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As I set it conclave

With damp and darkness seemed to strive, 1 This wretch was clad in frock and cowi, As if it scarce inight keep alive;

And shamed not loud to mourn and howl, And yet it dimly served to show

His body on the floor to dash, The awful conclave met below.

And crouch like hoand beneath the lash;

While his mute partner standing near
XIX.

Waited her doom without a tear.
There met to doom in secrecy,
Were placed the heads of collvents thrce,

XXIII.
All servants of St. Benedice,

Yet well the luckless wretch might shriek, The statues of whose order strict

Well might her paleness terror speak! On iron table iay;

For there were seen in that dark wall In long black dress, on seats of stone,

Two niches, narrow, deep and tall. Behind were these three judges shown

Who enters at such grisly door, By the pale cresset's ray.

Shall ne'er, I wean, find exit more. The Abbess of Saint Hilda there

In each a slender mcal was laid Sate for a pace with visage bare,

Of roots, of water, and of bread: l'ntil, to hide her bosom's swell,

By each, in Benedictine dress, And tear-drops that for pity fell,

Two haggard monks stood motionless, She closely drew her veil.

Who, holding high a blazing torch, Yon shrouded figure, as I guess,

Showed the grim entrance of the porch: By her proud mien and flowing dress.

Reflecting back the smoky beam, Is Tyneinouth's haughty Prioress,

The dark-red walls and arches gleam. And she with awe looks pale.

Hewn stones and cement were displayed, And he, that Ancient Man, whose sight

And building tools in order laid.
Has long been quenched by age's night,
Upon whose wrinkled brow alone

XXIV.
Nor ruth nor mercy's trace is shown,

These executioners were chose Whose look is hard and stern,

As men who were with mankind foes, Saint Cuthbert's Abbot is his style :

And, with despite and envy fired, For sanctity called, through the aisle,

Into the cloister had retired: The Saint of Lindisfarn.

Or who, in desperate doubt of grace,

Strove, by deep penance, to efface
XX.

Of some foul crime the stain:
Before them stood a guilty pair,

For, as the vassals of her will, But though an equal fate they share,

Such men the church selected still, Yet one alone deserves our care.

As either joyed in doing ill, Her sex a page's dress belied

Or thought more grace to gain, The cloak and doublet, loosely tied,

If, in her cause, they wrestled down Obscured her charins, but could not hide.

Feelings their nature strove to own. Her cap down o'er her face she drew

By strange device were they brought there, And on her donblet breast,

They knew not how, and knew not where. She tried to hide the badge of blue,

XXV.
Lord Marmion's falcon crest.
But, at the Prioress' command,

And now that blind old Abbot rose,
A monk undid the silken band,

To speak the Chapter's doom, That tied her tresses fair,

On those the wall was to enclose, And raised the bonnet from her head,

Alive, within the tomb; And down her slender form they spread

But stopped, because that woful maid, In ringlets rich and rare.

Gathering her powers, to speak essayed. Constance de Beverley they know,

Twice she essayed, and twice in vain; Sister professed of Fontevraud,

Her accents might no utterance gain; Whom the church nunbered with the dead, Nought but imperfect murmurs slip For broken vows and convent fied.

From her convulsed and quivering lip.

'Twixt each attempt all was so still, XXI.

You seemed to hear a distant rillWhen thus her face was given to view

'Twas ocean's swell and falls; (Although so pallid was lier hue.

For through this vault of sin and fear It did a ghastly contrast bear

Was to the sounding surge so near, To those bright ringlets, glistering fair),

A tempest there you scarce could hear, Her look composed, and steady eye,

So massive were the walls.
Bespoke a matchless constancy;
And there she stood so calm and pale,

XXVI.
That, but her breathing did not fail,

At length an effort sent apart And motion slight of eye and head.

The blood that curdled to her heart, And of her bosom, warranted

And light came to her eye, That neither sense nor pulse she lacks,

And colour dawned upon her cheek, You might have thought a form of wax,

A hectic and a fluttered streak, Wrought to the very life, was there;

Like that left on the Cheviot peak So still she was, so pale, so fair.

By Autumn's stormy sky;

And when her silence broke at length,
XXII.

Still as she spoke, she gathered strength, Jer comrade was a sordid soul,

And arm'd herself to bear. Such as does murder for a meed;

It was a fearful sight to see Who, but of fear, knows no control,

Such high resolve and constancy,
Because his conscience, seared and foul,

In form so soft and fair.
Feels not the import of his deed:
One whose brute feeling ne'er aspires

XXVII.
Beyond his own more brute desires.

“I speak not to implore your grace; Such tools the tempter ever needs

Well know I, for one minute's space To do the savagest of deeds;

Successless might I sue: For then no visioned terrors daunt,

Nor do I speak your prayers to gain: Their night no fancied spectres haunt;

For if a death of lingering pain, One fear with them, of all most base-

To cleanse my sins, be penace vain, The fear of death,-alone finds place.

Vain are your masses too.

I listened to a traitor's tale.

The ire of a despotic king I left the convent and the veil.

Rides forth upon destruction's wing: For three long years I bowed my pride,

Then shall these vaults, so strong and deep, A horse-boy in his train to ride ;

Burst open to the sea-wind's sweep. And well my folly's meed he gave,

Some traveller then shall find my bones, Who forfeited, to be his slave,

Whitening amid disjointed stones, All here and all beyond the grave.

And, ignorant of priest's cruelty,
He saw young Clara's face more fair,

Marvel such relics here should be."
He knew her of broad lands the heir,
Forgot his vows, his faith forswore,

XXXII.
And Constance was beloved no more.

Fixed was her look, and stern her air, 'Tis an old tale, and often told;

Back from her shoulders streamed her hair ; But, did my fate and wish agree,

The locks, that wont her brow to shade, No'er had been read, in story old;

Stared up erectly from her head; Of maiden truc, betrayed for gold,

Her figure seemed to rise more high; That loved, or was avenged, like me

Her voice, despair's wild energy,

Had given a tone of prophecy.
XXVIII.

Appalled the astonished conclave sate;

With stupid eyes, the men of fate " The king approved his favourite's aim ; In vain a rival barred his claim,

Gaxed on the light-inspired form, Whose faith with Clara's was plight,

And listened for the avenging storm.

The judges felt the victim's dread;
For he attaints that rival's fame
With treason's charge--and on they came,

No hand was moved, no word was said,

Till thus the Abbot's doom was given, In mortal lists to fight.

Raising his sightless balls to heaven: Their oaths are said,

"Sister, let thy sorrows cease; Their prayers are prayed, Their lances in the rest are laid,

Sinful brother, part in peace!""

From that dire dungeon, place of doom, They meet in mortal shock ;

Of execution, too, and tomb,
And hark! the throng, with thundering cry,
Shout · Marmion, Marmion, to the sky!

Paced forth the judges three;

Sorrow it were, and shame, to tell De Wilton to the block!'

The butcher-work that there befell, Say ye, who preach Heaven shall decide,

When they had glided from the cell
When in the lists two champions ride,

Of sin and misery.
Say, was Heaven's justice here?
When, loyal in his love and faith,

XXXIII.
Wilton found overthrow or death,

An hundred winding steps convey Beneath a traitor's spear.

That conclave to the upper day; How false the charge, how true he fell,

But, ere they breathed the fresher air, This guilty packet best can tell."

They heard the shriekings of despair, Then drew a packet from her breast,

And many a stifled groan: Paused, gathered voice, and spoke the rest.

With speed their upward way they take

(Such speed as age and fear can make), XXIX.

And crossed themselves for terror's sake, " Still was false Marmion's bridal staid ;

As hurrying, tottering on: To Whitby's convent fled the maid,

Even in the vesper's heavenly tone The hated match to shun.

They seemed to hear a dying groan, Ho! shifts she thus ?' King Henry cried,

And bade the passing knell to toll • Sir Marmion, she shall be thy bride,

For welfare of a parting soul. If she were sworn a nun.'

Slow o'er the midnight wave it swung, One way remained-the king's command

Northumbrian rocks in answer ring; Sent Marmion to the Scottish land:

To Warkworth cell the echoes rolled, I lingered here, and rescue plann'd

His beads the wakeful hermit told; For Clara and for me.

The Bamborough peasant raised his head, This caitiff Monk, for gold, did swear,

But slept ere half a prayer he said; He would to Whitby's shrine repair,

So far was heard the mighty knell, And, by his drugs, my rival fair

The stag sprung up on Cheviot Fell, A saint in heaven should be.

Spread his broad nostril to the wind, But ill the dastard kept his oath,

Listed before, aside, behind, Whose cowardice hath undone us both.

Then couched him down beside the hind.

And quaked among the mountain fer,
Xxx.

To hear that sound, so dull and stern.
" And now my tongue the secret tells,
Not that remorse my bosom swells,
But to assure my soul that none
Shall ever wed with Marmion.
Had fortune my last hope betrayed,

INTRODUCTION TO CANTO THIRD.
This packet to the king conveyed,
Had given him to the headsman's stroke,

TO WILLIAM ERSKINE, ESQ.
Although my heart that instant broke.
Now, men of death, work forth your will,

Ashestiel, Ettricke Forest.
For I can suffer, and be still;
And come he slow, or come he fast,

LIKE April morning clouds, that pass, It is but death who comes at last.

With varying shadow, o'er the grass,

And imitate, on field and furrow,
XXXI.

Life's chequered scene of joy and sorrow; " Yet dread me, from my living tomb,

Like streamlet of the mountain north, Ye vassal slaves of bloody Rome!

Now in a torrent racing forth, If Marmion's late remorse should wake,

Now winding slow its silver train. Full soon sach vengeance will he take,

And almost slumbering on the plain; That you shall wish the fiery Dane

Like breezes of the autumn day, Had rather been your guest again.

Whose voice inconstant dies away. Behind, a darker hour ascends!

And ever swells again as fast, The altars quake, the crozier bends,

| When the ear deems its murmur past;

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With damp and darkness seemed to strive, | This wretch was clad in frock and cowi, As if it scarce might keep alive;

And shamed not lond to mourn and howl, And yet it dimly served to show

His body on the floor to dash, The awful conclave met below.

And crouch like hound beneath the lash;

While his mute partner standing near
XIX.

Waited her doom without a tear.
There met to doom in secrecy,
Were placed the heads of colivents three,

XXIII.
All servants of St. Benedice,

Yet well the luckless wretch might shriek, The statues of whose order strict

Well might her paleness terror speak! On iron table iay;

For there were seen in that dark wall In long black dress, on seats of stone,

Two niches, narrow, deep and tall. Behind were these three judges shown

Who enters at such grisly door, By the pale cresset's ray.

Shall ne'er, I wean, find exit more. The Abbess of Saint Hilda there

In each a slender meal was laid Sate for a pace with visage bare,

Of roots, of water, and of bread: Until, to hide her bosom's swell,

By each, in Benedictine dress, And tear-drops that for pity fell,

Two haggard monks stood motionless, She closely drew her veil.

Who, holding high a blazing torch, Yon shrouded figure, as I guess,

Showed the grim entrance of the porch: By her proud mien and flowing dress.

Reflecting back the smoky beam, Is Tyneinouth's haughty Prioress,

The dark-red walls and arches gleam. And she with awe looks pale.

Hewn stones and cement were displayed, And he, that Ancient Man, whose sight

And building tools in order laid.
Has long been quenched by age's night,
Upon whose wrinkled brow alone

XXIV.
Nor ruth nor mercy's trace is shown,

These executioners were chose Whose look is hard and stern,

As men who were with mankind foes, Saint Cuthbert's Abbot is his style ;

And, with despite and envy fired, For sanctity called, through the aisle,

Into the cloister had retired: The Saint of Lindisfarn.

Or who, in desperate doubt of grace,

Strove, by deep penance, to efface
XX.

Of some foul crime the stain;
Before them stood a guilty pair,

For, as the vassals of her will, But though an equal fate they share,

Such men the church selected still, Yet one alone deserves our care.

As either joyed in doing ill, Her sex a page's dress belied

Or thought more grace to gain, The cloak and doublet, loosely tied,

If, in her cause, they wrestled down Obscured her charins, but could not hide.

Feelings their nature strove to own. Her cap down o'er her face she drew

By strange device were they brought there, And on her doublet breast,

They knew not how, and knew not where. She tried to hide the badge of blue, Lord Marmion's falcon crest.

XXV. But, at the Prioress' command,

And now that blind old Abbot rose, A monk undid the silken band,

To speak the Chapter's doom, That tied her tresses fair,

On those the wall was to enclose, And raised the bonnet from her head,

Alive, within the tomb; And down her slender form they spread

But stopped, because that woful maid, In ringlets rich and rare.

Gathering her powers, to speak essayed. Constance de Beverley they know,

Twice she essayed, and twice in vain; Sister professed of Fontevraud,

Her accents might no utterance gain; Whom the church numbered with the dead, Nought but imperfect murmurs slip For broken vows and convent fled.

From her convulsed and quivering lip.

"Twixt each attempt all was so still, XXI.

You seemed to hear a distant rillWhen thus her face was given to view

'Twas ocean's swell and falls; (Although so pallid was her huc.

For through this vault of sin and fear It did a ghastly contrast bear

Was to the sounding surge so near, To those bright ringlets, glistering fair),

A tempest there you scarce could hear, Her look composed, and steady eye,

So massive were the walls.
Bespoke a matchless constancy;
And there she stood so calm and pale,

XXVI.
That, but her breathing did not fail,

At length an effort sent apart And motion slight of eye and head,

The blood that curdled to her heart, And of her bosom, warranted

And light came to her eye, That neither sense nor pulse she lacks,

And colour dawned upon her cheek, You might have thought a form of wax,

A hectic and a fluttered streak, Wrought to the very life, was there;

Like that left on the Cheviot peak So still she was, so pale, so fair.

By Autumn's stormy sky;

And when her silence broke at length,
XXII.

Still as she spoke, she gathered strength, lier comrade was a sordid soul,

And arm'd herself to bear. Such as does murder for a meed;

It was a fearful sight to see Who, but of fear, knows no control,

Such high resolve and constancy,
Because his conscience, seared and foul,

In form so soft and fair.
Feels not the import of his deed:
One whose brute feeling ne'er aspires

XXVII.
Beyond his own more brute desires.

"I speak not to implore your grace; Such tools the tempter ever needs

Well know I, for one minute's space To do the savagest of deeds;

Snecessless might I sue: For then no visioned terrors daunt,

Nor do I speak your prayers to gain : Their night no fancied spectres haunt:

For if a death of lingering pain, One fear with them, of all most base-

To cleanse my sins, be penace vain, The fear of death,-alone finds place.

Vain are your masses too.

I listened to a traitor's tale.

The ire of a despotic king I left the convent and the veil.

Rides forth upon destruction's wing: For three long years I bowed my pride,

Then shall these vaults, so strong and deep, A horse-boy in his train to ride ;

Burst open to the sea-wind's sweep. And well my folly's meed he gave,

Some traveller then shall find my bones, Who forfeited, to be his slave,

Whitening amid disjointed stones, All here and all beyond the grave.

And, ignorant of priest's cruelty,
He saw young Clara's face more fair,

Marvel such relics here should be."
He knew her of broad lands the heir,
Forgot his vows, his faith forswore,

XXXII.
And Constance was beloved no more.

Fixed was her look, and stern her air, "Tis an old tale, and often told ;

Back from her shoulders streamed her hair ; But, did my fate and wish agree,

The locks, that wont her brow to shade, Ne'er had been read, in story old;

Stared up erectly from her head; Of maiden truc, betrayed for gold,

Her figure seemed to rise more high ; That loved, or was avenged, like me

Her voice, despair's wild energy,

Had given a tone of prophecy.
XXVIII.

Appalled the astonished conclave sate; “ The king approved his favourite's aim;

With stupid eyes, the men of fate

Gaxed on the light-inspired form,
In vain a rival barred his claim,

And listened for the avenging storm.
Whose faith with Clara's was plight,
For he attaints that rival's fame

The judges felt the victim's dread;

No hand was moved, no word was said, With treason's charge--and on they came,

Till thus the Abbot's doom was given, In mortal lists to fight.

Raising his sightless balls to heaven: Their oaths are said,

"Sister, let thy sorrows cease; Their prayers are prayed,

Sinful brother, part in peace!"
Their lances in the rest are laid,
They meet in mortal shock;-

From that dire dungeon, place of doom,

Of execution, too, and tomb, And hark! the throng, with thundering cry,

Paced forth the judges three; Shout · Marmion, Marmion, to the sky!

Sorrow it were, and shame, to tell
De Wilton to the block!''

The butcher-work that there befell,
Say ye, who preach Heaven shall decide,
When in the lists two champions ride,

When they had glided from the cell

Of sin and misery.
Say, was Heaven's justice here?
When, loyal in his love and faith,

XXXIII.
Wilton found overthrow or death,

An hundred winding steps convey Beneath a traitor's spear.

That conclave to the upper day; How false the charge, how true he fell,

But, ere they breathed the fresher air, This guilty packet best can tell."

They heard the shriekings of despair, Then drew a packet from her breast,

And many a stified groan: Paused, gathered voice, and spoke the rest.

With speed their upward way they take

(Such speed as age and fear can make), xxix.

And crossed themselves for terror's sake, " Still was false Marmion's bridal staid :

As hurrying, tottering on: To Whitby's convent fied the maid,

Even in the vesper's heavenly tone The hated match to shun

They seemed to hear a dying groan, . Ho! shifts she thus ?' King Henry cried,

And bade the passing knell to toll · Sir Marmion, she shall be thy bride,

For welfare of a parting soul. If she were sworn a nun.'

Slow o'er the midnight wave it swung, One way remained the king's command

Northumbrian rocks in answer rung; Sent Marmion to the Scottish land:

To Warkworth cell the echoes rolled, I lingered here, and rescue plann'd

His beads the wakeful hermit told;

The Bamborough peasant raised his head, This caitiff Monk, for gold, did swear,

But slept ere half a prayer he said; He would to Whitby's shrine repair,

So far was heard the mighty knell, And, by his drugs, my rival fair

The stag sprung up on Cheviot Fell, A saint in heaven should be.

Spread his broad nostril to the wind, But in the dastard kept his oath,

Listed before, aside, behind, Whose cowardice hath undone us both.

Then couched him down beside the hind.

And quaked among the mountain fern,
XXX.

To hear that sound, so dull and stern.
" And now my tongue the secret tells,
Not that remorse my bosom swells,
But to assure my soul that none
Shall ever wed with Marmion.
Had fortune my last hope betrayed,

INTRODUCTION TO CANTO THIRD.
This packet to the king conveyed,
Had given him to the headsman's stroke,

TO WILLIAM ERSKINE, ESQ.
Although my heart that instant broke.
Now, men of death, work forth your will,

Ashestiel, Ettricke Forest.
For I can suffer, and be still;
And come he slow, or come he fast,

LIKE April morning clouds, that pass, It is but death who comes at last.

With varying shadow, o'er the grass,

And imitate, on field and furrow,
XXXI.

Life's chequered scene of joy and sorrow; " Yet dread me, from my living tomb,

Like streamlet of the mountain north, Ye vassal slaves of bloody Rome!

Now in a torrent racing forth, Jf Marmion's late remorse should wake,

Now winding slow its silver train, Full soon such vengeance will he take,

And almost slumbering on the plain; That you shall wish the fiery Dane

Like breezes of the antumn day, Had rather heen your enest again.

Whose voice inconstant dies a way, Behind, a darker hour ascends!

And ever swells again as fast, The altars quake, the crozier bends,

I When the ear deems its murmur pasti

This caitira and ford rescue

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