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Together did they hope to tread
The pleasant path of life, For now the day drew near to make
Donica Eberhard's wife.
The eve was fair and mild the air,
Along the lake they stray: The eastern hill retlected bright
The tints of fading day.
In Finland there is a Castle which is called the New Rock, moated about with a river of unsounded depth, the water black, and the fish tbereia very distasteful to the palate. Io ibis are spectres often seen, wbich foresbow either the death of the Governor, or of some prime officer belonging to the place; and most commonly it appeareth in the sbapo of a harper, sweetly singing and dallying and playing under the water."
«It is reported of one Donica, that after she was dead, the Devil walked in her body for the space of two years, so that none suspected but she was still alive: for she did both speak and cat, though very spariogly; only she had a deep paleness on her countenance, which was the only sign of death. At length a Magician coming by where she was then in the company of many other virgins, as soon as he bebeld ber he said, Fair Maids, why keep you company with this dead Virgin, whom you suppose to be alive?'-wben, taking away the magic charm which was tied under her arm, the body fell down lifeless and witbout motion,
The following Ballad is founded on these stories. They are to be found in the notes to The Iliemrchies of the Blessed Angels; a Poem by Thomas Heywood, printed in folio by Adam Islip, 1635,
And brightly o'er the water stream'd
The liquid radiance wide; Donica's litile dog ran on
And gambold at her side.
Youth, health, and love bloom'd on her cheek;
Her full dark eyes express In many a glance to Eberhard
Her soul's meek tenderness.
High on a rock whose castled shade
Darken'd the lake below,
The towers of Arlinkow.
Nor sound was heard, nor passing gale
Sigh'd through the long lank sedge; The air was hush'd, no little wave
Dimpled the water's edge.
Sudden the unfathom'd lake sent forth
Its music from beneath,
The solemn sounds of death.
That instant from her earthly frame
Howling the Dæmon fled, And at the side of Eberhard
The livid form fell dead.
As those deep sounds of death arose,
Donica's cheek grew pale, And in the arms of Eberhard
The lifeless Maiden fell,
Loudly the Youth in terror shriek'd,
And loud he call'd for aid, And with a wild and eager look
Gazed on the lifeless Maid.
But soon again did better thoughts
In Eberhard arise, And he with crembling hope beheld
The Maiden raise her eyes.
Divers Princes and Noblemen being assembled in a beautiful and fair Palace, which was situate upon the river Rhine, they beheld a boat or small barge make toward the shore, drawn by a Swan in a silver chain, the one end fastened about her neck, the other to the vessel; and in it an unknown soldier, a man of a comely personage and graceful presence, who stept upon the shore ; which done, the boat guided by the Swan left him, and floated down the river. This man fell afterward in league with a fair gentlewoman, married her and by her had many children. After some years, the same Swan came with the same barge unto the same place ;-- the soldier entering into it, was carried thence the way he came, left wife, children and family, and was never seen amongst them after..
Now who can judge this to be other than one of those spirits that are pamed Incubi?» says Thomas Heywood. I have adopted his story, but not his solution, making the unknown soldier not an evil spirit, but one who had purchased happiness of a malevolent being, by the promised sacrifice of his first-born child.
And on his arm reclined she moved
With feeble pace and slow, And soon with strength recover'd reachd
The towers of Arlinkow.
Yet never to Donica's cheek
Returo'd the lively hue: Her cheeks were deathy white and wan,
Her lips a livid blue.
Bright on the mountain's heathy slope
The day's last splendours shine, And rich with many a radiant hue,
Gleam gaily on the Rhine.
And when at length it came, with joy
He hail'd the bridal day,
They went their willing way.
But when they at the altar stood,
And heard the sacred rite, The hallow'd tapers dimly stream'd
A pale sulphureous light.
And onward to the shore they drew,
Where having left the knight, The little boat adown the stream
Fell soon beyond the sight.
Could with this stranger vie;
When Rudiger was by.
Might match with Margaret;
Her silken locks like jet.
Had strove to win the fair;
Could rival Rudiger.
And when the Youth with holy warmth
Her hand in his did hold, Sudden he felt Donica's hand
Grow deadly damp and cold.
And loudly did he shriek, for lo!
A Spirit met his view, And Eberhard in the angel form
His own Donica knew.
He answered pot, for now he saw
A swan come sailing strong,
A little boat along.
Fast leapı he with the child,
And pale with fear and wild. With arching crest and swelling breast
On sail'd the stately swan, And lightly down the rapid side
The little boat went on.
The full orb'd moon, that beam'd around
Pale splendour through the night, Cast through the crimson canopy
A dim discolour'd light.
But silently did Rudiger
The little infant see;
A gloomy man was he.
The holy Father came,
In Christ's redeeming name,
Assume a death-pale hue,
The cold convulsive dew;
The Priest the rites delay,
Enjoy the festive day.
He saw the day decline,
To walk beside the Rhine;
« And we will take the little babe,
For soft the breeze that blows, And the mild murmurs of the stream
Will lull him to repose.”
« Now hush thee, hush thee, Margaret,
Nor my poor heart distress!
Of former happiness.
And so together forth they went,
The evening breeze as mild, And Rudiger upon his arm
Pillowd the little child.
« And hush thee too, my little babe!
Thy cries so feeble cease:
And thou shall be at peace.”
And many a one from Waldhurst's walls
Along the banks did roam, But soon the evening wind came cold,
And all betook them home.
So as he spake to land they drew,
And swift he stept on shore, And him behind did Margaret
Close follow evermore.
It was a place all desolate,
Nor house nor tree was there; And there a rocky mountain rose,
Barren, and bleak, and bare.
He sate beneath a willow tree
Which cast a trembling shade, The gentle river full in front
A little island made ;
And at its base a cavern yawnd,
No eye its depth might view, For in the moon-beam shining round
That darkness darker grew.
Where pleasantly the moon-beam shone
l'pon the poplar trees,
Play'd slowly to the breeze.
That waved the willow tree;
And murmur quietly.
Cold horror crept through Margaret's blood,
Her heart it paused with fear,
And cried, « Lo I am here!»
Return'd « Lo I am here!»
Two giant arms appear.
The little infant nigh:
powers And round the baby fast and close
Her trembling arms she folds, And with a strong convulsive grasp
The little infant holds.
He listen'd for the traveller's tread,
The nightingale sung sweet, --
The sound of coming feet;
And waited for his prey;
And Jaspar crost his way. But Jaspar's threats and curses faild
The traveller to appal, He would not lightly yield the purse
Which held his little all.