ページの画像
PDF
ePub

« Fitz-Eustace, we must march our band;
St Anton' fire thee! wilt thou stand
All day, with bonnet in thy hand,

To hear the lady preach?
By this good light ! if thus we stay,
Lord Marmion, for our fond delay,

Will sharper sermon teach.
Come, don thy cap, and mount thy horse;
The dame must patience take perforce.»--

XXXII.
« Submit we then to force,» said Clare;
« But let this barbarous lord despair

His purposed aim to win;
Let him take living, land, and life;
But to be Marmion's wedded wife

In me were deadly sin :
And if it be the king's decree,
That I must find no sanctuary,
Where even a homicide might come,

And safely rest his head,
Though at its open portals stood,
Thirsting to pour forth blood for blood,

The kinsmen of the dead, -
Yet one asylum is my own

Against the dreaded hour; A low, a silent, and a lone,

Where kings have little power.
One victim is before me there.-
Mother, your blessing, and in prayer
Remember your unhappy Clare !»-
Loud weeps the abbess, and bestows

Kind blessings many a one;
Weeping and wailing loud arose,
Round patient Clare, the clamorous woes

Of every simple nun.
His

eyes the gentle Eustace dried, And scarce rude Blount the sight could bide.

Then took the squire her rein,
And gently led away her steed,
And, by each courteous word and deed,

To cheer her sirove in vain.

XXXIV.
Here did they rest.— The princely care
Of Douglas, why should I declare,
Or say they met reception fair ?

Or why the tidings say,
Which varying to Tantallon came,
By hurrying posts or feeter fame,

With every varying day?
Ånd, first, they heard King James had won

Etall, and Wark, and Ford ; and then,

That Norham Castle strong was ta'en.
At that sore marvella Marmion :-
And Douglas hoped his monarch's hand
Would soon subdue Vorthumberland :

But whisper'd news there came,
That while his host inactive lay,
And melted by degrees away,
King James was dallying off the day

With Heron's wily damc.-
Such acts to chronicles I yield;

Go seek them there, and see :
Mine is a tale of Flodden Field,

And not a history.--
At length they heard the Scottish host
On that high ridge had made their post,

Which frowns o'er Millfield Plain;
And that brave Surrey many a band
Had gather'd in the southern land,
And march'd into Northumberland,

And camp at Wooler ta’en. Marmion, like charger in the stall, That hears, without, the trumpet-call,

Began to chafe and swear:-
« A sorry thing to hide my head
In castle, like a fearful maid,

When such a field is near!
Needs must I see this battle-day:
Death to my fame, if such a fray
Were fought, and Marmion away!
The Douglas too, I wot not why,
Hath 'bated of his courtesy:
No longer in his halls I'll stay.»-
Then bade his band they should array
For march against the dawning day.

INTRODUCTION TO CANTO VI.

TO

XXXII.
But scant three miles the band had rode,

When o'er a height they pass'd,
And, sudden, close before them show'd

His towers, Tantallon vast :
Broad, massive, high, and stretching far,
And held impregnable in war,
On a projecting rock they rose,
And round three sides the ocean flows;
The fourth did battled walls inclose,

And double mound and fosse. By narrow draw-bridge, outworks strong, Through studded gates, an entrance long

To the main court they cross. It was a wide and stately square: Around were lodgings fit and fair,

And towers of various form, Which on the court projected far, And broke its lines quadrangular. Here was square keep, there turret high, Or pinnacle that sought the sky, Whence oft the warder could descry

The gathering ocean-storm.

RICHARD HEBER, ESQ.

Mertoun-house, Christmas.
HEAP on more wood! the wind is chill;
But, let it whistle as it will,
We 'll keep our Christmas merry still,
Each age has deem'd the new-born year
The fillest time for fęstal cheer:
Eyen, heathen

yet,
the
savage

Dane
Ai lol more deep the mead did drain;(1)
High on the beach his galleys drew,
And feasted all his pirate crew;
Then in his low and pine-built hall,
Where shields and axes deck'd the wall,
They gorged upon the half-dressd steet;
Caroused in seas of sable beer;

But oh! what masquers, richly dight,
Can boast of bosoms half so light!
England was merry England, when
Old Christmas brought his sports again.
"T was Christmas broach'd the mightiest ale ;
"T was Christmas told the merriest tale ;
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man's heart through half the year.

While round, in brutal jest, were thrown
The half-gnaw'd rib, and marrow-bone;
Or listen'd all, in grim delight,
While scalds yell’d out the joys of fight.
Then forth, in frenzy, would they hie,
While wildly loose their red locks fly,
And dancing round the blazing pile,
They make such barbarous mirth the while,
As best might to the mind recal
The boisterous joys of Odin's hall.

And well our christian sires of old
Loved when the year its course had rolld,
And brought blithe Christmas back again,
With all his hospitable train,
Domestic and religious rite
Gave honour to the holy night:
On Christmas eve the bells were rung;
On Christmas eve the mass was sung: (2)
That only night, in all the year,
Saw the stoled priest the chalice rear.
The damsel donn'd her kirtle sheen;
The hall was dress'd with holly green;
Forth to the wood did merry-men go,
To gather in the misletoe.
Then open'd wide the baron's hall
To vassal, tenant, serf, and all;
Power laid his rod of rule aside,
And Ceremony doff'd her pride.
The heir, with roses in his shoes,
That night might village partner chuse ;
The lord, underogating, share
The vulgar game of « post and pair.»
All haild, with uncontrolld delight,
And general voice, the happy night,
That to the cottage, as the crown,
Brought tidings of salvation dowo.

Still linger in our northern clime Some remnants of the good old time; And still within our vallies here We hold the kindred title dear, Even when, perchance, ils far-fetch'd claim To southern ear sounds empty name; For course of blood, our proverbs deem, Is warmer than the mountain streath." And thus my Christmas still I hold Where my great grandsire came of old, With amber beard, and flaxen hair, (4) And reverend, apostolic air, The feast and holy-tide to share, And mix sobriety with wine, And honest mirth with thoughts divine; Small thought was his, in after-time, E'er to be hitch'd into a rhyme. The simple sire could only boast That he was loyal to his cost; The banish'd race of kings revered, And lost his land, -but kept his beard:

[ocr errors]

In these dear halls, where welcome kind Is with fair liberty combined; Where cordial friendship gives the hand, And flies constraint the magic wand Of the fair dame that rules the land, Little we heed the tempest drear, While music, mirth, and social cheer, Speed on their wiogs the passing year. And Mertoun's halls are fair e'en now, When not a leaf is on the bough. Tweed loves them well, and turns again, As loth to leave the sweet domain, And holds his mirror to her face, And clips her with a close embrace:Gladly as he, we seek the dome, And as reluctant turn us home.

The fire, with well-dried logs supplied, Went roaring up the chimney wide; The huge hall-table's oaken face, Scrubb'd till it shone, the day to grace, Bore then upon its massive board No mark to part the squire and lord. Then was brought in the lusty brawn, By old blue-coated serving-man ; Then the grim boar's-head frown'd on high, Crested with bays and rosemary. Well can the green-garb'd ranger teli, How, when, and where, the monster fell; What dogs before his death he tore, And all the baiting of the boar. The wassel round, in good brown bowls, Garoish'd with ribbons, blithely trowls. There the huge sirloin reek'd; hard by Plum-porridge stood, and Christmas pye ; Nor fail'd old Scotland to produce, At such high tide, her savoury yoose. Then came the merry masquers in, And carols roard with blithesome din; If unmelodious was the song, It was a hearty note, and strong. Who lists may in their mumming see Traces of ancient mystery; (3) While shirts supplied the masquerade, And smutted cheeks the visors made ;

How just, thai, at this time of glee,
My thoughts should, Heber, fürn to thee!
For many a metry hour we've known,
And heard the chimes of midnight's tone.
Cease then, my friend! a moment cease,
And leave these classic tomes in peace!
Of Roman and of Grecian lore
Sure mortal brain can hold no more.
These ancients, as Noll Bluff might say,

Were pretty fellows in their day ;»?
But time and tide o'er all prevail-
On Christmas eve a Christmas tale-
Of wonder and of war.--- Profane!
What! leave the lofty Latian strain,

1. Blood is warmer than water, --—a proverb meant to vindicate our family predilections.

1. Hannibal was a pretty fellow, sir,-a very pretty fellow in his day..--Old Bachelor.

An hundred years are past and gone, And scarce three letters has he won.

Her stately prose, her verse's charms,
To hear the clash of rusty arms;
In fairy-land or limbo lost,
To jostle conjuror and ghost,
Goblin and witch!» -Nay, Heber dear,
Before you touch my charter, hear;
Though Leyden aids, alas! no more
My cause with many-languaged lore,
This may I say :-in realms of death
Ulysses meets Alcides' wraith;
Æneas, upon Thracia's shore,
The ghost of murder'd Polydore;
For omens, we in Livy cross,
Ac

every turn, locutus bos.
As grave and truly speaks that ox,
As if he told the price of stocks;
Or held, ist Rome republican,
The place of common-councilman.
All pations have their omens drear,
Their legends wild of woe and fea
To Cambria look- the peasant see
Bethink him of Glendowerdy,
And shun « the Spirit's Blasted Tree. » (5)
The Highlander, whose red claymore
The battle turo'd on Maida's shore,
Will, on a Friday morn, look pale,
If ask'd to tell a fairy tale; (6)
He fears the vengeful elfin king,
Who leaves that day his grassy ring:
Invisible to human ken,
He walks among the sons of men.

Such general superstition may
Excuse for old Pitscottie say;
Whose gossip history has given
My song the messenger from heaven,
That warn'd in Lithgow Scotland's king
Nor less the infernal summoning;
May pass the monk of Durham's tale,
Whose demon fought in Gothic mail;
May pardon plead for Fordun grave,
Who told of Gifford's goblin-cave.
But why such instances to

you,
Who, in an instant, can review
Your treasured hoards of various lore,
And furnish twenty thousand more?
Hoards, not like theirs whose volumes rest
Like treasures in the Franch'mont chest,
While gripple owners still refuse
To others what they cannot use-
Give them the priest's whole century,
They shall not spell you letters three;
Their pleasure in the books the same
The magpie takes in pilfer'd gem.
Thy volumes, open as thy heart,
Delight, amusement, science, art,
To

every ear and eye impart; Yet who, of all who thus employ them, Can, like the owner's self, enjoy them?But hark! I hear the distant drum : The day of Flodden Field is come. Adieu, dear Heber! life and health, And store of literary wealth.

CANTO VI.

THE BATTLE:

Didst e'er, dear Heber, pass along Beneath the towers of Franchémont, (7) Which, like an eagle's nest in air, Hangs o'er the stream and hamlet fair?Deep in their vaults, the peasants say, A mighty treasure buried lay, Amass'd, through rapine and through wrong, By the last lord of Franchémont. The iron chest is bolted hard, A huntsman sits, its constant guard; Around his neck his horn is hung, His hanger in his belt is slung; Before his feet his blood-hounds lie: An 't were not for his gloomy eye, Whose withering glance no heart can brook, As true a huntsman doth he look, As bugle e'er in brake did sound, Or ever hollo'd to a hound. To chase the fiend, and win the prize, In that same dungeon ever tries An aged necromantic priest ; It is an hundred years, at least, Since 'twixt them first the strife begun, And neither yet has lost or won. And of the conjuror's words will make The stubborn demon groan and quake; And oft the bands of iron break, Or bursts one lock, that still amain, Fast as 't is opend, shuts again. That magic strife within the tomb May last until the day of doom, Unless the adept shall learn to tell The very word that clench'd the spell, When Franch'mont lock'd the treasure-cell.

I.
While great events were on the gale,
And each hour brought a varying tale,
And the demeanour, changed and cold,
Of Douglas, fretted Marmion bold,
And, like the impatient steed of

war,
He snuffd the battle from afar;
And hopes were uone, that back again -
Herald should come from Terouenne,
Where England's king in leaguer lay,
Before decisive battle-day;
While these things were, the mournful Clare
Did in the dame's devotions share:
For the good countess ceaseless pray'd
To heaven and saints, her sons to aid,
And, with short interval, did pass
From prayer to book, from book to mass,
And all in high baronial pride, -
A life both dull and dignified ;-
Yet as Lord Marmion nothing press'd
Upon her intervals of rest,
Dejected Clara well could bear
The formal state, the lengthen'd prayer,

Though dearest to her wounded heart The hours that she might spend apart.

In such a place, so lone, so grim,
At dawning pale, or twilight dim,

It fearful would have been,
To meet a form so richly dressid,
With book in hand, and cross on breast,

And such a woeful mien.
Fitz-Eustace, loitering with his bow,
To practise on the gull and crow,
Saw her, at distance, Gliding slow,

And did by Mary swear,
Some love-lorn fay she might have been,
Or, in romance, some spell-bound queen;
For ne'er, in work-day world, was seen

A form so witching fair.

II.
I said, Tantallon's dizzy sleep
Hung o'er the margin of the deep.
Many a rude tower and rampart there
Repelld the insult of the air,
Which, when the tempest' vex'd the sky,
Half breeze, half spray, came whistling by.
Above the rest, a turret square
Did o'er its Gothic entrance bear,
Of sculpture rude, a stony shield;
The Bloody Heart was in the field,
And in the chief three mullets stood,
The cognizance of Douglas blood.
The turret held a narrow stair,
Which, mounted, gave you access where
A parapet's embattled row
Did seaward round the castle

go.
Sometimes in dizzy steps descending,
Sometimes in narrow circuit bending,
Sometimes in platform broad extending,
Its varying circle did combine
Bulwark, and bartizan, and line,
And bastion, tower, and vantage-coigo;
Above the booming ocean leant
The far-projecting batilement;
The billows burst, in ceaseless flow,
Upon the precipice below.
Where'er Tantallon faced the land,
Gate-works, and walls, were strongly mann'd;
No need upon the sea-girt side;
The steepy rock and frantic tide,
Approach of human step denied;
And thus these lines and ramparts rude,
Were left in deepest solitude.

The very

IV. Once walking thus, at evening tide, It clianced a gliding sail she spied, And, sighing, thought—« The abbess there, Perchance, does to her home repair; Her peaceful rule, where duty, free, Walks hand in hand with charity; Where oft devotion's tranced glow Can such a glimpse of heaven bestow, That the enraptured sisters see High vision, and deep mystery;

form of Hilda fair,' Hovering upon the sunny air, (8) And smiling on her votaries' prayer. 0! wherefore, to my duller eye, Did still the saint her form deny? Was it, that, seard by sinful scorn, My heart could neither melt nor burn? Or lie my warm affections low With him, that taught them first to glow? Yet, gentle abbess, well I knew, To pay thy kindness gratefut due, And well could brook the mild command, That ruled thy simple maiden band. How different now! condemnd to bide My doom from this dark tyrant's pride.But Marmion has to learn, ere long, That constant mind, and hate of wrong, Descended to a feeble girl From red De Clare, stout Gloster's Earl: Of such a stem a sapling weak, He ne'er shall bend, although he break.

III.
And, for they were so lonely, Clare
Would to these battlements repair,
And musé upon her sorrows there,

And list the sea-bird's cry;
Or slow, like noontide ghost, would glide
Along the dark-gray bulwark's side,
And ever on the heaving tide

Look down with weary eye.
Oft did the cliff, and sweiling main,
Recal the thoughts of Whitby's fane,-
A home she ne'er might see again:

For she had laid adown,
So Douglas bade, the hood and veil,
And frontlet of the cloister pale,

And Benedictine gown:.
It were unseemly sight, he said,
A novice out of convent shade.-
Now her bright locks, with sunny glow,
Again adorn'd her brow of snow;
Her mantle rich, whose borders, round,
A deep and fretted broidery bound,
In golden foldings sought the ground;
Of holy ornament, alone
Remain d across with ruby stone;

And often did she look
On that which in her hand she bore,

Her breviary book.

V. « But see!- what makes this armour here?»

For in her path there lay Targe, corslet, helm ;-she view'd them near.« The breast-plate pierced !-Ay, much I fear, Weak fence wert thou 'gainst foeman's spear, That hath made fatal entrance here,

As these dark blood-gouts say,-
Thus Wilton! --Oh! not corslet's ward,
Not truth, as diamond pure and hard,
Could be thy manly bosom's guard

On yon disastrous day!»—
She raised her eyes in mournful mood,-
-Wilton himself before her stood!
It might have seem'd his passing ghost,
For every youthful grace was lost;

I See Note.

VII.
«Still restless as a second Cain,
To Scotland next my route was ta'en,

Full well the paths I knew.
Fame of my fate made various sound,
That death in pilgrimage I found,
That I had perislid of my wound, -

None cared which tale was true:
And living eye could never guess
De Wilton in his palmer's dress:

For, now that sable slough is shed,

And trimm'd my shaggy bcard and head, I scarcely knew me in the glass. A chance most wond'rous did provide, That I should be that baron's guide

I will not name his name!
Vengeance to God alone belongs;
But, when I think on all my wrongs,

My blood is liquid flame!
And ne'er the time shall I forget,
When, in a Scottish hostel set,

Dark looks we did exchange;
What were his thoughts I cannot tell;
But in my bosom muster'd hell

Its plans of dark revenge.

And joy unwonted, and surprise,
Gave their strange wildness to his eyes.-
Expect not, noble dames and lords,
That I can tell such scene in words: ,
What skilful limner e'er would chuse
To paint the rainbow's varying hues,
Unless to mortal it were given
To dip his brush in dyes of heaven?
Far less can my weak line declare

Each changing passion's shade;
Brightening to rapture from despair,
Sorrow, surprise, and pity there,
And joy, with her angelic air,
And hope, that paints the future fair,

Their varying hues display'd :
Each o'er its rival's ground extending,
Alternate conquering, shifting, blending,
Till all, fatigued, the contlict yield,
And mighty Love retains the field.
Shortly I tell what then he said,
By many a tender word delay'd,
And modest blush, and bursting sigh,
And question kind, and fond reply.

VI.

DE WILTON'S HISTORY. Forget we that disastrons day, When senseless in the lists I lay. Thence dragg’d, -but how I cannot know,

For sense and recollection fled, I found me on á pallet low,

Within my ancient beadsman's shed, Austin,-remembers't thou, my Clare,

How thou didst blush, when the old man,

When first our infant love began,
Said we would make a matchless pair?
Menials, and friends, and kinsmen fled
From the degraded traitor's bed, -
He, only, held my burning head,
And tended me for many a day,
While wounds and fever held their sway.
Bat far more needful was his care,
When sense return'd to wake despair;
For I did tear the closing wound,
And dash me frantic on the ground,
If e'er I heard the name of Clare.
At length, to calmer reason brought,
Much by his kind attendance wrought,

With him I left my native strand,
And, in a palmer's weeds array'd,
My hated name and form to shade,

I journey'd many a land;
No more a lord of rank and birth,
But mingled with the dregs of earth.
Oft Austin for my reason fear'd,

When I would sit, and deeply brood

On dark revenge, and deeds of blood,
Or wild mad schemes uprear'd.
My friend at length fell sick and said,

God would remove him soon;
And, while upon his dying bed,

He begg'd of me a boon-
If e'er my deadliest enemy,
Beneath my brand should conquer'd lie,
Even then

my mercy should awake, And spare his life for Austin's sake.

VIIT. «A word of vulgar augury, That broke from me, I scarce knew why,

Brought on a village tale;
Which wrought upon his moody sprite,
And sent him armed forth by night.

I borrow'd steed, and mail,
And weapons from his slecping band;

And, passing from a postern-door, We met, and 'counter'd hand to hand,

He fell on Gifford-moor. For the death-stroke my brand I drew (O then my helmed head he knew,

The palmer's cowl was gone), Then had three inches of my

blade The heavy debt of vengeance paid,My hand the thought of Austin staid;

I left him there alone. 0, good old man! even from the grave, Thy spirit coold thy master save: If I had slain my foeman, ne'er Had Whitby's Abbess, in her fear, Given to my hand this packet dear, Of power to clear my injured fame, And vindicate De Wilton's name.Perchance you heard the abbess tell Of the strange pageantry of hell,

That broke our secret speech-
It rose from the infernal shade,
Or featly was some juggle play'd,

A tale of peace to teach.
Appeal to Heaven I judged was best,
When my name came among the rest.

IX. « Now here, within Tantallon Hold, To Douglas late my tale I told, To whom my house was known of old. Won by my proofs, his falchion bright This eve anew shall dub me knight.

« 前へ次へ »