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Hears, upon turret-roof and wall,
Relax'd that grasp, the heavy sigli,
II. Those towers, which in the changeful gleam? Throw murky shadows on the stream, Those towers of Barnard hold a guest, The emotions of whose troubled breast, In wild and strange confusion driven, Rival the flitting rack of heaven. Ere sleep stern Oswald's senses tied, Oft had he changed his weary side, Composed his limbs, and vainly sought By effort strong to banish thought. Sleep came at length, but with a train Of feelings true and fancies vain, Mingling, in wild disorder cast, The expected future with the past. Conscience, anticipating time, Already rues the enacted crime, And calls her furies forth, to shake The sounding scourge and hissing snake; While her poor victim's outward throes Bear witness to his mental woes, And show what lesson may be read Beside a sinner's restless bed.
IV. He woke, and fear'd again to close His eyelids in such dire repose ; He woke,—to watch the lamp, and tell From hour to hour the castle-bell. Or listen to the owlet's cry, Or the sad breeze that whistles by, Or catch, by fits, the tuneless rhyme With which the warder cheats the time, And envying think, how, when the sun Bids the poor soldier's watch be dope, Couch'd on his straw, and fancy-free, He sleeps like careless infancy.
III. Thus Oswald's labouring feelings trace Strange changes in his sleeping face, Rapid and ominous as these With which the moonbeams tinge the Tees. There might be seen of shame the blush, There anger's dark and fiercer flush, While the perturbed sleeper's hand Seem'd grasping dagger-knife, or brand,
V. Far town-ward sounds a distant tread, And Oswald, starting from his bed, Hath caught it, though no human ear, Unsharpen’d by revenge and fear, Could e'er distinguish horse's clank, Until it reach'd the castle bank. Now nigh and plain the sound appears, The warder's challenge now he bears, Then clanking chains and levers tell, That o'er the moat the drawbridge fell, And, in the castle court below, Voices are heard, and torches glow,
} This couplet is not in the Original MS. 2 MS.
"shifting gleam." 3 MS.—“Of feelings rcal, and fancies vain." • MS.-“ Nor longer nature bears the shock,
That pang the slumberer awoke." 5 There appears some resemblance betwixt the visions of Oswald's sleep and the waking-dream of the Giaour
“ He stood.-Some dread was on his face.
The spur hath lanced his courser's sides ;
Byron's Works, vol. ix. p. 151. 6 MS.-" Till underneath the castle bank.
Nigh more nigh the sound appears,
The warder's challenge next he hears." 7 See Appendix, Note B.
“The natural superiority of the instrument over the employer, of bold, unhesitating, practised více, over timid, selfish, crafty iniquity, is very finely painted throughout the whole of this scene, and the dialogue that ensues. That the mind of Wycliffe, wrought to the utmost agony of suspense, has given such acuteness to his bodily organs, as to enable him to distinguish the approach of his hired bravo, while at a distance beyond the reach of common hearing, is grandly imagined, and admirably true to nature."-Critical fcricu.
As marshalling the stranger's way,
Cursing each moment that his guest
VI. The stranger came with heavy stride, The morion's plumes his visage hide, And the buff-coat, an ample fold, Mantles his form's gigantic mould.3 Full slender answer deigned he To Oswald's anxious courtesy, But mark’d, by a disdainful smile, He saw and scorn'd the petty wile, When Oswald changed the torch's place, Anxious that on the soldier's face Its partial lustre might be thrown, To show his looks, yet hide his own. His guest, the while, laid low aside The ponderous cloak of tough bull's hide, And to the torch glanced broad and clear The corslet of a cuirassier; Then from his brows the casque he drew, And from the dank plume dash'd the dew, From gloves of mail relieved his hands,5 And spread them to the kindling brands, And, turning to the genial board, Without a health, or pledge, or word Of meet and social reverence said, Deeply he drank, and fiercely fed ;) As free from ceremony's sway, As famish'd wolf that tears his prey.
VIII. Much in the stranger's mien appears, To justify suspicious fears. On his dark face a scorching clime', And toil, had done the work of time, Roughen'd the brow, the temples bared, And sable hairs with silver shared, Yet left-what age alone could tamem The lip of pride, the eye of flame;: The full-drawn lip that upward curl'd, The eye, that seem'd to scorn the world. That lip had terror never blench’d; Ne'er in that eye had tear-drop quench'd The flash severe of swarthy glow, That mock'd at pain, and knew not woe. Inured to danger's direst form, Tornade and earthquake, flood and storm, Death had he seen by sudden blow, By wasting plague, by tortures slow,10 By mine or breach, by steel or ball, Knew all his shapes, and scorn'd them all.
VII. With deep impatience, tinged with fear, His host beheld him gorge his cheer, And quaff the full carouse, that lent His brow a fiercer hardiment. Now Oswald stood a space aside, Now paced the room with hasty stride In feverish agony to learn Tidings of deep and dread concern,
IX. But yet, though BERTRAM's harden'd look, Unmoved, could blood and danger brook, Still worse than apathy had place On his swart brow and callous face; For evil passions, cherish'd long, Had plough'd them with impressions strong. All that gives gloss to sin, all gay Light folly, past with youth away, But rooted stood, in manhood's hour, The weeds of vice without their flower. And yet the soil in which they grew, Had it been tamed when life was new,
1 M8.-“The cry was, --- Heringham comes post,
With tidings of a battle lost.'
His answer," &c.
-" with heavy pace,
The plumed morion hid his face." 3 See Appendix, Note C. 4 MS." That fell upon the stranger's face." 6 MS.-—"he freed his hands." 6 MS.-" Then turn'a to the replenish'd board."
7 “ The description of Bertram which follows, is highly picturesque; and the rude air of conscious superiority with which be treats his employer, prepares the reader to enter into the full spirit of his character. These, and many other little cir
cumstances, which none but a poetical mind could have conceived, give great relief to the stronger touches with which this excellent sketch is completed."-Critical Review. 8 MS.—“ Protracted o'er his savage feast.
Yet with alarm he saw at last." 9 “As Roderick rises above Marmion, so Bertram ascends above Roderick Dhu in awfulness of stature and strength of colouring. We have trembled at Roderick ; but we look with doubt and suspicion at the very shadow of Bertram-and, as we approach him, we shrink with terror and antipathy from * The lip of pride, the eye of flame.'
British Crilic. 10 See Appendix, Note D.
Had depth and vigour to bring forth?
On eve of fight ne'er left the host,
God and the Cause !!–God and the King!'
1 MS.-" Shew'd depth and vigour to bring forth
and Hubert may probably have been present to his mind when The noblest fruits of virtuous worth.
he composed the dialogue between Oswald and his terrible Then had the lust of gold accurst
agent; but it will be observed, that the situations of the reBeen lost in glory's nobler thirst,
spective personages are materially different; the mysterious And deep revenge for trivial cause,
caution in which Shakspeare's usurper is made to involve the Been zeal for freedom and for laws,
proposal of his crime, springs from motives undoubtedly more And, frantic then no more, his pride
obvious and immediate, but not more consistent with truth Had ta'en fair honour for its guide."
and probability, than that with which Wycliffe conceals the “stern regard."
drift of his fearful interrogatories."-Critical Revicu. 3 “The 'mastery' obtained by such a being as Bertram 4 MS.—“Safe sit you, Oswald, and at ease." orer the timid wickedness of inferior villains, is well delineat- 5 MS.-“ Award the meed of civil broil." ed in the conduct of Oswald, who, though he had not hesitated 6 MS.-" Thy horsemen on the outposts lay." to propose to him the murder of his kinsman, is described as 7 See Appendix, Note E. fearing to ask him the direct question, whether the crime has been 8 MS.-“ Led I but half of such bold hearts, accomplished. We must confess, for our own parts, that we
As counter'd there," &c. did not, till we came to the second reading of the canto, per- 9 The quarterly Reviewer (No. xvi.) thus states the causen ceive the propriety, and even the moral beauty, of this cir- of the hesitation he had had in arriving at the ultimate opinion, cumstance. We are now quite convinced that, in introducing that Rokeby was worthy of the “high praise" already quoted it, the poet has been guided by an accurate perception of the from the commencement of his article :-“We confess, then, intricacies of human nature. The scene between King John that in the language and versification of this poem, we were, in the first instance, disappointed. We do not mean to say that
“ Still from the purpose wilt thou stray ! Good gentle friend, how went the day?”–
Complete the woful tale, and say,
XIII. “ Good am I deemd at trumpet-sound, And good where goblets dance the round, Though gentle ne'er was join'd, till now, With rugged Bertram’s breast and brow.-But I resume. The battle's rage Was like the strife which currents wage, Where Orinoco, in his pride, Rolls to the main no tribute tide, But 'gainst broad ocean urges far A rival sea of roaring war; While, in ten thousand eddies driven, The billows fing their foam to heaven, And the pale pilot seeks in vain, Where rolls the river, where the main. Even thus upon the bloody field, The eddying tides of conflict wheeld! Ambiguous, till that heart of flame, Hot Rupert, on our squadrons came, Hurling against our spears a line Of gallants, fiery as their wine; Then ours, though stubborn in their zeal, In zeal's despite began to reel. What wouldst thou more ?-in tumult tost, Our leaders fell, our ranks were lost. A thousand men, who drew the sword For both the Houses and the Word, Preach'd forth from hamlet, grange, and down, To curb the crosier and the crown, Now, stark and stiff, lie stretch'd in gore, And ne'er shall rail at mitre more.Thus fared it, when I left the fight, With the good Cause and Commons' right."
XV. The wrath his art and fear suppressid, Now blazed at once in Wycliffe's breast; And brave, from man so meanly born, Roused his hereditary scorn. “ Wretch! hast thou paid thy bloody debt? Philip OF MORTHAM, lives he yet? False to thy patron or thine oath, Trait'rous or perjured, one or both. Slave! hast thou kept thy promise plight, To slay thy leader in the fight?”— Then from his seat the soldier sprung, And Wycliffe's hand he strongly wrung; His grasp, as hard as glove of mail, Forced the red blood-drop from the nail“ A health!” he cried; and, ere he quaff’d, Flung from him Wycliffe's hand, and laugh’d: -“ Now, Oswald Wycliffe, speaks thy heart ! Now play'st thou well thy genuine part ! Worthy, but for thy craven fear, Like me to roam a bucanier. What reck'st thou of the Cause divine, If Mortham's wealth and lands be thine! What carest thou for beleaguer'd York, If this good hand have done its work? Or what, though Fairfax and his best Are reddening Marston's swarthy breast,
XIV. “ Disastrous news !” dark Wycliffe said; Assumed despondence bent his head. While troubled joy was in his eye, The well-feign'd sorrow to belie.“ Disastrous news !—when needed most, Told ye not that your chiefs were lost?
'And, Cortez, thine, in Bertram's fame.' either is in variably faulty; neither is it within the power of accident that the conceptions of a vigorous and highly culti- “ The author, surely, cannot require to be told, that the vated mind, should uniformly invest themselves in trivial ex- feebleness of these jingling couplets is less offensive than their pressions, or in dissonant rhymes; but we do think that those obscurity. The first line is unintelligible, because the condigolden lines, which spontaneously fasten themselves on the tional word 'if,' on which the meaning depends, is neither Demory of the reader are more rare, and that instances of a expressed nor implied in it; and the third line is equally faulculpable and almost slovenly inattention to the usual rules ty, because the sentence, when restored to its natural order, of diction and of metre, are more frequent in this, than in any can only express the exact converse of the speaker's intention. preceding work of Mr. Scott. In support of this opinion, we We think it necessary to remonstrate against these barbarous adduce the following quotation, which occurs in stanza xii. : inversions, because we consider the rules of grammar as the and in the course of a description which is, in some parts, un.only shackles by which the Hudibrastic metre, already so liusually splendid,
centious, can be confined within tolerable limits."
* Led Bertram Risingham the hearts,'
1 MS.--" The doubtful tides of battle reel'd."
2 MS.--" Chose death in preference to shame."
If Philip Mortham with them lie,
XVI. “ When purposed vengeance I forego, Term me a wretch, nor deem me foe; And when an insult I forgive, Then brand me as a slave, and live !Philip of Mortham is with those Whom Bertram Risingham calls foes ; Or whom more sure revenge attends, If number'd with ungrateful friends. As was his wont, ere battle glow'd, Along the marshall’d ranks he rode, And wore his vizor up the while. I saw his melancholy smile, When, full opposed in front, he knew Where ROKEBY's kindred banner flew. "And thus,' he said, ' will friends divide!'I heard, and thought how, side by side, We two had turn’d the battle's tide, In many a well-debated field, Where Bertram's breast was Philip's
shield. I thought on Darien's deserts pale, Where death bestrides the evening gale, How o'er my friend my cloak I threw, And fenceless faced the deadly dew; I thought on Quariana's cliff, Where, rescued from our foundering skiff, Through the white breakers' wrath I bore Exhausted Mortham to the shore; And when his side an arrow found, I suck'd the Indian's venom'd wound. These thoughts like torrents rush'd along, To sweep away my purpose strong.
Lost was the war in inward strife,
XVIII. “ But civil discord gave the call, And made my trade the trade of all. By Mortham urged, I came again His vassals to the fight to train. What guerdon waited on my care? I could not cant of creed or prayer; Sour fanatics each trust obtain’d, And I, dishonour'd and disdain'd, Gain'd but the high and happy lot, In these poor arms to front the shot! All this thou know'st, thy gestures tell; Yet hear it o'er, and mark it well. 'Tis honour bids me now relate Each circumstance of Mortham's fate.