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THE WHITE DOE OF RYLSTONE;
THE FATE OF THE NORTONS.
DURING the Summer of 1807, I visited, for the first time, the beautiful country that surrounds Bolton Priory, in Yorkshire; and the Poem of the WHITE DOE, founded upon a tradition connected with that place, was composed at the close of the same year.
IN trellised shed with clustering roses gay,
How Una, sad of soul, in sad attire,
The gentle Una, of celestial birth,
To seek her Knight went wandering o'er the earth.
Ah, then, Beloved! pleasing was the smart,
And the tear precious in compassion shed
For her, who, pierced by sorrow's thrilling dart,
Meek as that emblem of her lowly heart,
The milk-white Lamb which in a line she led,
And faithful, loyal in her innocence,
Like the brave Lion slain in her defence.
Notes could we hear as of a faery shell
Free Fancy prized each specious miracle,
Till, in the bosom of our rustic Cell,
We by a lamentable change were taught
That "bliss with mortal Man may not abide":
For us the stream of fiction ceased to flow,
For us the voice of melody was mute.
It soothed us, it beguiled us, then, to hear
Again we wandered, willing to partake
All that she suffered for her dear Lord's sake.
Then, too, this Song of mine once more could please,
Aloft ascending, and descending deep,
Even to the inferior Kinds; whom forest-trees
fair Creatures!-to whom Heaven A calm and sinless life, with love, hath given.
This tragic Story cheered us; for it speaks
Needful when o'er wide realms the tempest breaks,
Hence, not for them unfitted who would bless
A happy hour with holier happiness.
He serves the Muses erringly and ill,
The comprehensive mandate which they give,-
Yet in this moral Strain a power may live,
As it hath yielded to thy tender heart.
RYDAL MOUNT, WESTMORELAND,
'Tis done; and in the after-vacancy
We wonder at ourselves like men betrayed:
Yet through that darkness (infinite though it seem
By which the soul-with patient steps of thought
Now toiling, wafted now on wings of prayer
May pass in hope, and, though from mortal bonds
Yet undelivered, rise with sure ascent
Even to the fountain-head of peace divine."