ページの画像
PDF

Yet rest thee God! for well I know I ne'er shall find a nobler foe. In all the northern counties here, Whose word is Snafle, spur, and spear,” Thon wert the best to follow gear. 'Twas pleasure, as we looked behind, To see how thou the chase couldst wind, Cheer the dark bloodhound on his way, And with the bugle rouse the fray .* I'd give the landsof Deloraine, o Dark Musgrave were alive again."— XXX. So mourned he, till Lord Dacre's band Were bowning back to Cumberland. They raised brave Musgrave from the field, And laid him on his bloody shield ; On levelled lances, four and four, By turns, the noble burden bore. Before, at times, upon the gale, Was heard the Minstrel's plaintive wail; Behind, four priests, in sable stole, Sung requiem for the warrior's soul: Around, the horsemen slowly rode; With trailing pikes the spearmen trod; And thus the gallant knight they bore, \ Through Liddesdale, to Leven's shore; Thence to Holme Coltrame's lofty nave, And laid him in his father's grave.

[ocr errors]

* The lands that over Ouse to Berwick forth do bear. Have for their blazon had, the Snafle, spur, and spear. Poly-Albion, Song xiii.

[ocr errors]

THE harp's wild notes, tho' hushed the song,
The mimic march of death prolong;
Now seems it far, and now a-near,
Now meets, and now eludes the ear;
Now seems some mountain side to sweep,
Now faintly dies in valley deep;
Seems now as if the Minstrel's wail,
Now the sad requiem, loads the gale;
Last, o'er the warrior's closing grave,
Rung the full choir in choral stave.
After due pause, they bade him tell,
Why he, who touched the harp so well,
Should thus, with ill-rewarded toil,
Wander a poor and thankless soil,
When the more generous southern land
Would well requite his skilful hand.
The Aged Harper, howsoe'er
His ouly friend, his harp, was dear,
Liked not to hear it ranked so high
Above his flowing poesy;
Less liked he still, that scornful jeer
Misprized the land he loved so dear;
High was the sound, as thus again
The Bard resumed his minstrel strain,

End of Canto Fifth,

THE LAY

of THE

LAST MINSTREL.

CANTO VI.

--

I. BREATHEs there the man, with soulso dead,

Who never to himself hath said,

This is my own, my native land! Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned, As home his footsteps he hath turned,

From wandering on a foreign strand If such there breathe, go, mark him well; For him no Minstrel raptures swell; High though his titles, proud his name, Boundless his wealth as wish can claim; Despite those titles, power, and pelf, The wretch, concentered all in self, Living, shall forfeit fair renown, And, doubly dying, shall go down To the vile dust, from whence he sprung, Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.

II.

O Caledonia! stern and wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child!
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of my sires! what mortal hand
Can e'er untie the filial band,
That knits me to thy rugged strand!
Still, as I view each well-known scene,
Think what is now, and what hath been,
Seems as, to me, of all bereft,
Sole friends thy woods and streams were left;
And thus I love them better still,
Even in extremity of ill.
By Yarrow's stream still let me stray,
Though mone should guide my feeble way;
Still feel the breeze down Ettricke break,
Although it chill my withered cheek;
Still lay my head by Teviot's stone,
Though there, forgotten and alone,
The Bard may draw his parting groan.

III.

Not scormed like me! to Branksome Hall
The minstrels came, at festive call;
Trooping they came, from near and far,
The jovial priests of mirth and war;
Alike for feast and fight prepared,
Battle and Banquet both they shared.
Of late, before each martial clan,
They blew their death-note in the van,

[ocr errors]

But now, for every merry mate,
Rose the portcullis' iron grate;
They sound the pipe, they strike the string,
They dance, they revel, and they sing,
Till the rude turrets shake and ring.
IV.

Me lists not at this tide declare

The splendour of the spousal rite,
How mustered in the chapel fair -

Both maid and matron, squire and knight;
Me lists not tell of owches rare,
Of mantles green, and braided hair,
And kirtles furred with miniver;
What plumage waved the altar round,
How spurs, and ringing chainlets, sound:
And hard it were for bard to speak
The changeful hue of Margaret's cheek;
That lovely hue which comes and flies,
As awe and shame alternate rise.

V.

Some bards have sung, the Ladye high
Chapel or altar came not nigh;
Nor durst the rites of spousal grace,
So much she feared each holy place.
False slanders these:–I trust right well,
She wrought not by forbidden spell;
For mighty words and signs have power
O'er sprites in planetary liour:
Yet scarce I praise their venturous part,
Who tamper with such dangerous art.

« 前へ次へ »