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Can love of blessed charity?
In old Lord David's western tower, No! vainly to each holy shrine,
And listens to a heavy sound, In mutual pilgrimage they drew;
That moans the mossy turrets round. Implored, in vain, the grace divine
For chiefs, their own red falchions slew : While Cessford owns the rule of Car,
DELORAINE GOES TO THE GRAVE OF While Ettrick boasts the line of Scott,
If thou would'st view fair Melrose aright,
Go visit it by the pale moon-light;
For the gay beams of lightsome day In sorrow, o'er Lord Walter's bier
Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray. The warlike foresters had bent;
When the broken arches are black in night,
And each shafted oriel glimmers white;
When the cold light's uncertain shower
Streams on the ruined central tower; But o'er her warrior's bloody bier
When buttress and buttress, alternately,
Seem framed of ebon and ivory;
When silver edges the imagery,
And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;
When distant Tweed is heard to rave,
And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave, Her son lisped from the nurse's knee
Then go-but go
alone the while“ And, if I live to be a man,
Then view St. David's ruin'd pile; My father's death revenged shall be!"
And, home returning, soothly swear, Then fast the mother's tears did seek
Was never scene so sad and fair! To dew the infant's kindling cheek.
Short halt did Deloraine make there; All loose her negligent attire,
Little recked he of the scene so fair: All loose her golden hair,
With dagger's hilt, on the wicket strong, Hung Margaret o'er her slaughtered sire,
He struck full loud, and struck full long. And wept in wild despair.
The porter hurried to the gateBut not alone the bitter tear
“ Who knocks so loud, and knocks so late?"Had filial grief supplied ;
“ From Branksome 1,” the warrior cried; For hopeless love, and anxious fear,
And strait the wicket opened wide; Had lent their mingled tide:
For Branksome's chiefs had in battle stood, Nor in her mother's altered eye
To fence the rights of fair Melrose; Dared she to look for sympathy.
And lands and livings, many a rood, Her lover, 'gainst her father's clan,
Had gifted the shrine for their soul's repose. With Car in arms had stood,
Bold Deloraine his errand said;
The porter bent his humble head;
With torch in hand, and feet unshod,
And noiseless step, the path he trod :
The arched cloisters, far and wide,
Rang to the warrior's clanking stride;
Till, stooping low his lofty crest, Of Bethune's line of Picardie:
He entered the cell of the ancient priest, He learned the art, that none may name,
And lifted his barred aventayle,
To hail the monk of St. Mary's aisle.
“ The Ladye of Branksome greets thee by me; By feat of magic mystery;
Says, that the fated hour is come, For when, in studious mood, he paced
And that to-night I shall watch with thee, St. Andrew's cloistered hall,
To win the treasure of the tomb."His form no darkening shadow traced
From sackcloth couch the monk arosé, Upon the sunny wall!
With toil his stiffened limbs he reared;
A hundred years had flung their snows
On his thin locks and floating beard.
And strangely on the knight looked he,
And his blue eyes gleamed wild and wide; And now she sits in secret bower,
“ And, dar'st thou, warrior! seek to see
What heaven and hell alike would hide?
O fading honours of the dead!
O high ambition, lowly laid !
The moon on the east oriel shone
Through slender shafts of shapely stone, Yet all too little to atone
By foliaged tracery combined; For knowing what should ne'er be known.
Thou would'st have thought some fairy's hand Would'st thou thy every future year
'Twixt poplars straight the ozier wand, In ceaseless prayer and penance drie,
In many a freakish knot, had twined; Yet wait thy latter end with fear
Then framed a spell, when the work was done, Then, daring warrior, follow me!"
And changed the willow-wreaths to stone.
The silver light, so pale and faint, « Penance, father, will I none;
Shewed many a prophet, and many a saint, Prayer know I hardly one;
Whose image on the glass was dyed; For mass or prayer can I rarely tarry,
Full in the midst, his cross of red Save to patter an Ave Mary,
Triumphant Michael brandished, When I ride on a Border foray:
And trampled the apostate's pride.
The moon-beam kissed the holy pane,
A Scottish monarch slept below;
Thus spoke the monk, in solemn tone-
“ I was not always a man of woe;
And their iron clang sounds strange to my ear.
“ In these far climes, it was my lot
To meet the wond'rous Michael Scott; Spreading herbs, and flowerets bright,
A wizard of such dreaded fame, Glistened with the dew of night;
That when, in Salamanca's cave, Nor herb, nor floweret, glistened there,
Him listed his magic wand to wave, But was carved in the cloister arches as fair.
The bells would ring in Notre Dame! The monk gazed long on the lovely moon,
Some of his skill he taught to me; Then into the night he looked forth ;
And, Warrior, I could say to thee And red and bright the streamers light
The words that cleft Eildon hills in three, Were dancing in the glowing north.
And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone. So had lie seen, in fair Castile,
But to speak them were a deadly sin;
A triple penance must be done.
“ When Michael lay on his dying bed, That spirits were riding the northern light.
His conscience was awakened ;
He bethought him of his sinful deed, By a steel-clenched postern door,
And he gave me a sign to come with speed: They entered now the chancel tall;
I was in Spain when the morning rose, The darkened roof rose high aloof
But I stood by his bed ere evening close.
The words may not again be said,
They would rend this Abbaye's massy nave,
“ I swore to bury his mighty book, Seemed bundles oflances which garlands had bound.
That never mortal might therein look;
And never to tell where it was hid, Full many a scutcheon and banner, riven,
Save at his Chief of Branksome's need; Shook to the cold night-wind of heaven,
And when that need was past and o'er, Around the screened altar's pale;
Again the volume to restore. And there the dying lamps did burn,
I buried him on St. Michael's night, Before thy low and lonely urn,
When the bell tolled one, and the moon was bright, O gallant chief of Otterburne!
And I dug his chamber among the dead, And thine, dark knight of Liddesdale !
When the floor of the chancel was stained red,
Chat his patron's cross might over him wave, His breath came thick, his head swam round,
When this strange scene of death he saw.
Bewildered and unnerved he stood, It was a night of woe and dread,
And the priest prayed fervently, and loud: When Michael in the tomb I laid!
With eyes averted prayed he; strange sounds along the chancel past,
He might not endure the sight to see, Che banners waved without a blast".
Of the man he had loved so brotherly. -Still spoke the monk, when the bell tolled one!tell you, that a braver man
And when the priest his death-prayer had prayed, Chan William of Deloraine, good at need,
Thus unto Deloraine he said :Against a foe ne'er spurred a steed:
“ Now speed thee what thou hast to do, Yet somewhat was he chilled with dread,
Or, warrior, we may dearly rue ; And his hair did bristle upon his head.
For those, thou may'st not look upon,
Are gathering fast round the yawning stone!"4 Lo, warrior! now, the cross of red
Then Deloraine, in terror, took Points to the grave of the mighty dead;
From the cold hand the mighty book, Within it burns a wonderous light,
With iron clasped, and with iron bound: l'o chase the spirits that love the night:
He thought, as he took it, the dead man frowned; That lamp shall burn unquenchably,
But the glare of the sepulchral light,
Perchance, had dazzled the warrior's sight.
When the huge stone had sunk o'er the tomb, He pointed to a secret nook ;
The night returned in double gloom, An iron bar the warrior took;
For the moon had gone down, and the stars were few; And the monk made a sign, with his withered hand, And as the knight and priest withdrew, The grave's huge portal to expand.
With wavering steps and dizzy brain,
They hardly might the postern gain.
'Tis said, as through the aisles they past, With bar of iron heaved amain,
They heard strange noises on the blast; Till the toil-drops fell from his brows, like rain.
And through the cloister-galleries small, It was by dint of passing strength,
Which at mid-height thread the chancel wall, That he moved the massy stone at length.
Loud sobs, and laughter louder, ran, I would you had been there to see
And voices unlike the voice of man; How the light broke forth so gloriously,
As if the fiends kept holiday, Streamed upward to the chancel roof,
Because these spells were brought to day.
I cannot tell how the truth may be;
I say the tale as 'twas said to me.
Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land! Before their eyes the wizard lay,
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned, As if he had not been dead a day.
As home his footsteps be hath turned, His hoary beard in silver rolled,
From wandering on a foreign strand ! He seemed some seventy winters old;
If such there breathe, go, mark him well; A palmer's amice wrapped him round,
For him no Minstrel raptures swell; With a wrought Spanish baldric bound,
High though his titles, proud his name, Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea:
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim; His left hand held his book of might;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf, A silver cross was in his right;
The wretch, concentered all in self, The lamp was placed beside his knee:
Living, shall forfeit fair renown, High and majestic was his look,
And, doubly dying, shall go down At which the fellest fiends bad shook,
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung, And all unruffled was his face;
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung. They trusted his soul bad gotten grace.
O Caledonia! stern and wild, Often had William of Deloraine
Meet nurse for a poetic child! Rode through the battle's bloody plain,
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood, And trampled down the warriors slain,
Land of the mountain and the flood, And neither known remorse or awe;
Land of my sires! what mortal hand Yet now remorse and awe he owned ;
Can e'er untie the filial band,
That knits me to thy rugged strand!
And in the lofty arched hall Still, as I view each well-known scene,
Was spread the gorgeous festival. Think what is now, and what hath been,
Steward and squire, with heedful haste, Seems, as to me, of all bereft,
Marshalled the rank of every guest; Sole friends thy woods and streams were left; Pages, with ready blade, were there, And thus I love them better still,
The mighty meal to carve and share; Even in extremity of ill.
O'er capon, heron-shew, and crane, By Yarrow's stream still let me stray,
And princely peacock's gilded train, Though none should guide my feeble way;
And o'er the boar-head, garnished brave, Still feel the breeze down Ettrick break,
And cygnet from St. Mary's wave, Although it chill my withered cheek;
O'er ptarmigan and venison, Still lay my head by Teviot stone,
The priest had spoke his benison. Though there, forgotten and alone,
Then rose the riot and the din, The Bard may draw his parting groan.
Above, beneath, without, within!
For, from the lofty balcony, Not scorned like me! to Branksome Hall
Rung trumpet, shalm, and psaltery; The Minstrels came, at festive call;
Their clanging bowls old warriors quaffed, Trooping they came, from near and far,
Loudly they spoke, and loudly laughed; The jovial priests of mirth and war:
Whispered young knights, in tone more mild, Alike for feast and fight prepared,
To ladies fair, and ladies smiled. Battle and banquet both they shared.
The hooded hawks, high perched on beam, Of late, before each martial clan,
The clamour joined with whistling scream, They blew their death-note in the van,
And flapped their wings, and shook their bells, But now, for every merry mate,
In concert with the stag-hounds' yells. Rose the portcullis' iron grate;
Round go the flasks of ruddy wine, They sound the pipe, they strike the string,
From Bourdeaux, Orleans, or the Rhine ; They dance, they revel, and they sing,
Their tasks the busy sewers ply,
And all is mirth and revelry.
THE TRIAL OF CONSTANCE.
In low dark rounds the arches hung,
From the rude rock the side-walls sprung; Me lists not tell of owches rare, Of mantles green, and braided hair,
The grave-stones, rudely sculptured o'er, And kirtles furred with miniver;
Half sunk in earth, by time half wore,
Were all the pavement of the floor;
The mildew drops fell one by one,
With tinkling plash, upon the stone.
A cresset, in an iron chain,
Which served to light this drear domain,
With damp and darkness seemed to strive,
As if it scarce might keep alive; Some bards have sung, the Ladye high
And yet it dimly served to shew Chapel or altar came not nigh;
The awful conclave met below. Nor durst the rights of spousal grace,
There, met to doom in secrecy, So much she feared each holy place.
Were met the heads of convents three; False slanders these :- I trust right well
All servants of Saint Benedict, She wrought not by forbidden spell:
The statutes of whose order strict For mighty words and signs have power
On iron table lay; O'er sprites in planetary hour:
In long black dress, on seats of stone,
Behind were these three judges shewn,
By the pale cresset's ray:
The Abbess of Saint Hilda's, there,
Sate for a space with visage bare,
Until, to hide her bosom's swell, And on her head a crimson hood,
And tear-drops that for pity fell, With pearls embroidered and entwined,
She closely drew her veil: Guarded with gold, with ermine lined;
Yon shrouded figure, as I guess, A merlin sat upon her wrist,
By her proud mien avd flowing dress, Held by a leash of silken twist.
Is Tynemouth's haughty Prioress, The spousal rites were ended soon;
And she with awe looks pale: 'Twas now the merry hour of noon,
And he, that Ancient Man, whose sight
Has long been quenched by age's night,
Yet well the luckless wretch might shriek, Upon whose wrinkled brow alone,
Well might her paleness terror speak! Nor ruth, nor mercy's trace is shewn,
For there were seen in that dark wall Whose look is hard and stern,
Two niches, narrow, deep, and tall;Saint Cuthbert's Abbot is his stile;
Who enters at such griesly door, For sanctity called, through the isle,
Shall ne'er, I ween, find exit more. The saint of Lindisfarn.
In each a slender meal was laid,
Of roots, of water, and of bread: Before them stood a guilty pair;
By each, in Benedictine dress, But, though an equal fate they share,
Two haggard monks stood motionless; Yet one alone deserves our care.
Who, holding high a blazing torch, Her sex a page's dress belied ;
Shew'd the grim entrance of the porch: The cloak and doublet, loosely tied,
Reflecting back the smoky beam, Obscured her charms, but could not hide.
The dark-red walls and arches gleam. Her cap down o'er her face she drew;
Hewn stones and cement were display'd,
And building tools in order laid.
These executioners were chose,
As men who were with mankind foes, A monk undid the silken band,
And, with despite and envy fired,
Into the cloister had retired;
Or who, in desperate doubt of grace, And down her slender form they spread,
Strove, by deep penauce, to efface
Of some foul crime the stain;
For, as the vassals of her will, Sister profess'd of Fontevraud,
Such men the church selected still, Whom the church numbered with the dead,
As either joy'd in doing ill, For broken vows, and convent fled.
Or thought more grace
If, in her cause, they wrestled down When thus her face was given to view
Feelings their nature strove to own. (Although so pallid was her hue,
By strange device were they brought there, It did a ghastly contrast bear
They knew not how, and knew not where.
And now that blind old Abbot rose,
To speak the Chapter's doom,
On those the wall was to inclose, That, but her breathing did not fail,
Alive, within the tomb: And motion slight of eye and head,
But stopp'd, because that woeful maid, And of her bosom, warranted That neither sense nor pulse she lacks,
Gathering her powers, to speak essay'd. You might have thought a form of wax,
Twice she essay'd, and twice in vain;
Her accents might no utterance gain; Wrought to the very life, was there;
Nought but imperfect murmurs slip So still she was, so pale, so fair.
From her convulsed and quivering lip: Her comrade was a sordid soul,
”Twixt each attempt all was so still, Such as does murder for a meed;
You seem'd to hear a distant rillWho, but of fear, knows no controul,
'Twas ocean's swells and falls; Because his conscience, sear'd and foul,
For though this vault of sin and fear Feels not the import of his deed;
Was to the sounding surge so near, One, whose brute feeling ne'er aspires
A tempest there you scarce could hear, Beyond his own more brute desires.
So massive were the walls.
At length, an effort sent apart
The blood that curdled at her heart, Their nights no fancied spectres haunt;
And light came to her eye, One fear with them, of all most base,
And colour dawnd upon her cheek, The fear of death,-alone finds place.
A hectic and a futter'd streak, This wretch was clad in frock and cowl,
Like that left on the Cheviot peak, And shamed not loud to moan and howl,
By Autumn's stormy sky; His body on the floor to dash,
And when her silence broke at length, And crouch, like hound beneath the lash;
Still as she spoke she gathered strength, While his mute partner, standing near,
And arm'd herself to bear; Waited her doom without a tear.
It was a fearful sight to