle who prepare:
Ere his good blade was bare;
That ruin through the air!
Is to its reckoning gone;
Save that beneath that stone,
Of mingled flesh and bone!
The eagle darts amain,
Placed Harold on the plain.
So fled the bridal train;
But dares the fight in vain,
Its lord lies on the plain. Now, Heaven! take noble William's part, And melt that yet unmelted heart, Or, ere his bridal hour depart,
The hapless bridegroom 's slain!
XIV. Such was their various mood of glee Blent in one shout of ecstasy. But still when Joy is brimming highest, Of Sorrow and Misfortune nighest, Of terror with her ague cheek, And lurking Danger, sages speak: --These haunt each path, but chief they loy Their snares beside the primrose way.-Thus found that bridal band their path Beset by Harold in his wrath. Trembling beneath his maddening mood, High on a rock the giant stood; His shout was like the doom of death Spoke o'er their heads that pass'd beneath, His destined victims might not spy The reddening terrors of his eye,The frown of rage that writhed his face,The lip that foam'd like boar's in chase ;But all could see-and, seeing, all Bore back to shun the threaten'd fall
XVII. Count Harold's frenzied rage is high, There is a death-fire in his eye, Deep furrows on his brow are trench d, His teeth are set, his hand is clench'u, The foam upon his lip is white, His deadly arm is up to smite ! But, as the mace aloft he
swung, To stop the blow young Gunnar sprung, Around his master's knees he clung,
And cried, “ In mercy spare!
Grant inercy,,or despair!”
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.
He sign'd the cross divine-
He turns and strides away;
He granted to his prey.
I. 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 green, 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 loves_ Then Walwayn's potion was not wasted, For when three drops the hag had tasted,
So dismal was her yell,
And flutter'd down the dell!
Of forest and of fell,
And yet grave authors, with the no small waste
Refer still to the origin of evil,
II. Therefore, I 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 lattlements of other days With the bright level light ere sinking down.Humibed 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,
Surmounted by a cross-such signs were borne Upon these antique shields, all wasted now and worn.
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, p. 449, ante.
More strong than armed warders in array,
For whom the bride's shy footstep, slow and light, And obstacle more sure than bolt or bar,
Was changed ere morning to the murderer's tread. Sate in the portal Terror and Dismay,
For human bliss and woe in the frail thread W’hile Superstition, who forbade to war
Of human life are all so closely twined, With foes of other mould than mortal clay,
That till the shears of Fate the texture shred, Cast spells across the gate, and barr’d the onward The close succession cannot be disjoin'd, way.
Nor dare we, from one hour, judge that which comes
behind. Vain now those spells; for soon with heavy clank The feebly-fasten'd gate was inward push'd,
VI. And, as it oped, through that emblazon'd rank But where the work of vengeance had been done, Of antique shields, the wind of evening rush'd In that seventh chamber, was a sterner sight; With sound most like a groan, and then was hush’d. There of the witch-brides lay each skeleton, Is none who on such spot such sounds could hear Still in the posture as to death when dight. But to his heart the blood had faster rush'd;
For this lay prone, by one blow slain outright; Yet bold Harold's breast that throb was dear And that, as one who struggled long in dying; It spoke of danger nigh, but had no touch of fear. One bony hand held knife, as if to smite;
One bent on fleshless knees, as mercy crying; IV.
One lay across the door, as kill'd in act of flying." Yet Harold and his Page no signs have traced Within the castle, that of danger show'd;
The stern Dane smiled this charnel-house to For still the halls and courts were wild and waste,
see, As through their precincts the adventurers trode. For his chafed thought return'd to Metelill ;The seven huge towers rose stately, tall, and broad, And“ Well,” he said, “ hath woman's perfidy, Each tower presenting to their scrutiny
Empty as air, as water volatile, A hall in which a king might make abode,
Been here avenged-The origin of ill And fast beside, garnish d both proud and high, Through woman rose, the Christian doctrine Was placed a bower for rest in which a king might lie. saith:
Nor deem I, Gunnar, that thy ininstrel skill As if a bridal there of late had been,
Can show example where a woman's breath Deck'd stood the table in each gorgeous hall; Hath made a true-love vow, and, tempted, kept her And yet it was two hundred years, I ween,
faith.” Since date of iliat unhallow'd festival. Flagons, and ewers, and standing cups, were all
VII. Of tarnish'd gold, or silver nothing clear,
The minstrel-boy half smiled, half sigh’d,
And his half-filling eyes he dried,
(Our Scalds have said, in dying hour
The Northern harp has treble power,)
Defying danger, scorn, and death.
1,--as diamond stone The wasted relics of a monarch dead;
Pure and unflaw'd,--her love unknown, Barbaric ornaments around were spread,
And unrequited ;-firm and pure, Vests twined with gold, and chains of precious Her stainless faith could all endure; stone,
From clime to clime,-from place to place -And golden circlets, meet for monarch's head; Through want, and danger, and disgrace,
While grinn’d, as if in scorn amongst them thrown, A wanderer's wayward steps could trace.--
Required, save that her burial-stone
Thus hath a faithful woman done.'
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. not 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 Relons, and has too little regarded propriety in the minor cir- vicw. cumstances: thus Harold is clad in a kind of armour not worn
Not in each breast such truth is laid,
Sable their harness, and there came But Eivir was a Danish maid.”
Through their clused visors sparks of Hame.
The first proclaim 'd, in sounds of fear,
Harold the Dauntless, welcome here!' “ Thou art a wild enthusiast," said
The next cried, 'Jubilee! we've won Count Harold, “ for thy Danish maid;
Count Witikind the Waster's son!' And yet, young Gunnar, I will own
And the third rider sternly spoke, Hers were a faith to rest upon.
Mount, in the name of Zernebock!-But Eivir sleeps beneath her stone,
From us, o llarold, were thy powers,And all resembling her are gone.
Thy strength, thy dauntlessness, are ours; What maid e'er show'd such constancy
Nor think, a vassal thou of hell, In plighted faith, like thine to me?
With hell can strive.' The fiend spoke true! But couch thee, boy; the darksome shade
My inmost soul the summons knew, Falls thickly round, nor be dismay'd
As captives know the knell Because the dead are by.
That says the headsman's sword is bare, They were as we; our little day
And, with an accent of despair, O’erspent, and we shall be as they.
Commands them quit their cell. Yet near me, Gunnar, be thou laid,
I felt resistance was in vain, Thy couch upon my mantle made,
My foot had that fell stirrup ta'en, That thou mayst think, should fear invade,
My hand was on the fatal mane, Thy master slumbers nigh.”
When to my rescue sped Thus couch'd they in that dread abode,
That Palmer's visionary form, Until the beams of dawning glow'd.
And—like the passing of a storm-
The demons yell’d and fled !
“ His sable cowl, fiung back, reveai d There's trouble in his eyes,
The features it before conceal'd; And traces on his brow and cheek
And, Gunnar, I could find Of mingled awe and wonder speak:
In him whose counsels strove to stay * My page,” he said, “ arise ;
So oft my course on wilful way, Leave we this place, my page.”-No more
My father Witikind! He utter'd till the castle door
Doom'd for his sins, and doom'd for mine, They cross d—but there he paused and said,
A wanderer upon earth to pine “ My wildness hath awaked the dead -
Until his son shall turn to grace, Disturb’d the sacred tomb!
And smooth for him a resting-place.Methought this night I stood on high,
Gunnar, he must not haunt in vain Where Hecla roars in middle sky,
This world of wretchedness and pain: And in her cavern'd gulfs could spy
I'll tame my wilful heart to live The central place of doom ;
In peace-to pity and forgiveAnd there before my mortal eye
And thou, for so the Vision said, Souls of the dead came fitting by,
Must in thy Lord's repentance aid. Whom fiends, with many a fiendish cry,
Thy mother was a prophetess, Bore to that evil den!
He said, who by her skill could guess My eyes grew dizzy, and my brain
How close the fatal textures join Was wilderd, as the elvish train,
Which knit thy thread of life with mine; With shriek and howl, dragg’d on amain
Then, dark, he hinted of disguise Those who had late been men.
She framed to cheat too curious eyes,
That not a moment might divide
Thy fated footsteps from my side. “ With haggard eyes and streaming hair,
Methought while thus my sire did teach, Jutta the Sorceress was there,
I caught the meaning of his speech, And there pass’d Wulfstane, lately slain,
Yet seems its purport doubtful now.” All crush'd and foul with bloody stain.
His hand then sought his thoughtful brow More had I seen, but that uprose
Then first he mark'd, that in the tower
His glove was left at waking hour.
Trembling at first, and deadly pale, Caparison’d a sable steed.
Had Gunnar heard the vision'd tale;
But when he learn d the dubious close,
Nor glove, nor buckler, splent, nor nail, He blush'd like any opening rose,
Shall rest with thee—that youth release, And, glad to hide his tell-tale cheek,
And God, or Demon, part in peace."'Hied back that glove of mail to seek ;
“ Eivir," the Shape replied, " is mine, When soon a shriek of deadly dread
Mark'd in the birth-hour with my siyn. Summond his master to his aid.
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 llarold's The semblance of the Evil Power,
brain, Adored by all his race!
He clench'd his teeth in high disdain, Odin in living form stood there,
For not his new-born faith subdued His cloak the spoils of Polar bear;
Some tokens of his ancient mood.For plumy crest a meteor shed
“ Now, by the hope so lately given Its gloomy radiance o'er his head,
Of better trust and purer heaven, Yet veil'd its haggard majesty
I will assail thee, fiend !"?— Then rose To the wild lightnings of his eye.
His mace, and with a storm of blows
The mortal and the Denion close.
Smoke roll'd above, fire flash'd around, So did bis sevenfold buckler shine ;-
Darken'd the sky and shook the ground; But when his voice he rear'd,
But not the artillery of hell, Deep, without harshness, slow and strong,
The bickering lightning, nor the rock The powerful accents roll'd along,
Of turrets to the earthquake's shock, And, while he spoke, his han
Could Harold's courage quell. On captive Gunnar's shrinking head.
Sternly the Dane his purpose hept,
And blows on blows resistless heap'd,
Till quail'd that Demon Form, “ Harold,” he said, “what rage is thine,
And-for his power to hurt or kill To quit the worship of thy line,
Was bounded by a higher willTo leave thy Warrior-God?
Evanish'd in the storm. With me is glory or disgrace,
Nor paused the Champion of the North, Mine is the onset and the chase,
But raised, and bore his Eivir forth, Embattled hosts before my face
From that wild scene of fiendish strife,
To light, to liberty, and life!
He placed her on a bank of moss, Eric and fiery Thorarine ?
A silver runnel bubbled by, Thou wilt not. Only I can give
And new-born thoughts his soul engross, The joys for which the valiant live,
And tremors yet unknown across Victory and vengeance-only I
His stubborn sinews fly, Can give the joys for which they die,
The while with timid hand the dew The immortal tilt—the banquet full,
Upon her brow and neck he threw, The brimming draught from foeman's skull.
And mark'd how life with rosy hue Mine art thou, witness this thy glove,
On her pale cheek revived anew, The faithful pledge of vassal's love.”—
And glimmerd in her eye.
Inly he said, " That silken tress,-
What blindness mine that could not guess! “ Tempter,” said Harold, firm of heart,
Or how could page's rugged dress “I charge thee, hence! whate'er thou art,
That boson's pride belie? I do defy thee--and resist
0, dull of heart, through wild and wave The kindling frenzy of iny breast,
In search of blood and death to rave, Waked by thy words; and of my mail,
With such a partner nigh!”?
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 catastropherold's page into a female,"-all which he calls “ specimens of of 'The Black Dwarf,' the recognition of Mortham's lost son unsuccessful contrivance, at a great expense of probability."