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HAROLD THE DAUNTLESS. ______________________________
What sees Count Harold in that bower, The morml and the demon dose‘
Blamed his rough locks and shaggy heard,
And thus the champion proved,
And loves who never loved.
M Tempter!» said Harold, firm of heart,
The kindling frenzy of my breast,
Thrill'd this strange speech through Haroldlsbrain, xix.
He clench'd his teeth in high disdain, But vainly seems the Dane to seek
For not his new-horn faith subdued For terms his new-born love to speak,Some tokens of his ancient mood.- For words, save those of wrath and wrong, u Now, by the hope so lately given Till now were strangers to his tongue;
Of better trust and purer heaven, So, when he raised the blushing maid,
I will ass-ail thee, fiend ln—-Then rose In blunt and honest terms he said,—
SCOTT'S POETICAL WORKS.
CON (JLUSION .
Ann now, Ennni, what ails thee, weary maid!
In the Ennunntcn ANNUAL Rrzots-riztt for the year 1809, ‘brag fragments were inserted, written in imitation of living poets. It must have been apparent, that by these 1-olusivlls, nothing burlesque or disrespectful to the authorfi was intended, but that they were offered to the Public as Serious, though certainly very imperfect, imitations of that style of composition, by which each uf the writers is supposed to be distinguished. As these flxerfllsefi imfaflled a greater degree of attention than ll"? author ittllicipated, he has been induced to complete one of them, and present it as a separate |_~|bliC3ll0l’l. ~ It is not in this place that an examination of the works of the master whom he has here adopted as his model Can, Will! propriety, he introduced; since his general acquiescence in the favourable suffrage of the Public must 1'l90L’$$flI‘lly be inferred from the attempt he has HOW lI1!\fl6- He is induced, by the nature of his subject, W offer a few remarks on what has been called ttoltlhlnfc l'°“'“'i““!llB popularity of which has been revived 1“ the Plcselll day, under the auspices, and by the unparflllslvd success, of One individual.
The orliilnlll l“"'P°$e of poetry is either religious or historical, °\'¢ 35 must frequently happen, a mixture of both. T0 m°d"n Waders, the poems of Homer have many °f [he f_“‘a“1"'=§ OF pure romance; but in the cstimalion of hls Contemporaries, they probably derived their chifif Value from their supposed historical authenticity. Tl"? same may be generally said of the poetry of all BEFIY 3895- Tile marvels and miracles which the Poet blends with his song do not exceed in number or
extravagance the figments of the historians of the same period of society; and, indeed, the difference betwixt poetry and prose, as the vehicles of historical truth, is always of late introduction. Poets, under various denominations of Bards, Scolds, Chroniclers, and so forth, are the first historians of all nations. Their intention is to relate the events they have witnessed, or the traditions that have reached them; and they clothe the relation in rhyme, merely as the means of rendering it more solemn in the narrative, or more easily committed to memory. But as the poetical historian improves in the art of conveying information, the authenticity of his narrative unavoidably declines. He is tempted to dilate and dwell upon the events that are interesting to his imagination, and, conscious how indifferent his audience is to the naked truth of his poem, his history gradually becomes a romance.
It is in this situation that those epics are found which have been generally regarded the standards of poetry; and it has happened somewhat strangely, that the modcrns have pointed out, as the characteristics and peculiar excellencies of narrative poetry, the very circumstances which the authors themselves adopted, only because their art involved the duties of the histofllltl as well as the poet. It cannot be believed, for example, that llorner selected the siege of Troy as the most appropriate subject for poetry; his purpose was to write the early history of his country: the event he has chosen, though not very fruitful in varied incident, nor perfectly well adapted for poetry, was nevertheless combined with traditionaiy and genealogical anecdotes extremely interesting to those who were to listen to him; and this he has adorned by the exertions ofa genius, which, if it has been equalled, has certainly been never surpassed. It was not till comparatively a late period that the general accuracy of his narrative, or his purpose in composing it, was brought into question. Aaxet npm-rag 5 Avagayapxg (xatflat p-qct tl>a€optva; ev flu-aradzrrp iv-raptq) rm O,u.1;pou Tmmatv arropgvetodau etvctv ape-:11; xott dzxut0cuw);.l But whatever theories might be framed by speculative men, his work was of an historical, not of an allegorical nature. Evaurtnaro ,ue'r0t1'0u Mn!reoug, xatt ‘arreu e‘X0tO'T01'E ot<,'0txozrro,1'rcwrct -rat znzzmpta dtspcoraro, Y..'.<t Zurcpsuwv arru-/0:4-/era, £U(0; dz ,utvnv xsct /1.v-n,u.oau*/at mzv-rc-av y,oupaa9at.= Instead of recommending the choice of a subject similar to that of Homer, it was to be expected that critics should have exhorted the poets of these later days to adopt or invent a narrative in itself more susceptible of poetical ornament, and to avail themselves of that advantage in order to compensate, in some degree, the inferiority of genius. The contrary course has been inculcated by almost all the writers upon the Epopaeia; with what success, the fate of Homer's numerous imitators may best show. The ultimum supplicium of criticism was inflicted on the author if he did not chuse a subject which at once deprived him of all claim to originality, and placed him, if not in actual contest, at least in fatal comparison, with those giants in the land, whom it was most his interest to avoid, The celebrated recipe for writing an epic poem, which appeared in the Guardian, was the first instance in which common sense was applied to this department of poetry; and indeed, if the question be considered on its own merits, we must be satisfied that narrative poetry, if strictly confined to the great occurrences of history, would be deprived of the individual interest which it is so well calculated to excite.
Modern poets may therefore be pardoned in seeking simpler subjects of verse, more interesting in proportion to their simplicity. Two or three figures, well grouped, suit the artist better than a crowd, for whatever purpose assembled. For the same reason a scene immediately presented to the imagination, and directly brought home to the feelings, though involving the fate of but one or two persons, is more favourable for poetry than the political struggles and convulsions which influence the fate of kingdoms. The former are within the reach and comprehension of all, and, if depicted with vigour, seldom fail to fix attention: the other, if more suhlime, are more vague and distant, less capable of being distinctly understood, and infinitely less capable of exciting those sentiments which it is the very purpose of poetry to inspire. To generalize is always to destroy effect. We would, for example, be more interested in the fate of an individual soldier in combat, than in the grand event ofa general action; with the happiness of two lovers raised from misery and anxiety to peace and union, than with the successful exertions of a whole nation. From what causes this may originate, is a separate, and obviously au immaterial consideration. Before ascribing this peculiarity to causes decidedly and odiously selfish, it is proper to recollect, that while men see only a limited space, and while their affections and conduct are regulated, not by aspiring at an universal good, but
by exerting their power of making themselves and others happy within the limited scale allotted to each individual, so longwill individual history and individual virtue be the rcadier and more accessible road to goneral interest and attention; and perhaps we may add, that it is the more useful, as well as the more accessible, inasmuch as it affords an example capable of being easily imitated. According to the author’s idea of Romantic Poetry, as distinguished from Epic, the former comprehends a fictitious narative, framed and combined at the pleasure of the writer; beginning and ending‘; as he may judge best; which neither exacts nor refuses the use of supernatural machinery; which is free from the technical rules of the Epée; and is subject only to those which good sense, good taste, and good morals apply to every species of poetry without exception. The date may he in a remote age, or in the present; the story may detail the adventures of a prince or of a peasant. In a word, the author is absolute master of his country and its inhabitants, and every thing is permitted to him excepting to be heavy1_or‘prosaic, for which, free and un. embarrassed as he is, he has no manner of apology. Those, it is probable, will be found the peculiarities of this species of composition; and, before joining the outcry against the vitiated taste that fosters and encourages it, the justice and grounds of it ought to be made perfectly apparent. If the want of sieges and battles and great military evolutions in our poetry is complained of, let us reflect, that the campaigns and heroes of our day are perpetuated in a record that neither requires nor admits of the aid of fiction; and if the complaint refers to the inferiority of our bards, let us pay ti jufil tribute to their modesty, limiting them, as it does, to subjects, which, however indifferently treated, have still the interest and charm of novelty, and which thus prevents them from adding insipidity to their other more insuperable defects.
II. Nay, why this hcsitating pause? And, Lucy, as thy step withdraws,
' Diogenes Lttertins, I. XI, p. 8. * lloineri Vita.
Pride mingled in the sigh her voice, And heard by one dear maid alone.
Why sidelong eye the streamlet's brim!
Titania's foot without a slip,
Like thine, though timid, light, and slim,
That binds her slipper's silken rim.
Or trust thy lover's strength : nor feat‘
That this same stalwart arm of mine, Which could you oak‘s prone trunk uprear, Shall shrink beneath the burthen dear
Of form so slender, light and fine.— S0,—-now, the danger dared at last,
Look back and smile at perils past!
Paled in by copse-wood, cliff. and stone,
To break affections whispering tone, Than the deep breeze that waves the shade,
Than the small brooklet's feeble moan. Come! rest thee on thy wonted seat;
Moss’d is the stone, the turf is green,
A place where lovers best may meet,
Who would not that their love be seen. The boughs, that dim the summer sky, Shall hide us from each lurking spy,
That fain would spread the invidious tale, How Lucy of the lofty eye,
Noble in birth, in fortunes high,
She for whom lords and barons sigh,
Meets her poor Arthur in the dale.
How deep that blush !—how deep that sigh!
Is it because that crimson draws
Its colour from some secret cause,
Some hidden movement of the breast,
She would not that her Arthur guess'd'.'
~ 0'. quicker far is lovers’ kcu
Than the dull glance of common men,
Well pleased that thou art Arthur's choice, Vlll.
Yet shamed thine own is placed so low. But, if $110‘-1 bids‘, 111959 ""195 shall 15“, Thou turn'st thy self-confessing cheek, of "ram knltihl mid di*m°ZBllBi
As if to mge[ the b|~ee;e's cooling; Of the dread knot a wizard tied, Then, Lucy, hear my mm; Speak, In punishment of maiden's pride,
For Love, too, has his hours of schooling. 1“ "M95 °f marvel and 05 fear»
That best may charm romantic ear.
Too oft my anxious eye has spied Whose lay’s requital was, that tardy fame,
The load-star of each heart and eye, And thread, like him, the maze of fairy-land;
With such a blush and such a sigh ! Such lays she loves,—and, such my Lucy's choice, Thou wouldst not yield, for wealth or rank,‘ What other song can claim her poet's voice‘!
Wanna is the maiden of mortal strain,
That may match with the Baron of Triermain 2(2) She must be lovely and constant and kind,
Holy and pure and humble of mind,
Blithe of cheer and gentle of mood,
Courteous and generous and noble of blood-
When it breaks the clouds of an April day;
Kind as a minstrel that sings of love;
Pure as the fountain in rocky cave,
Where never sun-beam kiss'd the wave;
Humble as maiden that loves in vain,
Holy as hermit’s vesper strain ;
Gentle as breeze that but whispers and dies,
Yet blithe as the light leaves that dance in its sighs; Courteous as monarch the morn he is crown‘d, ' Generous as spring-dews that bless the glad ground; Noble her blood as the currents that met
In the veins of the noblest Plantagenet
Such must her form be, her mood, and her strain, That shall match with Sir Roland of Triermain.
Sir Roland de Vaux he hath laid him to sleep,
The foray was long and the skirmish hot;
Bore token of a stubborn fight.
All in the castle must hold them still,
Harpers must lull him to his rest,
With the slow soft tunes he loves the best,
Like the dew on a summer-hill.
It was the dawn of an autumn day;
The sun was struggling with frost-fog gray,
Of the lordly halls of Triermain,
When that Baron bold awoke. Starting he woke, and loudly did call, Rousing his menials in bower and hell,
While hastily he spoke.
IV. fit Hearken, my minstrels! Which of ye all Touch'd his harp with that dying fall, So sweet, so soft, so faint, It seem'd an angel's whisper‘d call To an expiring saint’! And hearken, my merrymen! What time or where I Did she pass, that maid with her heavenly brow, With her look so sweet and her eyes so fair, And her graceful step and her angel air, And the eagle-plume in her dark-brown hair, That pass’d from my bower e'en now '1»
Have sate since midnight close,
And hush'd you to repose. Had a harp-note sounded here, It had caught my watchful ear,
Although it fell as faint and shy
As bashful maiden's half—form'd sigh,
He kept guard in the outer hall,-
Else had I heard the steps, though low,
That drop when no winds blow.»
VI. u Then come thou hither, Henry, my page, Whom I saved from the sack of Hermitage, When that dark castle, tower, and spire,
Rose to the skies a pile of fire,
And redden'd all the Nine-stane Hill, And the shrieks of death, that wildly broke Through devouring tlame and smothering smoke,
Made the warrior’s heart-blood chill! The trustiest thou of all my train,
My lleetest courser thou mus rein,
And ride to Lyulph's tower,
And from the Baron of Triermain
Greet well that sage of power.
He is sprung from druid sires,
And British bards that tuned their lyres
He the characters can trace,
Graven deep in elder time
Upon Helvellyn's cliffs sublime;
Sign and sigil well doth he know,
And can bode of weal and woe,
Of kingdoms’ fall, and fate of wars,
To that enchanting shape gave birth,
Such as fantastic slumbers bring,
For. by the blessed road I swear,
if that fair form breathe vital air,
No other maiden by my side
Shall ever rest de Vaux's bride!»