« AnteriorContinuar »
Banners and banderols danced in the wind, Time will rust the sharpest sword,
Monks rode before them, and spearmen behind; Time will consume the strongest cord;
Onward they pass'd, till fairly did shine That which moulders hemp and steel,
Pennon and cross on the bosom of Tyne ; Mortal arm and nerve must feel.
And full in front did that fortress lower,
His strength of frame, and his fury of mood.
Wore neither collar nor bracelet of gold,
Cap of vair nor rich array,
His doublet of bull's hide was all unbraced,
His shaggy black locks on his brow hung low, « Thou hast murder'd, robb’d, and spoild,
And his eyes glanced through them a swarthy glow; Time it is thy poor soul were assoil'd;
A Danish club in his hand he bore,
At his back a she-wolf, and her wolf-cubs twain,
None to the Bishop,—while thus he said :-
Canst thou be Witikind the Waster known,
Royal Eric's fearless son,
With one blow of his gauntlet who burst the skull, Less for the faith than the lands that he wan. Before Odin's stone, of the Mountain Bull ? The high church of Durham is dress'd for the day, Then ye worshipp'd with rites that to war-gods The clergy are rank'd in their solemn array:
[strong; There came the Count, in a bear-skin warm, With the deed of the brave, and the blow of the Leaning on Hilda his concubine's arm.
And now, in thine age to dotage sunk, He kneeld before Saint Cuthbert's shrine, Wilt thou patter thy crimes to a shaven monk,With patience unwonted at rites divine ;
Lay down thy mail-shirt for clothing of hair,He abjured the gods of heathen race,
Fasting and scourge, like a slave, wilt thou beari And he bent his head at the font of grace.
Or, at best, be admitted in slothful bower
Each Scald's high harp shall blast thy fame, And the old monks mutter'd beneath their hood, And thy son will refuse thee a father's name!" “Of a stem so stubborn can never spring good!”
Ireful wax'd old Witikind's look,
His faltering voice with fury shook:Homeward he hied him when ended the rite; “Hear me, Harold of harden'd heart! The Prelate in honor will with him ride,
Stubborn and wilful ever thou wert. And feast in his castle on Tyne's fair side. Thine outrage insane I command thee to cease,
Fear my wrath and remain at peace :
With Kyrie Eleison, came clamorously in Just is the debt of repentance I've paid,
The war-songs of Danesmen, Norweyan, and Finn, Richly the church has a recompense made, Till man after man the contention gave o'er, And the truth of her doctrines I prove with my Outstretch'd on the rushes that strew'd the hall blade,
[rout, But reckoning to none of my actions I owe, And the tempest within, having ceased its wild And least to my son such accounting will show. Gave place to the tempest that thunder'd without. Why speak I to thee of repentance or truth, Who ne'er from thy childhood knew reason or ruth?
XIV. Hence! to the wolf and the bear in her den; Apart from the wassail, in turret alone, These are thy mates, and not rational men.” Lay flaxen-hair'd Gunnar, old Ermengarde's son;
In the train of Lord Harold that Page was the XI.
first, Grimly smiled Harold, and coldly replied, For Harold in childhood had Ermengarde nursed; “We must honor our sires, if we fear when they And grieved was young Gunnar his master should chide.
roam, For me, I am yet what thy lessons have made, Unhoused and unfriended, an exile from home. I was rock'd in a buckler and fed from a blade; He heard the deep thunder, the plashing of rain, An infant, was taught to clasp hands and to shout He saw the red lightning through shot-hole and From the roofs of the tower when the flame had
pane; broke out;
“And oh!" said the Page, “on the shelterless wold In the blood of slain foemen my finger to dip, Lord Harold is wandering in darkness and cold ! And tinge with its purple my cheek and my lip. What though he was stubborn, and wayward, and 'Tis thou know'st not truth, that hast barter'd in eld, wild,
[child, — For a price, the brave faith that thine ancestors He endured me because I was Ermengarde's held.
[plain - And often from dawn till the set of the sun, When this wolf,”—and the carcass he flung on the In the chase, by his stirrup, unbidden I run; "Shall awake and give food to her nurslings again, I would I were older, and knighthood could bear, The face of his father will Harold review; I would soon quit the banks of the Tyne and the Till then, aged Heathen, young Christian, adieu !”
[breath, For my mother's command, with her last parting XII.
Bade me follow her nursling in life and to death. Priest, monk, and prelate, stood aghast, As through the pageant the heathen pass’d.
XV. A cross-bearer out of his saddle he flung,
“It pours and it thunders, it lightens amain, Laid his hand on the pommel, and into it sprung As if Lok, the Destroyer, had burst from his chain! Loud was the shriek, and deep the groan, Accursed by the Church, and expell’d by his sire, When the holy sign on the earth was thrown! Nor Christian nor Dane give him shelter or fire, The fierce old Count unsheathed his brand, And this tempest what mortal may houseless enBut the calmer Prelate stay'd his hand.
dure ? Let him pass free !--Heaven knows its hour, Unaided, unmantled, he dies on the moor! But he must own repentance's power,
Whate'er comes of Gunnar, he tarries not here." Pray and weep, and penance bear,
He leapt from his couch and he grasp'd to his Ere he hold land by the Tyne and the Wear."
[tread, Thus in scorn and in wrath from his father is gone Sought the hall of the feast. Undisturb'd by his Young Harold the Dauntless, Count Witikind's son. The wassailers slept fast as the sleep of the dead:
“ Ungrateful and bestial !” his anger broke forth, XIII.
"To forget imid your goblets the pride of the High was the feasting in Witikind's hall,
[store, Revell’d priests, soldiers, and pagans, and all ; And you, ye cowl'd priests, who have plenty in And e'en the good Bishop was fain to endure Must give Gunnar for ransom a palfrey and ore.” The scandal, which time and instruction might cure: It were dangerous, he deem'd, at the first to re
Then, heeding full little of ban or of curse, In his wine and his wassail, a half-christen'd Dane. He has seized on the Prior of Jorvaux's purse: The mead flow'd around, and the ale was drain'd Saint Meneholt's Abbot next morning has miss'd dry,
His mantle, deep furr'd from the cape to the wrist : Wild was the laughter, the song, and the cry ; The Seneschal's keys from his belt he has ta’en
(Well drench'd on that eve was old Hildebrand's And either a tear did his eyelash stain, brain).
Or it caught a drop of the passing rain. To the stable-yard he made his way,
“Art thou an outcast, then ?" quoth he; And mounted the Bishop's palfrey gay,
" The meeter page to follow me.” Castle and hamlet behind him has cast,
'Twere bootless to tell what climes they sought, And right on his way to the moorland has pass’d. Ventures achieved, and battles fought ; Sore snorted the palfrey, unused to face
How oft with few, how oft alone, A weather so wild at so rash a pace;
Fierce Harold's arm the field hath won. So long he snorted, so loud he neigh'd,
Men swore his eye, that flash'd so red
That ne'er from mortal courage came.
That loved the couch of heath and fern,
Afar from hamlet, tower, and town,
That stubborn frame, that sullen mood, The flaxen-hair'd Gunnar his purpose told, Men deem'd must come of aught but good; Show'd the palfrey and proffer'd the gold. And they whisper'd, the great Master Fiend was “Back, back, and home, thou simple boy!
at one Thou canst not share my grief or joy:
With Harold the Dauntless, Count Witikind's son. Have I not mark'd thee wail and cry When thou hast seen a sparrow die ?
XX. And canst thou, as my follower should,
Years after years had gone and fled, Wade ankle-deep through foeman's blood, The good old Prelate lies lapp'd in lead; Dare mortal and immortal foe,
In the chapel still is shown The gods above, the fiends below,
His sculptured form on a marble stone, And man on earth, more hateful still,
With staff and ring and scapulaire, The very fountain-head of ill?
And folded hands in the act of prayer.
Saint Cuthbert's mitre is resting now
The power of his crozier he loved to extend
And now hath he clothed him in cope and in pall, Young Gunnar shook like an aspen bough, [brow, And the Chapter of Durham has met at his call. As he heard the harsh voice and beheld the dark “ And hear ye not, brethren," the proud Bishop And half he repented his purpose and vow.
[dead! But now to draw back were bootless shame, " That our vassal, the Danish Count Witikind's, And he loved his master, so urged his claim: All his gold and his goods hath he given “Alas! if my arm and my courage be weak, To holy Church for the love of Heaven, Bear with me a while for old Ermengarde's sake; And hath founded a chantry with stipend and Nor deem so lightly of Gunnar's faith,
[soul: As to fear he would break it for peril of death. That priests and that beadsmen may pray for his Have I not risk'd it to fetch thee this gold, Harold his son is wandering abroad, This surcoat and mantle to fence thee from cold ? Dreaded by man and abhorr'd by God; And, did I bear a baser mind,
Meet it is not, that such should heir [Wear, What lot remains if I stay behind !
The lands of the church on the Tyne and the The priests' revenge, thy father's wrath,
And at her pleasure, her hallow'd hands A dungeon, and a shameful death."
May now resume these wealthy lands."
1“ It may be worthy of notice, that in Harold the Daunt- Ivanhoe."'-ADOLPHUS' Letters on the Author of Waverley, less there is a wise and good Eustace, as in the Monastery, and 1822, p. 281. a Prior of Jorvaux, who is robbed (ante, stanza xvi.) as in
Ever Renown blows a note of fame,
In vapory folds, o'er the landscape strays,
Like an early widow's veil,
Of beauty wan and pale.
Well known was Wulfstane’s archery,
Through wooded Weardale's glens so free,
And well on Ganlesse river.
Of Jutta of Rookhope, the Outlaw's dame;
More fear'd when in wrath she laugh'd;
To its dread aim her spell-glance flew,
Than when from Wulfstane's bended yew
Yet had this fierce and dreaded pair, Then rears the ash his airy crest,
So Heaven decreed, a daughter fair ; Then shines the birch in silver vest,
None brighter crown'd the bed, And the beech in glistening leaves is drest,
In Britain's bounds, of peer or prince, And dark between shows the oak’s proud breast, Nor hath, perchance, a lovelier since Like a chieftain's frowning tower;
In this fair isle been bred. Though a thousand branches join their screen, And naught of fraud, or ire, or ill, Yet the broken sunbeams glance between,
Was known to gentle Metelill,And tip the leaves with lighter green,
A simple maiden she; With brighter tints the flower:
The spells in dimpled smile that lie, Dull is the heart that loves not then
And a downcast blush, and the darts that fly The deep recess of the wildwood glen,
With the sidelong glance of a hazel eye, Where roe and red-deer find sheltering den,
Were her arms and witchery. When the sun is in his power.
So young, so simple was she yet,
She scarce could childhood’s joys forget, II.
And still she loved, in secret set Less merry, perchance, is the fading leaf
Beneath the greenwood tree, That follows so soon on the gather'd sheaf,
To plait the rushy coronet, When the greenwood loses the name;
And braid with flowers her locks of jet, Silent is then the forest bound,
As when in infancy ;-
Ah! gentle maid, beware!
The power who, now so mild a guest, Yet then, too, I love the forest wide,
Gives dangerous yet delicious zest Whether the sun in splendor ride,
To the calm pleasures of thy breast, And gild its many-color'd side;
Will soon, a tyrant o'er the rest, Or whether the soft and silvery haze,
Let none his empire share.
V. One morn, in kirtle green array'd, Deep in the wood the maiden stray'd,
And, where a fountain sprung, She sate her down, unseen, to thread The scarlet berry's mimic braid,
And while the beads she strung, Like the blithe lark, whose carol gay Gives a good-morrow to the day,
So lightsomely she sung.
Was all the maiden might;
If thou art mortal wight!
The disembodied ear;
And cease thy grasp of fear.”
When sinks the tempest roar;
And haul their barks on shore.
« The pious Palmer loves, I wis,
“ My nurse has told me many a tale,
IX. “ Damsel,” he said, “ be wise, and learn Matters of weight and deep concern:
From distant realms I come,
To seek myself a home.
No lordly dame for me;
To match in my degree.
In lineaments be fair ;
Become thy beauty rare.
VII. Sudden she stops—and starts to feel A weighty hand, a glove of steel, Upon her shrinking shoulders laid; Fearful she turn'd, and saw, dismay'd, A Knight in plate and mail array'd, His crest and bearing worn and fray'd,
His surcoat soild and riven, Form'd like that giant race of yore, Whose long-continued crimes outwore
The sufferance of Heaven. Stern accents made his pleasure known, Though then he used his gentlest tone: “ Maiden," he said, "sing forth thy
glee. Start not-sing on—it pleases me."
X. Home sprung the maid without a pause, As leveret 'scaped from greyhound's jaws;