By Mortham urged, I came again
His vassals to the fight to train.
What guerdon waited on my care?
I could not cant of creed or prayer;
Sour fanatics each trust obtain'd,
And I, dishonour'd and disdain'd,
Gain'd but the high and happy lot,
In these poor arms to front the shot!
All this thou know'st, thy gestures tell;
Yet hear it o'er, and mark it well.
'T is honour bids me now relate
Each circumstance of Mortham's fate.

And near the spot that gave me name,
The moated mound of Risingham,
Where Reed upon her margin sees
Sweet Woodburn's cottages and trees,
Some ancient sculptor's art has shown
An outlaw's image on the stone: (9)
Unmatch'd in strength, a giant he,
With quiver'd back, and kirtled knee.
Ask how he died, that hunter bold,
The tameless monarch of the wold,
And age and infancy can tell,
By brother's treachery he fell.
Thus warn'd*by legends of my youth,
I trust to no associate's truth.

XIX. « Thoughts, from the tongue that slowly part, Glance quick as lightning through the heart. As my spur press'd my courser's side, Philip of Mortham's cause was tried, And, ere the charging squadrons mixd, His plea was cast, his doom was fix'd. I watch'd him through the doubtful fray, That changed as March's moody day, Till, like a stream that bursts its bank, Fierce Rupert thunder'd on our flank. "T was then, 'midst tumult, smoke, and strife, Where each man fought for death or life, 'T was then I fired my petronel, And Mortham, steed and rider, fell. One dying look he upward cast, Of wrath and anguish-'t was his last. Think not that there I stopp'd to view What of the battle should ensue; But ere I clear'd that bloody press, Our northern horse ran masterless; Monckton and Micton told the news, How troops of roundheads choked the Ouse, And many a boony Scot, aghast, Spurring his palfrey northward, past, Cursing the day when zeal or meed First lured their Lesley o'er the Tweed. (6) Yet when I reach'd the banks of Swale, Had rumour learn'd another tale ; With his barb'd horse, fresh tidings say Stout Cromwell has redeemd the day :(7) But whether false the news, or true, Oswald, I reck as light as you.»—

XXI. «When last we reason'd of this deed, Nought, I bethink me, was agreed, Or by wifat rule, or when, or where, The wealth of Mortham we should share; Then list, while I the portion name, Our differing laws give each to claim. Thou, vassal sworn to England's throne, Her rules of heritage must own; They deal thee, as to nearest heir, Thy kinsman's lands and livings fair, And these 1 yield :-do thou revere The statutes of the buccaneer. (10) Friend to the sea, and foeman sworn To all that on her waves are borne, When falls a mate in battle broil, His comrade heirs his portion d spoil; When dies in fight a daring foe, He claims his wealth who struck the blow; And either rule to me assigns Those spoils of Indian seas and mines, Hoarded in Mortham's caverns dark ; Ingot of gold and diamond spark, Chalice and plate from churches borne, And gems from shrieking beauty torn, Each string of pearl, each silver bar, And all the wealth of western war:' I go to search, where, dark and deep, Those transatlantic treasures sleep. Thou must along-for, lacking thee, The heir will scarce find entrance free; And then farewell. I haste to try Each varied pleasure wealth can buy; When cloy'd each wish, these wars afford Fresh work for Bertram's restless sword.»

XX. Not then by Wycliffe might be shown, How his pride startled at the tone In which his 'complice, fierce and free, Asserted guili's equality. In smoothest terms his speech he wove, Of endless friendship, faith, and love; Promised and vow'd in courteous sort, But Bertram broke professions short. «Wycliffe, be sure not here I stay! No, scarcely till the rising day; Warn’d by the legends of my youth, I trust not an associate's truth. Do not my native dales prolong Of Percy Rede the tragic.song, Train'd forward to his bloody fall, By Girsonfield, that treacherous Hall?(8). Oft, by the Pringle's haunted side, The shepherd sees his spectre glide.

XXII. An undecided answer hung On Oswald's hesitating tongue. Despite his craft, he heard with awe This ruffian stabber fix the law; While his own troubled passions veer Through hatred, joy, regret, and fear. Joy'd at the soul that Bertram flies, He grudged the murder's mighly prize, Hated his pride's presumptuous tone, And fear'd to wend with him alone. At length, that middle conrse to steer, To cowardice and craft so dear, « His charge,” he said, « would ill allow His absence from the fortress now;

WILFRID on Bertram should attend,
His son should journey with Iris friend.»

Contempt kept Beriram's anger down,
And wreathed to savage smile his frown.
« Wilfrid, or thou-'t is one to me,
Whichever bears the golden key.
Yet think not but I mark, and smile
To mark, thy poor and selfish wile!
If injury from me you fear,
What, Oswald Wycliffe, shields thee here?
I've sprung from walls more high than these,
I've swam through deeper streams than Tees.
Might I not stab thee, ere one yell
Could rouse the distant sentinel ?
Stari not-it is not my design,
But, if it were, weak fence were thine :
And, trust me, that, in time of need,
This hand hath done more desperate deed. -
Go, haste and rouse thy slumbering son;
Time calls, and I must needs be gone.»

He loved-his soul did nature frame
For love, and fancy nursed the flame;
Vainly he loved—for seldom swain
Of such soft mould is loved again;
Silent he loved-in every gaze
Was passion, friendship in his phrase.
So mused his life away-till died
His brethren all, their father's pride.
Wilfrid is now the only heir
Of all his stratagems and care,
And destined, darkling, to pursue
Ambition's maze by Oswald's clue.

[ocr errors]

XXVII. Wilfrid must love and woo the bright Matilda, heir of Rokeby's knight. To love her was an easy hest, The secret empress of his breast; To woo her was a harder task To one that durst not hope or ask; Yet all Matildạ could she gave In pity to her gentle slave; Friendship, esteem, and fair regard, And praise, the poet's best reward! She read the tales his taste approved, And sung the lays he framed or loved ; Yet, loth to nurse the fatal flame Of hopeless love in friendship's name, In kind caprice she oft withdrew The favouring glance to friendship due, Then grieved to see her victim's pain, And gave

the dangerous smiles again.

XXIV. Nought of his sire's ungenerous part Polluted Wilfrid's gentle heart; A heart, too soft from early life To hold with fortune needful strife. His sire, while yet a hardier race Of numerous sons were Wycliffe's grace, On Wilfrid set contemptuous brand, For feeble heart and forceless hand; But a fond mother's care and joy Were center'd in her sickly boy. No touch of childhood's frolic mood Show'd the elastic spring of blood; Hour after hour he loved to pore On Shakspeare's rich and varied lore, But tura'd from martial scenes and light, From Falstaff's feast and Percy's fight, To ponder Jacques's moral strain, And muse with Hamlet, wise in vain; And weep himself to soft repose O'er gentle Desdemona's woes.

XXV. la youth, he sought not pleasures found By youth in horse, and hawk, and hound, But loved the quiet joys that wake By lonely stream and silent lake; In Deepdale's solitude to lie, Where all is cliff, and copse, and sky; · To climb Catcastle's dizzy peak, Or lone Pendragon's mound to seek. Such was his wont; and there his dream Soard on some wild fantastic theme, Of faithful love, or ceaseless spring, Till contemplation's wearied wing The enthusiast could no more sustain, And sad he sunk to earth again.

XXVIII. So did the suit of Wilfrid stand, When war's loud summons waked the land. Three banners, floating o'er the Tees, The woe-foreboding peasant sees. In concert oft they brayed of old The bordering Scot's incursion bold; Frowning defiance in their pride, Their vassals now and lords divide. From his fair hall on Greta banks, The Knight of Rokeby led his ranks, To aid the valiant northern earls, Who drew the sword for royal Charles; Mortham, by marriage near allied, His sister had been Rokeby's bride, Though long before the civil fray, In peaceful grave the lady lay, Philip of Mortham raised his band, And march'd at Fairfax's command; While Wycliffe, bound by many a train Of kindred art with wily Vane, Less prompt to brave the bloody field, Made Barnard's battlements his shield, Secured them with his Lunedale powers, And for the Commods held the towers.

XXVI. He loved

as many a lay can tell, Preserved in Stanmore's lonely dell; For his was minstrel's skill, le caught The art unteachable, untaught;

XXIX. The lovely heir of Rokeby's knight Waits in his halls the event of fight; For England's war revered the claim Of every unprotected name, And spared, amidst its fiercest rage, Childhood, and womanhood, and age.


Then did I swear thy ray serene

Was form'd to light some lonely dell, By two fond lovers only seen,

Reflected from the crystal well; Or sleeping on their mossy cell,

Or quivering on the lattice bright, Or glancing on their couch, to tell

How swiftly wanes the summer night!

And each huge trunk that, from the side,
Reclines him o'er the darksome tide,
Where Tees, full many a fathom low,
Wears with his rage no common foe;
For pebbly bank, nor sand-bed here,
Nor clay-mound, checks his fierce career,
Condemnd to mine a channell'd way,
O'er solid sheets of marble gray.

[merged small][ocr errors]

XXXIV. He starts—a step at this lone hour! A voice !-his father seeks the tower, With haggard look and troubled sense, Fresh from his dreadful conference. « Wilfrid !—what, not to sleep addrest? Thou hast no cares to chase thy rest. Mortham has fallen on Marston-moor; Bertram brings warrant to secure His treasures, bought by spoil and blood, For the state's use and public good. The menials will thy voice obey; Let his commission have its way, In every point, in every word.»— Then, in a whisper,—« Take thy sword! Bertram is what I must not tell. I hear his hasty step-farewell!»

III. Nor Tees alone, in dawning bright, Shall rush upon the ravish'd sight; But many a tributary stream, Each from its own dark dell, shall gleam :: Staindrop, who, from her sylvan bowers, Salutes proud Raby's battled towers; The rural brook of Eglistone, And Balder, named from Odin's son; And Greta, to whose banks erę long We lead the lovers of the song; And silver Lune, from Stanmore wild, And fairy Thorsgill's murmuring child; And last and least, but loveliest still, Romantic Deepdale's slender rill. Who in that dim-wood glen hath stray'd, Yet long'd for Roslin's magic glade ? Who, wandering there, hath sought to change Even for that vale so stern and strange, Where Cartland's crags, fantastic rent, Through her green copse like spires are sent ? Yet, Albyn, yet the praise be thine, Thy scenes and story to combine! Thou bid'st him, who by Roslin strays, List to the deeds of other days ; 'Mid Cartland's crags thou show'st the cave, The refuge of thy champion brave; Giving each rock its storied tale, Pouring a lay for every dale, Knitting, as with a moral band, Thy native legends with thy land, To lend each scene the interest high Which genius beams from Beauty's eye.


I. Far in the chambers of the west, The gale had sigh'd itself to rest ; The moon was cloudless now and clear, But pale, and soon to disappear. The thin gray clouds wax'd dimly light On Brusleton and Houghton height; And the rich dale, that eastward lay, Waited the wakening touch of day, To give its woods and cultured plain, And towers and spires, to light again. But, westward, Stanmore's shapeless swell, And 'Lunedale wild, and Kelton-fell, And rock-begirdled Gilmanscar, And Arkingarth, lay dark afar; While, as a livelier twilight falls, Emerge proud Barnard's banner'd walls. High crown'd he sits, in dawning pale, The sovereign of the lovely vale.


II. What prospects, from his watch-tower high, Gleam gradual on the warder's eye !Far sweeping to dhe east, he sees Down his deep woods the course of Tees, (i) And tracks his wanderings by the steam Of summer vapours from the stream; And ere he pace his destined hour By Brackenbury's dungeon-lower, These silver mists shall melt away, And dew the woods with glittering spray. Then in broad lustre shall be shown That mighty trench of living stone,

Bertram awaited not the sight
Which suprise shows from Barnard's height,
But from the towers, preventing day,
With Wilfrid took his early way.
While misty dawn, and moon-beam pale,
Still mingled in the silent dale.
By Barnard's bridge of stately stone,
The southern bank of Tees they won;
Their winding path then eastward cast,
And Ezlistone's gray ruins (2) past;
Each on his own deep visions bent,
Silent and sad they onward went.
Well may you think that Bertram's mood
To Wilfrid savage seem'd and rude ;

Well may you think, bold Risingham
• Held Wilfrid trivial; poor, and tame;

And small the intercourse, I ween,
Such uncongenial souls between.

V. Stern Bertram shunn'd the nearer way, Through Rokeby's park and chase that day,

[ocr errors]

That down life's current drive amain, As frail, as frothy, and as vain!

Aud, skirting high the valley's ridge,
They cross'd by Greta's ancient bridge,
Descending where her waters wind

Free for a space and unconfined,
As, 'scaped from Brignal's dark-wood glen,
She seeks wild Mortham's deeper den.
There, as his eye glanced o'er the mound,
Raised by that legion long renown'd,
Whose votive shrine asserts their claim,
Of pious, faithful, conquering fame, (3)
« Stern sons of war!» sad Wilfrid sighd,
« Behold the boast of Roman pride!
What now of all your toils are known?
A grassy trench, a broken stone!»-
This to himself, for moral strain
To Bertram were address d in vain.

VIIT. The cliffs, that rear the haughty head High o'er the river's darksome bed, Were now all naked, wild, and gray, Now waving all with green-wood spray; Here trees to every crevice clung, And o'er the dell their branches hung; And there, all splinter'd and uneven, The shiver'd rocks ascend to heaven. Oft, too, the ivy swathed their breast, And wreathed its garland round their crest, Or from the spires bade loosely tlare Its tendrils in the middle air, As

pennons wont to wave of old, O'er the high fcast of baron bold, When reveli'd loud the feudal rout, And the arch'd halls return'd their shout. Such and more wild is Greta's roar, And such the echoes from her shore, And so the ivied banner's gleam Waved wildly o'er the brawling stream.


Of different mood, a deeper sigh
Awoke, when Rokeby's turrets high (4)
Were northward in the dawning seen
To rear them o'er the thicket green.
O then, though Spenser's self had stray'd
Beside him through the lovely glade,
Lending his rich luxuriant glow
Of fancy, all its charms to show,
Pointing the stream rejoicing free,
As captive set at liberty,
Flashing her sparkling waves abroad,
And clamouring joyful on her road;
Pointing where, up the sunny banks,
The trees retire in scatter'd ranks,
Save where, advanced before the rest,
On knoll or hillock rears his crest,
Lonely and huge, the giant oak-
As champions, when their band is broke,
Stand forth to guard the rearward post,
The bulwark of the scatter'd host-
All this, and more, might Spenser say,
Yet waste in vain his magic lay,
While Wilfrid eyed the distant tower,
Whose lattice lights Matilda's bower.

Now from the stream the rocks recede,
But leave between no sonny mead,
No, nor the spot of pebbly sand,
Oft found by such a mountain strand,
Forming such warm and dry retreat,
As fancy deems the lonely seat,
Where hermit, wandering from his cell,
His rosary might love to tell.
But here, 'twixt rock and river

A dismal grove of sable yew,
With whose sad tints were mingled seen
The blighted fir's sepulchral green,
Seem'd that the trees their shadows cast,
The earth that nourish'd them to blast,
For never knew that swarthy grove
'The verdant hue that fairies love;
Nor wilding green, nor woodland flower,
Arose within its baleful bower;
The dank and sable earth receives
Its only carpet from the leaves,
That, from the withering branches cast,
Bestrew'd the ground with every blast.
Though now the sun was o'er the hill,
In this dark spot 't was twilight still,
Save that on Greta's farther side
Some stragcling beams through copse-wood glide.
And wild and savage contrast made
That dingle's deep and funeral shade,
With the bright tints of early day,
Which, glimmering through the ivy-spray,
On the opposing summit lay.

[ocr errors]

The open vale is soon past o'er,
Rokeby, though nigh, is seen no more;
Sinking 'inid Greta's thickets deep,
A wild and darker course they keep,
A stern and lone, yet lovely road,
As e'er the foot of minstrel trode! (5)
Broad shadows o'er their


fell, Deeper and narrower grew the dell: It seem'd some mountain, rent and riven, A channel for the stream had given, So high the cliffs of limestone gray Hung beetling o'er the torrent's way, Yielding, along their rugged base, A flinty footpath's niggard space, Where he, who winds 'iwixt rock and wave, May hear the headlong torrent rave, And like a steed in frantic fit, That flings the froth from curb and bit, May view her chafe her waves to spray, O'er every rock that bars hier way, Till foam-globes on her eddies ride, Thick as the schemes of human pride,

[blocks in formation]
« 前へ次へ »