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“My nurse has told me many a tale,
None brighter crown'd the bed, lo Britain's bounds, of peer or prince, Nor hath, perchance, a lovelier since
In this fair isle been bred. And nought of fraud, or ire, or ill, Was known to gentle Metelill,
A simple maiden she;
Were her arms and witchery.
Beneath the greenwood tree,
As when in infancy ;-
Ah! gentle maid, beware!
Let none his empire share.
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 soil'd 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.”
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.
Song. “ LORD WILLIAM was born in gilded bower, The heir of Wilton's lofty tower; Yet better loves Lord William now To roam beneath wild Rookhope's brow; And William has lived where ladies fair With gawds and jewels deck their hair, Yet better loves the dewdrops still That pearl the locks of Metelill.
“ The pious Palmer loves, I wis,
IX. “Damsel,” he said, “ be wise, and learn Matters of weight and deep concern:
From distant realms I come, And, wanderer long, at length have plann'd In this my native Northern land
To seek myself a home.
Nor that alonema mate I seek;
No lordly dame for me;
To match in my degree. Then, since coy maidens say my face Is harsh, my form devoid of grace, For a fair lineage to provide, 'Tis meet that my selected bride
In lineaments be fair; I love thine well-till now I ne'er Look'd patient on a face of fear, But now that tremulous sob and tear
Become thy beauty rare. One kiss-nay, damsel, coy it not! And now go seek thy parents' cot, And say, a bridegroom soon I come, To woo my love, and bear her home.”
XII. But soon the wit of woman woke, And to the Warrior mild she spoke: “ Her child was all too young.”_" A toy, The refuge of a maiden coy.”Again, “ A powerful baron’s heir Claims in her heart an interest fair.”_ “ A trifle-whisper in his ear, That Harold is a suitor here!”Baffled at length she sought delay: “ Would not the Knight till morning stay? Late was the hour—he there might rest Till morn, their lodge's honour'd guest." Such were her words,-her craft might cast, Her honour'd guest should sleep his last: “ No, not to-night-but soon,” he swore, “ He would return, nor leave them more.” The threshold then his huge stride crost, And soon be was in darkness lost.
X. Home sprung the maid without a pause, As leveret 'scaped from greyhound's jaws; But still she lock’d, howe'er distress’d, The secret in her boding breast; Dreading her sire, who oft forbade Her steps should stray to distant glade. Night camo-to her accustom'd nook Her distaff aged Jutta took, And by the lamp's imperfect glow, Rough Wulfstane trimm'd his shafts and bow. Sudden and clamorous, from the ground Upstarted slumbering brach and hound; Loud knocking next the lodge alarms, And Wulfstane snatches at his arms, When open
flew the yielding door, And that grim Warrior press’d the floor.
XIII. Appalld a while the parents stood, Then changed their fear to angry mood, And foremost fell their words of ill On unresisting Metelill: Was she not caution'd and forbid, Forewarn'd, implored, accused and chid, And must she still to greenwood roam, To marshal such misfortune home? “ Hence, minion—to thy chamber hence There prudence learn, and penitence.” She went-her lonely couch to steep In tears which absent lovers weep; Or if she gain'd a troubled sleep, Fierce Harold's suit was still the theme And terror of her feverish dream.
XI. “ All peace be here- What! none replies? Dismiss your fears and your surprise. 'Tis 1—that Maid hath told my tale, Or, trembler, did thy courage fail? It recks not-it is I demand Fair Metelill in marriage band; Harold the Dauntless I, whose name Is brave men's boast and caitiff's shame.” The parents sought each other's eyes, With awe, resentment, and surprise: Wulfstane, to quarrel prompt, began The stranger’s size and thewes to scan; But as he scann'd, his courage sunk, And from unequal strife he shrunk, Then forth, to blight and blemish, flies The harmful curse from Jutta's eyes; Yet, fatal howsoe'er, the spell On Harold innocently fell ! And disappointment and amaze Were in the witch’s wilder'd gaze.
XIV. Scarce was she gone, her dame and sire Upon each other bent their ire; “ A woodsman thou, and hast a spear, And couldst thou such an insult bear?” Sullen he said, “ A man contends With men, a witch with sprites and fiends ; Not to mere mortal wight belong Yon gloomy brow and frame so strong. But thou-is this thy promise fair, That your Lord William, wealthy heir To Ulrick, Baron of Witton-le-Wear, Should Metelill to altar bear? Do all the spells thou boast 'st as thine Serve but to slay some peasant's kine, His grain in autumn's storms to steep, Or thorough fog and fen to sweep, And hag-ride some poor rustic's sleep? Is such mean mischief worth the fame Of sorceress and witch's name? Fame, which with all men's wish conspires, With thy deserts and my desires, To damn thy corpse to penal fires?
Hear me! Sovereign of the Rock, Hear me! mighty Zernebock !
Out on thee, witch! aroint! aroint!
“ Mightiest of the mighty known,
XV. Stern she replied, “ I will not wage War with thy folly or thy rage; But ere the morrow's sun be low, Wulfstane of Rookhope, thou shalt know, If I can venge me on a foe. Believe the while, that whatsoe'er I spoke, in ire, of bow and spear, It is not Harold's destiny The death of pilfer'd deer to die. But he, and thou, and yon pale moon, (That shall be yet more pallid soon, Before she sink behind the dell,) Thou, she, and Harold too, shall tell What Jutta knows of charm or spell.” Thus muttering, to the door she bent Her wayward steps, and forth she went, And left alone the moody sire, To cherish or to slake his ire.
“ Hark! he comes! the night-blast cold
XVI. Far faster than belong'd to age Has Jutta made her pilgrimage. A priest has met her as she pass'd, And cross'd himself and stood aghast : She traced a hamlet-not a cur His throat would ope, his foot would stir; By crouch, by trembling, and by groan, They made her hated presence known! But when she trode the sable fell, Were wilder sounds her way to tell, For far was heard the fox's yell, The black-cock waked and faintly crew, Scream'd o'er the moss the scared curlew; Where o'er the cataract the oak Lay slant, was heard the raven's croak; The mountain-cat, which sought his prey, Glared, scream'd, and started from her way. Such music cheer'd her journey lone To the deep dell and rocking stone: There, with unhallow'd hymn of praise, She called a God of heathen days.
“He comes not yet! Shall cold delay
XVIII. Daughter of dust," the Deep Voice said, -Shook while it spoke the vale for dread, Rock’d on the base that massive stone, The Evil Deity to own,-“ Daughter of dust! not mine the power Thou seek'st on Harold's fatal hour. 'Twixt heaven and hell there is a strife Waged for his soul and for his life, And fain would we the combat win, And snatch him in his hour of sin. There is a star now rising red, That threats him with an influence dread: Woman, thine arts of malice whet, To use the space before it set. Involve him with the church in strife, Push on adventurous chance his life; Ourself will in the hour of need, As best we may thy counsels speed.” So ceased the Voice ; for seven leagues
round Each hamlet started at the sound;
Inbocation. “ From thy Pomeranian throne, Hewn in rock of living stone, Where, to thy godhead faithful yet, Bend Esthonian, Finn, and Lett, And their swords in vengeance whet, That shall make thine altars wet, Wet and red for ages more With the Christians' hated gore,
But slept again, as slowly died
Vain is the wish-since other cares demand
Upon the western heights of Beaurepaire,
XIX. “ And is this all,” said Jutta stern, " That thou can'st teach and I can learn ? Hence! to the land of fog and waste, There fittest is thine influence placed, Thou powerless, sluggish Deity! But ne'er shall Briton bend the knee Again before so poor a god.” She struck the altar with her rod; Slight was the touch, as when at need A damsel stirs her tardy steed; But to the blow the stone gave place, And, starting from its balanced base, Roll’a thundering down the moonlight dell,Re-echo'd moorland, rock, and fell; Into the moonlight tarn it dash’d, Their shores the sounding surges lash'd,
And there was ripple, rage, and foam; But on that lake, so dark and lone, Placid and pale the moonbeam shone
As Jutta hied her home.
II. Fair on the half-seen streams the sunbeams danced, Betraying it beneath the woodland bank, And fair between the Gothic turrets glanced Broad lights, and shadows fell on front and Aank, Where tower and buttress rose in martial rank, And girdled in the massive donjon Keep, And from their circuit peald o'er bush and bank
The matin bell with summons long and deep, And echo answer'd still with long-resounding sweep.
Varold the Hauntless.
I. GREY towers of Durham! there was once a time I view'd your battlements with such vague hope, As brightens life in its first dawning prime ; Not that e’en then came within fancy's scope A vision vain of mitre, throne, or cope; Yet, gazing on the venerable hall, Her flattering dreams would in perspective ope
Some reverend room, some prebendary's stall,And thus Hope me deceived as she deceiveth all."
III. The morning mists rose from the ground, Each merry bird awaken'd round,
As if in revelry;
The gale breathed soft and free,
So light and gamesomely.
Laid mace and falchion by, And on the greensward sate him down, And from his dark habitual frown
Relax'd his rugged browWhoever hath the doubtful task From that stern Dane a boon to ask,
Were wise to ask it now.
Well yet I love thy mix'd and massive piles,
And from oblivion rend the spoils they yield, Restoring priestly chant and clang of knightly shield.
IV. His place beside young Gunnar took, And mark'd his master's softening look, And in his eye's dark mirror spied The gloom of stormy thoughts subside, And cautious watch'd the fittest tide
I In this stanza occurs one of many touches by which, in supposed to have nourished such an intention-one which 30 the introductory passages of Harold the Dauntless as of Trier one could ever have dreamt of ascribing at any period of his main, Sir Walter Scott betrays his half-purpose of identifying days to Sir Walter Scott himself. the author with his friend William Erskine. That gentleman, the son of an Episcopalian clergyman, a stanch church 2 Robert Surtces of Mainsforth, Esq., F.S.A., anthor of man, and a man of the gentlest habits, if he did not in early “ The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of life design to follow the paternal profession, might easily be Durham." 3 vols. folio, 1816-20-23.
To speak a warning word.
In anxious awe he bears away So when the torrent's billows shrink,
To moor his bark in Stromna's bay, The timid pilgrim on the brink
And murmurs from the bounding stern, Waits long to see them wave and sink,
* Rest thee, Dweller of the Cairn!' Ere he dare brave the ford, And often, after doubtful pause,
“ What cares disturb the mighty dead? His step advances or withdraws:
Each bonour'd rite was duly paid; Fearful to move the slumbering ire
No daring hand thy helm unlaced, Of his stern lord, thus stood the squire,
Thy sword, thy shield, were near thee placed, Till Harold raised his eye,
Thy flinty couch no tear profaned, That glanced as when athwart the shroud
Without, with hostile blood was stain'd; Of the dispersing tempest-cloud
Within, 'twas lined with moss and fern,The bursting sunbeams fly.
Then rest thee, Dweller of the Cairn !
“ He may not rest: from realms afar
“ Where eddying currents foam and boil