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The poor Hart toils along the mountain-side ;
I will not stop to tell how far he fled,
Nor will I mention by what death he died;
But now the Knight beholds him lying dead.
Dismounting, then, he leaned against a thorn;
He had no follower, dog, nor man, nor boy:
He neither cracked his whip, nor blew his horn,
But gazed upon the spoil with silent joy.
Close to the thorn on which Sir Walter leaned, Stood his dumb partner in this glorious feat; Weak as a lamb the hour that it is yeaned, And white with foam as if with cleaving sleet.
Upon his side the Hart was lying stretched :
His nostril touched a spring beneath a hill,
And with the last deep groan his breath had fetched
The waters of the spring were trembling still.
And now, too happy for repose or rest,
(Never had living man such joyful lot !)
Sir Walter walked all round, north, south, and west,
And gazed and gazed upon that darling spot.
And climbing up the hill, (it was at least
Four roods of sheer ascent, Sir Walter found
Three several hoof-marks which the hunted Beast
Had left imprinted on the grassy ground.
Sir Walter wiped his face, and cried, “ Till now
Such sight was never seen by human eyes :
Three leaps have borne him from this lofty brow,
Down to the very fountain where he lies.
“ I'll build a pleasure-house upon this spot, And a small arbor, made for rural joy ; 'T will be the traveller's shed, the pilgrim's cot, A place of love for damsels that are coy.
“ A cunning artist will I have to frame
A basin for that fountain in the dell!
And they who do make mention of the same,
From this day forth, shall call it HART-LEAP
“ And, gallant Stag! to make thy praises known,
Another monument shall here be raised;
Three several pillars, each a rough-hewn stone,
And planted where thy hoofs the turf have grazed.
“ And, in the summer-time when days are long,
I will come hither with my Paramour;
And with the dancers and the minstrel's song
We will make merry in that pleasant bower.
• Till the foundations of the mountains fail,
My mansion with its arbor shall endure; -
The joy of them who till the fields of Swale,
And them who dwell among the woods of Ure!”
Then home he went, and left the Hart, stone-dead, With breathless nostrils stretched above the spring. - Soon did the Knight perform what he had said, And far and wide the fame thereof did ring.
Ere thrice the Moon into her port had steered,
A cup of stone received the living well ;
Three pillars of rude stone Sir Walter reared,
And built a house of pleasure in the dell.
And near the fountain, flowers of stature tall
With trailing plants and trees were intertwined, --
Which soon composed a little sylvan hall,
A leafy shelter from the sun and wind.
And thither, when the summer days were long,
Sir Walter led his wondering Paramour;
And with the dancers and the minstrel's song
Made merriment within that pleasant bower.
The Knight, Sir Walter, died in course of time,
And his bones lie in his paternal vale. —
But there is matter for a second rhyme,
And I to this would add another tale.
THE moving accident is not my trade ;
To freeze the blood I have no ready arts :
'T is my delight, alone in summer shade, To pipe a simple song for thinking hearts.
As I from Hawes to Richmond did repair,
It chanced that I saw standing in a dell
Three aspens at three corners of a square ;
And one, not four yards distant, near a well.
What this imported I could ill divine :
And, pulling now the rein my horse to stop,
I saw three pillars standing in a line, -
The last stone pillar on a dark hill-top.
The trees were gray, with neither arms nor head;
Half wasted the square mound of tawny green;
So that you just might say, as then I said,
“ Here in old time the hand of man hath been.”
I looked upon the hill both far and near,
More doleful place did never eye survey ;
It seemed as if the spring-time came not here,
And Nature here were willing to decay.
I stood in various thoughts and fancies lost, . When one, who was in shepherd's garb attired, Came up the hollow : — him did I accost, And what this place might be I then inquired.
The Shepherd stopped, and that same story told Which in my former rhyme I have rehearsed.
“ A jolly place,” said he,“ in times of old ! But something ails it now: the spot is curst.
“ You see these lifeless stumps of aspen-wood, Some say that they are beeches, others elms, – These were the bower; and here a mansion stood, The finest palace of a hundred realms !
“ The arbor does its own condition tell ;
You see the stones, the fountain, and the stream;
But as to the great Lodge! you might as well
Hunt half a day for a forgotten dream.
“There's neither dog nor heifer, horse nor sheep,
Will wet his lips within that cup of stone ;
And oftentimes, when all are fast asleep,
This water doth send forth a dolorous groan.
“ Some say that here a murder has been done, And blood cries out for blood : but, for my part, I've guessed, when I've been sitting in the sun, That it was all for that unhappy Hart.
“What thoughts must through the creature's brain
have past ! Even from the topmost stone, upon the steep, Are but three bounds, — and look, Sir, at this last! O Master! it has been a cruel leap.
“ For thirteen hours he ran a desperate race ;
And in my simple mind we cannot tell