« AnteriorContinuar »
And Woden's Croft did title gain
Then gray Philosophy stood nigh,
IL Yet Scald or Kemper err’d, I ween, Who gave that soft and quiet scene, With all its varied light and shade, And every little sunny glade, And the blithe brook that strolls along Its pebbled bed with summer song, To the grim God of blood and scar, The grisly King of Northern War. 0, better were its banks assign'd To spirits of a gentler kind ! For where the thicket-groups recede, And the rath primrose decks the mead, The velvet grass seems carpet meet For the light fairies' lively feet. Yon tufted knoll, with daisies strown, Might make proud Oberon a throne, While hidden in the thicket nigh, Puck should brood o'er his frolic sly; And where profuse the wood-vetch clings Round ash and elm, in verdant rings, Its pale and azure-pencilld flower Should canopy Titania's bower.
IV. “And rest we here,” Matilda said, And sat her in the varying shade. “Chance-met, we well may steal an hour, To friendship due, from fortune's power. Thou, Wilfred, ever kind, must lend Thy counsel to thy sister-friend; And, Redmond, thou, at my behest, No farther urge thy desperate 'quest. For to my care a charge is left, Dangerous to one of aid bereft; Wellnigh an orphan, and alone, Captive her sire, her house o'erthrown.” Wilfrid, with wonted kindness graced, Beside her on the turf she placed; Then paused, with downcast look and eye, Nor bade young Redmond seat him nigh. Her conscious diffidence he saw, Drew backward, as in modest awe, And sat a little space removed, Unmark'd to gaze on her he loved.
III. Here rise no cliffs the vale to shade; But, skirting every sunny glade, In fair variety of green The woodland lends its silvan screen, Hoary, yet haughty, frowns the oak, Its boughs by weight of ages broke; And towers erect, in sable spire, The pine-tree scathed by lightning-fire; The drooping ash and birch, between, Hang their fair tresses o'er the green, And all beneath, at random grow Each coppice dwarf of varied show, Or, round the stems profusely twined, Fling summer odors on the wind. Such varied group Urbino's hand Round Him of Tarsus nobly plann'd, What time he bade proud Athens own On Mars's Mount the God Unknown!
Wreathed in its dark-brown rings, her hair
1 MS.-" The early primrose decks the mead,
And the short velvet grass seems meet
For the light fairies' frolic feet." 2 MS.—"That you had said her cheek was pale ;
But if she faced the morning gale,
Or longer spoke, or quicker moved." 3 MS.—“Or aught of interest was express'd
That waked a feeling in her breast,
? in ready play."
Safe and unransom'd sent them home,
In hours of sport, that mood gave way?
VII. Years speed away. On Rokeby's head Some touch of early snow was shed; Calm he enjoy'd, by Greta's wave, The peace which James the Peaceful gave, While Mortham, far beyond the main, Waged his fierce wars on Indian Spain.It chanced upon a wintry night, That whiten'd Stanmore's stormy height, The chase was o'er, the stag was killid, In Rokeby-hall the cups were fillid, And by the huge stone chimney sate The Knight in hospitable state. Moonless the sky, the hour was late, When a loud summons shook the gate, And sore for entrance and for aid A voice of foreign accent pray'd. The porter answer'd to the call, And instant rush'd into the hall A Man, whose aspect and attire Startled the circle by the fire.
To Fancy's light and frolic play,
His Maudlin merriest of them all." 2 MS.-" With a soft vision of her heart,
That stole its seat, ere yet she knew
The guard to early passion due.” : See Appendix, Note 2 0.
4 Ibid. Note 2 P. MS.—“And, by the deep resounding More,
The English veterans heap'd the shore.
VIII. His plaited hair in elf-locks spread 10 Around his bare and matted head; On leg and thigh, close stretch'd and trim, His vesture show'd the sinewy limb; In saffron dyed, a linen vest Was frequent folded round his breast; A mantle long and loose he wore, Shaggy with ice, and stain'd with gore. He clasp'd a burden to his heart, And, resting on a knotted dart, The snow from hair and beard he shook, And round him gazed with wilder'd look. Then
the hall, with staggering pace, He hasten'd by the blaze to place, Half lifeless from the bitter air, His load, a Boy of beauty rare. To Rokeby, next, he louted low, Then stood erect his tale to show,"1
6 MS.-"A kinsman near to great O'Neale." See Appendix, Note 2 Q. 7 MS.-—"Gave them each varied joy to know, The words of Ophalie could show."
"stormy night, When early snow clad Stanmore's beight." 9 MS." And instant into Rokeby-hall
A stranger rush'd, whose wild attire
Startled," &c. 10 See Appendix, Note 2 R. 11 MS.-"Shaggy with snow, and stain'd with gore.
His features as his dress were wild,
With wild majestic port and tone,
IX. His look grew fix’d, his cheek grew pale, He sunk when he had told his tale; For, hid beneath his mantle wide, A mortal wound was in his side. Vain was all aid-in terror wild, And sorrow, scream'd the orphan Child. Poor Ferraught raised his wistful eyes, And faintly strove to soothe his cries; All reckless of his dying pain, He blest and blest him-o'er again! And kiss'd the little hands outspread, And kiss'd and cross'd the infant head, And, in his native tongue and phrase, Pray'd to each saint to watch his days; Then all his strength together drew, The charge to Rokeby to renew. When half was falter'd from his breast, And half by dying signs express’d, « Bless the O'Neale !” he faintly said, And thus the faithful spirit fled.
The brand of Lenaugh More the Red,
X. 'Twas long ere soothing might prevail Upon the Child to end the tale ; And then he said, that from his home His grandsire had been forced to roam, Which had not been if Redmond's hand Had but had strength to draw the brand,
With staggering and unequal pace,
He turn'd his errand to declare."
3 MS.—“ To bind the charge upon thy soul,
Remember Erin's social bowl." * See Appendix, Note 2 T.
3 Here follows in the MS. a stanza of sixteen lines, which the author subsequently dispersed through stanzas xv. and
post. 6 MS." Three years more old, 'twas Redmond's pride,
Matilda's tottering steps to guide."
And she, whose veil receives the shower,
Now must Matilda stray apart,
XIII. But Redmond knew to weave his tale So well with praise of wood and dale, And knew so well each point to trace, Gives living interest to the chase, And knew so well o'er all to throw His spirit's wild romantic glow, That, while she blamed, and while she feard, She loved each venturous tale she heard. Oft, too, when drifted snow and rain To bower and hall their steps restrain, Together they explored the page Of glowing bard or gifted sage; Oft, placed the evening fire beside, The minstrel art alternate tried, While gladsome harp and lively lay Bade winter-night flit fast away: Thus, from their childhood, blending still Their sport, their study, and their skill, An union of the soul they prove, But must not think that it was love. But though they dared not, envious Fame Soon dared to give that union name; And when so often, side by side, From year to year the pair she eyed, She sometimes blamed the good old Knight, As dull of ear and dim of sight, Sometimes his purpose would declare, That young O'Ncale should wed his heir.
XIV. The suit of Wilfrid rent disguise And bandage from the lovers' eyes ;'Twas plain that Oswald, for his son, Had Rokeby's favor wellnigh won. Now must they meet with change of cheer, With mutual looks of shame and fear;
XV. If brides were won by heart and blade, Redmond had both his cause to aid, And all beside of nurture rare That might beseem a baron's heir. Turlough O'Neale, in Erin's strife, On Rokeby's Lord bestow'd his life, And well did Rokeby's generous Knight Young Redmond for the deed requite. Nor was his liberal care and cost Upon the gallant stripling lost: Seek the North-Riding broad and wide, Like Redmond none could steed bestride; From Tynemouth search to Cumberland, Like Redmond none could wield a brand; And then, of humor kind and free, And bearing him to each degree With frank and fearless courtesy, There never youth was form'd to steal Upon the heart like brave O'Neale.
XVI. Sir Richard loved him as his son; And when the days of peace were done,
1 MS.-" And she on whom these treasures shower." * MS.“Grim sanglier.” 3 MS." Then bless'd himself that man can find
A pastime of such cruel kind.”
The love he never can subdue;
heroes • MS.-“Thought on the
of his line,
Great Nial of the Pledges Nine,
7 See Appendix, Note 2 U.
& Ibid. Note 2 V.
9 Ibid. Note 2 W.
On the dark visions of their soul, And bade their mournful musing fly, Like mist before the zephyr's sigh.
And to the gales of war he gave
XVIII. “ I need not to my friends recall, How Mortham shunn'd my father's hall; A man of silence and of woe, Yet ever anxious to bestow On my poor self whate'er could prove A kinsman's confidence and love. My feeble aid could sometimes chase The clouds of sorrow for a space ; But oftener, fix'd beyond my power, I mark'd his deep despondence lower. One dismal cause, by all unguess'd, His fearful confidence confess'd; And twice it was my hap to see Examples of that agony, Which for a season can o'erstrain And wreck the structure of the brain. He had the awful power to know The approaching mental overthrow, And while his mind had courage yet To struggle with the dreadful fit, The victim writhed against its throes, Like wretch beneath a murderer's blows. This malady, I well could mark, Sprung from some direful cause and dark; But still he kept its source conceald, Till arming for the civil field; Then in my charge he bade me hold A treasure huge of gems and gold, With this disjointed dismal scroll, That tells the secret of his soul, In such wild words as oft betray A mind by anguish forced astray.”—
XVII. When lovers meet in adverse hour, "Tis like a sun-glimpse through a shower, A watery ray, an instant seen The darkly closing clouds between. As Redmond on the turf reclined, The past and present fill'd his mind :* “It was not thus,” Affection said, “I dream'd of my return, dear maid ! Not thus, when from thy trembling hand, I took the banner and the brand, When round me, as the bugles blew, Their blades three hundred warriors drew, And, while the standard I unrollid, Clash'd their bright arms, with clamor bold. Where is that banner now?—its pride Lies 'whelm'd in Ouse's sullen tide! Where now those warriors !--in their gore, They cumber Marston's dismal moor! And what avails a useless brand, Held by a captive's shackled hand, That only would his life retain, To aid thy sire to bear his chain!" Thus Redmond to himself apart; Nor lighter was his rival's heart; For Wilfrid, while his generous soul Disdain'd to profit by control, By many a sign could mark too plain, Save with such aid, his hopes were vain. But now Matilda's accents stole
1 Appendix, Note 2 X. 2 Ibid. Note 2 Y. 3 MS." His valor saved old Rokeby's life,
But when he saw him prisoner made,
He kiss'd and then flung down his blade." 4 After this line the MS. has :
" His ruin'd hopes, impending woes
Till in his eye the tear-drop rose."