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His voice was steady, low, and deep, Like distant waves when breezes sleep; And sorrow mix'd with Edmund's fear, Its low unbroken depth to hear.
No twilight dews his wrath allay;
vave with bloody light, Then sinks at once—and all is night.
XX. "Edmund, in thy sad tale I find The woe that warp'd my patron's mind : *Twould wake the fountains of the eye In other men, but mine are dry. Mortham must never see the fool, That sold himself base Wycliffe's tool; Yet less from thirst of sordid gain, Than to avenge supposed disdain. Say, Bertram rues his fault;—a word, Till now from Bertram never heard: Say, too, that Mortham's Lord he prays To think but on their former days; On Quariana's beach and rock, On Cayo's bursting battle shock, On Darien's sands and deadly dew, And on the dart Tlatzeca threw ;Perchance my patron yet may hear More that may grace his comrade's bier. My soul hath felt a secret weight, A warning of approaching fate: A priest had said, “Return, repent ! As well to bid that rock be rent. Firm as that flint I face mine end; My heart may burst, but cannot bend.?
XXI. “The dawning of my youth, with awe And prophecy, the Dalesmen saw; For over Redesdale it came, As bodeful as their beacon-flame. Edmund, thy years were scarcely mine, When, challenging the Clans of Tyne, To bring their best my brand to prove, O’er Hexham's altar hung my glove ;' But Tynedale, nor in tower nor town, Held champion meet to take it down. My noontide, India may declare ; Like her fierce sun, I fired the air ! Like him, to wood and cave bade fly Her natives, from mine angry eye. Panama's maids shall long look pale When Risingham inspires the tale; Chili's dark matrons long shall tame The froward child with Bertram's name. And now, my race of terror run, Mine be the eve of tropic sun! No pale gradations quench his ray,
XXII. “ Now to thy mission, Edmund. Fly, Seek Mortham out, and bid him hie To Richmond, where his troops are laid, And lead his force to Redmond's aid. Say, till he reaches Egliston, A friend will watch to guard his son." Now, fare-thee-well; for night draws on, And I would rest me here alone.” Despite his ill-dissembled fear, There swam in Edmund's eye a tear ; A tribute to the courage high, Which stoop'd not in extremity, But strove, irregularly great, To triumph o'er approaching fate ! Bertram beheld the dewdrop start, It almost touch'd his iron heart: “I did not think there lived,” he said,
One, who would tear for Bertram shed.” He loosen'd then his baldric's hold, A buckle broad of massive gold ;“Of all the spoil that paid his pains, But this with Risingham remains; And this, dear Edmund, thou shalt take, And wear it long for Bertram's sake. Once more-to Mortham speed amain; Farewell ! and turn thee not again."
XXIII. The night has yielded to the morn, And far the hours of prime are worn. Oswald, who, since the dawn of day, Had cursed his messenger's delay, Impatient question'd now his train, “ Was Denzil's son return'd again ?" It chanced there answer'd of the crew A menial, who young Edmund knew : “No son of Denzil this,"—he said ; “A peasant boy from Winston glade, For song and minstrelsy renown'd, And knavish pranks, the hamlets round.” “Not Denzil's son From Winston vale ! Then it was false, that specious tale ; Or, worse—he hath despatched the youth To show to Mortham's Lord its truth. Fool that I was !—but 'tis too late;This is the very turn of fate !-
1 MS." Perchance, that Mortham yet may hear
Something to grace his comrade's bier.” 7 MS.
“ ne'er shall bend.” a See Appendix, Note 31.
4 MS.--"With him and Fairfax for his friend,
No risk that Wycliife dares contend.
There will be one to guard his son." 5 MS.--" This is the crisis of my fate."
The tale, or true or false, relies
– Basil, tell Wilfrid he must straight Attend me at the Castle-gate.”—
Else, wherefore should I now delay
XXIV. “ Alas!" the old domestic said, And shook his venerable head, “Alas, my Lord! full ill to-day May my young master brook the way! The leech has spoke with grave alarm, Of unseen hurt, of secret harm, Of sorrow lurking at the heart, That mars and lets his healing art.”" Tush, tell not me!-Romantic boys Pine themselves sick for airy toys. I will find cure for Wilfrid soon; Bid him for Egliston be boune, And quick !—I hear the dull death-drum Tell Denzil's hour of fate is come.” He paused with scornful smile, and then Resumed his train of thought agen. "Now comes my fortune's crisis near ! Entreaty boots not—instant fear, Naught else, can bend Matilda's pride, Or win her to be Wilfrid's bride. But when she sees the scaffold placed, With axe and block and headsman graced, And when she deems, that to deny Dooms Redmond and her sire to die, She must give way.—Then, were the line Of Rokeby once combined with mine, I gain the weather-gage of fate! If Mortham come, he comes too late, While I, allied thus and prepared, Bid him defiance to his beard.-If she prove stubborn, shall I dare To drop the axe -Soft ! pause we there. Mortham still lives-yon youth may tell His tale--and Fairfax loves him well ;
XXVI. O, for that pencil, erst profuse Of chivalry's emblazon'd hues, That traced of old, in Woodstock bower, The pageant of the Leaf and Flower, And bodied forth the tourney high, Held for the hand of Emily! Then might I paint the tumult broad, That to the crowded abbey flow'd, And pour’d, as with an ocean's sound, Into the church's ample bound ! Then might I show each varying mien, Exulting, woeful, or serene; Indifference, with his idiot stare, And Sympathy, with anxious air, Paint the dejected Cavalier, Doubtful, disarm’d, and sad of cheer; And his proud foe, whose formal eye Claim'd conquest now and mastery; And the brute crowd, whose envious zeal Huzzas each turn of Fortune's wheel, And loudest shouts when lowest lie Exalted worth and station high. Yet what may such a wish avail ? 'Tis mine to tell an onward tale,
1 MS." Marks the dark cloud sweep down the Tees." rather explains itself by gradual unravelment."- Monthly Ren
3 « This subordinate villain thus meets the reward which he view.
" 'Tis mine to tell an onward tale," and indeed a peculiar propriety in this respect is observable
"Or snatch a blossom from the bough," throughout the story. No character, and, comparatively speaking, but little description, is introduced that is unessential to adds, “ Assuredly, if such lines as these had occurred more the narrative; it proceeds clearly, if not rapidly, throughout; frequently in Rokeby, it would have extorted our unqualified and although the plot becomes additionally involved to appear- admiration : and although we lament that numerous little ance as it advances, all is satisfactorily explained at the last, or blemishes, which might easily be removed, have been suffered
Hurrying, as best I can, along,
XXVIII. But Oswald, guarded by his band, Powerful in evil, waved his hand, And bade Sedition's voice be dead, On peril of the murmurer's head. Then first his glance sought Rokeby's Knight ;Who gazed on the tremendous sight, As calm as if he came a guest To kindred Baron's feudal feast, As calm as if that trumpet-call Were summons to the banner'd hall; Firm in his loyalty he stood, And prompt to seal it with his blood. With downcast look drew Oswald nigh, He durst not cope with Rokeby's eye!And said, with low and faltering breath, “Thou know'st the terms of life and death." The Knight then turn'd, and sternly smiled; “ The maiden is mine only child, Yet shall my blessing leave her head, If with a traitor's son she wed.” Then Redmond spoke: “ The life of one Might thy malignity atone, On me be flung a double guilt ! Spare Rokeby's blood, let mine be spilt !” Wycliffe had listen’d to his suit, But dread prevail'd, and he was mute.
XXVII. The reverend pile lay wild and waste, Profaned, dishonor'd, and defaced. Through storied lattices no more In soften'd light the sunbeams po Gilding the Gothic sculpture rich Of shrine, and monument, and niche. The Civil fury of the time Made sport of sacrilegious crime ;) For dark Fanaticism rent Altar, and screen, and ornament, And peasant hands the tombs o'erthrew Of Bowes, of Rokeby, and Fitz-Hugh.” And now was seen, unwonted sight, In holy walls a scaffold dight! Where once the priest, of grace divine Dealt to his flock the mystic sign; There stood the block display'd, and there The headsman grim his hatchet bare; And for the word of Hope and Faith, Resounded loud a doom of death. Thrice the fierce trumpet's breath was
heard, And echo'd thrice the herald's word, Dooming, for breach of martial laws, And treason to the Commons' cause, The Knight of Rokeby and O'Neale To stoop their heads to block and steel. The trumpets flourish'd high and shrill, Then was a silence dead and still ; And silent prayers to heaven were cast, And stifled sobs were bursting fast, Till from the crowd began to rise Murmurs of sorrow or surprise, And from the distant aisles there came Deep-mutter'd threats, with Wycliffe's
XXIX. And now he pours his choice of fear In secret on Matilda's ear; “ An union form'd with me and mine, Ensures the faith of Rokeby's line. Consent, and all this dread array, Like morning dream shall pass away; Refuse, and, by my duty press'd, I give the word—thou know'st the rest." Matilda, still and motionless, With terror heard the dread address, Pale as the sheeted maid who dies To hopeless love a sacrifice; Then wrung her hands in agony, And round her cast bewilder'd eye. Now on the scaffold glanced, and now On Wycliffe's unrelenting brow. She veil'd her face, and, with a voice Scarce audible,—" I make my choice! Spare but their lives !—for aught beside,
SMS.—“Muttering of threats, and Wycliffe's name." 4 MS." Then from his victim sought to know
to remain ; that many of the poetical ornaments, though jast-
1 The MS. has not this nor the preceding couplet.
The tombs of Lacy and Fitz-Hugh."
The working of his tragic show,
And first his glance," &c. 5 MS.-" To some high Baron's feudal feast,
And that loud pealing trumpet-call
Was summons," &c. 6 MS.-" He dursi not meet his scornful eye. 7 MS.
** the blood of one Might this malignant plot atone."
Let Wilfrid's doom my fate decide.
And sought in better world the meed, He once was generous !”—As she spoke,
To blameless life by Heaven decreed. Dark Wycliffe's joy in triumph broke :“Wilfrid, where loiter'd ye so late?
XXXI. Why upon Basil rest thy weight?
The wretched sire beheld, aghast, Art spell-bound by enchanter's wand ?
With Wilfrid all his projects past, Kneel, kneel, and take her yielded hand;' All turn'd and centred on his son, Thank her with raptures, simple boy !
On Wilfrid all-and he was gone. Should tears and trembling speak thy “ And I am childless now," he said ; joy ?”—
“Childless through that relentless maid ! "O hush, my sire! To prayer and tear
A lifetime's arts in vain essay'd, Of mine thou hast refused thine ear ;
Are bursting on their artist's head !But now the awful hour draws on,
Here lies my Wilfrid dead-and there When truth must speak in loftier tone.”
Comes hated Mortham for his heir,
Eager to knit in happy band
With Rokeby's heiress Redmond's hand.
And shall their triumph soar o'er all Couldst thou so injure me,” he said,
The schemes deep-laid to work their fall? “Of thy poor friend so basely deem,
No!-deeds which prudence might not dare, As blend with him this barbarous scheme? Appal not vengeance and despair. Alas! my efforts made in vain,
The murd’ress weeps upon his bierMight well have saved this added pain.
I'll change to real that feigned tear! But now, bear witness earth and heaven,
They all shall share destruction's shock; That ne'er was hope to mortal given,
Ho! lead the captives to the block !" So twisted' with the strings of life,
But ill his Provost could divine As this to call Matilda wife!
His feelings, and forebore the sigu. I bid it now for ever part,
“ Slavel to the block !-or I, or they, And with the effort bursts
Shall face the judgment-seat this day!"
The outmost crowd have heard a sound, The agony of mental pain.
Like horse's hoof on harden'd ground; He kneeld-his lip her hand had press’d, — Nearer it came, and yet more near, Just then he felt the stern arrest.
The very death's-men paused to hear. Lower and lower sunk his head,
"Tis in the churchyard now—the tread They raised him,—but the life was fled !
Hath waked the dwelling of the dead! Then, first alarm’d, his sire and train
Fresh sod, and old sepulchral stone, Tried every ajd, but tried in vain.
Return the tramp in varied tone. The soul, too soft its ills to bear,
All eyes upon the gateway hung, Had left our mortal hemisphere,
When through the Gothic arch there sprung 1 In place of this and preceding couplet, the MS. has, cessful than on any former occasion. Wilfrid, a person of the “Successful was the scheme he plann'd:
first importance in the whole management of the plot, exhibits Kneel, Wilfrid ! take her yielded hand !"
an assemblage of qualities not unfrequently combined in real 2 MS." He kneel'd, and took her hand."
life, but, so far as we can recollect, never before represented in 3 YS.-" To save the complicated pain."
poetry. It is, indeed, a character which required to be toncled 4 WS.--" Blended."
with great art and delicacy. The reader generally expects to 5 MS.-" His lips upon her hands were press'd,
find beauty of form, strength, grace, and agility, united with Just as he felt the stern arrest."
powerful passions, in the prominent figures of romance; le 6 " The character of Wilfrid is as extensively drawn, and
cause these visible qualities are the most frequent themes of even more so, perhaps, than that of Bertram. And amidst panegyric, and usually the best passports to admiration. The the fine and beautiful moral reflections accompanying it, a
absence of them is supposed to throw an air of ridicule on the deep insight into the human heart is discernible :-we had pretensions of a candidate for love or glory. An ordinary almost said an intuition more penetrating than even his, to
poet, therefore, would have despaired of awakening our symwhom were given these golden keys' that unlock the gates pathy in favor of that lofty and generous spirit, and keen sepof joy.'
sibility, which at once animate and consume the frail and • Of horror that and thrilling fears,
sickly frame of Wilfrid ; yet Wilfrid is, in fact, extremely in Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic tears.'”
teresting; and his death, though obviously necessary to the British Critic.
condign punishment of Oswald, to the future repose of Matil
da, and consequently to the consummation of the poem, leaves " In delineating the actors of this dramatic tale, we have strong emotions of pity and regret in the mind of the reader." little hesitation in saying, that Mr. Scott has been more suc- -Quarterly Review.
A horseman arm’d, at headlong speed
By tenfold odds oppress’d at length,
XXXIII, While yet the smoke the deed conceals, Bertram his ready charger wheels; But flounder'd on the pavement-floor The steed, and down the rider bore, And, bursting in the headlong sway, The faithless saddle-girths gave way. 'Twas while he toild him to be freed, And with the rein to raise the steed, That from amazement's iron trance All Wycliffe's soldiers waked at once. Sword, halberd, musket-but, their blows Hail'd upon Bertram as he rose; A score of pikes, with each a wound, Bore down and pinn'd him to the ground ;' But still his struggling force he rears, 'Gainst hacking brands and stabbing spears ; Thrice from assailants shook him free, Once gain'd his feet, and twice his knee.
XXXIV. No more of death and dying pang, No more of trump and bugle clang, Though through the sounding woods there come Banner and bugle, trump and drum, Arm'd with such powers as well had freed Young Redmond at his utmost need, And back'd with such a band of horse, As might less ample powers enforce; Possess'd of every proof and sign That gave an heir to Mortham's line, And yielded to a father's arms An image of his Edith's charms,Mortham is come, to hear and see Of this strange morn the history. What saw he?--not the church's floor, Cumber'd with dead and stain'd with gore; What heard he !--not the clamorous crowd, That shout their gratulations loud: Redmond he saw and heard alone, Clasp'd him, and sobb’d, “My son! my son !"
1 See Appendix, Note 3 K.
chancel's bound 3 MS.--"Oppressid and pinn'd him to the ground.” 4 MS.--" And when, by odds borne down at length.” * MS.-" He bore." • MS.-" Had more of laugh in it than moan.” 7 MS." But held their weapons ready set,
Lest the grim king should rouse him yet.” & MS.But Basil check'd them with disdain,
And flung a mantle o'er the slain." 9" Whether we see him scaling the cliffs in desperate course, and scaring the hawks and the ravens from their nests; or, while the Castle is on fire, breaking from the central mass of smoke; or, amidst the terrific circumstances of his death, when his
* parting groan
we mark his race of terror, with the poet, like the eve of tropic sun !
• No pale gradations quench bis ray,
British Critic. “ I hope you will like Bertram to the end; he is a Caravaggio sketch, which, I may acknowledge to yon--but tell it not in Gath-I rather pique myself upon ; and he is within the keeping of Nature, though critics will say to the contrary. It may be difficult to fancy that any one should take a sort of pleasure in bringing out such a character, but I suppose it is partly owing to bad reading, and ill-directed reading, when I was young."-Scorr to Miss Baillie.-Life, vol. iv. P.
49. 10 MS.-Here the author of Rokeby wrote,
" End of Canto VI." Stanza xxxv., added at the request of the printer and another