ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Enters Morgana's fated house,

Or in the Chapel Perilous,
Despising spells and demons' force,
Holds converse with the unburied corse;

Or when, Dame Ganore's grace to move,
(Alas! that lawless was their love,
He sought proud Tarquin in his den,
And freed full sixty knights; or when,
A sinful man, and unconfess'd,
He took the Sangreal's holy quest,
And, slumbering, saw the vision high,
He might not view with waking eye.

The mightiest chiefs of British song Scorn'd not such legends to prolong : They gleam through Spenser's elfin dream, And mix in Milton's heavenly theme; And Dryden, in immortal strain, Had raised the Table Round again,

But that a ribald King and Court
Bade him toil on, to make them sport;
Demanded for their niggard pay,
Fit for their souls, a looser lay,
Licentious satire, song, and play:
The world defrauded of the high design,
Prophaned the God-given strength, and marrd

the lofty line.

Warm’d by such names, well may we then, Though dwindled sons of little men, Essay to break a feeble lance In the fair fields of old romance; Or seck the moated castle's cell,

Where long through talisman and spell,
While tyrants ruled, and damsels wept,
Thy Genius, Chivalry, hath slept :
There sound the harpings of the North,
Till he awake and sally forth,

On venturous quest to prick again,
In all his arms, with all his train,
Shield, lance, and brand, and plume, and scarf,
Fay, giant, dragon, squire, and dwarf,
And wizard with his wand of might,
And errant maid on palfrey white.
Around the Genius weave their spells,
Pure Love, who scarce his passion tells ;
Mystery, half veil'd and half reveald ;
And Honour, with his spotless shield ;
Attention, with fix'd

eye ;

and Fear, That loves the tale she shrinks to hear :

And gentle Courtesy; and Faith,
Unchanged by sufferings, time, or death ;
And Valour, lion-mettled lord,
Leaning upon his own good sword.

Well has thy fair achievement shown, A worthy meed may thus be won ;

Ytene's oaks-beneath whose shade

Their theme the merry minstrels made,

Of Ascapart, and Bevis bold,

And that Red King, † who, while of old,
Through Boldrewood the chase he led,
By his loved huntsman's arrow bled-
Ytene's oaks have heard again
Renew'd such legendary strain ;
For thou hast sung, how He of Gaul,

That Amadis so famed in hall,

For Oriana, foil'd in fight
The Necromancer's felon might;

And well in modern verse hast wove

Partenopex's mystic love :
Hear, then, attentive to my lay,
A knightly tale of Albion's elder day.

• The New Forest in Hampshire, anciently so called. + William Rufus.

MARMION.

CANTO FIRST.

The Castle.

« 前へ次へ »