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Young Gunnar shook like an aspen-bough,
As he heard the harsh voice and beheld the dark brow, And half he repented his purpose and vow.
But now to draw back were bootless shame, I And he loved his master, so urged his claim:
<< Alas! if my arrn and my courage be weak,
Bear with me a while for old Ermengarde’s sake;
As to fear he would break it for peril of death.
Have I not risk'd it to fetch thee this gold,
This surcoat and mantle to fence thee from cold?
What lot remains if I stay behind?
The priest's revenge, thy father's wrath,
A dungeon and a shameful death.»-
With gentler look Lord Harold eyed '
The page, then turn'd his head aside;
And either a tear did his eye-lash stain,
Or it caught a drop of the passing rain.
u Art thou an outcast then I» quoth he,
u The meeter page to follow me.»
’T were bootless to tell what climes they sought,
llow oft with few, how oft alone,
Fierce Harold's arm the field hath won.
Men swore his eye, that tlash'd so red
When each other glance was quench'd with dread,
That ne'er from mortal courage came.
Those limbs so strong, that mood so stern,
That loved the couch of heath and fern,
Afar from hamlet, tower, and town,
More than to rest on driven down ;
That stubborn frame, that sullen mood,
Men deem‘d must come of aught but good;
And they whisper’d, the great Master Fiend was as one With Harold the Dauntless, Count Witikind's son.
Years after years had gone and fled‘,
Ilis sculptured form on marble stone,
The power of his crosier he loved to extend
O'er whatever would break or whatever would bend : And now hath he clothed him in cope and in pall,
And the Chapter of Durham has met at his call.
u And hear ye not, brethren,» the proud bishop said,
<< That our vassal, the Danish Count Witikind, ’s dead? All his gold and his goods hath be given,
To holy church for the love of Heaven,
And hath founded a chantry with stipend and dole, That priests and that beadsmen may pray for his soul : Harold his son is Wandering abroad,
Dreaded by man and abhorred by God;
Meet it is not, that such should heir
The lands of the church on the Tyne and the Wear; And at her pleasure, her hallow'd hands
May now resume these wealthy lands. »
'T lS merry in green-wood,—thus runs the old lay,
In the gladsome month of lively May,
\\'hen the wild birds’ song on stem and spray Invites to forest bower ;
Then rears the ash his airy crest,
Then shines the birch in silver vest,
And the beech in glistening leaves is drest,
And dark between shows the o:ik's proud breast,
Though a thousand branchesjoin their screen,
Yet the broken sun—b_eams glance between,
And tip the leaves with lighter green,
Dull is the heart that loves not then
The deep recess of the wild-wood glen,
Where roe and red-deer find sheltering den, l When the sun is in his power.
Less merry, perchanee, is the fading leaf ~
That follows so soon on the gather'd sheaf,
Silent is then the forest bound,
Save the redbreast’s note, and the rustling sound
Of frost-nipt leaves that are dropping round,
Or the deep-mouth’d cry of the distant hound That opens on his game;
Ill. Fair llleielill was a woodland maid, Her father a rover of green-wood shade, By forest statutes undismay'd, Who lived by how and quiver. Well known was Wulfstanc's archery, By merry Tyne both on moor and lea, Through wooded Weardale’s glens so free, Well beside Stanhope's wild-wood tree, And well on Ganlesse river. Yet free though he trespass'(l on woodland game, More known and more fcar'd was the'wizard fame Of Jutta of Ilookhope, the outlav/'s dame; Fear'd when she frown'd was her eye of flame, More fear‘d when in wrath she laugh'd; For then, 't was said, more fatal true To its dread aim her spell-glance flew, Than when from Wulfstane's bended yew Sprung forth the gray-goose shaft.
IV. Yet had this fierce and dreaded pair, So Heaven decreed, a daughter fair; None brighter crown'd the bed, In Britain's bounds, of peer or prince, Nor hath, perchauce, a lovelier since In this fair isle been bred. And nought of fraud, or ire, or ill, Was known to gentle Metelill, A simple maiden she; The spells in dimpled smiles that lie, And a downcast blush, and the darts that fly With the sidelong glance of a hazel eye, Were her arms and wilchery. S0 young, so simple was she yet, She scarce could childhood's joys forget, And still she loved, in secret set Beneath the green-wood tree, To plait the rushy coronet, And braid with flowers her looks of jet, As when in infaney;— Yet could that heart so simple prove The early dawn of stealing love: Ah! gentle maid, beware! The power who, now so mild a guest, Gives dangerous yet delicious zest To the calm pleasures of thy breast, Will soon, a tyrant o'er thy rest, Let none his empire share.
V. One morn, in kirtle green array'd, Deep in the wood the maiden stray'd, And, where a fountain sprung,
She sat her down, unseen, to thread
Like the blithe lark, whose carol gay
Gives a good-morrow to the day, So lightsomely she sung :
a Lord William was born in gilded bower, The heir of Wilton's lofty tower;
Yet better loves Lord William now
To roam beneath wild llookhopt-'s brow; And William has lived where ladies fair With gauds and jewels deck their hair, Yet better loves the dew-drops still
That pearl the locks of Metelill.
<< The pious palrner loves, l wis,
Saint Cuthberfs hal|ow’d beads to kiss;
Might have suchihomage paid to me;
This necklace of the brambles fruit,
<1 My nurse has told me many a tale, How vows of love are weak and frail; My mother says that courtly youth
By rustic maid means seldom sooth. What should they mean‘! it cannot be, That such a warning 's meant for me, For nought—oh'. nought of fraud or ill Can William mean to 1\letelill!»-—
Sudden she stops—antl starts to feel
A weighty hand, a glove of steel,
Upon her shrinking shoulders laid;
His crest and bearing worn and fray'd,
llis surcoat soil'd and riven;
Stern accents made his pleasure known,
Vlll. Secured within his powerful hold, To bend her knee, her hands to fold, Was all the maiden might; And a Oh! forgive,» she faintly said, -4 The terrors of a simple maid, If thou art mortal wight! But if—of such strange tales are told,—Unearthly warrior of the wold, Thou corncst to chide mine accents bold, My mother, J utta, knows the spell, At noon and midnight pleasing well The disembodied ear;
Oh l let her powerful charms atone
For aught my rashness may have done,
Then laugh'd the knight,-his laughter's sound
Half in the hollow helmet drown'd;
His barred visor then he raised, _
And steady on the maiden gazed.
He smooth'd his brows, as best he might,
To the dread calm of autumn night,
Yet still the cautious fishers eye
The clouds, and fear the gloomy sky,
IX. tr Damstfl,» he said, u be wise, and learn Matters of weight and deep concern: From distant realms I come, And, wanderer long, at length have plann'd In this my native northern laud To seek myself a hoine. Nor that alone-—a mate I seek; She must be gentle, soft, and meek,No lordly dame for me; ' Myself am something rough of mood, And feel the fire of royal blood, And therefore do not hold it good To match in my degree. Then, since coy maidens say my face is harsh, my form devoid of grace, For a fair lineage to provide, 'T is meet that my selected bride In lineamcnts be fair; I love thine wcll—-till now I ne'er Look'd patient on a face of fear, But now that trcmulous sob and tear Become thy beauty rare. One kiss—nay, damsel, coy it not: ilnd now, go seek thy parents’ cot, And say, a bridegroom soon I come, To woo my love and hear her home.»
It reeks not-—it is I demand
Fair Mctclill in marriage band,
Hnrold the Dziuntless 1, whose name
Is brave men's boast and cailiffs’ shame.»-—
On llurold innocently fell;
And disappointment and amaze
Were in the witch‘s wilder'd gaze.
But soon the wit of woman woke,
And to the warrior mild she spoke:
it Her child was all too young.u—u A toy, The refuge of a maiden coy.»-—
Agaiu, iv A powerful barou’s heir
Claims in her heart an interest fair.»
it A trifle-—whisper in his ear
That Harold is a suitor here!»
Baffled at length, she sought delay:
it Vould not the knight till morning stay?
\t No, not to night,—but soon,» he swore,
To Ulrick, Baron of Wilton-le-wear,
Do all the spells thou boast'st as thine
Or thorough fog and fen to sweep,
And hag-ride some poor rustic's sleep I
Is such mean mischief worth the fame
Fame, which with all men's wish conspires, \"ith thy deserts and my desires,
To damn thy corpse to penal fires!
Out on thee, witch ! aroint! aroint!
From the dark dingle when it flies,
And he who meets it gasps and dies.»
XV. Stern she replied, u] will not wage ‘Var with thy folly or thy rage; _ But ere the m0rrow's sun be low, . V\’ulfstane of Rookhope, thou shalt know, IFI can venge me on a foe. Believe the while, that whzttsoe'er I spoke, in ire, of how and spear, It is not Harold's destiny The death of pilfcr'd deer to die. But he, and thou,iand yon pale moon, That shall be yet more pallid soon, Before she sink behind the dell, Thou, she, and Harold too, shall tell What Jutta knows of charm or spell.»Thus muttering, to the door she bent ' Her wayward steps, and forth she went, And left alone the moody sire, To cherish or to slake his ire.
Where, to thy godhead faithful yet,
With the Christians’ hated g0re,—.
<< Daitghter of_dust !» the deep voice said, -—Shook while it spoke the vale for dread, Rock'd on the base that massive stone,
The evil deity to own,— . 1,“ Daughter of dust! not mine the power Thou seck’st on IIarold’s fatal hour.
"Fwixt heaven and hell there is a strife
And fain would we the combat win, '
There is a star now rising red,
That threats him with an iulluence dread :
' Woman, thine arts of malice whet, *
To use the space before it set.
Involve him with the church in strife,
Push on adventurous chance his life;
As best we may, thy counsels speed.»
So ceased the voice; for seven leagues round Each hamlet started at the sound;