Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

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,

While Ettrick boasts the line of Scott,

The slaughtered chiefs, the mortal jar,
The havoc of the feudal war,

If thou would'st view fair Melrose aright,

Go visit it by the pale moon-light; Shall never, never be forgot!

For the gay beams of lightsome day

Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray. In sorrow, o'er Lord Walter's bier

When the broken arches are black in night, The warlike foresters had bent;

And each shafted oriel glimmers white; And many a flower, and many a tear,

When the cold light's uncertain shower Old Teviot's maids and matrons lent:

Streams on the ruined central tower; But o'er her warrior's bloody bier

When buttress and buttress, alternately,
The Ladye dropped nor flower nor tear!

Seem framed of ebon and ivory;
Vengeance, deep-brooding o'er the slain,
Had locked the source of softer woe;

When silver edges the imagery,
The And burning pride, and high disdain,

And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;

When distant Tweed is heard to rave,
Forbade the rising tear to flow;
Els Until, amid his sorrowing clan,

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 whileCHO “ 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, be 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;

Little recked he of the scene so fair:
All loose her negligent attire,
All loose her golden hair,

With dagger's hilt, on the wicket strong,

He struck full loud, and struck full long.
Hung Margaret o'er her slaughtered sire,
And wept in wild despair.

The porter hurried to the gate

“ Who knocks so loud, and knocks so late?"**** But not alone the bitter tear Had filial grief supplied ;

“ From Branksome 1,” the warrior cried;

And strait the wicket opened wide;
For hopeless love, and anxious fear,

For Branksome's chiefs had in battle stood,
Had lent their mingled tide:
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,

Had gifted the shrine for their soul's repose.
Her lover, 'gainst her father's clan,
With Car in arms had stood,

Bold Deloraine his errand said;
When Mathouse-burn to Melrose ran,

The porter bent his humble head;
All purple with their blood;
And well she knew her mother dread,

With torch in hand, and feet unshod,
Before Lord Cranstoun she should wed,

And noiseless step, the path he trod:

The arched cloisters, far and wide,
Would see her on her dying bed.
Of noble race the Ladye came;

Rang to the warrior's clanking stride;
Her father was a clerk of fame,

Till, stooping low his lofty crest,

He entered the cell of the ancient priest,
Of Bethune's line of Picardie:
He learned the art, that none may name,

And lifted his barred aventayle,

To hail the monk of St. Mary's aisle.
Io Padua, far beyond the sea.
Men said, he changed his mortal frame

• 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


With toil his stiffened limbs he reared;

A hundred years had fung their snows
And of his skill, as bards avow,

On his thin locks and floating beard.
He taught that Ladye fair,
Till to her bidding she could bow

And strangely on the knight looked he,
The viewless forms of air.

And his blue eyes gleamed wild and wide; And now she sits in secret bower,

“ And, dar'st thou, warrior! seek to see

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

And I dug his chamber annoug the dead,

When the floor of the chancel was stained red,

What heaven and hell alike would hide?

O fading honours of the dead!
My breast, in belt of iron pent,

O high ambition, lowly laid !
With shirt of hair and scourge of thorn,
For threescore years in penance spent,

The moon on the east oriel shone
My knees those flinty stones have worn ;

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.
Other prayer can I none;

The moon-beam kissed the holy pane,
So speed me my errand, and let me be gone." And threw on the pavement a bloody stain.
Again on the knight looked the churchman old, They sate them down on a marble stone,
And again he sighed heavily;

A Scottish monarch slept below;
For he had himself been a warrior bold,

Thus spoke the monk, in solemn tone-
And fought in Spain and Italy.

“ I was not always a man of woe;
And he thought on the days that were long since by, For Paynim countries I have trod,
When his limbs were strong, and his courage was And fought beneath the cross of God:
Now slow, and faint, he led the way, (high : Now, strange to my eyes thine arms appear,
Whore, cloistered round, the garden lay;

And their iron clang sounds strange to my ear.
The pillared arches were over their head,
And beneath their feet were the bones of the dead.

“ 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.
So had lie seen, in fair Castile,

But to speak them were a deadly sin;
The youth in glittering squadrons start;
Sudden the flying jennet wheel,

And hurl the unexpected dart.
He knew, by the streamers that shot so bright,
That spirits were riding the northern light.
By a steel-clenched postern door,

They entered now the chancel tall;
The darkened roof rose high aloof

On pillars, lofty, and light, and small:
The key-stone, that locked each ribbed aisle,
Was a fleur-de-lis, or a quatre-feuille;
The corbells were carved grotesque and grim;
And the pillars, with clustered shafts so trim,
With base and with capital flourished around,
Seemed bundles oflances which garlands had bound.
Full many a scutcheon and banner, riven,
Shook to the cold night-wind of heaven,

Around the screened altar's pale;
And there the dying lamps did burn,
Before thy low and lonely urn,
O gallant chief of Otterburne!

And thine, dark knight of Liddesdale!

It was
I wou


And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone.

She Den



And for having but thought them my heart withia,

A triple penance must be done.
“ When Michael lay on his dying bed,
His conscience was awakened ;
He bethought him of his sinful deed,
And he gave me a sign to come with speed:
I was in Spain when the morning rose,
But I stood by his bed ere evening close.
The words may not again be said,
That he spoke to me, on death-bed laid;
They would rend this Abbaye's massy nave,
And pile it in heaps above his grave.
" I swore to bury his mighty book,
That never mortal might therein look;
And never to tell where it was hid,
Save at his Chief of Branksome's need;
And when that need was past and o'er,
Again the volume to restore.
I buried him on St. Michael's night,

[ocr errors]

When the bell tolled one, and the moon was bright,

'hat his patron's cross might over him wave, His breath came thick, his head swam round, nd scare the fiends from the wizard's grave.

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: Vhen Michael in the tomb I laid!

With eyes averted prayed he; trange sounds along the chancel past,

He might not endure the sight to see, he bauners 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, 'han William of Deloraine, good at need,

Thus unto Deloraine he said: 'gainst a foe ne'er spurred a steed:

“ Now speed thee what thou hast to do, Tet somewhat was he chilled with dread,

Or, warrior, we may dearly rue; Ipd his hair did bristle upon his head.

For those, thou may'st not look upon,

Are gathering fast round the yawning stone!". • 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: Co chase the spirits that love the night:

He thought, as he took it, the dead man frowned; Chat lamp shall burn unquenchably,

But the glare of the sepulchral light,
Jntil the eternal doom shall be.”—

Perchance, had dazzled the warrior's sight.
Slow moved the monk to the broad flag-stone,
Which the bloody cross was traced upon:

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. With beating heart to the task he went;

'Tis said, as through the aisles they past, His sinewy frame o'er the grave-stone bent; 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,

And voices unlike the voice of man;
I would you had been there to see
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;
And through the galleries far aloof!
No earthly flame blazed e'er so bright:

1 say the tale as 'twas said to me.
It shone like heaven's own blessed light;
And, issuing from the tomb,

Shewed the monk's cowl, and visage pale,
Dabced on the dark-browed warrior's mail,

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
And kissed his waving plume.

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 he 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 had 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,

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

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
The Minstrels came, at festive call;

Rung trumpet, shalm, and psaltery;

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:
Alike for feast and fight prepared,

Whispered young knights, in tone more mild,

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, Till the rude turrets shake and ring.

And all is mirth and revelry. Me lists not at this tide are

The splendour of the spousal rite,
How mustered in the chapel fair

Both maid and matron, squire and knight;
Me lists not tell of owches rare,
Of mantles green, and braided hair,
And kirtles furred with miniver;
What plumage waved the altar round,
How spurs, and ringing chainlets, sound:
And hard it were for Bard to speak
The changeful hue of Margaret's cheek,
That lovely hue which comes and files,
As awe and shame alternate rise.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

In low dark rounds the arches hung,
From the rude rock the side-walls sprung;
The grave-stones, rudely sculptured o'er,
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;
And yet it dimly served to shew
The awful conclave met below.
There, met to doom in secrecy,
Were met the heads of convents three;
All servants of Saint Benedict,
The statutes of whose order strict

On iron table lay;
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,

Some bards have sung, the Ladye high
Chapel or altar came not nigh;
Nor durst the rights of spousal grace,
So much she feared each holy place.
False slanders these :- I trust right well
She wrought not by forbidden spell:
For mighty words and signs have power
O’er sprites in planetary hour:
Yet scarce I praise their venturous part,
Who tamper with such dangerous art.
But this for faithful truth I say,

The Ladye by the altar stood,
Of sable velvet her array,

And on her head a crimson hood,
With pearls embroidered and entwined,
Guarded with gold, with ermine lined;
A merlin sat upon her wrist,
Held by a leash of silken twist.
The spousal rites were ended soon;
'Twas now the merry hour of noon,

Suc Who. Becas

Fer One, Beya Such Тоа For Thei One The


Until, to hide her bosom's swell,
And tear-drops that for pity fell,

She closely drew her veil:
Yon shrouded figure, as I guess,
By her proud mien and flowing dress,
Is Tynemouth's haughty Prioress,

And she with awe looks pale:
And he, that Ancient Man, whose sight


las long been quenched by age's night,

Yet well the luckless wretch might shriek, Jpon whose wrinkled brow alone,

Well might her paleness terror speak ! Vor ruth, nor mercy's trace is shewn,

For there were seen in that dark wall Vhose look is hard and stern,

Two niches, narrow, deep, and tall;Saint Cuthbert's Abbot is his stile ;

Who enters at such griesly door, * or sanctity called, through the isle,

Shall ne'er, I ween, fiod 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, on her doublet-breast,

And building tools in order laid.
She tried to hide the badge of blue,
Lord Marmion's falcon crest.

These executioners were chose,
But, at the Prioress' command,

As men who were with mankind foes, A monk undid the silken band,

And, with despite and envy fired, That tied her tresses fair,

Into the cloister had retired; And raised the bonnet from her head,

Or who, in desperate doubt of grace, And down her slender form they spread,

Strove, by deep penance, to efface In ringlets rich and rare.

Of some foul crime the stain; Constance de Beverley they know,

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 to gain,

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. To those bright ringlets glittering fair) Her look composed, and steady eye,

And now that blind old Abbot rose, Bespoke a matchless constancy.

To speak the Chapter's doom, And there she stood, so calm and pale,

On those the wall was to inclose, That, but her breathing did not fail,

Alive, within the tomb: And motion slight of eye and liead,

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.
Such tools the Tempter ever needs
To do the savagest of deeds;

At length, an effort sent apart
For them no vision'd terrors daunt,

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 dawn'd 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; "lis body on the floor to dash,

And when her silence broke at length, ind crouch, like hound beneath the lash;

Still as she spoke she gathered strength, Vhile his mute partner, standing near,

And arm’d herself to bear; Waited her doom without a tear.

It was a fearful sight to see

« AnteriorContinuar »