Imágenes de páginas

“My nurse has told me many a tale,
How vows of love are weak and frail;
My mother says that courtly youth
By rustic maid means seldom sooth.
What should they mean ? it cannot be,
That such a warning's meant for me,
For nought-oh! nought of fraud or ill
Can William mean to Metelill!"

Yet had this fierce and dreaded pair,
So Heaven decreed, a daughter fair;

None brighter crown'd the bed, lo Britain's bounds, of peer or prince, Nor hath, perchance, a lovelier since

In this fair isle been bred. And nought of fraud, or ire, or ill, Was known to gentle Metelill,

A simple maiden she;
The spells in dimpled smile that lie,
And a downcast blush, and the darts that fly
With the sidelong glance of a hazel eye,

Were her arms and witchery.
So young, so simple was she yet,
She scarce could childhood's joys forget,
And still she loved, in secret set

Beneath the greenwood tree,
To plait the rushy coronet,
And braid with flowers her locks of jet,

As when in infancy ;-
Yet could that heart, so simple, prove
The early dawn of stealing love:

Ah! gentle maid, beware!
The power who, now so mild a guest,
Gives dangerous yet delicious zest
To the calm pleasures of thy breast,
Will soon, a tyrant o'er the rest,

Let none his empire share.

VII. Sudden she stops-and starts to feel A weighty hand, a glove of steel, Upon her shrinking shoulders laid; Fearful she turn'd, and saw, dismay'd, A Knight in plate and mail array’d, His crest and bearing worn and fray'd,

His surcoat soil'd and riven, Form'd like that giant race of yore, Whose long-continued crimes outwore

The sufferance of Heaven. Stern accents made his pleasure known, Though then he used his gentlest tone: “Maiden,” he said, "sing forth thy glee. Start not-sing on—it pleases me.”

V. One morn, in kirtle green array’d, Deep in the wood the maiden stray’d,

And, where a fountain sprung, She sate her down, unseen, to thread The scarlet berry's mimic braid,

And while the beads she strung, Like the blithe lark, whose carol gay Gives a good-morrow to the day,

So lightsomely she sung.

Secured within his powerful hold,
To bend her knee, her hands to fold,

Was all the maiden might;
And “Oh! forgive,” she faintly said,
“ The terrors of a simple maid,

If thou art mortal wight!
But if-of such strange tales are told--
Unearthly warrior of the wold,
Thou comest to chide mine accents bold,
My mother, Jutta, knows the spell,
At noon and midnight pleasing well

The disembodied ear;
Oh! let her powerful charms atone
For aught my rashness may have done,

And cease thy grasp of fear.”
Then laugh'd the Knight-his laughter's

Half in the hollow helmet drown'd;
His barred visor then he raised,
And steady on the maiden gazed.
He smooth'd his brows, as best he might,
To the dread calm of autumn night,

When sinks the tempest roar;
Yet still the cautious fishers eye
The clouds, and fear the gloomy sky,

And haul their barks on shore.


Song. “ LORD WILLIAM was born in gilded bower, The heir of Wilton's lofty tower; Yet better loves Lord William now To roam beneath wild Rookhope's brow; And William has lived where ladies fair With gawds and jewels deck their hair, Yet better loves the dewdrops still That pearl the locks of Metelill.

“ The pious Palmer loves, I wis,
Saint Cuthbert's hallow'd beads to kiss;
But I, though simple girl I be,
Might have such homage paid to me;
For did Lord William see me suit
This necklace of the bramble's fruit,
He fain-but must not have his will-
Would kiss the beads of Metelill.

IX. “Damsel,” he said, “ be wise, and learn Matters of weight and deep concern:

From distant realms I come, And, wanderer long, at length have plann'd In this my native Northern land

To seek myself a home.

Nor that alonema mate I seek;
She must be gentle, soft, and meek,-

No lordly dame for me;
Myself am something rough of mood,
And feel the fire of royal blood,
And therefore do not hold it good

To match in my degree. Then, since coy maidens say my face Is harsh, my form devoid of grace, For a fair lineage to provide, 'Tis meet that my selected bride

In lineaments be fair; I love thine well-till now I ne'er Look'd patient on a face of fear, But now that tremulous sob and tear

Become thy beauty rare. One kiss-nay, damsel, coy it not! And now go seek thy parents' cot, And say, a bridegroom soon I come, To woo my love, and bear her home.”

XII. But soon the wit of woman woke, And to the Warrior mild she spoke: “ Her child was all too young.”_" A toy, The refuge of a maiden coy.”Again, “ A powerful baron’s heir Claims in her heart an interest fair.”_ “ A trifle-whisper in his ear, That Harold is a suitor here!”Baffled at length she sought delay: “ Would not the Knight till morning stay? Late was the hour—he there might rest Till morn, their lodge's honour'd guest." Such were her words,-her craft might cast, Her honour'd guest should sleep his last: “ No, not to-night-but soon,” he swore, “ He would return, nor leave them more.” The threshold then his huge stride crost, And soon be was in darkness lost.

X. Home sprung the maid without a pause, As leveret 'scaped from greyhound's jaws; But still she lock’d, howe'er distress’d, The secret in her boding breast; Dreading her sire, who oft forbade Her steps should stray to distant glade. Night camo-to her accustom'd nook Her distaff aged Jutta took, And by the lamp's imperfect glow, Rough Wulfstane trimm'd his shafts and bow. Sudden and clamorous, from the ground Upstarted slumbering brach and hound; Loud knocking next the lodge alarms, And Wulfstane snatches at his arms, When open

flew the yielding door, And that grim Warrior press’d the floor.

XIII. Appalld a while the parents stood, Then changed their fear to angry mood, And foremost fell their words of ill On unresisting Metelill: Was she not caution'd and forbid, Forewarn'd, implored, accused and chid, And must she still to greenwood roam, To marshal such misfortune home? “ Hence, minion—to thy chamber hence There prudence learn, and penitence.” She went-her lonely couch to steep In tears which absent lovers weep; Or if she gain'd a troubled sleep, Fierce Harold's suit was still the theme And terror of her feverish dream.

XI. “ All peace be here- What! none replies? Dismiss your fears and your surprise. 'Tis 1—that Maid hath told my tale, Or, trembler, did thy courage fail? It recks not-it is I demand Fair Metelill in marriage band; Harold the Dauntless I, whose name Is brave men's boast and caitiff's shame.” The parents sought each other's eyes, With awe, resentment, and surprise: Wulfstane, to quarrel prompt, began The stranger’s size and thewes to scan; But as he scann'd, his courage sunk, And from unequal strife he shrunk, Then forth, to blight and blemish, flies The harmful curse from Jutta's eyes; Yet, fatal howsoe'er, the spell On Harold innocently fell ! And disappointment and amaze Were in the witch’s wilder'd gaze.

XIV. Scarce was she gone, her dame and sire Upon each other bent their ire; “ A woodsman thou, and hast a spear, And couldst thou such an insult bear?” Sullen he said, “ A man contends With men, a witch with sprites and fiends ; Not to mere mortal wight belong Yon gloomy brow and frame so strong. But thou-is this thy promise fair, That your Lord William, wealthy heir To Ulrick, Baron of Witton-le-Wear, Should Metelill to altar bear? Do all the spells thou boast 'st as thine Serve but to slay some peasant's kine, His grain in autumn's storms to steep, Or thorough fog and fen to sweep, And hag-ride some poor rustic's sleep? Is such mean mischief worth the fame Of sorceress and witch's name? Fame, which with all men's wish conspires, With thy deserts and my desires, To damn thy corpse to penal fires?

Hear me! Sovereign of the Rock, Hear me! mighty Zernebock !

Out on thee, witch! aroint! aroint!
What now shall put thy schemes in joint!
What save this trusty arrow's point,
From the dark dingle when it flies,
And he who meets it gasps and dies.”

“ Mightiest of the mighty known,
Here thy wonders bave been shown;
Hundred tribes in various tongue
Oft have here thy praises sung;
Down that stone with Runic seam'd,
Hundred victims' blood hath stream'd!
Now one woman comes alone,
And but wets it with her own,
The last, the feeblest of thy flock,
Hear-and be present, Zernebock!

XV. Stern she replied, “ I will not wage War with thy folly or thy rage; But ere the morrow's sun be low, Wulfstane of Rookhope, thou shalt know, If I can venge me on a foe. Believe the while, that whatsoe'er I spoke, in ire, of bow and spear, It is not Harold's destiny The death of pilfer'd deer to die. But he, and thou, and yon pale moon, (That shall be yet more pallid soon, Before she sink behind the dell,) Thou, she, and Harold too, shall tell What Jutta knows of charm or spell.” Thus muttering, to the door she bent Her wayward steps, and forth she went, And left alone the moody sire, To cherish or to slake his ire.

“ Hark! he comes! the night-blast cold
Wilder sweeps along the wold;
The cloudless moon grows dark and dim,
And bristling hair and quaking limb
Proclaim the Master Demon nigh,
Those who view his form shall die!
Lo! I stoop and veil my head ;
Thou who ridest the tempest dread,
Shaking hill and rending oak--
Spare me ! spare me! Zernebock.

XVI. Far faster than belong'd to age Has Jutta made her pilgrimage. A priest has met her as she pass'd, And cross'd himself and stood aghast : She traced a hamlet-not a cur His throat would ope, his foot would stir; By crouch, by trembling, and by groan, They made her hated presence known! But when she trode the sable fell, Were wilder sounds her way to tell, For far was heard the fox's yell, The black-cock waked and faintly crew, Scream'd o'er the moss the scared curlew; Where o'er the cataract the oak Lay slant, was heard the raven's croak; The mountain-cat, which sought his prey, Glared, scream'd, and started from her way. Such music cheer'd her journey lone To the deep dell and rocking stone: There, with unhallow'd hymn of praise, She called a God of heathen days.

“He comes not yet! Shall cold delay
Thy votaress at her need repay ?
Thou—shall I call thee god or fiend !-
Let others on thy mood attend
With prayer and ritual—Jutta's arms
Are necromantic words and charms;
Mine is the spell, that, utter'd once,
Shall wake Thy Master from his trance,
Shake his red mansion-house of pain,
And burst his seven-times-twisted chain!
So! com’st thou ere the spell is spoke?
I own thy presence, Zernebock.”-

XVIII. Daughter of dust," the Deep Voice said, -Shook while it spoke the vale for dread, Rock’d on the base that massive stone, The Evil Deity to own,-“ Daughter of dust! not mine the power Thou seek'st on Harold's fatal hour. 'Twixt heaven and hell there is a strife Waged for his soul and for his life, And fain would we the combat win, And snatch him in his hour of sin. There is a star now rising red, That threats him with an influence dread: Woman, thine arts of malice whet, To use the space before it set. Involve him with the church in strife, Push on adventurous chance his life; Ourself will in the hour of need, As best we may thy counsels speed.” So ceased the Voice ; for seven leagues

round Each hamlet started at the sound;


Inbocation. “ From thy Pomeranian throne, Hewn in rock of living stone, Where, to thy godhead faithful yet, Bend Esthonian, Finn, and Lett, And their swords in vengeance whet, That shall make thine altars wet, Wet and red for ages more With the Christians' hated gore,

But slept again, as slowly died
Its thunders on the hill's brown side.

Vain is the wish-since other cares demand
Each vacant hour, and in another clime;
But still that northern harp invites my hand,
Which tells the wonder of thine earlier time;
And fain its numbers would I now command
To paint the beauties of that dawning fair,
When Harold, gazing from its lofty stand

Upon the western heights of Beaurepaire,
Saw Saxon Eadmer's towers begirt by winding Wčar

XIX. “ And is this all,” said Jutta stern, " That thou can'st teach and I can learn ? Hence! to the land of fog and waste, There fittest is thine influence placed, Thou powerless, sluggish Deity! But ne'er shall Briton bend the knee Again before so poor a god.” She struck the altar with her rod; Slight was the touch, as when at need A damsel stirs her tardy steed; But to the blow the stone gave place, And, starting from its balanced base, Roll’a thundering down the moonlight dell,Re-echo'd moorland, rock, and fell; Into the moonlight tarn it dash’d, Their shores the sounding surges lash'd,

And there was ripple, rage, and foam; But on that lake, so dark and lone, Placid and pale the moonbeam shone

As Jutta hied her home.

II. Fair on the half-seen streams the sunbeams danced, Betraying it beneath the woodland bank, And fair between the Gothic turrets glanced Broad lights, and shadows fell on front and Aank, Where tower and buttress rose in martial rank, And girdled in the massive donjon Keep, And from their circuit peald o'er bush and bank

The matin bell with summons long and deep, And echo answer'd still with long-resounding sweep.

Varold the Hauntless.


I. GREY towers of Durham! there was once a time I view'd your battlements with such vague hope, As brightens life in its first dawning prime ; Not that e’en then came within fancy's scope A vision vain of mitre, throne, or cope; Yet, gazing on the venerable hall, Her flattering dreams would in perspective ope

Some reverend room, some prebendary's stall,And thus Hope me deceived as she deceiveth all."

III. The morning mists rose from the ground, Each merry bird awaken'd round,

As if in revelry;
Afar the bugles' clanging sound
Callid to the chase the lagging hound;

The gale breathed soft and free,
And seem’d to linger on its way
To catch fresh odours from the spray,
And waved it in its wanton play

So light and gamesomely.
The scenes which morning beams reveal,
Its sounds to hear, its gales to feel
In all their fragrance round him steal,
It melted Harold's heart of steel,
And, hardly wotting why,
He doff'd his helmet's gloomy pride,
And hung it on a tree beside,

Laid mace and falchion by, And on the greensward sate him down, And from his dark habitual frown

Relax'd his rugged browWhoever hath the doubtful task From that stern Dane a boon to ask,

Were wise to ask it now.

Well yet I love thy mix'd and massive piles,
Half church of God, half castle 'gainst the Scot,
And long to roam these venerable aisles,
With records stored of deeds long since forgot;
There might I share my Surtees’happier lot,
Who leaves at will his patrimonial field
To ransack every crypt and hallow'd spot,

And from oblivion rend the spoils they yield, Restoring priestly chant and clang of knightly shield.

IV. His place beside young Gunnar took, And mark'd his master's softening look, And in his eye's dark mirror spied The gloom of stormy thoughts subside, And cautious watch'd the fittest tide

I In this stanza occurs one of many touches by which, in supposed to have nourished such an intention-one which 30 the introductory passages of Harold the Dauntless as of Trier one could ever have dreamt of ascribing at any period of his main, Sir Walter Scott betrays his half-purpose of identifying days to Sir Walter Scott himself. the author with his friend William Erskine. That gentleman, the son of an Episcopalian clergyman, a stanch church 2 Robert Surtces of Mainsforth, Esq., F.S.A., anthor of man, and a man of the gentlest habits, if he did not in early “ The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of life design to follow the paternal profession, might easily be Durham." 3 vols. folio, 1816-20-23.

To speak a warning word.

In anxious awe he bears away So when the torrent's billows shrink,

To moor his bark in Stromna's bay, The timid pilgrim on the brink

And murmurs from the bounding stern, Waits long to see them wave and sink,

* Rest thee, Dweller of the Cairn!' Ere he dare brave the ford, And often, after doubtful pause,

“ What cares disturb the mighty dead? His step advances or withdraws:

Each bonour'd rite was duly paid; Fearful to move the slumbering ire

No daring hand thy helm unlaced, Of his stern lord, thus stood the squire,

Thy sword, thy shield, were near thee placed, Till Harold raised his eye,

Thy flinty couch no tear profaned, That glanced as when athwart the shroud

Without, with hostile blood was stain'd; Of the dispersing tempest-cloud

Within, 'twas lined with moss and fern,The bursting sunbeams fly.

Then rest thee, Dweller of the Cairn !

“ He may not rest: from realms afar
Comes voice of battle and of war,
Of conquest wrought with bloody hand
On Carmel's cliffs and Jordan's strand,
When Odin's warlike son could daunt
The turban'd race of Termagaunt.”-

“ Arouse thee, son of Ermengarde,
Offspring of prophetess and bard !
Take barp, and greet this lovely prime
With some high strain of Runic rhyme,
Strong, deep, and powerful! Peal it round
Like that loud bell's sonorous sound,
Yet wild by fits, as when the lay
Of bird and bugle hail the day.
Such was my grandsire Eric's sport,
When dawn gleam'd on his martial court.
Heymar the Scald, with harp's high sound,
Summon’d the chiefs who slept around;
Couch'd on the spoils of wolf and bear,
They roused like lions from their lair,
Then rush'd in emulation forth
To enhance the glories of the North.-
Proud Eric, mightiest of thy race,
Where is thy shadowy resting-place?
In wild Valhalla hast thou quaff'd
From foeman's skull metheglin draught,
Or wanderest where thy cairn was piled
To frown o'er oceans wide and wild?
Or have the milder Christians given
Thy refuge in their peaceful heaven?
Where'er thou art, to thee are known
Our toils endured, our trophies won,
Our wars, our wanderings, and our woes.”
He ceased, and Gunnar's song arose.

“ Peace," said the Knight, “ the noble Scald
Our warlike fathers' deeds recall’d,
But never strove to soothe the son
With tales of what himself had done.
At Odin's board the bard sits high
Whose harp ne'er stoop'd to flattery;
But highest he whose daring lay
Hath dared unwelcome truths to say."
With doubtful smile young Gunnar eyed
His master's looks, and nought replied --
But well that smile his master led
To construe what he left unsaid.
“ Is it to me, thou timid youth,
Thou fear'st to speak unwelcome truth?
My soul no more thy censure grieves
Than frosts rob laurels of their leaves.
Say on--and yet-beware the rude
And wild distemper of my blood;
Loth were I that mine ire should wrong
The youth that bore my shield so long,
And who, in service constant still,
Though weak in frame, art strong in will.”-
“ Oh!” quoth the page, even there depends
My counsel-there my warning tends-
Oft seems as of my master's breast
Some demon were the sudden guest;
Then at the first misconstrued word
His hand is on the mace and sword,
From her firm seat his wisdom driven,
His life to countless dangers given.--
O! would that Gunnar could suffice
To be the fiend's last sacrifice,
So that, when glutted with my gore,
He fled and tempted thee no more!”


“ HawK and osprey scream'd for joy
O'er the beetling cliffs of Hoy,
Crimson foam the beach o'erspread,
The heath was dyed with darker red,
When o'er Eric, Inguar's son,
Dane and Northman piled the stone;
Singing wild the war-song stern,
• Rest thee, Dweller of the Cairn!'

“ Where eddying currents foam and boil
By Bersa's burgh and Græmsay's isle,
The seaman sees a martial form
Half-mingled with the mist and storm.

Then waved his hand, and shook his head
The impatient Dane, while thus he said:

« AnteriorContinuar »