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« Break off, we are not here alone;
My monitor is near.
I first beheld his form,
Before the fearful storm,-
And there is nought to see,
Waves with the waving tree.»
« Ah, no!» replied the page ; « the ill-starr'd love
Of some poor maid is in the emblem shown, Whose fates are with some hero's interwove,
And rooted on a heart to love unknown : And as the gentle dews of heaven alone
Nourish those drooping boughs, and as the scathe Of the red lightning rends both tree and stone,
So fares it with her unrequited faith,-
Yet prating still of love;
With one like me to rove,
Yet, foolish trembler as thou art, Thou hast a nook of
rude heart, And thou and I will never part ;Harold would wrap the world in flame Ere injury on Gunnar came.»
And then resolvedly said, -
Which vulgar minds call fear.
said « Speak-I hear.»
My toils—my wanderings are o'erpaid !»
And, as they flow'd along,
They melted into song.
V. « What though through fields of carnage wide I
may not follow Harold's stride,
Lord Harold's feats can see ?
wolf's hide, When slumbering by Lord Harold's side
In forest, field, or lea.»
IX. Then ceased the voice.-The Dane replied In tones where awe and inborn pride For mastery strove,-«In vain
They left not black with flame?-
VI. « Break off !» said Harold, in a tone Where hurry and surprise were shown,
With some slight touch of fear,
Can I be soft and tame?
Joy shook his torch above the band,
On essence pure and coarsest weed,
Joy takes the colours of the mind.
Lightsome and pure, but unrepress'd, As if some sudden storm the impulse gave.
He fired the bridegroom's gallant breast; « All thou hast said is truth-Yet on the head
More feebly strove with maiden fear, Of that bad sire let not the charge be laid,
Yet still joy glimmer'd through the tear That he, like thee, with unrelenting pace,
On the bride's blushing cheek, that shows From grave to cradle ran the evil race :
Like dew-drop on the budding rose; Relentless in his avarice and ire,
While Wulfstane's gloomy smile declared Churches and towns he gave to sword and fire;
The joy that selfish avarice shared, Shed blood like water, wasted every land,
And pleased revenge and malice high Like the destroying angel's burning brand;
Its semblance took in Jutta's eye.
On dangerous adventure sped
For thus that morn her demo
« If, ere the set of sun, be tied But thou, when thy tempest of wrath shall next shake The knot 'twixt bridegroom and his bride, thee,
The Dane shall have no power of ill
And the pleased witch made answer, « Then
Must Harold have pass'd from the paths of men !
May hemlock and mandrake find root in his grave,XI. « He is gone,» said Lord Harold, and gazed as he spoke; And his waking be worse at the answering day!»—
May his death-sleep be dogg’d by dreams of dismay, « There is nought on the path but the shade of the oak, He is gone,
whose strange presence my feeling oppress’d, Like the night-hag that sits on the slumberer's breast.
XIV. My heart beats as thick as a fugitive's tread,
Such was their various mood of glee And cold dews drop from my brow and my head.
Blent in one shout of ecstacy.
But still when joy is brimming highest,
And lurking danger, sages speak:
These haunt each path, but chief they lay
Beset by Harold in his wrath.
High on a rock the giant stood;
His shout was like the doom of death And down the steep pathway, o'er stock, and o'er stone, Spoke o'er their heads that pass'd beneath. The train of a bridal came blithesomely on;
His destined victims might not spy There was song, there was pipe, there was timbrel, and The reddening terrors of his eye, — still
The frown of rage that writhed his face,
The lip that foam'd like boar's in chase;-
Bore back to shun the threaten'd fall,
The fragment which their giant foe
Rent from the cliff and heaved to throw.
With mirth and melody; -
Backward they bore;- yet are there two
For battle who prepare :
No pause of dread Lord William knew,
Ere bis good blade was bare;
And Wulfstane bent his fatal yew,
But ere the silken cord he drew,
As hurl'd from Hecla's thunder, flew
That ruin through the air ;-
Full on the outlaw's front it came,
And all that late had human name,
Is to its reckoning gone;
Save that beneath that stone,
Of mingled flesh and bone !
XVIII. But though his dreaded footsteps part, Death is behind and shakes his dart; Lord William on the plain is lying, Beside him Metelill seems dying! Bring odours-essences in hasteAnd lo! a flasket richly chased, But Jutta the elixir proves Ere pouring it for those she lovesThen Walwayn's potion was not wasted, For when three drops the hag had tasted,
So dismal was her yell,
And flutter'd down the dell!
Of forest and of fell,
The eagle darts amain,
Placed Harold on the plain.
So fled the bridal train;
But dares the fight in vain,
lis lord lies on the plain.
The hapless bridegroom 's slain !
XIX. Such was the scene of blood and woes, With which the bridal morn arose
Of William and of Metelill; But oft, when dawning 'gins to spread, The summer morn peeps dim and red
Above the eastern hill, Ere, bright and fair, upon his road The king of splendour walks abroad; So, when this cloud had pass'd away, Bright was the noontide of their day, And all serene its setting ray.
And cried, « In mercy spare!
Grant mercy,-or despair !»
for the sign.
page implored; «Speak word of good, Resist the fiend, or be subdued !»
De sign’d the cross divineInstant his
hath human light,
lle turns and strides a way;
He granted to his prey.
Will tempt no traveller from southern fields,
To view the castle of these Seven proud Shields. Small confirmation its condition yields
To Meneville's high lay,---No towers are seen On the wild heath, but those that Fancy builds,
And, save a fosse which tracks the moor with green, Is nought remains to tell of what may there have been.
And yet grave authors, with the no small waste
Of their grave time, have dignified the spot By theories, to prove the fortress placed
By Roman hands, to curb the invading Scot. Hutchinson, Horsley, Camden, I might quote,
Within the castle that of danger show'd;
As through their precincts the adventurers strode.
Each tower presenting to their scrutiny A hall in which a king make abode,
And fast beside, garnish'd both proud and high, Was placed a bower for rest in which a king might lie.
VII. The minstrel boy half smiled, half sigh’d, And his half-filling eyes be dried, And said, « The theme I should but wrong, Unless it were my dying song (Our scalds have said, in dying hour The Northern harp has treble power), Else could I tell of woman's faith Defying danger, scorn, and death. Firm was that faith, -as diamond stone Pure and unflawed,- her love unknown, And unrequited ;-firm and pure, Her stainless faith could all endure; From clime to clime, from place to place, Through want, and danger, and disgrace, A wanderer's wayward steps could trace.
As if a bridal there of late had been,
Deck'd stond the table in each gorgeous hall; And yet it was two hundred years, I ween,
Since date of that unhallow'd festival. Flagons, and ewers, and standing cups, were all
All this she did, and guerdon none
VIII. « Thou art a wild enthusiast,» said Count Harold, « for thy Danish maid; And yet, young Gunnar, I will own Hers were a faith to rest upon. But Eivir sleeps beneath her stone, And all resembling her are gone. What maid e'er show'd such constancy In plighted faith, like thine to me? But couch thee, boy; the darksome shade Falls thickly round, nor be dismay'd
Because the dead are by.
Thy master slumbers nigh.»
Through their closed visors sparks of flame. The first proclaim'd in sounds of fear,
Harold the Dauntless, welcome here!'
As captives know the knell
Commands them quit their cell.
When to my rescue sped
The demons yell’d and fled!
There's trouble in his eyes,
« My page,» he said, « arise;-
Disturb'd the sacred tomb! Methought this night I stood on high Where Hecla roars in middle sky, And in her cavern'd gulfs could spy
The central place of doom! And there before
Bore to that evil den!
Those who had late been men.
And, Gunnar, I could find
My father Witikind!
X. « With haggard eyes and streaming hair, Jutta, the sorceress, was there, And there pass'd Wulfsta'ne, lately slain, All crush'd and foul with bloody stain.More had I seen, but that uprose A whirlwind wild, and swept the snows; And with such sound as when at need A champion spurs his horse to speed, Three armed knights rush on, who lead Caparison'd, a sable steed. Sable their harness, and there came
XII. Trembling at first, and deadly pale, Had Gunnar heard the vision'd tale; But when he learned the dnbious close, He blush'd like any opening rose, And, glad to hide his tell-tale cheek, Hied back that glove of inail to seek; When soon a shriek of deadly dread Summon'd his master to his aid.