Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]

FOURTH MAIDEN. “ Leave these gems of poorer shine, Leave them all, and look on mine! While their glories I expand, Shade thine eyebrows with thy hand. Mid-day sun and diamond's blaze Blind the rash beholder's gaze."


“Warrior, seize the splendid store ;
Would 'twere all our mountains bore !
We should ne'er in future story,
Read, Peru, thy perish'd glory!"

XXVII. Calmly and unconcern'd, the Knight Waved aside the treasures bright:“Gentle Maidens, rise, I pray ! Bar not thus my destined way. Let these boasted brilliant toys Braid the hair of girls and boys!' Bid your streams of gold expand O'er proud London's thirsty land. De Vaux of wealth saw never need, Save to purvey him arms and steed, And all the ore he deign'd to hoard Inlays his helm, and hilts his sword.” Thus gently parting from their hold, He left, unmoved, the dome of gold.

And oft in such a dreamy mood,

The half-shut eye can frame
Fair apparitions in the wood,
As if the nymphs of field and flood

In gay procession came.
Are these of such fantastic mould,

Seen distant down the fair arcade,
These Maids enlink'd in sister-fold,

Who, late at bashful distance staid,

Now tripping from the greenwood shade,
Nearer the musing champion draw,
And, in a pause of seeming awe,

Again stand doubtful now -
Ah, that sly pause of witching powers !
That seems to say, “ To please be ours,

Be yours to tell us how."
Their hue was of the golden glow
That suns of Candahar bestow,
O'er which in slight suffusion flows
A frequent tinge of paly rose;
Their limbs were fashion'd fair and free,
In nature's justest symmetry;
And, wreathed with flowers, with odors graced,
Their raven ringlets reach'd the waist :
In eastern pomp, its gilding pale
The hennah lent each shapely nail,
And the dark sumah gave


More liquid and more lustrous dye.
The spotless veil of misty lawn,
In studied disarrangement, drawn

The form and bosom o'er,

XXVIII. And now the morning sun was high, De Vaux was weary, faint, and dry; When, lo! a plashing sound he hears, A gladsome signal that he nears

Some frolic water-run;

1 MS.--"Let those boasted gems and pearls

Braid the hair of toy-caught girls."

To win the eye, or tempt the touch, For modesty show'd all too much

Too much-yet promised more.

“Fair Flower of Courtesy, depart !
Go, where the feelings of the heart
With the warm pulse in concord move;
Go, where Virtue sanctions Love !"

XXXI. "Gentle Knight, a while delay," Thus they sung, “thy toilsome way, While we pay the duty due To our Master and to you. Over Avarice, over Fear, Love triumphant led thee here; Warrior, list to us, for we Are slaves to Love, are friends to thee. Though no treasured gems have we, To proffer on the bended knee, Though we boast nor arm nor heart, For the assagay or dart, Swains allow each simple girl Ruby lip and teeth of pearl; Or, if dangers more you prize, Flatterers find them in our eyes.

Downward De Vaux through darksome ways

And ruined vaults has gone,
Till issue from their wilder'd maze,

Or safe retreat, seem'd none,-
And e'en the dismal path he strays

Grew worse as he went on.
For cheerful sun, for living air,
Foul vapors rise and mine-fires glare,
Whose fearful light the dangers show'd
That dogg'd him on that dreadful road.
Deep pits, and lakes of waters dun,
They show'd, but show'd not how to shun.
These scenes of desolate despair,
These smothering clouds of poison'd air,
How gladly had De Vaux exchanged,
Though 'twere to face yon tigers ranged !

Nay, soothful bards have said,
So perilous his state seem'd now,
He wish'd him under arbor bough

With Asia's willing maid.
When, joyful sound ! at distance near
A trumpet flourish'd loud and clear,
And as it ceased, a lofty lay
Seem'd thus to chide his lagging way.


"Stay, then, gentle Warrior, stay,
Rest till evening steal on day;
Stay, 0 stay!-in yonder bowers
We will braid thy locks with flowers,
Spread the feast and fill the wine,
Charm thy ear with sounds divine,
Weave our dances till delight
Yield to languor, day to night.
Then shall she you most approve,
Sing the lays that best you love,
Soft thy mossy couch shall spread,
Watch thy pillow, prop thy head,
Till the weary night be o'er-
Gentle Warrior, wouldst thou more?
Wouldst thou more, fair Warrior,--she
Is slave to Love and slave to thee."

XXXIV. u Son of Honor, theme of story, Think on the reward before ye! Danger, darkness, toil despise ; 'Tis Ambition bids thee rise.

“He that would her heights ascend, Many a weary step must wend; Hand and foot and knee he tries; Thus Ambition's minions rise.

“Lag not now, though rough the way,
Fortune's mood brooks no delay;
Grasp the boon that's spread before ye,
Monarch's power, and Conqueror's glory !"

O do not hold it for a crime
In the bold hero of my rhyme,

For Stoic look,

And meet rebuke, He lack'd the heart or time; As round the band of sirens trip, He kiss'd one damsel's laughing lip,' And press’d another's proffered hand, Spoke to them all in accents bland, But broke their magic circle through; " Kind Maids," he said, “ adieu, adieu ! My fate, my fortune, forward lies.” He said, and vanish'd from their eyes; But, as he dared that darksome way, Still heard behind their lovely lay :

It ceased. Advancing on the sound,
A steep ascent the Wanderer found,

And then a turret stair:
Nor climb'd he far its steepy round

Till fresher blew the air,
And next a welcome glimpse was given,
That cheer'd him with the light of heaven.

At length his toil had won

2 MS.-" This state," &c.

1 MS." As round the band of sirens press'd,

One damsel's laughing lip he kiss'd."

Bid your vaulted echoes moan, As the dreaded step they own.

A lofty hall with trophies dress’d,
Where, as to greet imperial guest,
Four Maidens stood, whose crimson vest

Was bound with golden zone.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Of Europe seem'd the damsels all;
The first a nymph of lively Gaul,
Whose easy step and laughing eye
Her borrow'd air of awe belie;

The next a maid of Spain,
Dark-eyed, dark-hair’d, sedate, yet bold;
White ivory skin and tress of gold,
Her shy and bashful comrade told

For daughter of Almaine.
These maidens bore a royal robe,
With crown, with sceptre, and with globe,

Emblems of empery;
The fourth a space behind them stood,
And leant upon a harp, in mood

Of minstrel ecstasy.
Of merry England she, in dress
Like ancient British Druidess.
Her hair an azure fillet bound,
Her graceful vesture swept the ground,

And, in her hand display'd,
A crown did that fourth Maiden hold,
But unadorn'd with gems and gold,
Of glossy laurel made.?

At once to brave De Vaux knelt down

These foremost Maidens three,
And proffer'd sceptre, robe, and crown,

Liegedom and seignorie,
O'er many a region wide and fair,
Destined, they said, for Arthur's heir ;

But homage would he none: -
“Rather,” he said, “ De Vaux would ride,
A Warden of the Border-side,
In plate and mail, than, robed in pride,

A monarch's empire own;
Rather, far rather, would he be
A free-born knight of England free,

Than sit on Despot's throne.”
So pass'd he on, when that fourth Maid,

As starting from a trance,
Upon the harp her finger laid;
Her magic touch the chords obey'd,

Their soul awaked at once !

“Quake to your foundations deep,
Bastion huge, and Turret steep!
Tremble, Keep! and totter, Tower!
This is Gyneth's waking hour.”

Thus while she sung, the venturous Knight
Has reach'd a bower, where milder light

Through crimson curtains fell;
Such soften'd shade the hill receives,
Her purple veil when twilight leaves

Upon its western swell.
That bower, the gazer to bewitch,
Hath wondrous store of rare and rich

As e'er was seen with eye;
For there by magic skill, I wis,
Form of each thing that living is

Was limn'd in proper dye.
All seem'd to sleep—the timid hare
On form, the stag upon his lair,
The eagle in her eyrie fair

Between the earth and sky.
But what of pictured rich and rares
Could win De Vaux's eye-glance, where
Deep slumbering in the fatal chair,

He saw King Arthur's child !
Doubt, and anger, and dismay,
From her brow had pass'd away.
Forgot was that fell tourney-day,

For, as she slept, she smiled: It seem'd, that the repentant Seer Her sleep of many a hundred year With gentle dreams beguiled.

XXXVIII. That form of maiden loveliness,

'Twixt childhood and 'twixt youth, That ivory chair, that silvan dress, The arms and ankles bare, express

Of Lyulph's tale the truth. Still upon her garment's hem

SONG OF THE FOURTH MAIDEN. “Quake to your foundations deep, Stately Towers, and Banner'd Keep,

1 MS.-“ of laurel leaves was made." 2 MS." But the firm knight pass'd on." 3 MS.—“Spread your pennons all abroad."

4 MS. " and battled keep." 6 MS. -" soften'd light." 6 MS." But what of rich or what of rare."

Vanoc's blood made purple gem,
And the warder of command
Cumber'd still her sleeping hand;
Still her dark locks disheveli'd flow
From net of pearl o'er breast of snow;
And so fair the slumberer seems,
That De Vaux impeach'd his dreams,
Vapid all and void of might,
Hiding half her charms from sight.
Motionless a while he stands,
Folds his arms and clasps his hands,
Trembling in his fitful joy,
Doubtful how he should destroy

Long-enduring spell;
Doubtful, too, when slowly rise
Dark-fringed lids of Gyneth's eyes,

What these eyes shall tell.-
"St. George ! St. Mary! can it be
That they will kindly look on me!”

And to require of bard
That to his dregs the tale should run,

Were ordinance too hard.
Our lovers, briefly be it said,
Wedded as lovers wont to wed,"

When tale or play is o'er; Lived long and blest, loved fond and

And saw a numerous race renew

The honors that they bore.
Know, too, that when a pilgrim strays,
In morning mist or evening maze,

Along the mountain lone,
That fairy fortress often mocks
His gaze upon the castled rocks

Of the Valley of St John;
But never man since brave De Vaux

The charmed portal won. 'Tis now a vain illusive show, That melts whene'er the sunbeams glow

Or the fresh breeze hath blown."

XXXIX. Gently, lo! the Warrior kneels, Soft that lovely hand he steals, Soft to kiss, and soft to claspBut the warder leaves her


der :)
Lightning flashes, rolls the thunder!
Gyneth startles from her sleep,
Totters Tower, and trembles Keep,

Burst the Castle-walls asunder!
Fierce and frequent were the shocks,

Melt the magic halls away ;

_But beneath their mystic rocks, In the arms of bold De Vaux,

Safe the princess lay;
Safe and free from magic power,
Blushing like the rose's flower

Opening to the day;
And round the Champion's brows were bound
The crown that Druidess had wound,

Of the green laurel-bay.
And this was what remain'd of all
The wealth of each enchanted hall,

The Garland and the Dame:
But where should Warrior seek the meed,
Due to high worth for daring deed,

Except from Love and FAME!

But see, my love, where far below
Our lingering wheels are moving slow,

The whiles, up-gazing still,
Our menials eye our steepy way,
Marvelling, perchance, what whim can stay
Our steps when eve is sinking gray,

On this gigantic hill.
So think the vulgar-Life and time
Ring all their joys in one dull chime

Of luxury and ease;
And, O! beside these simple knaves,
How many better born are slaves

To such coarse joys as these,-
Dead to the nobler sense that glows
When nature's grander scenes unclose !
But, Lucy, we will love them yet,
The mountain's misty coronet,

The greenwood, and the wold;
And love the more, that of their maze
Adventure high of other days

By ancient bards is told, Bringing, perchance, like my poor tale, Some moral truth in fiction's veil: Nor love them less, that o'er the hill The evening breeze, as now, comes chill;

My love shall wrap her warm, And, fearless of the slippery way, While safe she trips the heathy brae,

Shall hang on Arthur's arm.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


1 MS.-* Yet know, this maid and warrior too,

Wedded as lovers wont to do." 1 MS.-" That melts whene'er the breezes blow,

Or beams a cloudless sun."

3 MS.—“Silvan."
4 The MS. has not this couplet.

5 "The Bridal of Triermain is written in the style of Mr. Walter Scott ; and if in magnis voluisse sat est, the author,


whatever may be the merits of his work, has earned the meed we shall give merely as such, without vouching for the truth at which he aspires. To attempt a serious imitation of the of it. When the article entitled, “The Inferno of Altisidora, most popular living poet--and this imitation, not a short frag- appeared in the Edinburgh Annual Register for 1809, it will ment, in which all his peculiarities might, with comparatively be remembered that the last fragment contained in that singulittle difficulty, be concentrated--but a long and complete lar production, is the beginning of the romance of Triermain. work, with plot, character, and machinery entirely new-and Report says, that the fragment was not meant to be an imitawith no manner of resemblance, therefore, to a parody on any tion of Scott, but of Coleridge; and that, for this parpose, production of the original author ;-this must be acknowledged the author borrowed both the name of the bero and the scene an attempt of no timid daring."-Edinburgh Magazine, 1817. from the then unpublished poem of Christabelle ; and further,

that so few had ever seen the manuscript of that poem, that amongst these few the author of Triermain could not be mis

taken. Be that as it may, it is well known, that on the ap “The fate of this work must depend on its own merits, for pearance of this fragment in the Annual Register, it was uniit is not borne up by any of the adventitious circumstances that versally taken for an imitation of Walter Scott, and never once frequently contribute to literary success. It is ushered'into the of Coleridge. The author perceiving this, and that the poem world in the most modest guise; and the author, we believe, was well received, instantly set about drawing it out into a res is entirely unknown. Should it fail altogether of a favorable ular and finished work; for shortly after it was announced in reception, we shall be disposed to abate something of the in- the papers, and continued to be so for three long years; the dignation which we have occasionally expressed against the ex- author, as may be supposed, having, during that period, his travagant gaudiness of modern publications, and imagine that hands occasionally occupied with heavier metal. In 1813, the there are readers whose suffrages are not to be obtained by a poem was at last produced, avowedly and manifestly as an imwork without a name.

itation of Mr. Scott; and it may easily be observed, that from “The merit of the Bridal of Triermain, in our estimation, the 27th page onward, it becomes much more decidedly like consists in its perfect simplicity, and an interweaving the re- the manner of that poet, than it is in the preceding part which finement of modern times with the peculiarities of the ancient was published in the Register, and which, undoubtedly, does metrical romance, which are in no respect violated. In point bear some similarity to Coleridge in the poetry, and more esof interest, the first and second cantos are superior to the third. pecially in the rhythm, as, e. g.One event naturally arises out of that which precedes it, and the eye is delighted and dazzled with a series of moving pic- * Harpers must loll him to his rest, tures, each of them remarkable for its individual splendor, and With the slow tunes he loves the best, all contributing more or less directly to produce the ultimate Till sleep sink down upon his breast, result. The third canto is less profuse of incident, and some

Like the dew on a summer hill.' what more monotonous in its effect. This, we conceive, will be the impression on the first perusal of the poem. When we . It was the dawn of an autumn day; have leisure to mark the merits of the composition, and to sep

The sun was struggling with frost-fog gray, arate them from the progress of the events, we are disposed to That, like a silvery crape, was spread think that the extraordinary beauty of the description will near- Round Skiddaw's dim and distant head.' ly compensate for the defect we have already noticed. “But it is not from the fable that an adequate notion of the

-What time, or where merits of this singular work can be formed. We have already Did she pass, that maid with the heavenly brow, spoken of it as an imitation of Mr. Scott's style of composi- With her look so sweet, and her eyes so fair, tion; and if we are compelled to make the general approbation And her graceful step, and her angel air, more precise and specific, we should say, that if it be inferior And the eagle-plume on her dark-brown hair, in vigor to some of his productions, it equals, or surpasses them,

That pass'd from my bower e'en now ?' in elegance and beauty; that it is more uniformly tender, and far less infected with the unnatural prodigies and coarsenesses of · Although it fell as faint and shy the earlier romancers. In estimating its merits, however, we

As bashful maiden's half-form'd sigh, should forget that it is offered as an imitation. The diction

When she thinks her lover near.' undoubtedly reminds us of a rhythm and cadence we have heard before ; but the sentiments, descriptions, and characters,

• And light they fell, as when earth receives, have qualities that are native and unborrowed.

In morn of frost, the wither'd leaves, " In his sentiments, the author has avoided the slight de

That drop when no winds blow.' ficiency we ventured to ascribe to his prototype. The pictures of pure description are perpetually illuminated with reflections

Or if 'twas but an airy thing, that bring out their coloring, and increase their moral effect : Such as fantastic slumbers bring, these reflections are suggested by the scene, produced without

Framed from the rainbow's varying dyes, effort, and expressed with unaffected simplicity. The descrip Or fading tints of western skies.' tions are spirited and striking, possessing an airiness suited to the mythology and manners of the times, though restrained by " These, it will be seen, are not exactly Coleridge, but they correct taste. Among the characters, many of which are such are precisely such an imitation of Coleridge as, we conceive, as we expect to find in this department of poetry, it is impossi- another poet of our acquaintance would write : on that ground, ble not to distinguish that of Arthur, in which, identifying we are inclined to give some credit to the anecdote bere rehimself with his original, the author has contrived to unite the lated, and from it we leave our readers to guess, as we have valor of the hero, the courtesy and dignity of the monarch, and done, who is the author of the poem.”— Blackwood's Magthe amiable weaknesses of any ordinary mortal, and thus to azine. April, 1817. present to us the express lineaments of the flower of chivalry." -Quarterly Reviou. 1813.

The quarto of Rokeby was followed, within two months, by

the small volume which had been designed for a twin-birth ; “With regard to this poem, we have often heard, from what -the Ms. had been transcribed by one of the Ballantynes may be deemed good authority, a very curious anecdote, which themselves, in order to guard against any indiscretion of the

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »