« AnteriorContinuar »
I stanch'd thy father's death-feud stern,
My fairest earldom would I give
XXVIII. Then forth the noble Douglas sprung, And on his neck his daughter hung. The monarch drank, that happy hour, The sweetest, holiest draught of powerWhen it can say, with godlike voice, Arise, sad virtue, and rejoice! Yet would not James the general eye On nature's raptures long should pry; He stepp'd between—"Nay, Douglas, nay, Steal not my proselyte away! The riddle 'tis my right to read, That brought this happy chance to speed.Yes, Ellen, when disguised I stray In life's more low but happier way, 'Tis under name which veils my power, Nor falsely veils—for Stirling's tower of yore the name of Snowdoun claims, And Normans call me James Fitz-James. Thus watch I o'er insulted laws, Thus learn to right the injured cause. Then in a tone apart and low, -"Ah, little trait'ress! none must know What idle dream, what lighter thought, What vanity full deariy bought, Join'd to thine eye's dark witchcraft, drew My spell-bound steps to Ben-venue, In dangerous hour, and all but gave Thy monarch's life to mountain glaive !" Aloud he spoke Thou still dost hold That little talisman of gold, Pledge of my faith, Fitz-James's ringWhat seeks fair Ellen of the king?"
Harp of the north, farewell! the hills grow dark,
On purple peaks a deeper shade descending; In twilight copse the glowworm lights her spark;
The deer, half seen, are to the covert wending. Resume thy wizard elm! the fountain lending,
And the wild breeze, thy wilder minstrelsy; Thy numbers sweet with nature's vespers blending,
With distant echo from the fold and lea, And herd-boy's evening pipe, aud hum of housing
bee. Yet once again, farewell, thou minstrel harp!
Yet, once again, forgive my feeble sway, And little reck I of the censure sharp,
May idly cavil at an idle lay. Much have I owed thy strains on iife's long way,
Thro' secret woes the world has never known, When on the weary night dawn'd wearier day,
And bitter was the grief devour'd alone. That I o'erlive such woes, enchantress! is thine
XXIX. Full well the conscious maiden guess'a He probed the weakness of her breast; But, with that consciousness there came A lightening of her fears for Græme, And more she deem'd the monarch's ire Kindled 'gainst him, who, for her sire, Rebellious broadsword boldly drew; And, to her generous feeling true, She craved the grace of Roderick Dhu. « Forbear thy suit ;-the King of kings Alone can stay life's parting wings: I knew his heart, I knew his hand, Have shared his cheer and proved his brand.
Hark! as my lingering footsteps slow retire
Some spirit of the air has waked thy string! 'Tis now a seraph bold, with touch of fire,
'Tis now the brush of fairy's frolic wing; Receding now, the dying numbers ring
Fainter and fainter down the rugged dell, And now the mountain breezes scarcely bring
A wandering witch-note of the distant spell-And now, 'tis silent all! Enchantress, fare thee
And she has ta’en shipping for Palestine's land,
To ransom Count Albert from Soldanrie's hand. THE FIRE KING.
Small thought had Count Albert on fair Rosalie, * The blessings of the evil genii, which are curses, were
Small thought on his faith, or his knighthood had he; upon him.'
Eastern Tale. A heathenish damsel his light heart had won,
The Soldan's fair daughter of Mount Lebanon. This ballad was written at the request of Mr. “O Christian, brave Christian, my lo wouldst Lewis, to be inserted in his Tales of Wonder. It
thou be, is the third in a series of four ballads, on the sub- Three things must thou do ere I hearken to thee; ject of Elementary Spirits. The story is, however, Our laws and our worship on thee shalt thou take; partly historical; for it is recorded, that, during the And this thou shalt first do for Zulema's sake. struggles of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, a
where burns evermore knight templar, called Saint Alban, deserted to the “ And, next, in the cavern, Saracens, and defeated the Christians in many The mystical Alame which the Kurdmans adore, combats, till he was finally routed and slain, in a Alone, and in silence, three nights shalt thou wake; conflict with King Baldwin, under the walls of Je- And this thou shalt next do for Zulema's sake. rusalem.
“ And, last, thou shalt aid us with counsel and
hand, Bold knights and fair dames, to my harp give an ear, To drive the Frank robber from Palestine's land; Of love, and of war, and of wonder to hear;
For my lord and my love then Count Albert I'll take, And you haply may sigh, in the midst of your glee, When all this is accomplish'd for Zulema's sake.” At the tale of Count Albert, and fair Rosalie.
He has thrown by his helmet and cross-handled O see you that castle, so strong and so high?
sword, And see you that lady, the tear in her eye?
Renouncing his knighthood, denying his Lord; And see you that palmer from Palestine's land,
He has ta’en the green castan, and turban put on, The shell on his hat, and the staff in his hand ? For the love of the maiden of fair Lebanon. « Now, palmer, gray palmer, O tell unto me,
And in the dread cavern, deep, deep under ground, What news bring you home from the Holy Countrie? Which fifty steel gates and steel portals surround, And how goes the warfare by Galilee's strand ?
He has watch'd until daybreak, but sight saw he And how fare our nobles, the flower of the land ?”
none, “O well goes the warfare by Galilee's wave,
Save the flame burning bright on its altar of stone. For Gilead, and Nablous, and Ramah we have;
Amazed was the princess, the Soldan amazed, And well fare our nobles by Mount Lebanon,
Sore murmur'd the priests as on Albert they For the heathen have lost, and the Christians have
They search'd all his garments, and, under his A fair chain of gold mid her ringlets there hung:
weeds, O'er the palmer's gray locks the fair chain has she They found, and took from hiin, his rosary beads. flung;
Again in the cavern, deep, deep under ground, “O palmer, gray palmer, this chain be thy fee,
He watch'd the lone night, while the winds whisFor the news thou hast brought from the Holy
tled round; Countrie.
Far off was their murmur, it came not more nigh; “ And, palmer, good palmer, by Galilee's wave,
The flame burn'd unmoved, and naught else did he
spy. O saw ye Count Albert, the gentle and brave? When the crescent went back, and the red-cross Loud murmur'd the priests, and amazed was the rush'd on,
king, O saw ye him foremost on Mount Lebanon ?”
While many dark spells of their witchcraft they “O lady, fair lady, the tree green it grows;
sing; O lady, fair lady, the stream pure it flows :
They search'd Albert's body, and, lo! on his breast Your castle stands strong, and your hopes soar on Was the sign of the cross, by his father impress’d. high;
The priests they erase it with care and with pain, But lady, fair lady, all blossoms to die.
And the recreant return'd to the cavern again ; “ The green boughs they wither, the thunderbolt But, as he descended, a whisper there fellfalls,
It was his good angel, who bade him farewell ! It leaves of your castle but levin-scorch'd walls ; The pure stream runs muddy; the gay hope is gone; High bristled his hair, his heart flutter'd and beat,
And he turn'd him five steps, half resolved to reCount Albert is prisoner on Mount Lebanon.”
treat ; O she's ta’en a horse, should be fleet at her speed; But his heart it was harden'd, his purpose was And she's ta'en a sword, should be sharp at her
When he thought of the maid of fair Lebanon.
Scarce pass'd he the archway, the threshold scarce | But true men have said, that the lightning's red trod,
wing When the winds from the four points of heaven Did waft back the brand to the dread Fire-King. were abroad;
He clench'd his set teeth, and his gauntletted hand; They made each steel portal to rattle and ring,
He stretch'd, with one buffet, that page on the And, borne on the blast, came the dread Fire-King. strand; Full sore rock'd the cavern whene'er he drew nigh;
As back from the stripling the broken casque The fire on the altar blazed bickering and high ;
rollid, In volcanic explosions the mountains proclaim
You might see the blue eyes, and the ringlets of The dreadful approach of the monarch of flame.
Short time had Count Albert in horror to stare Unmeasured in height, undistinguish'd in form,
On those death-swimming eye-balls, and bloodHis breath it was lightning, his voice it was storm ;
clotted hair ; I ween the stout heart of Count Albert was tame,
For down came the Templars, like Cedron in flood, When he saw in his terrors the monarch of flame.
And died their long lances in Saracen blood. In his hand a broad falchion blue glimmer'd through The Saracens, Kurdmans, and Ishmaelites yield smoke,
To the scallop, the saltier, and crosletted shield; And Mount Lebanon shook as the monarch he And the eagles were gorged with the infidel dead, spoke:
From Bethsaida's fountains to Napthali's head. “ With this brand shalt thou conquer, thus long, The battle is over on Bethsaida's plain.
and no more, Till thou bend to the cross, and the virgin adore.”
0! who is yon Paynim lies stretched 'mid the
slain? The cloud-shrouded arm gives the weapon ; and, And who is yon page lying cold at his knee? see!
0! who but Count Albert and fair Rosalie. The recreant receives the charm’d gift on his The lady was buried in Salem's bless’d bound, knee:
The count he was left to the vulture and hound: The thunders grow distant, and faint gleam the
Her soul to high mercy our lady did bring; fires,
His went on the blast to the dread Fire-King. As, borne on his whirlwind, the phantom retires.
Yet many a minstrel, in harping, can tell, Count Albert has arm'd him the Paynim among; How the red-cross it conquer'd, the crescent it fell; Though his heart it was false, yet his arm it was And lords and gay ladies have sigh’d, 'mid their strong;
glee, And the red-cross wax'd faint, and the crescent At the tale of Count Albert and fair Rosalie.
THE WILD HUNTSMEN.
Tus is a translation, or rather an imitation, of
the Wilde Jager of the German poet Bürger. The The war-cymbals clatter'd, the trumpets replied, tradition upon which it is founded bears, that fore The lances were couch'd, and they closed on each merly a wildgrave, or keeper of a royal forest, side ;
named Falkenburg, was so much addicted to the And horsemen and horses Count Albert o’erthrew, pleasures of the chase, and otherwise so extremely Till he pierced the thick tumult King Baldwin profligate and cruel, that he not only followed this unto.
uphallowed amusement on the Sabbath, and other
days consecrated to religious duty, but accompaAgainst the charm’d blade which Count Albert did nied it with the most unheard-of oppression upon wield,
the poor peasants who were under his vassalage. The fence had been vain of the king's red-cross when this second Nimrod died, the people adoptshield;
ed a superstition, founded probably on the many But a page thrust bim forward the monarch be- various uncouth sounds heard in the depth of a sore,
German forest, during the silence of the night. And cleft the proud turban the renegade wore.
They conceived they still heard the cry of the So fell was the dint, that Count Albert stoop'd low wildgrave's hounds ; and the well-known cheer of Before the cross'd shield, to his steel saddle-bow;
the deceased hunter, the sound of his horse's feet, And scarce had he bent to the red-cross his head,
and the rustling of the branches before the game, “ Bonne grace, notre dame,” he unwittingly said.
the pack, and the sportsmen, are also distinctly
discriminated; but the phantoms are rarely, if Sore sigh'd the charm'd sword, for its virtue was ever, visible. Once, as a benighted chasseur heard o'er;
this infernal chase pass by him, at the sound of the It sprung from his grasp, and was never seen more: halloo, with which the spectre huntsman cheered
The beams of God's own hallow'd day
Had painted yonder spire with gold, And, calling sinful men to pray,
Loud, long, and deep, the bell had tollid:
But still the wildgrave onward rides ;
Halloo, halloo! and hark again! When, spurring from opposing sides,
Two stranger horsemen join the train. Who was each stranger, left and right,
Well may I guess, but dare not tell; The right hand steed was silver white,
The left, the swarthy hue of hell.
The right hand horseman, young and fair,
His smile was like the morn of May; The left, from eye of tawny glare,
Shot midnight lightning's lurid ray.
He waved his huntsman's cap on high,
Cried, “Welcome, welcome, noble lord ! What sport can earth, or sea, or sky,
To match the princely chase, afford ?”
his hounds, he could not refrain from crying, “ Gluck zu, Falkenburg.'” (Good sport to ye, Falkenburg !) “Dost thou wish me good sport ?” answered a hoarse voice; “thou shalt share the game;" and there was thrown at him what seemed to be a huge piece of foul carrion. The daring chasseur lost two of his best horses soon after, and never perfectly recovered the personal effects of this ghostly greeting. This tale, though told with some variation, is universally believed all over Germany.
The French had a similar tradition concerning an aërial hunter, who infested the forest of Fontainebleau. He was sometimes visible; when he appeared as a huntsman, surrounded with dogs, a tall grisly figure. Some account of him may be found in “Sully's Memoirs,” who says he was called Le Grande Veneur. At one time he chose to hunt so near the palace, that the attendants, and, if I mistake not, Sully himself, came out into the court, supposing it was the sound of the king returning from the chase. This phantom is elsewhere called Saint Hubert.
The superstition seems to have been very general, as appears from the following fine poetical description of this phantom chase, as it was heard in the wilds of Ross-shire.
"Ere since, of old, the haughty thanes of Ross-
Scottish Descriptive Poems, pp. 167, 168. A posthumous miracle of father Lesly, a Scottish Capuchin, related to his being buried on a hill haunted by these unearthly cries of hounds and huntsmen. After his sainted relics had been deposited there, the noise was never heard more. The reader will find this, and other miracles, recorded in the life of father Bonaventura, which is written in the choicest Italian.
“ Cease thy loud bugle's clanging knell,”
Cried the fair youth, with silver voice; “ And for devotion's choral swell
Exchange the rude unhallow'd noise.
“ To-day the ill-omen'd chase forbear,
Yon bell yet summons to the fane; To-day the warning spirit hear,
To-morrow thou mayst mourn in vain."
“ Away, and sweep the glades along !”
The sable hunter hvarse replies ; “ To muttering monks leave matin song,
And bells, and books, and mysteries.” The wildgrave spurr'd his ardent steed,
And, lanching forward with a bound, “Who, for thy drowsy priest-like rede,
Would leave the jovial horn and hound ?
“ Hence, if our manly sport offend !
With pious fools go chant and pray: Well hast thou spoke, my dark-brow'd friend
Halloo, halloo! and, hark away!"
THE wildgrave winds his bugle horn,
To horse, to horse! halloo, balloo ! His fiery courser snuffs the morn,
And thronging serfs their lord pursue.
The wildgrave spurr'd his courser light,
O’er moss and moor, o'er holt and hill; And on the left, and on the right,
Each stranger horseman follow'd still. Up springs, from yonder tangled thorn,
A stag more white than mountain snow: And louder rung the wildgrave's horn,
“ Hark forward, forward ! holla, ho!” A heedless wretch had cross'd the way;
He gasps, the thundering hoofs below: But, live who can, or die who may,
Stin, “ Forward, forward !” on they go. See, where yon simple fences meet,
A field with autumn's blessings crown's ; See, prostrate at the wildgrave's feet, A husbandman, with toil embrown'd:
The eager pack, from couples freed,
Dash through the bush, the brier, the brake; While answering hound, and horn, and steed,
The mountain echoes startling wake.
“O mercy, mercy, noble lord !
But man and horse, and horn and hound, Spare the poor's pittance," was his cry,
Fast rattling on his traces go; “Earn’d by the sweat these brows have pour'd, The sacred chapel rung around In scorching hour of fierce July?”
With, “ Hark away! and, holla, ho !" Earnest the right hand stranger pleads,
All mild, amid the route profane, The left still cheering to the prey,
The holy hermit pour'd his prayer ; Th’impetuous earl no warning heeds,
“ Forbear with blood God's house to stain ; But furious holds the onward way.
Revere his altar, and forbear! Away, thou hound so basely born,
“ The meanest brute bas rights to plead, Or dread the scourge's echoing blow !”
Which wrong'd by cruelty or pride, Then loudly rung his bugle horn,
Draw vengeance on the ruthless head: Hark forward, forward, holla, ho!"
Be warn’d at length, and turn aside." So said, so done : a single bound
Still the fair horseman anxious pleads; Clears the poor labourer's humble pale:
The black, wild whooping, points the prey: Wild follows man, and horse, and hound,
Alas! the earl no warning heeds, Like dark December's stormy gale.
But frantic keeps the forward way. And man, and horse, and hound, and horn,
“ Holy or not, or right or wrong, Destructive sweep the field along;
Thy altar, and its rites, I spurn; While joying o'er the wasted corn,
Not sainted martyr's sacred song, Fell famine marks the maddening throng.
Not God himself, shall make me turn!" Again uproused, the timorous prey
He spurs his horse, he winds his horn, Scours moss, and inoor, and holt, and hill;
“ Hark forward, forward, holla, ho!” he feels his strength decay,
But off, on wirlwind's pinions borne, And trusts for life his simple skill.
The stag, the hut, the hermit, go. Too dangerous solitude appear'd;
And horse, and man, and horn, and hound, He seeks the shelter of the crowd;
And clamour of the chase was gone; Amid the flock's domestic herd
For hoofs, and howls, and bugle sound, His harmless head he hopes to shroud.
A deadly silence reign'd alone. O’er moss, and moor, and holt, and hill,
Wild gazed th’affrighted earl around; His track the steady bloodhounds trace ;
He strove in vain to wake his horn; O’er moss and moor, unwearied still,
In vain to call; for not a sound The furious earl pursues the chase.
Could from his anxious lips be borne. Full lowly did the herdsman fall;
He listens for his trusty hounds; “ () spare, thou noble baron, spare
No distant baying reach'd his ears: These herds, a widow's little all;
His courser, rooted to the ground, These flocks an orphan's fleecy care ?”
The quickening spur unmindful bears. Earnest the right hand stranger pleads,
Still dark and darker frown the shades, The left still cheering to the prey ;
Dark as the darkness of the grave; The earl nor prayer nor pity heeds,
And not a sound the still invades, But furious keeps the onward way.
Save what a distant torren: gave. “Unmanner'd dog! to stop my sport
High o'er the sinner's humbled head Vain were thy cant and beggar whine,
At length the solemn silence broke; Though human spirits, of thy sort,
And from a cloud of swarthy red, Were tenants of these carrion kine!”
The awful voice of thunder spoke.
Again he winds his bugle horn,
“ Hark forward, forward, holla, ho!” And through the herd, in ruthless scoru,
He cheers his furious hounds to go.
“Oppressor of creation fair!
Apostate spirits' harden'd tool!
The measure of thy cup is full.
Forever roam th' affrighted wild ;
God's meanest creature is his child.”
In heaps the throttled victims fall;
Down sinks their mangled herdsman near.
Again he starts, new nerved by fear.
While big the tears of apguish pour
The humble hermit's ballow'd bower.
'Twas hush'd: one flash, of sombre glare,
With yellow ting'd the forest brown;
And horror chill'd each nerve and bone.