Imágenes de páginas

The grave-stones, rudely sculptured o'er, Half sunk in earth, by time half

wore, Were all the pavement of the floor; The mildew-drops fell one by one, With tinkling plash, upon the stone. A cresset,' in an iron chain, Which served to light this drear domain, With damp and darkness seem'd to strive, As if it scarce might keep alive; And yet it dimly served to show The awful conclave met below.

Yet one alone deserves our care.
Her sex a page's dress belied;
The cloak and doublet, loosely tied,
Obscured her charıns, but could not hide.

down o'er her face she drew;
And, on her doublet breast,
She tried to hide the badge of blue,

Lord Marmion's falcon crest.
But, at the Prioress' command,
A Monk undid the silken band,

That tied her tresses fair,
And raised the bonnet from her head,
And down her slender form they spread,

In ringlets rich and rare. Constance de Beverley they know, Sister profess'd of Fontevraud, Whom the church number'd with the

dead, For broken vows, and convent fled.

There, met to doom in secrecy,
Were placed the heads of convents three:
All servants of Saint Benedict,
The statutes of whose order strict

On iron table lay;3
In long black dress, on seats of stone,
Behind were these three judges shown

By the pale cresset's ray:
The Abbess of Saint Hilda's, there,
Sat for a space with visage bare,
Until, to hide her bosom's swell,
And tear-drops that for pity fell,

She closely drew her veil:
Yon shrouded figure, as I guess,
By her proud mien and flowing dress,
Is Tynemouth’s haughty Prioress,*

And she with awe looks pale:
And he, that Ancient Man, whose sight
Has long been quench'd by age's night,
Upon whose wrinkled brow alone,
Nor ruth, nor mercy's trace, is shown,

Whose look is hard and stern, Saint Cuthbert's Abbot is his style; For sanctity call’d, through the isle,

The Saint of Lindisfarne.

XXI. When thus her face was given to view, (Although so pallid was her hue, It did a ghastly contrast bear To those bright ringlets glistering fair,) Her look composed, and steady eye, Bespoke a matchless constancy; And there she stood so calm and pale, That, but her breathing did not fail, And motion slight of eye and head, And of her bosom, warranted That neither sense nor pulse she lacks, You might have thought a form of wax, Wrought to the very life, was there; So still she was, so pale, so fair.5

XXII. Her comrade was a sordid soul,

Such as does murder for a meed; Who, but of fear, knows no control, Because his conscience, sear’d and foul,

Feels not the import of his deed;

XX. Before them stood a guilty pair; But, though an equal fate they share,

| Antique chandelier.
? MS.—" Suspended by an iron chain,

A cresset show'd this drear domain."
8 MS.-" On stony table lay."
• See Appendix, Note 2 L.

8 “ The picture of Constance before her judges, though more laboured than that of the voyage of the Lady Abbess, is not, to our taste, so pleasing; though it has beauty of a kind fally as popular."-Jeffrey.

“ I sent for · Marmion,' because it occurred to me there might be a resemblance between part of Parisina,' and a similar scene in the second canto of Marmion.' I fear there is, though I never thought of it before, and could hardly wish to imitate that which is inimitable. I wish you would ask Mr. Gifford whether I ought to say any thing upon it. I had completed the story on the passage from Gibbon, which indeed leads to a like scene naturally, without a thought of the kind ; but it comes upon me not very comfortably."- Lord Byron to ar. Murray, Feb. 3, 1816.-Compare :

... Parisina's fatal charms
Again attracted every eye-
Would she thus hear him doom'd to die !
She stood, I said, all pale and still,
The living cause of Hugo's ill;
Her eyes unmoved, but full and wide,
Not once had turn'd to either side
Nor once did those sweet eyelids close,
Or shade the glance o'er which they rose,
But round their orbs of deepest blue
The circling white dilated grew-
And there with glassy gaze she stood
As ice were in her curdled blood;
But every now and then a tear

So large and slowly gather'd slid
From the long dark fringe of that fair

It was a thing to see, not hear!
And those who saw, it did surprise,
Such drops could fall from human cyes.

One, whose brute-feeling ne'er aspires!

Or thought more grace to gain, Beyond his own more brute desires.

If, in her cause, they wrestled down Such tools the Tempter ever needs,

Feelings their nature strove to own. To do the savagest of deeds ;

By strange device were they brought there, For them no vision'd terrors daunt,

They knew not how, nor knew not where. Their nights no fancied spectres haunt, One fear with them, of all most base,

XXV. The fear of death,-alone finds place.

And now that blind old Abbot rose, This wretch was clad in frock and cowl,

To speak the Chapter's doom, And shamed not loud to moan and howl,

On those the wall was to enclose, His body on the floor to dash,

Alive, within the tomb;* And crouch, like hound beneath the lash;

But stopp’d, because that woful Maid, While his mute partner, standing near,

Gathering her powers, to speak essay'd. Waited her doom without a tear.

Twice she essay'd, and twice in vain;

Her accents might no utterance gain; XXIII.

Nought but imperfect murmurs slip Yet well the luckless wretch might shriek,

From her convulsed and quivering lip; Well might her paleness terror speak !

Twixt each attempt all was so still, For there were seen in that dark wall,

You seemd to hear a distant rillTwo niches, narrow, deep and tall ;

'Twas ocean's swells and falls; Who enters at such grisly door,

For though this vault of sin and fear Shall ne'er, I ween, find exit more.

Was to the sounding surge so near, In each a slender meal was laid,

A tempest there you scarce could hear, Of roots, of water, and of bread:

So massive were the walls.
By each, in Benedictine dress,
Two haggard monks stood motionless ;

Who, holding high a blazing torch,

At length, an effort sent apart Show'd the grim entrance of the porch:

The blood that curdled to her heart, Reflecting back the smoky beam,

And light came to her eye, The dark-red walls and arches gleam.

And colour dawn'd upon her cheek, Hewn stones and cement were display'd,

A hectic and a flutter'd streak, And building tools in order laid.

Like that left on the Cheviot peak,

By Autumn's stormy sky;

And when her silence broke at length, These executioners were chose,

Still as she spoke she gather'd strength, As men who were with mankind foes,

And arm'd herself to bear.4 And with despite and envy fired,

It was a fearful sight to see Into the cloister had retired;

Such high resolve and constancy,
Or who, in desperate doubt of grace,

In form so soft and fair.5
Strove, by deep penance, to efface
Of some foul crime the stain;

For, as the vassals of her will,

“ I speak not to implore your grace, Such men the Church selected still,

Well know I, for one minute's space As either joy'd in doing ill,

Successless might I sue:

To speak she thought-the imperfect note
Was choked within her swelling throat,
Yet seem'd in that low hollow groan
Her whole heart gushing in the tone."

Byron's Works, vol. x. p. 171.
1 In some recent editions this word had been erroneously
printed " inspires." The MS. has the correct line.

“One whose brute-feeling ne'er aspires." ? See Appendix, Note 2 M. 3 MS.--"A feeble and a flutter'd streak,

Like that with which the mornings break

In Autumn's sober sky.” 4 "Mr. S. has judiciously combined the horrors of the punishment with a very beautiful picture of the offender, so as to heighten the interest which the situation itself must necessarily excite; and the struggle of Constance to speak, before the fatal sentence, is finely painted."--Monthly Rericu.

5 MS.--"And mann'd herself to bear.

It was a fearful thing to see
Such high resolve and constancy,

In form so soft and fair;
Like Surrmer's dew her accents fell,

But dreadful was her tale to tell."
6 MS.—" I speak not now to sue for grace,

For well I know one minute's space

Your mercy scarce would grant:
Nor do I speak your prayers to gain ;
For if my penance be in vain,

Your prayers I cannot want.
Full well I knew the church's doom,
What time I left a convent's gloom,

To fly with him I loved;
And well my folly's meed he gave-
I forfeited, to be a slave,
All here, and all beyond the grave,

One way remain’d—the King's command
Sent Marmion to the Scottish land:
I linger'd here, and rescue plann'd

For Clara and for me:
This caitiff Monk, for gold, did swear,
He would to Whitby's shrine repair,
And, by his drugs, my rival fair

A saint in heaven should be.
But ill the dastard kept his oath,
Whose cowardice has undone us both.

Nor do I speak your prayers to gain;
For if a death of lingering pain,
To cleanse my sins, be penance vain,

Vain are your masses too.
I listen’d to a traitor's tale,
I left the convent and the veil;
For three long years I bow'd my pride,
A horse-boy in his train to ride;
And well my folly's meed he gave,
Who forfeited, to be his slave,
All here, and all beyond the grave.-
He saw young Clara's face more fair,
He knew her of broad lands the heir,
Forgot his vows, his faith foreswore,
And Constance was beloved no more.
'Tis an old tale, and often told;

But did my fate and wish agree,
Ne'er had been read, in story old,
Of maiden true betray'd for gold,

That loved, or was avenged, like me!

XXX. “ And now my tongue the secret tells, Not that remorse my bosom swells, But to assure my soul that none Shall ever wed with Marmion.2 Had fortune my last hope betray'd, This packet, to the King convey’d, Had given him to the headsman's stroke, Although my heart that instant broke.Now, men of death, work forth your will, For I can suffer, and be still; And come he slow, or come he fast, It is but Death who comes at last.

" The King approved his favourite's aim;
In vain a rival barr'd his claim,

Whose fate with Clare's was plight,
For he attaints that rival's fame
With treason's charge-and on they came,
In mortal lists to fight.

Their oaths are said,
Their prayers are pray'd,

Their lances in the rest aru laid,
They meet in mortal shock;
And, hark! the throng, with thundering cry,
Shout - Marmion, Marmion! to the sky,

De Wilton to the block !'
Say ye, who preach Heaven shall decide?
When in the lists two champions ride,

Say, was Heaven's justice here?
When, loyal in his love and faith,
Wilton found overthrow or death,

Beneath a traitor's spear?
How false the charge, how true he fell,
This guilty packet best can tell.”—
Then drew a packet from her breast,
Paused, gather'd voice, and spoke the rest.

“ Yet dread me, from my living tomb,
Ye vassal slaves of bloody Rome!
If Marmion's late remorse should wake,
Full soon such vengeance will he take,
That you shall wish the fiery Dane
Had rather been your guest again.
Behind, a darker hour ascends!
The altars quake, the crosier bends,
The ire of a despotic King
Rides forth upon destruction's wing;
Then shall these vaults, so strong and

Burst open to the sea-winds' sweep;
Some traveller then shall find my bones
Whitening amid disjointed stones,
And, ignorant of priests' cruelty,3
Marvel such relics here should be."


XXIX. “ Still was false Marmion's bridal staid; To Whitby’s convent fled the maid,

The hated match shun. * Hol shifts she thus ?' King Henry cried, "Sir Marmion, she shall be thy bride,

If she were sworn a nun.'

XXXII. Fix'd was her look, and stern her air: Back from her shoulders stream'd her

hair; The locks, that wont her brow to shade, Stared up erectly from her head ;* Her figure seem'd to rise more high; Her voice, despair's wild energy Had given a tone of prophecy.

And faithless hath he prored;
He saw another's face more fair,
He saw her of broad lands the heir,

And Constance loved no more-
Loved her no more, who, once Heaven's bride,
Now a scorn'd menial by his side,

Had wander'd Europe o'er."

I MS.-"Say, ye who preach the heavens decide

When in the lists the warriors ride." 2 The MS. adds—" His schemes reveal'd, his honour gone." 3 MS. "And, witless of priests' cruelty."

s aspiring from her head." 4 MS._" Stared up {uncurling I



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Appall’d the astonish'd conclave sate;
With stupid eyes, the men of fate

Gazed on the light inspired form,
And listen’d for the avenging storm;
The judges felt the victim's dread;

No hand was moved, no word was said,
Till thus the Abbot’s doom was given,
Raising his sightless balls to heaven :-
* Sister, let thy sorrows cease;
Sinful brother, part in peace!"

From that dire dungeon, place of doom,
Of execution too, and tomb,

Ashestiel, Ettrick Forest.
Paced forth the judges three;

LIKE April morning clouds, that pass, Sorrow it were, and shame, to tell

With varying shadow, o'er the grass, The butcher-work that there befell,

And imitate, on field and furrow, When they had glided from the cell

Life's chequer'd scene of joy and sorrow; Of sin and misery.

Like streamlet of the mountain north,

Now in a torrent racing forth,

Now winding slow its silver train,
An hundred winding steps convey

And almost slumbering on the plain; That conclave to the upper day;'

Like breezes of the autumn day, But, ere they breathed the fresher air,

Whose voice inconstant dies away, They heard the shriekings of despair,

And ever swells again as fast, And many a stifled groan:

When the ear deems its murmur past ; With speed their upward way they take,

Thus various, my romantic theme (Such speed as age and fear can make,)

Flits, winds, or sinks, a morning dream. And cross'd themselves for terror's sake,

Yet pleased, our eye pursues the trace As hurrying, tottering on:

Of Light and Shade's inconstant race; Even in the vesper’s heavenly tone,3

Pleased, views the rivulet afar, They seem'd to hear a dying groan,

Weaving its maze irregular; And bade the passing knell to toll

And pleased, we listen as the breeze For welfare of a parting soul.

Heaves its wild sigh through Autumn trees; Slow o'er the midnight wave it swung,

Then, wild as cloud, or stream, or gale,
Northumbrian rocks in answer rung;

Flow on, flow unconfined, my Tale!
To Warkworth cell the echoes rollid,
His beads the wakeful hermit told,

Need I to thee, dear Erskine, tell
The Bamborough peasant raised his head,

I love the license all too well, But slept ere half a prayer he said;

In sounds now lowly, and now strong, So far was heard the mighty knell,

To raise the desultory song !_o The stag sprung up on Cheviot Fell,

Oft, when ʼmid such capricious chime, Spread his broad nostril to the wind,

Some transient fit of lofty rhyme Listed before, aside, behind,

To thy kind judgment seem'd excuse Then couch'd him down beside the hind,

For many an error of the muse, And quaked among the mountain fern,

Oft hast thou said, “ If, still mis-spent, To hear that sound so dull and stern.

Thine hours to poetry are lent,


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tto, and to tame thy wandering course,
Quaff from the fountain at the source;
Approach those masters, o'er whose tomb
Immortal laurels ever bloom :
Instructive of the feebler bard,
Still from the grave their voice is heard;
From them, and from the paths they show'd,
Choose honour'd guide and practised road;
Nor ramble on through brake and maze,
With harpers rude of barbarous days.

On thee relenting Heaven bestows
For honour'd life an honour'd close ;:
And when revolves, in time's sure change,
The hour of Germany's revenge,
When, breathing fury for her sake,
Some new Arminius shall awake,
Her champion, ere he strike, shall come
To whet his sword on BRUNSWICK's tomb.3


“ Or deem'st thou not our later time? Yields topic meet for classic rhyme ? Hast thou no elegiac verse For Brunswick's venerable hearse ? What! not a line, a tear, a sigh, When valour bleeds for liberty ? Oh, hero of that glorious time, When, with unrivall'd light sublime,Though martial Austria, and though all The might of Russia, and the Gaul, Though banded Europe stood her foes The star of Brandenburgh arose ! Thou couldst not live to see her beam For ever quench'd in Jena's stream. Lamented Chief !-it was not given To thee to change the doom of Heaven, And crush that dragon in its birth, Predestined scourge of guilty earth. Lamented Chief !_not thine the power, To save in that presumptuous hour, When Prussia hurried to the field, And snatch'd the spear, but left the shield ! Valour and skill 'twas thine to try, And, tried in vain, 'twas thine to die. Ill had it seem'd thy silver bair The last, the bitterest pang to share, For princedoms reft, and scutcheons riven, And birthrights to usurpers given; Thy land's, thy children's wrongs to feel, And witness woes thou couldst not heal!

“ Or of the Red-Cross hero* teach,
Dauntless in dungeon as on breach :
Alike to him the sea, the shore,
The brand, the bridle, or the oar:
Alike to him the war that calls
Its votaries to the shatter'd walls,
Which the grim Turk, besmear'd with blood,
Against the Invincible made good;
Or that, whose thundering voice could wake
The silence of the polar lake,
When stubborn Russ, and metald Swede,
On the warp'd wave their death-game

Or that, where Vengeance and Affright
Howl'd round the father of the fight,
Who snatch'd, on Alexandria's sand,
The conqueror's wreath with dying hand.5


“ Or, if to touch such chord be thine, Restore the ancient tragic line, And emulate the notes that wrung From the wild harp, which silent hung By silver Avon's holy shore, Till twice an hundred years rollid o'er; When she, the bold Enchantress, came, With fearless hand and heart on flame! From the pale willow snatch'd the trea+uire, And swept it with a kindred measure, Till Avon's swans, while rung the grove With Montfort's hate and Basil's love, Awakening at the inspired strain, Deem'd their own Shakspeare lived again."

The general's eye, the pilot's art,
The soldier's arm, the sailor's heart,
Or if to touch such chord be thine, * &c.

1 MS." Dost thou not deem our later day

Yields topic meet for classic lay?
Hast thou no elegiac tone
To join that universal moan,
Which mingled with the battle's yell,
Where venerable Brunswick fell?--
What I not a verse, a tear, a sigh,

When valour bleeds for liberty?"
MS -"For honour'd life an honour'd close-

The boon which falling heroes crave,
A soldier's death, a warrior's grave.
Or if, with more exulting swell,
Of conquering chiefs thou lov'st to tell,
Give to the harp an unheard strain,
And sing the triumphs of the main-
Of him the Red-Cross hero teach,
Dauntless on Acre's bloody breach,
And, scorner of tyrannic power,
As dauntless in the Temple's tower:
Alike to him the sea, the shore,
The brand, the bridle, or the oar,

3 " Scott seems to have communicated fragments of the poem very freely during the whole of its progress. As early as the 22d February 1807, I find Mrs. Hayman acknowledging, in the name of the Princess of Wales, the receipt of a copy of the Introduction to Canto III., in which occurs the tribute to her royal highness's heroic father, mortally wounded the year before at Jenama tribute so grateful to her feelings that she herself shortly after sent the poet an elegant silver vase as a memorial of her thankfulness. And ahout the same time the Marchioness of Abercorn expresses the delight with which both she and her lord had read the generous verses on Pitt and Fox in another of those epistles."- Life of Scott, vol iii. p. 9.

• Sir Sidney Smith.
o Sir Ralph Abercromby.
& Joanna Baillie.

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