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Thy kinsman, when his guilt is known.
Then pray'd it might not chafe my mood
“Yes, she was fair !—Matilda, thou
XXII. “ All fled my rage—the villain first, Whose craft my jealousy had nursed; He sought in far and foreign clime To 'scape the vengeance of his crime. The manner of the slaughter done Was known to few, my guilt to none; Some tale my faithful steward framed I know not what-of shaft mis-aim'd; And even from those the act who knew, He hid the hand from which it flew. Untouch'd by human laws I stood, But God had heard the cry of blood ! There is a blank upon my mind, A fearful vision ill-defined, Of raving till my flesh was torn, Of dungeon-bolts and fetters wornAnd when I waked to woe more mild, And question’d of my infant child (Have I not written, that she bare A boy, like summer morning fair ?) With looks confused my menials tell That armed men in Mortham dell Beset the nurse's evening way, And bore her, with her charge, away. My faithless friend, and none but he, Could profit by this villany; Him then, I sought, with purpose dread Of treble vengeance on his head! He 'scaped me--but my bosom's wound Some faint relief from wandering found; And over distant land and sea. I bore my load of misery.
XXI. " A kindly smile to all she lent, But on her husband's friend 'twas bent So kind, that from its harmless glee,* The wretch misconstrued villany. Repulsed in his presumptuous love, A 'vengeful snare the traitor wove. Alone we sat-the flask had flow'd, My blood with heat unwonted glow'd, When through the alley'd walk we spied With hurried step my Edith glide, Cowering beneath the verdant screen, As one unwilling to be seen. Words cannot paint the fiendish smile, That curl'd the traitor's cheek the while ! Fiercely I question'd of the cause ; He made a cold and artful pause,
XXIII. “ 'Twas then that fate my footsteps led Among a daring crew and dread," With whom full oft my hated life
The readtest weapon of my wrath,
And hastening up the Greta path.” 6 This couplet is not in the MS. 7 MS._" 'Twas then that fate my footsteps threw
Among a wild and daring crew."
An art that thou wilt gladly know, How thou mayst safely quell a foe."
I ventured in such desperate strife,
XXVI. On hands and knees fierce Bertram drew The spreading birch and hazels through, Till he had Redmond full in view ; The gun he level'd–Mark like this Was Bertram never known to miss, When fair opposed to aim there sate An object of his mortal hate. That day young Redmond's death had seen, But twice Matilda came between The carabine and Redmond's breast, Just ere the spring his finger press'd. A deadly oath the ruffian swore, But yet his fell design forbore: “ It ne'er,” he mutter'd, “shall be said, That thus I scath'd thee, haughty maid !" Then moved to seek more open aim, When to his side Guy Denzil came: “ Bertram, forbear !-we are undone Forever, if thou fire the gun. By all the fiends, an armed force Descends the dell, of foot and horse! We perish if they hear a shotMadman! we have a safer plotNay, friend, be ruled, and bear thee back! Behold, down yonder hollow track, The warlike leader of the band Comes, with his broadsword in his hand.” Bertram look'd up; he saw, he knew That Denzil's fears had counsell’d true, Then cursed his fortune and withdrew, Threaded the woodlands undescried, And gaind the cave on Greta side.
XXIV. “I heard-obey'd-and homeward drew; The fiercest of our desperate crew I brought at time of need to aid My purposed vengeance, long delay'd. But, humble be my thanks to Heaven, That better hopes and thoughts has given, And by our Lord's dear prayer has taught Mercy by mercy must be bought ILet me in misery rejoiceI've seen his face—I've heard his voiceI claim'd of him my only child. As he disown'd the theft, he smiled! That very calm and callous look, That fiendish sneer his visage took, As when he said, in scornful mood, “There is a gallant in the wood !— I did not slay him as he stood All praise be to my Maker given! Long suffrance is one path to heaven."
Xxv. Thus far the woful tale was heard, When something in the thicket stirr'd. Up Redmond sprung; the villain Guy (For he it was that lurk'd so nigh), Drew back-he durst not cross his steel A moment's space with brave O'Neale, For all the treasured gold that rests In Mortham's iron-banded chests. Redmond resumed his seat ;-he said, Some roe was rustling in the shade. Bertram laugh'd grimly when he saw His timorous comrade backward draw; “A trusty mate art thou, to fear A single arm, and aid so near! Yet have I seen thee mark a deer. Give me thy carabine-I'll show
XXVII. They whom dark Bertram, in his wrath, Doom'd to captivity or death, Their thoughts to one sad subject lent, Saw not nor heard the ambushment. Heedless and unconcern'd they sate, While on the very verge of fate; Heedless and unconcern'd remain'd, When Heaven the murderer's arm restrain'd; As ships drift darkling down the tide, Nor see the shelves o'er which they glide. Uninterrupted thus they heard What Mortham's closing tale declared. He spoke of wealth as of a load, By Fortune on a wretch bestow'd, In bitter mockery of hate, His cureless woes to aggravate ; But yet he pray'd Matilda's care Might save that treasure for his heirHis Edith's son-for still he raved As confident his life was saved;
In frequent vision, he averr'd,
And for such noble use design'd.
XXVIII. These solemp words his story close :* Heaven witness for me, that I chose My part in this sad civil fight, Moved by no cause but England's right. My country's groans have bid me draw My sword for gospel and for law :These righted, I fling arms aside, And seek my son through Europe wide. Jy wealth, on which a kinsman nigh Already casts a grasping eye, With thee may unsuspected lie. When of my death Matilda hears, Let her retain her trust three years; If none, from me, the treasure claim, Perish'd is Mortham's race and name. Then let it leave her generous hand, And flow in bounty o'er the land ; Soften the wounded prisoner's lot, Rebuild the peasant's ruin'd cot; So spoils, acquired by fight afar, Shall mitigate domestic war.”
XXX. He felt the kindly check she gave, And stood abash'd—then answer'd grave:" I sought thy purpose, noble maid, Thy doubts to clear, thy schemes to aid. I have beneath mine own command, So wills my sire, a gallant band, And well could send some horseman wight To bear the treasure forth by night, And so bestow it as you deem In these ill days may safest seem.”— “Thanks, gentle Wilfrid, thanks,” she said: “O, be it not one day delay'd ! And, more, thy sister-friend to aid, Be thou thyself content to hold, In thine own keeping, Mortham's gold, Safest with thee."-- While thus she spoke, Arm'd soldiers on their converse broke, The same of whose approach afraid, The ruffians left their ambuscade. Their chief to Wilfrid bended low, Then look'd around as for a foe. “What mean'st thou, friend," young Wyckliffe “Why thus in arms beset the glade P" " That would I gladly learn from you; For up my squadron as I drew, To exercise our martial game Upon the moor of Barninghame, A stranger told you were waylaid, Surrounded, and to death betray'd. He had a leader's voice, I ween, A falcon glance, a warrior's mien. He bade me bring you instant aid; I doubted not, and I obey'd."
XXIX. The generous youths, who well had known Of Mortham's mind the powerful tone, To that high mind, by sorrow swerved, Gave sympathy his woes deserved ; But Wilfrid chief, who saw reveald Why Mortham wish'd his life conceald, In secret, doubtless, to pursue The schemes his wilder'd fancy drew. Thoughtful he heard Matilda tell, That she would share her father's cell, His partner of captivity, Where'er his prison-house should be ; Yet grieved to think that Rokeby-hall, Dismantled and forsook by all, Open to rapine and to stealth, Had now no safeguard for the wealth Intrusted by her kinsman kind,
XXXI. Wilfrid changed color, and, amazed, Turn'd short, and on the speaker gazed; While Redmond every thicket round Track'd earnest as a questing hound, And Denzil's carabine he found ; Sure evidence, by which they knew The warning was as kind as true.? Wisest it seem'd, with cautious speed To leave the dell. It was agreed, That Redmond, with Matilda fair, And fitting guard, should home repair ; At nightfall Wilfrid should attend, With a strong band, his sister-friend, To bear with her from Rokeby's bowers To Barnard Castle's lofty towers, Secret and safe the banded chests, In which the wealth of Mortham rests. This hasty purpose fix'd, they part, Each with a grieved and anxious heart.
II. The eve, that slow on upland fades, Has darker closed on Rokeby's glades, Where, sunk within their banks profound, Her guardian streams to meeting wound. The stately oaks, whose sombre frown Of noontide make a twilight brown, Impervious now to fainter light, Of twilight make an early night.* Hoarse into middle air arose The vespers of the roosting crows, And with congenial murmurs seem To wake the Genii of the stream; For louder clamor'd Greta's tide, And Tees in deeper voice replied, And fitful waked the evening wind, Fitful in sighs its breath resign'd." Wilfrid, whose fancy-nurtured soul Felt in the scene a soft control, With lighter footstep press’d the ground, And often paused to look around; And, though his path was to his love, Could not but linger in the grove, To drink the thrilling interest dear, Of awful pleasure check'd by fear. Such inconsistent moods have we, Even when our passions strike the key.
The sultry summer day is done,
III. Now, through the wood's dark mazes past, The opening lawn he reach'd at last, Where, silver'd by the moonlight ray, The ancient Hall before him lay. Those martial terrors long were fled, That frown'd of old around its head: The battlements, the turrets gray, Seem'd half abandon'd to decay;" On barbican and keep of stone Stern Time the foeman's work had done. Where banners the invader braved, The harebell now and wallflower waved; In the rude guard-room, where of yore Their weary hours the warders wore, Now, while the cheerful fagots blaze, On the paved floor the spindle plays; The flanking guns dismounted lie, The moat is ruinous and dry,
1 MS._" And they the gun of Denzil find;
A witness sure to every mind
The warning was as true as kind." 2 MS.
It was agreed,
A guard should tend her to the gate." g“ The fifth canto opens with an evening-scene, of its accustomed beauty when delineated by Mr. Scott. The mountain fading in the twilight, is nobly imagined."--Monthly Review.
The grim portcullis gone—and all The fortress turn'd to peaceful Hall.
And therefore he had left command
IV. But yet precautions, lately ta’en, Show'd danger's day revived again; The court-yard wall show'd marks of care, The fall'n defences to repair, Lending such strength as might withstand The insult of marauding band. The beams once more were taught to bear The trembling drawbridge into air, And not, till question d o'er and o'er, For Wilfrid oped the jealous door, And when he enter'd, bolt and bar Resumed their place with sullen jar; Then, as he cross'd the vaulted porch, The old gray porter raised his torch, And view'd him o'er, from foot to head, Ere to the hall his steps he led. That huge old hall, of knightly state, Dismantled seem'd and desolate. The moon through transom-shafts of stone, Which cross’d the latticed oriels, shone, And by the mournful light she gave, The Gothic vault seem'd funeral cave. Pennon and banner waved no more O'er beams of stag and tusks of boar, Nor glimmering arms were marshallid seen, To glance those silvan spoils between. Those arms, those ensigns, borne away, Accomplish'd Rokeby's brave array, But all were lost on Marston's day! Yet here and there the moonbeams fall Where armor yet adorns the wall, Cumbrous of size, uncouth to sight, And useless in the modern fight! Like veteran relic of the wars, Known only by neglected scars.
VI. There was no speech the truce to bind, It was a compact of the mind, A generous thought, at once impressid On either rival's generous breast. Matilda well the secret took, From sudden change of mien and look; And—for not small had been her fear Of jealous ire and danger nearFelt, even in her dejected state, A joy beyond the reach of fate. They closed beside the chimney's blaze, And talk'd, and hoped for happier days, . And lent their spirits' rising glow A while to gild impending woe ;High privilege of youthful time, Worth all the pleasures of our prime! The bickering fagot sparkled bright, And gave the scene of love to sight, Bade Wilfrid's cheek more lively glow, Play'd on Matilda's neck of snow, Her nut-brown curls and forehead high, And laugh'd in Redmond's azure eye. Two lovers by the maiden sate, Without a glance of jealous hate; The maid her lovers sat between, With open brow and equal mien ;It is a sight but rarely spied, Thanks to man's wrath and woman's pride.
V. Matilda soon to greet him came, And bade them light the evening flame; Said, all for parting was prepared, And tarried but for Wilfrid's guard. But then, reluctant to unfold His father's avarice of gold, He hinted, that lest jealous eye Should on their precious burden pry, He judged it best the castle gate To enter when the night wore late;
. VII. While thus in peaceful guise they sate, A knock alarm'd the outer gate, And ere the tardy porter stirrd,
For Wilfrid oped the jealous
studded And, on his entry, bolt and bar
Resumed their place with sollen jar." 2 MS. "Confused he stood, as loth to say
What might his sire's base mood display,
1 MS.-" But yet precaution show'd, and