ページの画像
PDF
ePub

A wanderer's wayward steps could trace.-
All this she did, and guerdon none
Required, save that her burial-stone
Should make at length her secret known.
Thus hath a faithful woman done.
Not in each breast such truth is laid,
But Eivir was a Danish maid.»

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 Jo 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.
They were as we; our little day
O'erspent, and we shall be as they.
Yet dear me, Gunnar, be thou laid,
Thy couch upon my manue made,
That thou mayst think, should fear invade,

Thy master slumbers nigh.»
Thus couch'd they in that dread abode,
Until the beams of dawning glowd.

Sable their harness, and here came
Through their closed visors sparks of flame.
The first proclaim'd in sounds of fear,
' Harold the Dauntless, welcome here?'
The next cried · Jubilee! we've won
Count Witikind the Waster's son!'
And the third rider sternly spoke,
• Mount, in the name of Zernebock ! -
From us, 0 Harold, were thy powers,—
Thy strength, thy dauntlessness, are ours;
Nor think, a vassal thou of hell,
With hell canst strive.' The fiend spoke true!
My inmost soul the summons knew,

As captives know the knell,
That says the headsman's sword is bare,
And with an accent of despair

Commands them quit their cell.
I felt resistance was in vain,
My foot had that fell stirrup ta’en,
My hand was on the fatal mane,

When to my rescue sped
That palmer's visionary form,
And-like the passing of a storm-

The demons yelld and fled!

[ocr errors]

IX.
An alter'd mau Lord Harold rose,
When he beheld that dawn unclose-

There's trouble in his eyes,
And traces on his brow and cheek
Of mingled awe and wonder speak:

My page,» he said, « arise ;-
Leave we this place, my page.»—Nor more
He utter'd till the castle-door
'They cross'd--but there he paused and said,

My wildness hath awaked the dead

Disturb'd the sacred tomb!Methought this night I stood on high Where Hecla roars in middle sky, And in her cavern'd gulphs could spy

The central place of doom! And there before

my mortal eye
Souls of the dead came flitting by,
Whom fiends with many a fiendish cry,

Bore to that evil den!
My eyes grew dizzy, and my brain
Was wilder'd, as the elvish train,
With shriek and howl, drage'd on amain

Those who had late been men.

XI.
« His sable cowl, flung back, reveal'd
The features it before conceald;

And, Gunnar, I could find
In him whose counsels strove to stay
So oft my course on wilful way,

My father Witikind!
Doom'd for his sins, and doom'd for mine,
A wauderer upon earth to pine,
Until his sou shall turn to grace,
And smooth for him a resting-place !
Gunnar, he must not haunt in vain
This world of wretchedness and pain:
I'll tame my wilful heart to live
In peace-to pity and forgive-
And thou, for so the vision said,
Must in thy lord's repentance aid.
Thy mother was a prophetess,
He said, who by her skill could guess
How close the fatal textures join
Which knit thy thread of life with mine;
Then, dark, he hinted of disguise
She framed to cheat too curious eyes,
That not a moment might divide
Thy fated footsteps from my side.
Methought, while thus my sire did teach,
I caught the meaning of his speech,
Yet seems its purport doubtful now.»—
His hand then sought his thoughtful brow,-
Then first he mark'd, that in the tower
His glove was left at waking hour.

X. « With haggard eyes and streaming hair, Jutta, the sorceress, was there, And there pass'd Wulfstane, 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.

XU. Trembling at first, and deadly pale, Had Gunnar heard the vision'd tale ; But when he learned the dubious close, He blush'd like any opening rose, And, glad to hide his tell-tale cheek, Hied back that glove of mail to seek ; When soon a shriek of deadly dread Summon'd his master to his aid.

His mace, and with a storm of blows The mortal and the demon close.

XIII.
What sees Count Harold in that bower,

So late his resting-place?
The semblance of the Evil Power,

Adored by all his race!
Odin in living form stood there,
His cloak the spoils of Polar bear;
For plumy crest, a meteor shed
Its gloomy radiance o'er his head,
Yet veil'd its haggard majesty
To the wild lightnings of his eye.
Such height was his, as when in stone
O'er Upsal's giant altar shown;

So flowd his hoary beard;
Such was his lance of mountain-pine,
So did his sevenfold buckler shine;

But when his voice he rear'd,
Deep, without harshness, slow and strong,
The powerful accents rolld along,
And, while he spoke, his hand was laid
On captive Gunnar's shrinking head.

XVI.
Smoke roll'd above, fire flash'd around,
Darken'd the sky and shook the ground;

But not the artillery of hell,
The bickering lightning, nor the rock
Of turrets to the earthquake's shock,

Could Harold's courage quell.
Sternly the Dane his purpose kept,
And blows on blows resistless heap'd,

Till quail'd that demon form, And-for his power to hurt or kill Was bounded by a higher will

Evanish'd in the storm. Nor paused the Champion of the North, But raised, and bore his Eivir forth From that wild scene of fiendish strife, To light, to liberty, and life!

XIV.

« Harold,» he said, « what rage is thine To quit the worship of thy line,

To leave thy warrior god ?With me is glory or disgrace, Mine is the onset and the chase, Embattled hosts before

my

face · Are wither d by a nod. Wilt thou then forfeit that high seat, Deserved by many a dauntless feat Among the heroes of thy line, Eric and fiery Thorarine?-Thou wilt not. Ouly I can give The joys for which the valiant live, Victory and vengeance-only I Can give the joys for which they dic,-The immortal tilt-the banquet full, The brimming draught from foeman's scull. Mine art thou, witness this thy glove, The faithful pledge of vassal's love.»

XVII.
He placed her on a bank of moss,

A silver runnel bubbled by,
And new-born thoughts his soul engross,
And tremors yet unknown across

His stubborn sinews fly,
The while with timid hand the dew
Upon her brow and neck he threw,
And mark'd how life with rosy

hue On her pale cheek revived anew,

And glimmer'd in her eye. Inly he said, « That silken tress, What blindness mine that could not guess, Or how could page's rugged dress

That bosom's pride belie? 0, dull of heart, through wild and wave In search of blood and death to rave,

With such a partner nigh!»

XV. « Tempter !» said Harold, firm of heart, « I charge thee hence! whate'er thou art, I do defy thee--and resist The kindling frenzy of my breast, Waked by thy words; and of my mail Nor glove, nor buckler, splent, nor nail, Shall rest with thee-that youth release, And god, or demon, part in peace.» « Eivir,» the shape replied, «is mine, Mark'd in the birth-hour with my sign. Thiņk'st thou that priest with drops of spray Could wash that blood-red mark away? Or that a borrow'd sex and name Can abrogate a godhead's claim?»— Thrilld this strange speech through Harold's brain, He clench'd his teeth in high disdain, For not his new-born faith subdued Some tokens of his ancient mood.« Now, by the hope so lately given Of belter trust and purer heaven, I will assail thee, fiend in-Then rose

XVIII. Then in the mirror'd pool be peerd, Blamed his rough locks and shącey beard, The stains of recent conflict clear'd

And thus the champion proved,
That he fears now who never fear'd,

And loves who never loved.
And Eivir-life is on her cheek,
And yet she will not move or speak,

Nor will her eye-lid fully ope;
Perchance it loves, that half-shut eye,
Through its long fringe, reserved and shy,
Affection's opening dawn to spy;
And the deep blush, which bids its dye
O'er cheek, and brow, and bosom fly,

Speaks shame-facedness and hope.

XIX. But yainly seems the Dane to seek For terms his new-born love to speak,For words, save those of wrath and wrong, Till now were strangers to his tongue; So, when he raised the blushing maid, In blunt and honest terms he said,

('T were well that maids, when lovers woo, Heard none more soft, were all as true,)

CONCLUSION. « Eivir! since thou for many a day

And now, Ennui, what ails thee, weary maid ? Hast follow'd Harold's wayward way,

And why these listless Jooks of yawning sorrow? It is but meet that in the line

No need to turn the page, as if 't were lead, Of after-life I follow thine.

Or fling aside the volume till to-morrow.To-morrow is Saint Cuthbert's tide,

Be cheer'd-'t is ended--and I will not borrow, And we will grace his altar's side,

To try thy patience more, one anecdote
A christian knight and christian bride;

From Bartholine, or Perinskiold, or Sporro.
And of Witikind's son shall the marvel be said, Then pardon thou thy minstrel, who hath wrote
That on the same morn he was christen d and wed.» A tale six cantos long, yet scorn'd to add a note.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

PREFACE.

extravagance the figments of the luistorians of the same
period of society; and, indeed, the difference betwixt

poetry and prose, as the vehicles of historical truth, is In the Edinburgo Annual Register for the year 1809, always of late introduction. Poets, under various dethree fragments were inserted, written in imitation of nominations of Bards, Scalds, Chroniclers, and so forth, living poets. It must have been apparent, that by these are the first historians of all nations. Their intention prolusions, nothing burlesque or disrespectful to the is to relate the events they have witnessed, or the traauthors was intended, but that they were offered to the ditions that have reached them; and they clothe the public as serious, though certainly very imperfect, relation in rhyme, merely as the means of rendering it imitations of that style of composition, by which each more solemn in the narrative, or more easily committed of the writers is supposed to be distinguished. As to memory. But as the poetical historian improves in these exercises attracted a greater degree of attention the art of conveying information, the authenticity of than the author anticipated, he has been induced to his narrative unavoidably declines. He is tempted to complete one of them, and present it as a separate dilate and dwell upon the events that are interesting to publication.

his imagination, and, conscious how indifferent his It is not in this place that an examination of the audience is to the naked truth of his poem, his history works of the master whom he has here adopted as his gradually becomes a romance. model can, with propriety, be introduced; since his It is in this situation that those epics are found General acquiescence in the favourable suffrage of the which have been generally regarded the standards of public must necessarily be inferred from the attempt poetry; and it has happened somewhat strangely, that he has now made. He is induced, by the nature of his the moderns have pointed out, as the characteristics subject, to offer a few remarks on what has been called and peculiar excellencies of narrative poetry, the very ROMANTIC POETRY ;--the popularity of which has been circumstances which the authors themselves adopted, revived in the present day, under the auspices, and by only because their art involved the duties of the histothe unparalleled success, of one individual.

rian as well as the poet. It cannot be believed, for The original purpose of poetry is either religious or example, that Homer selected the siege of Troy as the historical, or, as must frequently happen, a mixture of most appropriate subject for poetry; his purpose was both. To modern readers, the poems of Homer have to write the carly history of his country: the event he many of the features of pure romance; but in the has chosen, though not very fruitful in varied inestimation of his contemporaries, they probably derived cident, nor perfectly well adapted for poetry, was their chief value from their supposed historical authen- nevertheless combined with traditionary and genealoticity. The same may be generally said of the poetry gical anecdotes extremely interesting to those who of all early ages.

The marvels and miracles which the were to listen to him; and this he has adorned by the poet blends with his song do not exceed in number or exertions of a genius, which, if it has been equalled,

ZLOGUVYS.

1

has certainly been never surpassed. It was not till by exertiog their power of making themselves and comparatively a late period that the general accuracy others happy within the limited scale allotted to each of his narrative, or his purpose in composing it, was individual, so long will individual history and individual brought into question. Δοκει πρωτος ο Αναξαγορας | virtue be the readier and more accessible road to ge(καθα φησι φαβορινος εν παντοδαπη Ιστορια) την neral interest and attention; and perhaps we may add, Ounpou TOOLTELY ATtoqquariul Elvav apstrs xLL Òr- that it is the more useful, as well as the more ac

But whatever theories might be framed cessible, inasmuch as it affords an example capable of by speculative men,

his work was of an historical, not being easily imitated. of an allegorical nature. Eναυτιλλετο μετα του Μεν According to the author's idea of Romantic Poetry, τεως, και όπου εκαστοτε αφικoιτο, παντα τα επιχωρια as distinguished from Epic, the former compreliends διερωτατο, και ιστορεύων επυνθανετο, εικος δε μιν ην a fctitious narrative, framed and combined at the pleaκαι μνημοσυνα παντων γραφεσθαι. 1 Jnstead of re

sure of the writer; beginning and ending as he may commending the choice of a subject similar to that of judge best; which neither exacts nor refuses the use of Homer, it was to be expected that critics should have supernatural machinery; which is free from the techexhorted the poets of these later days to adopt or invent nical rules of the Epée; and is subject only to those a narrative in itself more susceptible of poetical orna- which good sense, good taste, and good morals apply ment, and to avail themselves of that advantage in order to every species of poetry without exception. The date to compensate, in some degree, the inferiority of may be in a remote age, or in the present; the story Genius. The contrary course has been inculcated by may detail the adventures of a prince or of a easant. almost all the writers upon the Epopcia ; with what In a word, the author is absolute master of his country success, the fate of Homer's numerous imitators may and its inhabitants, and every thing is permitted to him best show. The ultimum supplicium of criticism was excepting to be heavy or prosaic, for which, free and uninflicted on the author if he did not chuse a subject embarrassed as he is, he has no manner of apology. which at once deprived him of all claim to originality, Those, it is probable, will be found the peculiarities of this and placed him, if not in actual contest, at least in species of composition; and, before joining the outcry fatal comparison, with those giants in the land, whom against the vitiated taste that fosters and encourages it, it was most his interest to avoid. The celebrated the justice and grounds of it ought to be made perfectly recipe for writing an epic poem, which appeared in the apparent. If the want of sieges and battles and great Guardian, was the first instance in which common military evolutions in our poetry is complained of, let sense was applied to this department of poetry; and in- us reflect, that the campaigns and heroes of our day deed, if the question be considered on its own merits, are perpetuated in a record that peither requires nor we must be satisfied that narrative poetry, if strictly admits of the aid of fiction; and if the complaint refers confined to the great occurrences of history, would be to the inferiority of our bards, let us pay a just tribute deprived of the individual interest which it is so well to their modesty, limiting them, as it does, to subjects, calculated to excite.

which, however indifferently treated, have still the Modern poets may therefore be pardoned in seeking interest and charm of novelty, and which thus prevents simpler subjects of verse, more interesting in propor

them from adding insipidity to their other more intion to their simplicity. Two or three figures, well superable defects. grouped, suited 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 but of one or two persons, is more favourable

BRIDAL OF TRIERMAIN. 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

INTRODUCTION. depicted with vigour, seldom fail to fix attention : the other, if more sublime, are more vague and distant, less capable of being distinctly understood, and in Come LUCY! while 't is morning hour, finitely less capable of exciting those sentiments which The woodland brook we needs must pass; it is the very purpose of poetry to inspire. To gene So, ere the sun assume his power. ralize is always to destroy effect. We would, for We sbelter in our poplar bower, example, be more interested in the fate of an indivi Where dew lies long upon the flower, dual soldier'in combat, than in the grand event of a Though vanish d from the velvet grass. general action; with the happiness of two lovers raised Curbing the stream, this stony ridge from misery and anxiety to peace and union, than with May serve us for a sylvan bridge ; the successful exertions of a whole nation. From

For here, compell'd to disunite, what causes this may originate, is a separate, and ob Round petty isles the runnels glide, viously an immaterial consideration. Before ascribing And chafing off their puny spite, this peculiarity to causes decidedly and odiously selfish, The shallow murmurers waste their might, it is proper to recollect, that while men see only a Yielding to footstep free and light limited space, and while their affections and conduct

A dry-shod pass from side to side. are regulated, not by aspiring at an universal good, but

II. * Diogenes Laertius, 1. XI. p. 8.

Nay, why this hesitating pause ?
And, Lucy, as thy step withdraws,

THE

[ocr errors]

Homeri Vita.

Why sidelong eye the streamlet's brim ?

Titania's foot without a slip, Like thine, though timid, light, and slim,

From stone to stone might safely trip,

Nor risk the glow-worın clasp to dip
That binds her slipper's silken rim.
Or trust thy lover's strength : nor fear

That this same stalwart arm of mine,
Which could

yon oak's prone trunk uprcar, Shall shrink beneath the burthen dear

Of form so slender, light and fine.So,-now, the danger dared at last, Look back and smile at perils past!

III.
And now we reach the favourite glade,

Paled in by copse-wood, cliff, and stone, Where never harsher sounds invade,

To break affection's 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 lier poor Arthur in the dale.

IV. How deep that blush !-how deep that sich! And why does Lucy shun mine eye! 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' ken Than the dull glance of common men, And by strange sympathy, can spell The thoughts the loved one will not tell ! And mine, in Lucy's blush, saw met The hue of pleasure and regret ; Pride mingled in the sigh her voice,

And shared with Love the crimson glow, Well pleased that thou art Arthur's choice,

Yet shamed thine own is placed so low. Thou turn'st thy self-confessing cheek,

As if to meet the breeze's cooling; Then, Lucy, hear thy tutor speak,

For Love, too, has his hours of schooling.

Nor leave me on this mossy bank,

To meet a rival on a throne:
Why, then, should vain repinings rise,
That to thy lover fate denies
A nobler name, a wide domain,
A baron's birth, a menial train,
Since Heaven assigo'd him, for his part,
A lyre, a falchion, and a beart?

VI.
My sword--its master must be dumb;

But when a soldier names my name,
Approach, my Lucy! fearless come,

Nor dread to hear of Arthur's shame. My heart-'mid all yon courtly crew,

Of lordly rank and lofty line, Is there to love and honour true,

That boasts a pulse so warm as mine? They praised thy diamond's lustre rare

Match'd with thine eyes, I thought it faded ; They praised the pearls that bound thy hair

I only saw the locks they braided; They talk'd of wealthy dower and land,

Apd titles of high birth the tokenI thought of Lucy's heart and hand,

Nor knew the sense of what was spoken.
And yet, if rank'd in Fortune's roll,

I might have learn'd their choice unwise,
Who rate the dower above the soul, .
And Lucy's diamonds o'er her eyes.

VII.
My lyre—it is an idle toy,

That borrows accents not its own,
Like warbler of Columbian sky,

That sings but in a mimie tone."
Ne'er did it sound o'er sainted well,
Nor boasts it aught of Border spell;
Its strings no feudal slogan pour,
Its heroes draw no broad claymore;
No shouting clans applauses raise,
Because it sung their fathers' praise ;
On Scottish moor, or English down,
It ne'er was graced with fair renown;
Nor won,best meed to minstrel true,
One favouring smile from fair Buccleuch!
By one poor streamlet sounds its tone,
And heard by one dear maid alone.

VIJI.
But, if thou bidst, these tones shall tell,
Of erran; knight and damozelle;
Of the dread knot a wizard tied,
In punishment of maiden's pride,
In notes of maryel and of fear,
That best may charm romantic ear.
For Lucy loves,-like Collins, ill-starr'd name! (1)
Whose lay's requital was, that tardy fame,
Who bound no laurel round his living head,
Should hang it o'er his monument when dead, -
For Lucy loves to tread enchanted strand,
And thread, like him, the maze of fairy-land;
Of golden battlements to view the gleam,
And slumber soft by some Elysian stream:
Such lays she loves, -and, such my Lucy's choice,
What other song can claim her poet's voice?

1 The Mocking Bird.

V.
Too oft my anxious eye has spied
That secret grief thou fain wouldst hide,
The passing pang of humbled pride ;
Too oft, when through the splendid hall,

The load-star of each heart and eye,
My fair one leads the glittering ball,
Will her stol'n glance on Arthur fall,

With such a blush and such a sigh ! Thou wouldst not yield, for wealth or rank,

The heart tly worth and beauty wod,

« 前へ次へ »