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In each a slender meal was laid,
Or who, in desperate doubt of grace,
Of some foul crime the stain;
Or thought more grace to gain, If, in her cause, they wrestled down Feelings their nature strove to own. By strange device were they brought there, They knew not how, and knew not where.
To speak the chapter's doom,
Alive, within the tomb; But stopp'd because that woful maid, Gathering her powers, to speak essay'd. Twice she essay'd, and twice, in vain ; Her accents might no utterance gain; Naught but imperfect murmurs slip From her convulsed and quivering lip:
'Twist each attempt all was so still, You seem'd to hear a distant rill
'Twas ocean's swells and falls; For though this vault of sin and fear Was to the sounding surge so near, A tempest there you scarce could hear;
So massive were the walls.
Nor do I speak your prayers to gain ;
Vain are your masses, too.
But, did my fate and wish agree,
Whose faith with Clare's was plight,
Their oaths are said,
Their lances in the rest are laid,
De Wilton to the block !' Say ye, who preach Heaven shall decide, When in the lists two champions ride,
Say, was Heaven's justice here? When, loyal in his love and faith, Wilton found overthrow or death,
Beneath a traitor's spear. How false the charge, how true be fell, This guilty packet best can tell.”— Then drew a packet from her breast, Paused, gather'd voice, and spoke the rest.
XXIX. “ Still was false Marmion's bridal staid: To Whitby's convent fied the maid,
The hated match to shun. Ho! shifts she thus ?" King Henry cried, Sir Marmion, she shall be thy bride,
If she were sworn a nun.'
For Clara and for me:
A saint in heaven should be.
And light came to her eye ;
By autumn's stormy sky;
And arm’d herself to bear;
In form so soft and fair.
XXVII. " I speak not to implore your grace ; Well know I, for one minute's space
Successless might I sue:
And bade the passing knell to toll
INTRODUCTION TO CANTO III.
But to assure my soul, that none
XXXII. Fix'd was her look, and stern her air ; Back from her shoulders stream'd her hair; The locks, that wont her brow to shade, Stared up erectly from her head; Her figure seem'd to rise more high ; Her voice, despair's wild energy Had given a tone of prophecy. Appall’d the astonish'd conclave sate ; With stupid eyes, the men of fate Gazed on the late inspired form, And listen’d for the avenging storm; The judges felt the victim's dread; No hand was moved, no word was said, Till thus the abbot's doom was given, Raising his sightless balls to heaven :“Sister let thy sorrows cease ; Sinful brother, part in peace !" From that dire dungeon, place of doom Of execution, too, and tomb,
Paced forth the judges three;
And many a stifled groan:
And cross'd themselves for terror's sake, As hurrying, tottering on ; E'en in the vesper's heavenly tone They seem'd to hear a dying groan,
TO WILLIAM ERSKINE, ESQ.
Ashestiel, Ettrick Forest LIKE April morning clouds, that pass, With varying shadow, o'er the grass, And imitate, on field and furrow; Life checker'd scene of joy and sorrow; Like streamlet of the mountain north, Now in a torrent racing forth, Now winding slow its silver train, And almost slumbering on the plain ; Like breezes of the autumn day, Whose voice inconstant dies away, And ever swells again as fast, When the ear deems its murmur past; Thus various, my romantic theme Flits, winds, or sinks, a morning dream. Yet pleased, our eye pursues the trace of light and shade's inconstant race; Pleased, views the rivulet afar, Weaving its maze irregular; And pleased, we listen as the breeze Heaved its wild sigh through autumn trees ; Then wild as cloud, or stream, or gale, Flow on, flow unconfined, my tale. Need I to thee, dear Erskine, tell, I love the license all too well, In sounds now lowly, and now strong, To raise the desultory song?-Oft, when 'mid such capricious chime, Some transient fit of lofty rhyme, To thy kind judgment seem'd excuse For many an error of the muse; Oft hast thou said, “ If, still mis-spent, Thine hours to poetry are lent: Go, and, to tame thy wandering course, Quaff from the fountain at the source ; Approach those masters, o'er whose tomb, Immortal laurels ever bloom : Instructive of the feebler bard, Still from the grave their voice is heard ; From them, and from the path they sbow'd Choose honour'd guide and practised road; Nor ramble on through brake and maze, With harpers rude of barbarous day.
“Or, deem'st thou not our later time, Yields topic meet for classic rhyme ?
Hast thou no elegiac verse
Thy friendship thus thy judgment wrongFor Brunswick's venerable hearse?
ing, What! not a line, a tear, a sigh,
With praises not to me belonging, When valour bleeds for liberty !
In task more meet for mightiest powers, O, hero of that glorious time,
Wouldst thou engage my thriftless hours. When, with unrivall'd light sublime,
But say, my Erskine, hast thou weigh'd Though martial Austria, and though all
That secret power by all obey'd, The might of Russia, and the Gaul,
Which warps not less the passive mind, Though banded Europe stood her foes
Its source conceal'd or undefined; The star of Brandenburgh arose !
Whether an impulse, that has birth Thou couldst not live to see her beam
Soon as the infant wakes on earth, Forever quench'd in Jena's stream.
One with our feelings and our powers, Lamented chief !-It was not given,
And rather part of us than ours; To thee to change the doom of heaven,
Or whether titlier term'd the sway And crush that dragon in its birth,
Of habit, form'd in early day? Predestined scourge of guilty earth.
Howe'er derived, its force confess'd Lamented chief !_not thine the power,
Rules with despotic sway the breast, To save in that presumptuous hour,
And drags us on by viewless chain, When Prussia hurried to the field,
While taste and reason plead in vain. And snatch'd the spear, but left the shield ! Look east, and ask the Belgian why, Valour and skill 'twas thine to try,
Beneath Batavia's sultry sky, And, tried in vain, 'twas thine to die.
He seeks not, eager to inhale, Ill had it seem'd thy silver hair
The freshness of the mountain gale, The last, the bitterest pang to share,
Content to rear his whiten'd wall For princedoms rest, and scutcheons riven, Beside the dank and dull canal ? And birthrights to ysurpers given ;
He'll say, from youth he loved to see Thy lands, thy children's wrongs to feel,
The white sail gliding by the tree. And witness woes thou couldst not heal!
Or see yon weather-beaten hind, On thee relenting heaven bestows
Whose sluggish herds before him wind, For honour'd life an honour'd close ;
Whose tatter'd plaid and rugged cheek And when revolves, in time's sure change, His northern clime and kindred speak; The hour of Germany's revenge,
Through England's laughing meads he goes, When, breathing fury for her sake,
And England's wealth around him flows; Some new Arminius shall awake.
Ask, if it would content him well, Her champion, ere be strike, shall come
At ease in these gay plains to dwell, To whet his sword on Brunswick's tomb.
Where hedge-rows spread a verdant screen, “ Or of the Red-Cross hero teach,
And spires and forests intervene, Dauntless in dungeon as on breach:
And the neat cottage peeps between? Alike to him the sea, the shore,
No, not for these will he exchange The brand, the bridal, or the oar ;
His dark Lochaber's boundless range ; Alike to him the war that calls
Nor for fair Devon's meads forsake Its votaries to the shatter'd walls
Bennevis gray and Garry's lake. Which the grim Turks besmear'd with blood, Thus, while I ape the measure wild Against the invincible made good ;
Of tales that charm'd me yet a child, Or that, whose thundering voice could wake Rude though they be, still with the chime, The silence of the polar lake,
Return the thoughts of early time; When stubborn Russ, and metall’d Swede, And feelings, roused in life's first day, On the warp'd wave their death-game play'd; Glow in the line, and prompt the lay, Or that, where vengeance and affright
Then rise those crags, that mountain tower, Howl'd round the father of the fight,
Which charm'd my fancy's wakening hour. Who snatch'd, on Alexander's sand,
Though no broad river swept along The conqueror's wreath with dying hand. To claim, perchance, heroic song; “Or, if to touch such chord be thine,
Though sigh'd no groves in summer gale, Restore the ancient tragic line,
To prompt of love a softer tale ; And emulate the notes that rung
Though scarce a puny streamlet's speed From the wild harp, which silent hung,
Claim'd homage from a shepherd's reed; By silver Avon's holy shore,
Yet was poetic impulse given, Till twice an hundred years rollid o'er;
By the green hill and clear blue heaven. When she, the bold enchantress, came,
It was a barren scene, and wild,
Where naked cliffs were rudely piled;
Lay velvet tufts of loveliest green;
And well the lonely infant knew With Montfort's hate and Basil's love,
Recesses where the wall-Aower grew, Awakening at th' inspired strain,
And honeysuckle loved to crawl Deem'd their own Shakspeare lived again.” Up the low crag and ruin'd wall. 81
THE HOSTEL, OR INN.
I. Tre livelong day Lord Marmion rode. The mountain path the palmer show'd ; By glen and streainlet winded still, Where stunted birches hid the rill. They might not choose the lowland road, For the Merse forayers were abroad, Who, fired with hate and thirst of prey, Had scarcely fail'd to bar their way. Oft on the trampling band, from crown Of some tall cliff, the deer look'd down; On wing of jet, from his repose In the deep heath, the black cock rose; Sprung from the gorse the timid roe, Nor waited for the bending bow; And when the stony path began, By which the naked peak they wan, Up flew the snowy ptarmigan. The noon had long been past before They gain'd the height of Lammermoor; Thence winding down the northern way, Before them, at the closing day, Old Gifford's towers and hamlet lay.
I deem'd such nooks the sweetest shade
Still, with vain fondness, could I trace,
From me, thus nurtured, dost thou ask
On through the hamlet as they paced,
Lord Marmion drew his reign:
Might well relieve his train. Down from their seats the horsemen sprang, With jingling spurs the court-yard rang; They bind their horses to the stall, For forage, food, and firing call, And various clamour fills the hall; Weighing the labour with the cost, Toils everywhere the bustling host.
Bore wealth of winter cheer;
And savoury haunch of deer.
Were tools for housewifes' hand : Nor wanted, in that martial day, The implements of Scottish fray,
The buckler, lance, and brand. Beneath its shade, the place of state, On oaken settle Marmion sate,
And view'd, around the blazing hearth, His followers mix in noisy mirth, Whom with brown ale, in jolly tide, From ancient vessels ranged aside, Full actively their host supplied.
Ill may we hope to please your ear,
IV. Theirs was the glee of martial breast, And laughter theirs at little jest ; And oft Lord Marmion deign'd to aid, And mingle in the mirth they made : For though, with men of high degree, The proudest of the proud was he, Yet, traind in camps, he knew the art To win the soldier's hardy heart. They love a captain to obey, Boisterous as March, yet fresh as May; With open hand, and brow as free, Lover of wine and minstrelsy, Ever the first to scale a tower, As venturous in a ladye's bower:Such buxom chief shall lead his host From India's fires to Zembla's frost.
V. Resting upon his pilgrim staff,
Right opposite the palmer stood : His thin dark visage seen but half,
Half hidden by his hood. Still fix'd on Marmion was his look, Which he, who ill such gaze could brook,
Strove by a frown to quell; But not for that, though more than once Full met their stern encountering glance,
The palmer's visage fell.
IX. A mellow voice Fitz-Eustace had, The air he chose was wild and sad; Such have I heard, in Scottish land, Rise from the busy harvest band, When falls before the mountaineer, On lowland plains, the ripen'd ear. Now one shrill voice the notes prolong, Now a wild chorus swells the song: Oft have I listen'd, and stood still, As it came soften'd up the hill, And deem'd it the lament of men Who languish'd for their native glen; And thought how sad would be such sound, On Susquehannah's swampy ground, Kentucky's wood-encumber'd brake, Or wild Ontario's boundless lake, Where heart-sick exiles, in the strain, Recall'd fair Scotland's hills again!
Their glee and game declined.
Thus whisper'd forth his mind:
Glances beneath his cowl! Full on our lord he sets his eye; For his best palfray, would not I
Endure that sullen scowl.”
Whom the fates sever
Parted for ever?
Sounds the far billow, Where early violets die,
Under the willow.
Eleu loro, &c. Soft shall be his pillow.
There, through the summer day,
Cool streams are laving; There while the tempests sway,
Scarce are boughs waving: There, thy rest shalt thou take,
Parted for ever, Never again to wake,
Never, I never.
VII. But Marmion, as to chase the awe Which thus had quell’d their hearts, who saw The ever-varying firelight show That tigure stern and face of wo,
Now callid upon a squire:“ Fitz Eustace, know'st thou not some lay, To speed the lingering night away?
We slumber by the fire."
CHORUS Eleu loro, &c. Never, 0 never.
VIII. “ So please you,” thus the youth rejoin'd, u Our choicest minstrel's left behind.
He, the deceiver,
Ruin, and leave her?