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Hewn stones and cement were display'd,
These executioners were chose,
Or who, in desperate doubt of grace,
Of some foul crime the stain ;
Or thought more grace to gain,
And now that blind old Abbot rose,
To speak the Chapter's doom,
It is well known, that the religious, who broke their vows of chastity, were subjected to the same penalty as the Roman vestals in a similar case. A small niche, sufficient to enclose their bodies, was made in the massive wall of the convent; a slender pittance of food and water was deposited in it, and the awful words, Vade in Pace, were the signal for immuring the criminal. It is not likely that, in latter times, this punishment was often resorted to; but, among the ruins of the Abbey of Coldingham, were some years ago discovered the remains of a female skeleton, which, from the shape of the niche, and position of the figure, seemed to be that of an immured nun. On those the wall was to enclose,
Alive, within the tomb; But stopp'd, because that woeful Maid, Gathering her powers, to speak essay’d, Twice she essay'd, and twice in vain ; Her accents might no utterance gain ; Nought but imperfect murmurs slip From her convulsed and quivering lip:
'Twixt each attempt all was so still, You seem'd to hear a distant rill
'Twas ocean's swells and falls; For though this vault of sin and fear Was to the sounding surge so near,
tempest there you scarce could hear, So massive were the walls.
At length, an effort sent apart
And light came to her eye,
By Autumn's stormy sky;
And arm'd herself to bear.
In form so soft and fair.
" I speak not to implore your grace,
Successless might I sue :
Vain are your masses too.-
But did my fate and wish agree,
That loved, or was avenged, like me!
" The King approved his favourite's aim; In vain a rival barr'd his claim,
Whose fate with Clare's was plight, For he attaints that rival's fame
With treason's charge--and on they came,
Their oaths are said,
Their lances in the rest are laid,
De Wilton to the block !'
Say, was Heaven's justice here?
Beneath a traitor's spear? How false the charge, how true he fell, This guilty packet best can tell.-Then drew a packet from her breast, Paused, gather'd voice, and spoke the rest.
“ Still was false Marmion's bridal staid ; To Whitby's convent fled the maid,
The hated match to shun. • Ho! shifts she thus ?' King Henry cried, Sir Marmion, she shall be thy bride,
If she were sworn a nun.' One way remain'd-the King's command Sent Marmion to the Scottish land : I linger'd here, and rescue plann'd
For Clara and for me :
This caitiff Mónk, for gold, did swear,
A saint in heaven should be.
“ And now my tongue the secret tells,
Not that remorse my bosom swells,
* Yet dread me, from my living tomb,
Ye vassal slaves of bloody Rome!