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And if thou canst that riddle read,
As read full well you may,
Yet sung she, “Brignall banks are fair,
And Greta woods are green;
Than reign our English queen.
An early image fills his mind:
And Greta woods are green,
Would grace a summer queen.
Beneath the turrets high, A Maiden on the castle wall
Was singing merrily,
And by your palfrey good,
To keep the king's greenwood.”— “A Ranger, lady, winds his horn,
And 'tis at peep of light; His blast is heard at merry morn,
And mine at dead of night.”—
Yet sung she, “Brignall banks are fair,
And Greta woods are gay; I would I were with Edmund there,
To reign his Queen of May!
“ With burnish'd brand and musketoon,
So gallantly you come,
That lists the tuck of drum."-
No more the trumpet hear; But when the beetle sounds his hum,
My comrades take the spear.
"O, Brignall banks are fresh and fair,
And Greta woods are green; I'd rather rove with Edmund there,
Than reign our English queen.”—
“And, O! though Brignall banks be fair,
And Greta woods be gay,
Would reign my Queen of May!
"If, Maiden, thou wouldst wend with me,
To leave both tower and town, Thou first must guess what life lead we,
That dwell by dale and down?
XVIII. · Maiden! a nameless life I lead,
A nameless death I'll die; The fiend, whose lantern lights the mead,
Were better mate than I! .
1 MS." And soon the loudest wassailer he,
And life of all their revelry." Scott revisited Rokeby in 1812, for the purpose of refreshing his memory; and Mr. Morritt says,-“I had, of course, had many previous opportunities of testing the almost conscientious fidelity of his local descriptions; but I could not help being singularly struck with the lights which this visit threw on that characteristic of his compositions The morning after he arrived he said, “You have often given me materials for romance-now I want a good robber's cave and an old church of the right sort.' We rode out, and he found what he wanted in the ancient slate quarries of Brignall and the ruined Abbey of Egliston. I observed him noting down even the peculiar little wild-flowers and herbs that accidentally grew
round and on the side of a bold crag near his intended cave of Gay Denzil; and could not help saying, that as he was not to be upon oath in his work, daisies, violets, and primroses would be as poetical as any of the humble plants be was examining. I laughed, in short, at bis scrupulousness; but I understood him when he replied, that in nature herself no two scenes were exactly alike, and that whoever copied truly what was before his eyes, would possess the same variety in his descriptions, and exhibit apparently an imagination as boundless as the range of nature in the scenes he recorded; whereas-whoever trusted to imagination, would soon find his own mind circumscribed, and contracted to a few favorite images."Life of Scott, vol. iv. p. 19.
3 MS.--" The goblin-light on fen or mead."
And when I'm with my comrades met,
Beneath the greenwood bough, What once we were we all forget,
Nor think what we are now.
“Yet Brignall banks are fresh and fair,
And Greta woods are green,
Would grace a summer queen."
When Edmund ceased his simple song,
He blush'd to think, that he should seem
though lowly laid,
found. Nor dare to call his foreign wealth The spoil of piracy or stealth; He won it bravely with his brand, When Spain waged warfare with our land." Mark, too—I brook no idle jeer, Nor couple Bertram's name with fear; Mine is but half the demon's lot, For I believe, but tremble notEnough of this.—Say, why this hoard Thou deem'st at Rokeby castle stored; Or, think'st that Mortham would bestow His treasure with his faction's foe ?"
XIX. At length his wondrous tale he told: When, scornful, smiled his comrade bold; For, train'd in license of a court, Religion's self was Denzil's sport; Then judge in what contempt he held The visionary tales of eld! His awe for Bertram scarce repress'd The unbeliever's sneering jest. “ 'Twere hard,” he said, " for sage or seer, To spell the subject of your fear ; Nor do I boast the art renown'd, Vision and omen to expound. Yet, faith if I must needs afford To spectre watching treasured hoard, As bandog keeps his master's roof, Bidding the plunderer stand aloof, This doubt remains—thy goblin gaunt Hath chosen ill his ghostly haunt; For why his guard on Mortham hold, When Rokeby castle hath the gold Thy patron won on Indian soil," By stealth, by piracy, and spoil ?”
XXI. Soon quench'd was Denzil's ill-timed mirth;' Rather he would have seen the earth Give to ten thousand spectres birth, Than venture to awake to flame The deadly wrath of Risingham. Submiss he answer'd,—“ Mortham's mind, Thou know'st, to joy was ill inclined. In youth, 'tis said, a gallant free, A lusty reveller was he; But since return'd from over sea, A sullen and a silent mood Hath numb'd the current of his blood. Hence he refused each kindly call To Rokeby's hospitable hall, And our stout knight, at dawn of morn Who loved to hear the bugle-horn, Nor less, when eve his oaks embrown'd, To see the ruddy cup go round, Took umbrage that a friend so near Refused to share his chase and cheer; Thus did the kindred barons jar, Ere they divided in the war. Yet, trust me, friend, Matilda fair Of Mortham's wealth is destined heir."
XX. At this he paused—for angry shame Lower'd on the brow of Risingham.
Dark dreams and omens to expound.
Yet, if my faith I must afford,'" &c 4 MS.
1 MS.--"And were I with my true love set
Under the greenwood bough,
Nor think what I am now." 2 MS.
"give the project birth."
The morning vision that you
-“ hath his gold,
** Denzil's mood of mirth;
And give me, if thou darest, the lie !"
XXII. * Destined to her! to yon slight maid ! The prize my life had wellnigh paid, When 'gainst Laroche, by Cayo's wave, I fought my patron's wealth to save ! Denzil, I knew him long, yet ne'er Knew him that joyous cavalier, Whom youthful friends and early fame Callid soul of gallantry and game. A moody man, he sought our crew, Desperate and dark, whom no one knew; And rose, as men with us must rise, By scorning life and all its ties. On each adventure rash he roved, As danger for itself he loved; On his sad brow nor mirth nor wine Could e'er one wrinkled knot untwine; Il was the omen if he smiled, For 'twas in peril stern and wild; But when he laugh’d, each luckless mate Might hold our fortune desperate. Foremost he fought in every broil, Then scornful turn'd him from the spoil ; Nay, often strove to bar the way Between his comrades and their prey; Preaching, even then, to such as we, Hot with our dear-bought victory, Of mercy and humanity.
XXIV. Bertram, to thee I need not tell, What thou hast cause to wot so well, How Superstition's nets were twined Around the Lord of Mortham's mind 18 But since he drove thee from his tower, A maid he found in Greta's bower, Whose speech, like David's harp, had sway, To charm his evil fiend away. I know not if her features moved Remembrance of the wife he loved; But he would gaze upon her eye, Till his mood soften'd to a sigh. He, whom no living mortal sought To question of his secret thought, Now every thought and care confess'd To his fair niece's faithful breast; Nor was there aught of rich and rare, In earth, in ocean, or in air, But it must deck Matilda's hair. Her love still bound him unto life;" But then awoke the civil strife, And menials bore, by his commands, Three coffers, with their iron bands, From Mortham's vault, at midnight deep, To her lone bower in Rokeby-Keep, Ponderous with gold and plate of pride, His gift, if he in battle died.”—
XXIII. "I loved him well: his fearless part, His gallant leading, won my heart. And after each victorious fight, 'Twas I that wrangled for his right, Redeem'd his portion of the prey That greedier mates had torn away: In field and storm thrice saved his life, And once amid our comrades' strife.Yes, I have loved thee! Well hath proved My toil, my danger, how I loved ! Yet will I mourn no more thy fate, Ingrate in life, in death ingrate. Rise if thou canst !" he look'd around, And sternly stamp'd upon the ground"Rise, with thy bearing proud and high, Even as this mom it met mine eye,
XXV. “Then Denzil, as I guess, lays train, These iron-banded chests to gain; Else, wherefore should he hover here, Where many a peril waits him near, For all his feats of war and peace, For plunder'd boors, and harts of greese !10 Since through the hamlets as he fared, What hearth has Guy's marauding spared, Or where the chase that hath not rungsi With Denzil's bow, at midnight strung ?”“I hold my wont-my rangers go,
to track a milk-white doe.12
1 The MS. has not this couplet.
That raised emotions both of rage and fear;
Byron's Works, vol. ix. p. 272. •M8.—" And when the
his bloody fight was done I wrangled for the share he won.” • See Appendix, Note 2 G. * MS.--"To thee, my friend, I need not tell,
What thou hast canse to know so well.” MS—" Around thy captain's moody mind."
7 MS.—“ But it must be Matilda's share.
This, too, still bound him unto life." 8 MS." From a strong vault in Mortham tower,
In secret to Matilda's bower,
Ponderous with ore and gems of pride." 9 MS." Then may I guess thou hast some train,
These iron-banded chests to gain;
Else, why should Denzil hover here." 10 Deer in season. 11 MS.
" that doth not know The midnight clang of Denzil's bow
-I hold my sport," &c. 19 See Appendix, Note 2 H.
By Rokeby-hall she takes her lair,
That issues at a secret spot,
XXVIII. “ Now speak’st thou well :—to me the same. If force or art shall urge the game; Indifferent, if like fox I wind," Or spring like tiger on the hind. But, hark ! our merry-men so gay Troll forth another roundelay."
XXVI. “ 'Tis well !—there's vengeance in the thought: Matilda is by Wilfrid sought ; And hot-brain'd Redmond, too, 'tis said, Pays lover's homage to the maid. Bertram she scorn'd-If met by chance, She turn'd from me her shuddering glance, Like a nice dame, that will not brook On what she hates and loathes to look ; She told to Mortham she could ne'er Behold me without secret fear, Foreboding evil :-She may rue To find her prophecy fall true !The war has weeded Rokeby's train, Few followers in his halls remain; If thy scheme miss, then, brief and bold, We are enow to storm the hold, Bear off the plunder, and the dame, And leave the castle all in flame."
Song. “ A weary lot is thine, fair maid,
A weary lot is thine !
And press the rue for wine!
A feather of the blue,
My love! No more of me you knew.
“ This morn is merry June, I trow,
The rose is budding fain;'
Ere we two meet again."
Upon the river shore,
My love! And adieu for evermore."-"
XXVII. “Still art thou Valor's venturous son! Yet ponder first the risk to run : The menials of the castle, true, And stubborn to their charge, though few;' The wall to scale—the moat to crossThe wicket-grate—the inner fosse”_" Fool! if we blench for toys like these, On what fair guerdon can we seize a Our hardiest venture, to explore Some wretched peasant's fenceless door, And the best prize we bear away, The earnings of his sordid day.” “A while thy hasty taunt forbear: In sight of road more sure and fair, Thou wouldst not choose, in blindfold wrath, Or wantonness, a desperate path? List, then ;--for vantage or assault, From gilded vane to dungeon-vault, Each pass of Rokeby-house I know: There is one postern, dark and low,
XXIX. “ What youth is this, your band among, The best for minstrelsy and song? In his wild notes seem aptly met A strain of pleasure and regret.”— “Edmond of Winston is his name; The hamlet sounded with the fame Of early hopes his childhood gave, Now center'd all in Brignall cave! I watch him well—his wayward course
1 MS.-" The menials of the castle few,
But stubborn to their charge, and true." 2 MS.-"What prize of vantage shall we seize ?" 3 MS.--" That issues level with the moat.” 4 MS.—"I care not if a fox I wind.” 5 MS.
-"our merry-men again
Are frolicking in blithesome strain." 6 MS.-"A laughing eye, a dauntless mien."
7 MS.-" To the Printer :- The abruptness as to the song is unavoidable. The music of the drinking party could only oper
ate as a sudden interruption !o Bertram's conversation, however naturally it might be introduced among the feasters, who were at some distance.
" Fain, in old English and Scotch, expresses, I think, a propensity to give and receive pleasurable emotions, a sort of fondness which may, without harshness, I think, be applied to a rose in the act of blooming. You remember • Jockey fow and Jenny fain.'-W. 8.”
Greta 8 MS.-"Upon the
Scottish | See Appendix, Note 2 I.
And she fled to the forest to hear a love-tale, And the youth it was told by as Allen-a-Dale!
Shows oft a tincture of remorse.
ALLEN-A-DALE. Allen-a-Dale has no fagot for burning, Allen-a-Dale has no furrow for turning, Allen-a-Dale has no fleece for the spinning, Yet Allen-a-Dale has red gold for the winning. Come, read me my riddle! come, hearken my tale! And tell me the craft of bold Allen-a-Dale.
XXXI. “Thou see'st that, whether sad or gay, Love mingles ever in his lay. But when his boyish wayward fit Is o'er, he hath address and wit; O! 'tis a brain of fire, can ape Each dialect, each various shape." — “Nay, then, to aid thy project, GuySoft! who comes here ?”—“My trusty spy. Speak, Hamlin! hast thou lodged our deer !" “I have-but two fair stags are near.
watch'd her, as she slowly stray'd
The Baron of Ravensworth' prances in pride,
Allen-a-Dale was ne'er belted a knight[bright;
Allen-a-Dale to his wooing is come; The mother, she ask'd of his household and home: “Though the castle of Richmond stand fair on the
hill, My hall,” quoth bold Allen, "shows gallanter still ; *Tis the blue vault of heaven, with its crescent so pale,
[Dale. And with all its bright spangles !” said Allen-a
I. When Denmark's raven soard on high, Triumphant through Northumbrian sky, Till, hovering near, her fatal croak Bade Reged's Britons dread the yoke," And the broad shadow of her wing Blacken'd each cataract and spring, Where Tees in tumult leaves his source, Thundering o'er Caldron and High-Force ;! Beneath the shade the Northmen came, Fix'd on each vale a Runic name, Rear'd high their altar's rugged stone, And gave their Gods the land they won. Then, Balder, one bleak garth was thine, And one sweet brooklet's silver line,
The father was steel, and the mother was stone; They lifted the latch, and they bade him be gone; But loud, on the morrow,
their wail and their cry He had laugh'd on the lass with his bonny black eye,
* Scathed Ş
Seared 2 MS.-- Oft help the weary night away."
a The ruins of Ravensworth Castle stand in the North Riding of Yorkshire, about three miles from the town of Richmond, and adjoining to the waste called the Forest of Arkingarth. It belonged originally to the powerful family of FitzHagh, from whom it passed to the Lords Dacre of the South.
4 MS.—"But a score of good fellows," &c.
8 The Tees rises about the skirts of Crossfell, and falls over the cataracts named in the text before it leaves the mountains which divide the North Riding from Cumberland. High-Force is seventy-five feet in height.
See Appendix, Note 2 M.