ページの画像
PDF
ePub

INTRODUCTION TO CANTO III.

See how the little runnels leap,
In threads of silver, down the steep,

To swell the brooklet's moan!
Seems that the Highland Naiad grieves,
Fantastic while her crown she weaves,
Of rowan, birch, and alder-leaves,

So lovely, and so lone. There's no illusion there, these flowers, That wailing brook, these lovely bowers,

Are, Lucy, all our own; And, since thine Arthur calid thee wife, Such seems the prospect of his life, A lovely path, on-winding still, By gurgling brook and sloping hill. "T is true that mortals cannot tell What waits them in the distant dell; But be it hap, or be it harm, We tread the path-way arm in arm.

every softer

1.
Long loved, long wood, and lately won,
My life's best hope, and now mine own!
Doth not this rude and Alpine glen
Recal our favourite haunts agen?
A wild resemblance we can trace,
Though reft of

grace, As the rough warrior's brow

may

bear
A likeness to a sister fair.
Full well advised our Highland host,
That this wild pass on foot be crossd,
While round Ben-Cruach's mighty base
Wheel the slow steeds and lingering chaise.
The keen old carle, with Scottish pride,
He praised his glen and mountains wide;
an eye

he bears for nature's face,
Ay, and for woman's lovely grace.
Even in such mcan degree we find
The subtle Scot's observing mind;
For, not the chariot nor the train
Could gape of vulzar wonder gain,
But when old Allan would expound
Of Beal-na-paish the Celtic sound, "
His bonnet doffd, and bow, applied
His legend to my bonny bride;
While Lucy bluslıd beneath his eye,
Courteous and cautious, shrewd and sly.

IV. And now, my Lucy, wol'st thou wly I could thy bidding twice deny, When twice you pray'd I would again Resume the legendary strain Of the bold Knight of Triermain ? At length yon peevish vow you swore, That you would sue to me no more, Until the minstrel fit drew near, And made me prize a listening ear. * But, loveliest, when thou first didst pray Continuance of the knightly lay, Was it not on the happy day

That made thy hand mine own?
When, dizzied with mine ecstasy,
Nought past, or present, or to be,
Could I or think on, hear, or see,

Save, Lucy, thee alone!
A giddy drauglit my rapture was,
As ever chemist's magic gas.

II. Enough of him.- Now, cre we lose, Plunged in the vale, the distant views, Turn thee, my love! look back once more To the blue lake's retiring shore. On its smooth breast the shadows seem Like objects in a morning dream, What time the slumberer is aware He sleeps, and all the vision's air : Even so, on yonder liquid lawn, In hues of bright reflection drawn, Distinct the shaggy mountains lie, Distinct the rocks, distinct the sky; The summer clouds so plain we note, That we might count cachi dappled spot : We gaze

and we admire, yet know The scene is all delusive show. Such dreams of bliss would Arthur draw, When first his Lucy's form he saw;. Yet sighid and sickend as he drew, Despairing they could e'er

V.
Again the summons I denied
In
yon

fair capital of Clyde;
My harp---or let me rather chuse
The good old classic form--my Muse
(For harp 's an over-scutched phrase,
Worn out by bards of modern days),
My Muse, then-seldom will she wake
Save by dim wood and silent Jake.
She is the wild and rustic maid,
Whose foot unsandall'd loves to tread
Where the soft green-sward is inlaid
: With varied moss and thyme;
And, lest the simple lily-braid,
That coronets her temples, fade,
She hides her still in green-wood shade,

To meditate her rhyme.

prove true!

II.
But, Lucy, turn thee now, to view

Up the fair glen our destined way! The fairy path that we pursue, Distinguish'd but by greener hue,

Wiods round the purple brae, >> While Alpine flowers of varied dye For carpet serve or tapestry.

VI.
And now she comes! The murmur dear
Of the wild brook hath caught her ear,

The glade hath won Irer eye;
She longs to join with eachi blithe rill
That dances down the Highland hill,
Her blither melody.

Beal-na-paist, the Vale of the Bridal.

And now, my Lucy's way to cheer,
She bids Ben-Cruach's echoes hear
How closed the tale, my love whilere

Loyed for its chivalry. List how she tells, in notes of flame, « Child Roland to the dark lower came!»

When, gazing on the sinking fire, Bulwark and battlement and spire

In the red gulf we spy. For seen, by moon of middle night, Or by the blaze of noontide bright, Or by the dawn of morning light,

Or evening's western flame, In every ride, at every hour, In misl, in sunshine, and in shower,

The rocks remain'd the same.

CANTO III.

may buckle

I.
BEWCASTLE now must keep the hold,

Speir-Adam's steeds must hide in stall, Of Hartley-burn the bowmen bold

Must only shoot from battled wall; And Liddesdale

spur, And Teviot now may belt the brand, Tarras and Ewes keep nightly stir,

And Eskdale foray Cumberland. Of wasted field and plunder'd flocks

The Borderers bootless may complain; They lack the sword of brave De Vaux,

There comes no aid from Triermain. That lord, on high adventure bound,

Hath wanderd forth alone, And day and night keeps watchful round

In the valley of Saint John.

IV.
Oft has he traced the charmed mound,
Oft climb'd its crest, or paced it round,

Yet nothing might explore,
Save that the crags so rudely piled,
At distance seen, resemblance wild

To a rough fortress bore.
Yet still his watch the warrior keeps,
Feeds hard and spare, and seldom sleeps,

And drinks but of the well;
"Ever by day he walks the hill,
And when the evening gale is chill,

He seeks a rocky cell,
Like hermit poor to bid his bead,
And tell his ave and his creed,
Invoking every saint at need,

For aid to burst the spell.

II. When first began his vigil bold, The moon twelve summer nights was old,

And shone both fair and full; High in the vault of cloudless blue, O'er streamlet, dale, and rock, she threw

ller light composed and cool. Stretch'd on the brown hill's heathy breast,

Sir Roland eyed the vale;
Chief, where, distinguish'd from the rest,
Those clustering rocks upreard their crest,
The dwelling of the fair distress'd,

As told gray Lyulph's tale.
Thus as he lay, the lamp of night
Was quivering on his armour bright,

In beams that rose and fell,
And danced upon his buckler's boss, .
That lay beside him on the moss,

As on a crystal well.

V.
And now the moon her orb has hid,
And dwindled to a silver thread,

Dim seen in middle heaven,
While o'er its curve careering fast,
Before the fury of the blast,

The midnight clouds are driven. The brooklet raved, for on the hills The upland showers had swoll'n the rills,

And down the torrents came; Mutter'd the distant thunder dread, And frequent o'er the vale was spread

A sheet of lightning flame. De Vaux, within his mountain cave (No human step the storm durst brave), To mocdy meditation gave

Each faculty of soul, Till, lullid by distant torrent-sound, And the sad wind that whistled round, Upon his thoughts, in musing drown'd,

A broken slumber stole.

[ocr errors]

Ever he watchd, and oft he deem'd,
While on the mound the moon-light stream'd,

It alter'd to his eyes;
Faio would he hope the rocks 'gan change
To buttress'd walls their shapeless range,
Fain think, by transmutation strange,

He saw gray turrets rise.
But scarce his heart with hope throbb'd high,
Before the wild illusions lly,

Which fancy had conceived, Abetted by an anxious eye

That long d 19 be deceived. It was a fond deception all, Suchras, in solitary ball,

Beguiles the musing eye,

VI. 'T was then was heard a heavy sound,

(Sound strange and fearful there to hear, 'Mongst desert hills, where, leagues around,

Dwelt but the gor-cock and the deer:) * As starting from his couch of fern, Again he heard, in clangour stem,

That deep and solemn swell; Twelve times, in measured ione, il spoke Like some proud minster's pealing clock,

Or city's larum-bell. What thought was Roland's first when fell, In that deep wilderness, the knell

Upon his started ear!.

To slander warrior were I lotlı,
Yet must I hold my minstrel troth, –

It was a thought of fear.

and 'T is not deceit; distinctly clear

Crenell' and parapet appear,
While o'er the pile that meteor drear

Makes moinentary pause;
Then forth its solemn path it drew,
And fainter yet and fainter grew
Those gloomy towers upon the view,

As its wild light withdraws.

VII.
But lively was the mingled thrill
That chased that momentary chill;

For love's keen wish was there,
And eager hope, and valour high,
And the proud glow of chivalry,

That burn'd to do and dare.
Forth from the cave the warrior rushd,
Long cre the mountain-voice was husha,

That answer'd to the knell;
For long and far the unwonted sound,
Eddying in echoes round and round,

Was toss'd from fell to fell;
And Glaramara answer thung,
And Grisdale-pike responsive rung,
And Legbert heights their echoes swung,

As far as Derwent's dell.

VIII.
Forth upon trackless darkness gazed
The knight, bedeafend and amazed,

Till all was hush'd and still,
Save the swoll'n torrent's sullen roar,
And the night-blast that wildly bore

Its course along the hill,
Then on the northern sky there came
A light, as of reflected flame,

And over Legbert-head,
As if by magic art controlla,
A mighty meteor slowly rolld

Its orb of fiery red;
Thou wouldst bave thought some demon dire
Came mounted on that car of fire,

To do his errand dread.
Far on the sloping valley's course,
On thicket, rock, and torrent hoarse,
Shingle and scrae,' and fell and force, a

A dusky hight arose :
Display'd, yet alter'd was the scene;
Dark rock, and brook of silver sheen,
E'en the gay thicket's summer green,

In bloody tincture glows.

X.
Forth from the cave did Roland rush,
O'er crag and stream, through briar and bush;

Yet far he had not sped,
Ere sunk was that portentous light
Behind the hills, and utter night

Was on the valley spread.
He paused perforce, -and blew his horn;
And on the mountain-echoes borne

Was heard an answering sound,
A wild and lonely trumpet-note, -
In middle air it seem'd to float

High o'er the battled mound;
And sounds were heard, as when a guard
Of some proud castle holding ward,

Pace forth their nightly round,
The valiant Knight of Triermain
Rung forth his challenge-blast again,

But answer came there none;
And 'mid the mingled wind and rain,
Darkling he sought the vale in vain,

Until the dawning shone;
And when it dawn'd, that wond'rous sight,
Distinctly seen by meteor-light,

It all had pass d away!
And that enchanted mound once more
A pile of granite fragments bore,

As at the close of day.

[ocr errors][merged small]

XI.
Steeld for the deed, De Vaux's heart
Scorn'd from his venturous quest to part,

He walks the vale once more;
But only sees, by night or day,
That shatter'd pile of rocks so gray,

Hears but the torrent's roar.
Till when, through hills of azure borne,
The moon renew'd her silver horn,
Just at the time her waning ray
Had faded in the dawning day,

A summer mist arose;
Adown the vale the vapours float,
And cloudy undulations moat
That tufted mound of mystic note,

As round its base they close.
And higher now the fleecy cide
Ascends its stern and shaggy side,
Until the airy billows hide

The rock's majestic Isle;
It seem'd a veil of filmy lawn,
By some fantastic fairy drawn
Around enchanted pile.

XII.
The breeze came softly down the brook,

And, sighing as it blew,

1 Bauk of loose stones. 2 Water-fall. 3 The outer defence of the castle-gate, 4 Fortified court.

" Apertures for shooting arrows.

No misty phantom of the air,
No meteor-blazon'd show was there;
In morning splendour, full and fair,

The massive fortress shone.

XV.
Embattled high and proudly tower d,
Shaded by pond'rous flankers, lower'd

The portal's gloomy way.
Though for six hundred years and more,
Its strength had brook'd the tempest's roar,
The scutcheon d emblems that it bore

Had suffer'd no decay;
But from the eastern batilement
A turret had made sheer descent,
And dowu in recent ruin rent,

In the mid torrent lay.
Else, o'er the castle's brow sublime,
Insults of violence or of time

Unfelt had pass d away.
In shapeless characters of

yore, The gate this stern inscription bore :

XVI.

The veil of silver mist il slook,
And to De Vaux's eager look

Renew'd that wondrous vicw.
For, though the loitering vapour braved
The gentle breeze, yet oft it waved

Its mantle's dewy fold;
And, still, when shook that filmy screen,
Were towers and bastions dimly seen,
And Gothic battlements between

Their gloomy length unrolld.
Speed, speed, De Vaux, ere on thine eye
Once more the fleeting vision die!

- The gallant knight can speed
As prompt and light as, when the hound
Is opening, and the horn is wound,

Careers the hunter's stced.
Down the steep dell his course amain

Hath rivall d archer's shaft;
But ere the mound he could attain,
The rocks their shapeless form regain,
And mocking loud bis labour vain,

The mountain spirits laughid.
Far

up the echoing dell was borne Their wild unearthly shout of scorn.

XIT. Wroth wax'd the warrior.-«Am I then foold by the enemies of men, Like a poor hind, whose homeward way Is haunted by malicious fay? Is Triermain become your taunt, De Vaux your scorn? False fiends, avaunt!» A weighty curtail-axe he bare; The baleful blade so bright and square, And the tough shaft of heben' wood, Were oft in Scottish gore embrucd. Backward his stately form he drew, And at the rocks the weapon threw, Just where one crag's projected crest Hung proudly balanced o'er the rest. Hurld with main force, the weapon's shock Rent a huge fragment of the rock: If by mere strength 't were hard to tell, Or if the blow dissolved some spell, But down the headlong ruin came, With cloud of dust and flash of flame. Down bank, o'er bush, its course was borne, Crush'd lay the copse, the earth was torn, Till, staid at length, the ruin dread Cumber'd the torrent's rocky bed, And bade the waters' high-swoll'n tide Seek other passage for its pride.

[ocr errors]

ncient days.

INSCRIPTION. Patience waits the destined day, Strength can clear the cumber'd way. Warrior, who hast waited long, Firm of soul, of sinews strong, It is given to thee to gaze On the pile of Never mortal builder's hand This enduring fabric plann'd; Sign and sigil, word of power, From the earth raised keep and tower. View it o'er, and pace it round, Rampart, turret, battled mound. Dare no more! to cross the gate Were to tamper with thy fate; Strength and fortitude were vain! View it o'er-and turn again,»

XIV. When ceased that thunder, Triermain Survey'd the mound's rude front again; And lo! the ruin had laid bare, Hewn in the stone a winding stair, Whose moss'd and fractured steps might lend The means the summit to ascend; And by whose aid the brave De Vaux Began to scale these magic rocks,

And soon a platform won, Where, the wild witchery, to close, Within three lances' length arose

The Castle of St John !

XVII.
« That would I,» said the warrior bold,
« If that my frame were beni and old,
And my thin blood dropp'd slow and cold

As icicle in thaw;
But while my heart can feel it dance
Blithe as the sparkling wine of France,
And this good arm wields sword or lance,

I mock these words of awe!»
He said; the wicket felt the sway
Of his strong hand, and straight gave way,
And with rude crash and jarring bray,

The rusty bolts withdraw;
But o'er the threshold as he strode,
And forward took the vaulted road,
An unseen arm with force amain
The ponderous gate flung close again,

And rusted bolt and bar
Spontaneous took their place once more,
While the deep arch with'sullen roar

Return'd their surly jar. « Now closed is the gin, and the prey within,

By the rood of Lanercost!

The gallant knight took carnest view The grated wicket-window throughr.

But he that would win the war-wolf's skin

May rue him of his boast.»-
Thus muttering, on the warrior went,
By dubious light down steep descent.

XVIII.
Unbarr'd, unlock'd, unwatch'd, a port
Led to the castle's outer court:
There the main fortress, broad and tall,
Spread its long range of bower and hall,

And towers of varied size,
Wrought with cach ornament extreme,
That Gothic art, in wildest dream

Of fancy, could devise.
But full between the warrior's way
And the main portal-arch, there lay

An inner moat;
* Nor bridge nor boat
Affords De Vaux the means to cross
The clear, profound, and silent fosse.
His arms aside in haste hellings,
Cuirass of steel and hauberk rings,
And down falls helm and down the shield,
Rough with the dints of many a field.
Fair was his manly form, and fair
His keen dark eye, and close-curl'd hair,
When,-all unarm’d, save that the brand
Of well-proved metal graced his hand,
With nought to fence his dauntless breast
But the close gipon'sı under-vest,
Whose sullied buff the sable stains
Of hauberk and of mail retains,-
Roland De Vaux upon the brim
Of the broad moat stood prompt to swim.

XX.
Oh for his arms! Of martial weed
Had never mortal knight such need!
He spied a stately gallery; all
Of snow-white marble was the wall,

The vaulting, and the floor;
And, contrast strange! on either hand
There stood array'd in sable band

Four maids whom Afrie bore;
And each a Lybian tiger led,
Held by as bright and frail a thread

As Lucy's golden hair;
For the leash that bound these monsters dread

Was but of gossamer.
Each maiden's short barbaric vest
Left all unclosed the knee and breast,

And limbs of shapely jet ;
White was their vest and turban's fold,
On arms and ancles rings of gold

In savage pomp were set;
A quiver on their shoulders Jay
And in their hand an assagay.
Such and so silent stood they there,

That Roland well nigh hoped
He saw a band of statues rare,
Statiou'd the gazer's soul to scare;

But, when the wicket oped, Each grisly beast 'gan upward draw. Rolld his grim eye, and spread his claw, Scented the air, and lick'd his jaw! While these weird maids, in Moorish longue, A wild and dismal warning sung.

[ocr errors][merged small]

XIX.
Accoutred thus he dared the tide,
And soon he reach'd the farther side,

And enter'd soon the hold,
And paced a hall, whose walls so wide
Were blazon'd all with feats of pride,

By warriors done of old.
In middle lists they counter'd here,

While trumpets seemd to blow;
And there, in den or desert drear,

They quell'd gigantic foe, Braved the fierce griffon in his ire, Or faced the dragon's breath of fire. Strange in their arms, and strange in face, Heroes they seemnd of ancient race, Whose deeds of

arms,

and
race,
and

name, Forgotten long by latter fame,

Were here depicted to appal
Those of an age degenerate,
Whose bold intrusion braved their fate,

In this enchanted hall.
For some short space the venturous knight
With these high marvels fed his sight;
Then sought the chamber's upper end,
Where three broad easy steps ascend

To an archid portal door,
In whose broad-folding leaves of state
Was framed a wicket window-grate;

And, ere he ventured more,

" When the whirlwind's gusts are wheeling,

Ours it is the dance to braid; Zarah's sands, in pillars reeling,

Join the measure that we tread, When the moon hath don'd ber cloak,

And the stars are red to see, Shrill when pipes the sad siroc,

Music meet for such as we.

« Where the shatter'd columns lie,

Showing Cartbage once had been, If the wandering santon's eye

Our mysierious rites hath seen, Oft he cons the prayer of death,

To the nations preaches doom, "Azrael's brand bath left the sheath!

Moslems think upon the tomb!'

[ocr errors]

« Ours the scorpion, ours the snake,

Ours the hydra of the fen, Ours the tiger of the brake,

All that plagues the sons of men, Ours the tempest's midnight wrack,

Pestilence that wastes by day

3 A sort of donblet, worn beneath the armour.

« 前へ次へ »