Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Some ancient sculptor's art has shown
An outlaw's image on the stone ;9
Unmatch'd in strength, a giant he,
With quiver'd back,10 and kirtled knee.
Ask how he died, that hunter bold,
The tameless monarch of the wold,
And age and infancy can tell,
By brother's treachery he fell.
Thus warn’d by legends of my youth,
I trust to no associate's truth.

I watch'd him through the doubtful fray,
That changed as March's moody day,
Till, like a stream that bursts its bank,
Fierce Rupert thunder'd on our flank.
*Twas then, midst tumult, smoke, and strife,
Where each man fought for death or life,
'Twas then I fired my petronel,
And Mortham, steed and rider, fell.
One dying look he upward cast,
Of wrath and anguishtwas his last.
Think not that there I stopp'd, to view
What of the battle should ensue;
But ere I clear'd that bloody press,
Our northern horse ran masterless;
Monckton and Mitton told the news,
How troops of roundheads choked the Ouse,
And many a bonny Scot, aghast,
Spurring his palfrey northward, past,
Cursing the day when zeal or meed
First lured their Lesley o'er the Tweed."
Yet when I reach'd the banks of Swale,
Had rumour learn'd another tale ;
With his barb'd horse, fresh tidings say,
Stout Cromwell has redeem'd the day:5
But whether false the news, or true,
Oswaid, I reck as light as you.”

XX. Not then by Wycliffe might be shown, How his pride startled at the tone In which his complice, fierce and free, Asserted guilt's equality. In smoothest terms his speech he wove, Of endless friendship, faith, and love; Promised and vow'd in courteous sort, But Bertram broke professions short. “ Wycliffe, be sure not here I stay, No, scarcely till the rising day; Warn’d by the legends of my youth, I trust not an associate's truth. Do not my native dales prolong Of Percy Rede the tragic song, Train'd forward to his bloody fall, By Girsonfield, that treacherous Hall?? Oft, by the Pringle's haunted side, The shepherd sees his spectre glide. And near the spot that gave me name, The moated mound of Risingham,8 Where Reed upon her margin sees Sweet Woodburne's cottages and trees,

XXI. “ When last we reason'd of this deed, Nought, I bethink me, was agreed, Or by what rule, or when, or where, The wealth of Mortham we should share; Then list, while I the portion name, Our differing laws give each to claim. Thou, vassal sworn to England's throne, Her rules of heritage must own; They deal thee, as to nearest heir, Thy kinsman's lands and livings fair, And these I yield:do thou revere The statutes of the Bucanier. 11 Friend to the sea, and foeman sworn To all that on her waves are borne, When falls a mate in battle broil, His comrade heirs his portion'd spoil ; When dies in fight a daring foe, He claims his wealth who struck the blow : And either rule to me assigns Those spoils of Indian seas and mines, Hoarded in Mortham's caverns dark; Ingot of gold and diamond spark, Chalice and plate from churches borne, And gems from shrieking beauty torn, Each string of pearl, each silver bar, And all the wealth of western war. I go to search, where, dark and deep, Those Trans-atlantic treasures sleep. Thou must along—for, lacking thee, The heir will scarce find entrance free; And then farewell. I haste to try Each varied pleasure wealth can buy; When cloyed each wish, these wars afford Fresh work for Bertram's restless sword.”

6

XXII. An undecided answer hung On Oswald's hesitating tongue.

1 MS.-" That changed as with a whirlwind's sway."

" dashing
On thy war-horse through the ranks,
Like a stream which burst its banks."

BYRON'S Works, vol. x. p. 275. 3 MS.-" Hot Rupert on the spur pursues;

Whole troops of fliers choked the Ouse." • See Appendix, Note P. • See Appendix, Note G.

6 MS.—Taught by the legends of my youth

To trust to no associate's truth." ? See Appendix, Note H. 8 MS.--" Still by the spot that gave me naine,

The moated camp of Risingham,
A giant form the stranger sees,

Half hid by rifted rocks and trous." 9 See Appendix, Note I. 10 MS.—“With bow in hand," &c. 11 See Appendix, Note K.

Despite his craft, he heard with awe

Hour after hour he loved to poro This ruffian stabber fix the law;

On Shakspeare's rich and varied lore. While his own troubled passions veer

But turn’d from martial scenes and light, Through hatred, joy, regret, and fear:

From Falstaff's feast and Percy's fight, Joy'd at the soul that Bertram flies,

To ponder Jaques' moral strain, He grudged the murderer's mighty prize,

And muse with Hamlet, wise in vain; Hated his pride's presumptuous tone,

And weep himself to soft repose
And fear'd to wend with him alone.

O'er gentle Desdemona's woes.
At length, that middle course to steer,
To cowardice and craft so dear,

XXV. “ His charge,” he said, “would ill allow

In youth he sought not pleasures found His absence from the fortress now;

By youth in horse, and hawk, and hound, WILFRID on Bertram should attend,

But loved the quiet joys that wake His son should journey with his friend.”

By lonely stream and silent lake;

In Deepdale's solitude to lie,
XXIII.

Where all is cliff and copse and sky;
Contempt kept Bertram's anger down,

To climb Catcastle's dizzy peak, And wreathed to savage smile his frown.

Or lone Pendragon's mound to seek.” “ Wilfrid, or thou— tis one to me,

Such was his wont; and there his dream Whichever bears the golden key.

Soar'd on some wild fantastic theme, Yet think not but I mark, and smile

Of faithful love, or ceaseless spring, To mark, thy poor and selfish wile!

Till Contemplation's wearied wing If injury from me you fear,

The enthusiast could no more sustain,
What, Oswald Wycliffe, shields thee here?

And sad he sunk to earth again.
I've sprung from walls more high than these,
I've swam through deeper streams than Tees.

XXVI.
Might I not stab thee, ere one yell

He loved—as many a lay can tell, Could rouse the distant sentinel?

Preserved in Stanmore's lonely dell; Start not—it is not my design,

For his was minstrel's skill, he caught But, if it were, weak fence were thine;

The art unteachable, untaught; And, trust me, that, in time of need,

He loved-his soul did nature frame This hand hath done more desperate deed.

For love, and fancy nursed the flame; Go, haste and rouse thy slumbering son;

Vainly he loved-for seldom swain Time calls, and I must needs be gone.

Of such soft mould is loved again;

Silent he loved-in every gaze
XXIV.

Was passion, friendship in his phrase.
Nought of his sire's ungenerous part

So mused his life away-till died Polluted Wilfrid's gentle heart;

His brethren all, their father's pride. A heart too soft from early life

Wilfrid is now the only heir To hold with fortune needful strife.

Of all his stratagems and care, His sire, while yet a hardier race!

And destined, darkling, to pursue
Of numerous sons were Wycliffe's grace,

Ambition's maze by Oswald's clue.
On Wilfrid set contemptuous brand,
For feeble heart and forceless hand;

XXVII.
But a fond mother's care and joy

Wilfrid must love and woos the bright Were centred in her sickly boy.

Matilda, heir of Rokeby's knight. No touch of childhood's frolic mood

To love her was an easy hest, Show'd the elastic spring of blood;

The secret empress of his breast; “while yet around him stood

such over-strained, and even morbid sensibility, as are por. A numerous race of hardier mood."

trayed in the character of Edwin, existing in so rude a state of 9" And oft the craggy cliff he loved to climb,

society as that which Beattie has represented, but these

qualities, even when found in the most advanced and polished When all in mist the world below was lost, What dreadful pleasure! there to stand sublime,

stages of life, are rarely, very rarely, united with a robust and Like shipwreck'd mariner on desert coast."

healthy frame of body. In both these particulars, the chaBEATTIE's Minstrel.

racter of Wilfrid is exempt from the objections to which we

think that of the Minstrel liable. At the period of the Civil 3 MS.-"Was love, but friendship in his phrase."

Wars, in the higher orders of Society, intellectual refinement + “The prototype of Wilfrid may perhaps be found in had advanced to a degree sufficient to give probability to its Beattie's Edwin; but in some essential respects it is made existence. The remainder of our argument will be best exmore true to nature than that which probably served for its plained by the beautiful lines of the poet," (stanzas xxv. and original. The possibility may perhaps be questioned, (its great xxvi. )-Critical Review. improbability is unquestionable,) of such excessive refinement, 5 MS." And first must Wilfrid woo, " &c.

1 MS.

To woo her was a harder task
To one that durst not hope or ask.
Yet all Matilda could, she gave
In pity to her gentle slave;
Friendship, esteem, and fair regard,
And praise, the poet's best reward!
She read the tales his taste approved,
And sung the lays he framed or loved;
Yet, loth to nurse the fatal flame
Of hopeless love in friendship’s name,
In kind caprice she oft withdrew
The favouring glance to friendship due,'
Then grieved to see her victim's pain,
And gave the dangerous siniles again.

XXVIII. So did the suit of Wilfrid stand, When war's woud summons waked the land. Three banners, floating o'er the Tees, The wo-forboding peasant sees; In concert oft they braved of old The bordering Scot's incursion bold; Frowning defiance in their pride, Their vassals now and lords divide. From his fair hall on Greta banks, The Knight of Rokeby led his ranks, To aid the valiant northern Earls, Who drew the sword for royal Charles. Mortham, by marriage near allied,His sister had been Rokeby's bride, Though long before the civil fray, In peaceful grave the lady lay,– Philip of Mortham raised his band, And march'd at Fairfax's command; While Wycliffe, bound by many a train Of kindred art with wily Vane, Less prompt to brave the bloody field, Made Barnard's battlements his shield, Secured them with his Lunedale powers, And for the Commons held the towers.

But Wilfrid, son to Rokeby's fos,
Must the dear privilege forego,
By Greta's side, in evening grey,
To steal upon Matilda's way,
Striving," with fond hypocrisy,
For careless step and vacant eye;
Calming each anxious look and glance,
To give the meeting all to chance,
Or framing, as a fair excuse,
The book, the pencil, or the muse:
Something to give, to sing, to say,
Some modern tale, some ancient lay.
Then, while the long’d-for minutes

last,
Ah! minutes quickly over-pastk6
Recording each expressi free,
Of kind or careless courtesy,
Each friendly look, each softer tone,
As food for fancy when alone.
All this is o’er—but still, unseen,
Wilfrid may lurk in Eastwood green,?
To watch Matilda's wonted round,
While springs his heart at every sound.
She comes !—’tis but a passing sight,
Yet serves to cheat his weary night;
She comes not-He will wait the hour,
When her lamp lightens in the tower ;8
'Tis something yet, if, as she past,
Her shade is o'er the lattice cast.
"What is my life, my hope?” he said ;
“ Alas! a transitory shade."

XXX. Thus wore his life, though reason strove For mastery in vain with love, Forcing upon his thoughts the sum Of present woe and ills to come, While still he turn’d impatient ear From Truth's intrusive voice severe. Gentle, indifferent, and subdued, In all but this, unmoved he view'd Each outward change of ill and good: But Wilfrid, docile, soft, and mild, Was Fancy's spoild and wayward child; In her bright' car she bade him ride, With one fair form to grace his side, Or, in some wild and lone retreat, 10 Flung her high spells around his seat,

XXIX. The lovely heir of Rokeby's Knight3 Waits in his balls the event of fight; For England's war revered the claim Of every unprotected name, And spared, amid its fiercest rage, Childhood and womanhood and

age.

I MS.-" The fuel fond her favour threw." 2 MS.-“Now frowning dark on different side,

Their vassals and their lords divide." 3 MS.--" Dame Alice and Matilda bright,

Daughter and wife of Rokeby's Knight,

Wait in his halls," &c.
* MS.--" But Wilfrid, when the strife arose,

And Rokeby and his son were foes,
Was doom'd cach privilege to lose,

Of kindred friendship and the muse." 5 MS.—" Aping, with fond hypocrisy,

The careless step," &c. & The MS. has not this couplet.

[blocks in formation]

Bathed in her dews his languid head,
Her fairy mantle o'er him spread,
For him her opiates gave to flow,
Which he who tastes can ne'er forego,
And placed him in her circle, free
From every stern reality,
Till, to the Visionary, seem
Her day-dreams truth, and truth a dream.

XXXI. Woe to the youth whom fancy gains, Winning from Reason's hand the reins, Pity and woe! for such a mind Is soft, contemplative, and kind; And woe to those who train such youth, And spare to press the rights of truth, The mind to strengthen and anneal, While on the stithy glows the steel ! O teach him, while your lessons last, To judge the present by the past; Remind him of each wish pursued, How rich it glow'd with promised good; Remind him of each wish enjoy'd, How soon his hopes possession cloy'd ! Tell him, we play unequal game, Whene'er we shoot by Fancy's aim;1 And, ere he strip him for her race, Show the conditions of the chase. Two sisters by the goal are set, Cold Disappointinent and Regret; One disenchants the winner's eyes, And strips of all its worth the prize. While one augments its gaudy show, More to enhance the loser's woe. ? The victor sees his fairy gold, Transform’d, when won, to drossy mold, But still the vanquish'd mourns his loss, And rues, as gold, that glittering dross.

XXXII. More wouldst thou know-yon tower survey, Yon couch unpress'd since parting day, Yon untrimm'd lamp, whose yellow gleam Is mingling with the cold moonbeam, And yon thin form !--the hectic red On his pale cheek unequal spread ;3 The head reclined, the loosen'd hair, The limbs relax’d, the mournful air.-See, he looks up;-a woful smile Lightens his wo-worn cheek a while,"Tis fancy wakes some idle thought, To gild the ruin she has wrought; For, like the bat of Indian brakes, Her pinions fan the wound she makes, And soothing thus the dreamer's pain, She drinks his life-blood from the vein.“ Now to the lattice turn his eyes, Vain hope! to see the sun arise. The moon with clouds is still o'ercast, Still howls by fits the stormy blast; Another hour must wear away, Ere the East kindle into day, And hark! to waste that weary hour, He tries the minstrel's magic power.

XXXIII.

Song.

TO THE MOON. Hail to thy cold and clouded beam,

Pale pilgrim of the troubled sky! Hail, though the mists that o'er thee stream

Lend to thy brow their sullen dye !6 How should thy pure and peaceful eye

Untroubled view our scenes below, Or how a tearless beam supply

To light a world of war and woe!

[blocks in formation]

Fair Queen! I will not blame thee now,

As once by Greta's fairy side;
Each little cloud that dimm'd thy brow

Did then an angel's beauty hide.
And of the shades I then could chide,

Still are the thoughts to memory dear, For, while a softer strain I tried,

They hid my blush, and calm'd my fear.

The moon was cloudless now and clear,
But pale, and soon to disappear.
The thin grey clouds wax dimly light
On Brusleton and Houghton height;
And the rich dale, that eastward lay,
Waited the wakening touch of day,
To give its woods and cultured plain,
And towers and spires, to light again.
But, westward, Stanmore's shapeless swell,
And Lunedale wild, and Kelton-fell,
And rock-begirdled Gilmanscar,
And Arkingarth, lay dark afar;
While, as a livelier twilight falls,
Emerge proud Barnard's banner'd walls.
High crown'd he sits, in dawning pale,
The sovereign of the lovely vale.

Then did I swear thy ray serene

Was forin'd to light some lonely dell, By two fond lovers only seen,

Reflected from the crystal well, Or sleeping on their mossy cell,

Or quivering on the lattice bright, Or glancing on their couch, to tell

How swiftly wanes the summer night!

XXXIV.
He starts-a step at this lone hour !
A voice !-his father seeks the tower,
With haggard look and troubled sonse,
Fresh from his dreadful conference.
“ Wilfrid !-what, not to sleep address’d?
Thou hast no cares to chase thy rest.
Mortham has fall’n on Marston-moor;'
Bertram brings warrant to secure
His treasures, bought by spoil and blood,
For the State's use and public good.
The menials will thy voice obey;
Let his commission have its way,2
In every point, in every word.”-
Then, in a whisper,—“ Take thy sword!
Bertram is—what I must not tell.
I hear his hasty step-farewell !"3

II.
What prospects, from his watch-tower high,
Gleam gradual on the warder's eye!--
Far sweeping to the east, he sees
Down his deep woods the course of Tees,*
And tracks his wanderings by the steam
Of summer vapours from the stream;
And ere he paced his destined hour
By Brackenbury's dungeon-tower,
These silver mists shall melt away,
And dew the woods with glittering spray.
Then in broad lustre shall be shown
That mighty trench of living stone,
And each huge trunk that, from the side,
Reclines him o'er the darksome tide,
Where Tees, full many a fathom low,
Wears with his rage no common foe;
For pebbly bank, nor sand-bed here,
Nor clay-mound, checks his fierce career,
Condemn’d to mine a channell’d way,
O'er solid sheets of marble grey.

Rokeby.

CANTO SECOND.

I.
Far in the chambers of the west,
The gale had sigh'd itself to rest;

III.
Nor Tees alone, in dawning bright,
Shall rush upon the ravish'd sight;
But many a tributary stream
Each from its own dark dell sball gleam:

I MS.“ Here's Risinghain brings tidings sure,

“We cannot close the first Canto without bestowing the Mortham has fall'n on Marston-moor;

highest praise on it. The whole design of the picture is ex. And he hath warrant to secure," &c.

cellent; and the contrast presented to the gloomy and fearful

opening by the calm and innocent conclusion, is masterly. 2 MS.-—" See that they give his warrant way."

Never were two characters more clearly and forcibly set in 3 With the MS. of stanzas xxviii. to xxxiv. Scott thus ad- opposition than those of Bertram and Wilfrid. Oswald comdresses his printer :-" I send you the whole of the canto. I pletes the group; and, for the moral purposes of the painter, wish Erskine and you would look it over together, and con- is perhaps superior to the others. He is admirably designed sider whether, upon the whole matter, it is likely to make an impression. If it does really come to good, I think there are

That middle course to steer no limits to the interest of that style of composition; for the

To cowardice and craft so dear.'" variety of life and character are boundless.

Monthly Review "I don't know whether to give Matilda a mother or not. + See Appendix, Note L. Decency requires she could have one; but she is as likely to be in my way as the gudeman's mother, according to the pro- 5 MS.-“ Betwixt the gate and Baliol's tower.". verb, ie always in that of the gude wife. Yours truly, W. S."Abbotsford, (Oct. 1812.)

6 MS.-" Those deep-hewn banks of living stone."

« AnteriorContinuar »