« AnteriorContinuar »
XXVII. Wilfrid must love and wool the bright Matilda, heir of Rokeby's knight. To love her was an easy hest, The secret empress of his breast; To woo her was a harder task To one that durst not hope or ask. Yet all Matilda could, she gave In pity to her gentle slave; Friendship, esteem, and fair regard, And praise, the poet's best reward ! She read the tales his taste approved, And sung the lays he framed or loved; Yet, loth to nurse the fatal flame Of hopeless love in friendship’s name, In kind caprice she oft withdrew The favoring glance to friendship due,? Then grieved to see her victim's pain, And gave the dangerous smiles again.
XXIX. The lovely heir of Rokeby's Knight" Waits in his halls the event of fight; For England's war revered the claim Of every unprotected name, And spared, amid its fiercest rage, Childhood and womanhood and age. But Wilfrid, son to Rokeby's foe, Must the dear privilege forego, By Greta's side, in evening gray, To steal upon Matilda's way, Striving, with fond hypocrisy, For careless step and vacant eye; Claming each anxious look and glance, To give the meeting all to chance, Or framing, as a fair excuse, The book, the pencil, or the muse: Something to give, to sing, to say, Some modern tale, some ancient lay. Then, while the long'd-for minutes last,Ah! minutes quickly over-past 1-7 Recording each expression free, Of kind or careless courtesy, Each friendly look, each softer tone, As food for fancy when alone. All this is o'er—but still, unseen, Wilfrid may lurk in Eastwood green, To watch Matilda's wonted round, While springs his heart at every sound. She comes !—'tis but a passing sight, Yet serves to cheat his weary night; She comes not—he will wait the hour, When her lamp lightens in the tower ;9 'Tis something yet, if, as she past, Her shade is o'er the lattice cast. “What is my life, my hope?" he said; “ Alas! a transitory shade."
XXVIII. So did the suit of Wilfrid stand, When war's loud summons waked the
land. Three banners, floating o'er the Tees, The wo-foreboding peasant sees; In concert oft they braved of old The bordering Scot's incursion bold; Frowning defiance in their pride, Their vassals now and lords divide. From his fair hall on Greta banks, The Knight of Rokeby led his ranks, To aid the valiant northern Earls, Who drew the sword for royal Charles. Mortham, by marriage near allied, His sister had been Rokeby's bride, Though long before the civil fray, In peaceful grave the lady lay, Philip of Mortham raised his band, And march'd at Fairfax's con mana While Wycliffe, bound by many a train Of kindred art with wily Vane, Less prompt to brave the bloody field, Made Barnard's battlements his shield, Secured them with his Lunedale powers, And for the Commons held the towers.
XXX. Thus wore his life, though reason strove For mastery in vain with love, Forcing upon his thoughts the sum Of present woe and ills to come, While still he turn'd impatient ear From Truth's intrusive voice severe. Gentle, indifferent, and subdued,
healthy frame of body. In both these particulars, the character of Wilfrid is exempt from the objections to which we think that of the Minstrel liable. At the period of the Civil Wars, in the higher orders of Society, intellectual refinement had advanced to a degree sufficient to give probability to its existence. The remainder of our argument will be best explained by the beautiful lines of the poet," (stanzas xxv. and xxvi.) Critical Review,
1 MS." And first must Wilfrid woo, &c.
Their vassals and their loris divide."
Daughter and wife of Rokeby's Knight,
Wait in his halls," &c.
And Rokeby and his son were foes,
Of kindred friendship and the muse." 6 M8.-_* Aping, with fond hypocrisy,
The careless step," &c. 7 The MS. has not this couplet. & MS.-"May Wilfrid haunt the thickets green.”
Wilfrid haunts Scargill's I' MS.
- "watch the hour, That her lamp kindles in her tower."
While one augments its gaudy show,
In all but this, unmoved he view'd .
XXXII. More wouldst thou know-yon tower survey, Yon couch unpress'd since parting day, Yon untrimm'd lamp, whose yellow gleam Is mingling with the cold moonbeam, And yon thin form the hectic red On his pale cheek unequal spread ;* The head reclined, the loosen'd hair, The limbs relax'd, the mournful air.See, he looks up ;-a woful smile Lightens his wo-worn cheek a while, 'Tis fancy wakes some idle thought, To gild the ruin she has wrought ; For, like the bat of Indian brakes,
XXXI. Woe to the youth whom fancy gains, Winning from Reason's hand the reins, Pity and woe! for such a mind Is soft, contemplative, and kind; And woe to those who train such youth, And spare to press the rights of truth, The mind to strengthen and anneal, While on the stithy glows the steel! O teach him, while your lessons last, To judge the present by the past; Remind him of each wish pursued, How rich it glow'd with promised good; Remind him of each wish enjoy'd, How soon his hopes possession cloy'd ! Tell him, we play unequal game, Whene'er we shoot by Fancy's aim ;) And, ere he strip him for her race, Show the conditions of the chase. Two sisters by the goal are set, Cold Disappointment and Regret ; One disenchants the winner's eyes, And strips of all its worth the prize.
And soothing thus the dreamer's pain,
Song. TO THE MOON.'
Pale pilgrim of the troubled sky! Hail, though the mists that o'er thee stream
That soon must fail, and leave the wanderer blind, More dark and helpless far, than if it ne'er had shined !
1 MS.- Wild car."
Flung her wild spells around his seat,
flow, opiate draughts baden Which he who tastes can ne'er forego, Taught him to turn impatient ear
From truth's intrusive voice severe." In the MS., after this couplet, the following lines conclude the stanza:
« That all who on her visions press,
Find disappointment dog success;
Her gilding false for sterling gold."
And yet, even there, if left without a guide,
“ Fancy enervates, while it soothes the heart,
And, while it dazzles, wounds the mental sight;
And through the throbbing heart, and dizzy brain, And shivering nerves, shoot stings of more than mortal pain."
BEATTIE. 6 MS.--"On his pale cheek in crimson glow;
The short and painful sighs that show
The head reclined," &c. 6 MS.
_" the sleeper's pain,
Drinks his dear life-blood from the vein.' 7" The little poem that follows is, in our judgment, one of
Lend to thy brow their sullen dye!! How should thy pure and peaceful eye
Untroubled view our scenes below, Or how a tearless beam supply
To light a world of war and woe!
Fair Queen! I will not blame thee now,
As once by Greta's fairy side;
Did then an angel's beauty hide.
Still are the thoughts to memory dear, For while a softer strain I tried,
They hid my blush, and calm’d my fear.
Then did I swear thy ray serene
Was form'd to light some lonely dell, By two fond lovers only seen,
Reflected from the crystal well, Or sleeping on their mossy cell,
Or quivering on the lattice bright, Or glancing on their couch, to tell
How swiftly wanes the summer night!
Far in the chambers of the vest,
XXXIV. He starts-a step at this lone hour! A voice !-his father seeks the tower, With haggard look and troubled sense, Fresh from his dreadful conference. “ Wilfrid --what, not to sleep address'd ? Thou hast no cares to chase thy rest. Mortham has fall’n on Marston-moor ;
His treasures, bought by spoil and blood,
What prospects, from his watch-tower high,
the best of Mr. Scott's attempts in this kind. He, certainly, is not in general successful as a song-writer ; but, without any extraordinary effort, here are pleasing thoughts, polished expressions, and musical versification." --Monthly Revier. I MS.-" Are tarnishing thy lovely dye!
A sad excuse let Fancy try
How should so kind a planet show
To light a world of war and woe!” 2 MS.--"Here's Risingham brings tidings sure,
Mortham has fall'n on Marston-moor ;
And he hath warrant to secure," & 3 MS.-"See that they give his warrant way."
4 With the MS. of stanzas xxviii. to xxxiv. Scott thus addresses his printer:-"I send you the whole of the canto. I wish Erskine and you would look it over together, and consider whether upon the whole matter, it is likely to make an impression. If it does really come to good, I think there are no limits to the interest of that style of composition; for the variety of life and character are boundless.
“I don't know whether to give Matilda a mother or not. Decency requires she should have one ; but she is as likely to be in my way as the gudeman's mother, according to the prorerb, is always in that of the gudewife. Yours truly, W. S.Abbotsford," (Oct. 1812.)
“We cannot close the first Canto without bestowing the highest praise on it. The whole design of the picture in excellent; and the contrast presented to the gloomy and fearful opening by the calm and innocent conclusion, is masterly. Never were two characters more clearly and forcibly set in opposition than those of Bertram and Wilfrid. Oswald com pletes the group; and, for the moral purposes of the painter, is perhaps superior to the others. He is admirably designed
That middle course to steer
Monthly Reviete. See Appendix, Note L. 6 MS.—“Betwixt the gate and Baliol's tower." 7 MS.--"Those deep-hewn banks of living stone."
Where Tees, full many a fathom low,
Their winding path then eastward cast,
Stern Bertram shunn'd the nearer way,
III. Nor Tees alone, in dawning bright, Shall rush upon the ravish'd sight; But many a tributary stream Each from its own dark dell shall gleam: Staindrop, who, from her silvan bowers," Salutes proud Raby's battled towers; The rural brook of Egliston, And Balder, named from Odin's son; And Greta, to whose banks ere long We lead the lovers of the song; And silver Lune, from Stanmore wild, And fairy Thorsgill's murmuring child, And last and least, but loveliest still, Romantic Deepdale's slender rill. Who in that dim-wood glen hath stray'd, Yet long'd for Roslin's magic glade ? . Who, wandering there, hath sought to change Even for that vale so stern and strange, Where Cartland's Crags, fantastic rent, Through her green copse like spires are sent ? Yet, Albin, yet the praise be thine, Thy scenes and story to combine! Thou bid'st him, who by Roslin strays, List to the deeds of other days;) 'Mid Cartland's Crags thou show'st the cave, The refuge of thy champion brave;" Giving each rock its storied tale, Pouring a lay for every dale, Knitting, as with a moral band, Thy native legends with thy land, To lend each scene the interest high Which genius beams from Beauty's eye.
Of pious, faithful, conquering fame, “ Stern sons of war!" sad Wilfrid sigh'd, “Behold the boast of Roman pride! What now of all your toils are known! A grassy trench, a broken stone !"This to himself; for moral strain To Bertram were address'd in vain.
Of different mood, a deeper sigh
Bertram awaited not the sight
1 MS.—"Staindrop, who, on ber silvan way,
Salates proud Raby's turrets gray." 2 See Notes to the song of Fair Rosabelle, in the Lay of the Last Minstrel.
• Cartland Crags, near Lanark, celebrated as among the favorite retreats of Sir William Wallace, " See Appendix, Note M. MS.-"For brief the intercourse, I ween,
Such uncongenial souls between;
To bind the comrades of the way." . See Appendix, Note N.
7 Ibid. Note 0. 6 MS.-"Flashing to heaven her sparkling spray,
And clamoring joyful on her way."
Stand forth to guard the rearward post,
Oft, too, the ivy swathed their breast,
VII. The open vale is soon pass'd o'er, Rokeby, though nigh, is seen no more ;' Sinking mid Greta's thickets deep, A wild and darker course they keep, A stern and lone, yet lovely road, As e'er the foot of Minstrel trode !? Broad shadows o'er their passage fell, Deeper and narrower grew the dell; It seem'd some mountain, rent and riven, A channel for the stream had given, So high the cliffs of limestone gray Hung beetling o'er the torrent's way, Yielding, along their rugged base, A flinty footpath's niggard space, Where he, who winds 'twixt rock and wave, May hear the headlong torrent rave, And like a steed in frantic fit, That flings the froth from curb and bit,* May view her chafe her waves to spray, O'er every rock that bars her way, Till foam-globes on her eddies ride, Thick as the schemes of human pride That down life's current drive amain, As frail, as frothy, and as vain!
IX. Now from the stream the rocks recede, But leave between no sunny mead, No, nor the spot of pebbly sand, Oft found by such a mountain strand; Forming such warm and dry retreat, As fancy deems the lonely seat, Where hermit, wandering from his cell, His rosary might love to tell. But here, 'twixt rock and river, grew A dismal grove of sable yew, With whose sad tints were mingled seen The blighted fir's sepulchral green. Seem'd that the trees their shadows cast, The earth that nourish'd them to blast; For never knew that swarthy grove The verdant hue that fairies love; Nor wilding green, nor woodland flower, Arose within its baleful bower: The dank and sable earth receives Its only carpet from the leaves, That, from the withering branches cast, Bestrew'd the ground with every blast. Though now the sun was o'er the hill, In this dark spot 'twas twilight still, Save that on Greta's farther side Some straggling beams through copsewood
glide; And wild and savage contrast made
VIII. The cliffs that rear their haughty head High o'er the river's darksome bed, Were now all naked, wild, and gray, Now waving all with greenwood spray; Here trees to every crevice clung, And o'er the dell their branches hung; And there, all splinter'd and uneven, The shiver'd rocks ascend to heaven;
1 MS.--"And Rokeby's tower is seen no more ;
Sinking mid Greta's thickets greon,
The journeyers seek another scene." 2 See Appendix, Note P. 3 MS.—"Yielding their rugged base beside
A flinty path by Greta's tide.”
* niggard ! MS.—“That flings the foam from curb and bit,
Till down her boiling eddies ride," &c. 6 MS.-" The frequent iry swathed their breast,
And wreathed its tendrils round their crest,
And tremble o'er the Greta's brawl." 6 MS -“ And so the ivy's banners
Waved wildly trembling o'er the scene,
( Waved wild above the clamorous stream." 7 MS.
"ia torrent's strand; Where in the warm and dry retreat,
May fancy form some hermit's seat." & MS.--"A darksome grove of funeral yew,
Where trees a baleful shadow cast,
The blighted fir's sepulchral green."
Save that upon the rocks opposed