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*< * Ruler of Mortham's destiny!
Perchance thou wot'st not, Barnard's covers
«* Three days since, was that clue reveaTd,
In Thorsgill as I lay conccal'd,
And heard at full when Rokeby's maid
Her uncle's history display'd;
And now I can interpret well;
Each syllable the tablets tell.
Mark theu: Fair Edith was the joy
Of old O'Neale of Clandcboy,
Rut from her sire and country fled,
In secret Mortham's lord to wed.
O'Neale, his first resentment o'er,
Dispatch'd his son to Greta's shore.
Enjoining he should make him known
(Until his farther will were shown).
To Edith, hut to her alone.
What of their ill-starr'd meeting fell.
Lord Wycliffe knows, and none so weJL
x'O'Neale it was, who, in despair,
laable then, amid the strife.
To guard young Redmond's rights or life,
Late and reluctant he restores
The infant to his native shores,
With goodly gifts and letters stored,
With many a deep conjuring word,
To Mortham and to Rokeby's lord.
Nought knew the clod of Irish carrli,
Who was the guide, of Redmond's birth;
But decm'd his chiefs commands were laid
On both, by both to be obey'd.
How be was wounded by the way,
I need not, and I list not say.'—
Till Deniils voice grew bold aud strong:
'My proofs! I never will,' he said,
'Show mortal man where they arc laid.
Nor hope discovery to foreclose,
It giving me to feed the crows;
Tor I have mates at large, who know
Where I am wont such toys to stow.
Free me from peril and from band,
These tablets are at thy command;
Nor were it hard to form some train.
To wile old Moriham o'er the main.
Then, lunatic's nor papist's hand
Should wrest from thine the goodly land.'—
—•I like thy wit,' said Wycliffe, 'well;
But here in hostage shall thou dwell.
Thy too, unless my purpose err.
May prove the trustier messenger.
A stroll to Moriham shall he hear
From me, and fetch these tokens rare.
Gold shall thou have, ami that good store,
And freedom, his commission o'er;
But if his faith should chance to fail.
The gibbet freei thee from the jail.'—
XVII, ■ Mesb'd in the net liimsclf had twined, What subterfuge could Deniil find! He told me, villi reluctant sigh, That hidden here the tokens lie; Conjured my swift return and aid, By ill be scoffd and disobey'd; And look d as if the noose were tied. And I the priest mho left his side. This scroll for Mortham, Wycliffe gave, Whom I must seek by Greta's wave, Or in the hut where chief he hides. Where ThorsgiU's forester resides (Thence chanced it, wandering in the glade, Tb-at he descried our ambuscade). I was ditmias'd as eveniug fell, And reach'd hut now this rocky cell e—
« Give Oswald's letter.*—Bertram read.
Till he can take his life away.
And now, declare thy purpose, youth,
- It needs not. I renounce,* he said,
« My tutor and his deadly trade.
Fix'd was my purpose to declare
To Mortham, Redmond is his heir;
To tell him in what risk he stands,
And yield these tokens to his hands.
Fix'd was my purpose to atone,
Far as I may, the evil done,
And fix'd it rests—if I survive
This night, and leave this cave alive.»—
« And Demil?»—.. Let them ply the rack,
Even till his joints and sinews crack!
If Oswald tear him limb from limb,
What ruth can Deniil claim from him.
Whose thoughtless youth he led astray,
And damn'd to this unhallowd wayT
He school'd me, faith and vows were vain;
Now let my master reap his gain..—
«True,» answer'd Remain, «'t is his meed;
There 's retribution in the deed.
But thou—thou art not for our course.
Hast fear, hast pity, ',ast remorse;
And he with us the gale who braves,
Musi heave such cargo to the waves.
Or lag with overloaded prore,
While barks unburlhen'd reach the shore...
He paused, and, stretching him at length,
Seem'd to repose his bulky strength.
Communing with his secret mind.
As half he sale, and half reclined,
One ample hand his forehead press'd,
And one was dropp'd across his breast.
The shaggy eyebrows deeper came
Above his eyes of swarthy llame;
His lip of pride awhile forbore
The haughty curve till then it wore;
The unalter'd fierceness of his look
A shade of dark, ud sadness took,
For dark aud sad a presage press'd
« Edmund, in thy sad tale I find
Mortham must never see the fool,
«< The dawning of my youth, with awe
M I did not think there lived,» he said,
« One who would tear for Bertram shed.*—
He loosen d then his baldric's hold,
A buckle broad of massive gold;—
« Of all the spoil that paid his pains.
But this with Risingbam remains;
And this, dear Edmund, thou shalt take.
And wear it long for Bertram's sake.
Once more—to Mortham speed amain;
Farewell! and turn thee not again.*—
XXIII. The night has yielded to the morn. And far the hours of prime are worn. Oswald, who, since the dawn of day, Had cursed his messenger's delay. Impatient questiond now his train, « Was Dcnzil's son rcturu'd again?*— It chanced there answer'd of the crew, A menial, who young Edmund knew: « No son of Denzil thjs,» he said; «A peasant hoy from Winston glade. For song and minstrelsy renown'd, And knavish pranks, the hamlets round.*— —« Not Dcnzil's son!—from Wiu&ion vale!— Then it was false, that specious tale; Or, worse—he hath dispalch'd the youth To show to Mortham s lord its truth. Fool that I was!—but 't is loo late;— This is the very turn of fate!— The tale, or true or false, relies On Denzil's evidence:—He dies!— —Ho! provost-marshal ! instantly Lead Denzil to the gallows tree! Allow him not a parting word; Short he the shrift, and sure the cord! Then let his gory head appal Marauders from the castle-wall. Lead forth thy guard, that duty done. With best dispatch to Eglisione.— —Basil, tell Wilfrid he must straight Attend me at the castlc-gatc*—
« Alas!» the old domestic said.
And shook his venerable head,
« Alas! my lord! full ill to-day
May my young master brook the way!
The leech has spoke with grave alarm.
Of unseen hurt, of secret harm.
Of sorrow lurking at the heart,
That mars and lets his healing art.*—
—uTush, tell not mc !—Romantic boys
Pine themselves sick for airy toys.
I will Hud cure for Wilfrid soon,
Bid him for Eglistone be boune,
And quick—I hear the dull death-drum
Tell Denzil's hour of fate is come.*—
He paused with scornful smile, and then
Resumed his train of thought agen.
« Now comes my fortune's crisis near'
Entreaty boots not—instant fear,
Nought else, can bend Matilda's pride,
Or win her to be Wilfrid's bride.
Hut when she sees the scaffold placed.
With axe and block and headsman grated .
And when she deems, that to deny
Bid him defiance to his beard.
-If she prove stubborn, shall I dare
To drop the axe?—soft! pause we there.
Hortbam still lives—yon youth may tell
Bk tale—and Fairfax loves him well ;—
Else, wherefore should I now delay
To sweep this Redmond from my way!
Bat the to piety perforce
Most yield.—Without there! Sound to horse.»
T To bustle in the court below,
■Mount,and march forward!"—forth they go;
Sleedi neigh and trample all around,
Steel rings, spears glimmer, trumpets sound.—
Just then was sung his parting hymn;
And Dentil turii'd his eye-balls dim.
And scarcely conscious what he sees,
Follows the horsemen down the Tees,
And scarcely conscious what he hears,
The trumpets tingle in his cars.
O'er the long bridge they re sweeping now,
The van is hid by green-wood bough;
Bat ere the rearward had pass'd o'er,
Guy Denzil heard and saw no more!
(me stroke, upon the castle bell,
To Oswald rung his dying kuelL
0 for that pencil, erst profuse
Of chivalry's emblazon'd hues,
That traced, of old, in Woodstock bower,
The pageant of the Leaf and Flower,
And bodied forth the tourney high,
Held for the hand of Emily!
Then might I paint the tumult broad,
That to the crowded abbey How .1,
Andpour'd, as with an ocean's sound,
Into the church's ample bound!
Then might I show each varying mien.
Faulting, woeful, or serene;
ladifn-renre with his idiot stare,
And sympathy with anxious air;
him the dejected cavalier,
Doubtful, disarm'd, and sad of cheer;
And Ins proud foe, whose formal eye
Claimd conquest now and mastery;
And the brute crowd, whose envious zeal
Buwas each turn of Fortune's wheel,
And loudest shouts when lowest lie
lulled worth, and station high.
'« what may such a wish avail?
T is mine to tell an onward tale,
Hurrying, as best | caDi a|on6t
"« hearers and the hasty song ;—
Like traveller when approaching home,
"ho sees the shades of evening come,
**A must not now his course delay,
°f chuse the fair, but winding way;
Nay, scarcely may his pace suspend,
The reverend pile lay wild and waste,
Profaned, dishonoured and defaced.
Through storied lattices no more
In soften'd light the suo-beams pour,
Gilding the Gothic sculpture rich
Of shrine, and monument, and niche.
The civil fury of the time
Made sport of sacrilegious crime;
For dark Fanaticism rent
Altar, and screen, and ornament,
And peasant hands the tombs overthrew
Of Bowes, of Rokeby, and Fltz-Hugh.
And now was seen unwonted sight,
In holy walls a scaffold dight!
Where once the priest, of grace divine.
Dealt to his (lock the mystic sign,
There stood the block display'd, and tliere
The headsman grim his hatchet bare;
And for the word of Hope and Faith,'
Resounded loud a doom of death.
Thrice the fierce trumpet's breath was heard
And echoed thrice the herald's word,
Dooming, for breach of martial laws,
And treason to the Commons' cause,'
The Knight of Jlokiby and O'Neale'
To stoop their heads to block and steel.
The trumpets flourished high and shrill,
Then was a silence dead and still ■
And silent prayers to heaven were cast,
And stifling sobs were bursting fast.
Till from the crowd begun to rise
Murmurs of sorrow or surprise,
And from the distant aisles there came
Dcep-mutterd threats, with WyclifrV. name.
But Oswald, guarded by his band,
Powerful in evil, waved his hand.
And bade Sedition's voice be dead.
On peril of the murmurer's head.
Then first his glance sought Rokeby's knight;
Who gazed on the tremendous sight,
As calm as if he came a guest
To kindred baron's feudal feast,
As calm as if that trumpet-call
Wycliffe had listen'd to his suit,
All turn'd and center'd on his son,
On Wilfrid all—and he was gone.
• And I am childless now,» he said,
« Childless, through that relentless maid!
A lifetime's arts, in vain essay'd.
Are bursting on their artist's head!—
Here lies my Wilfrid dead—and there
Comes hated Mortham for his heir,
Eager to knit in happy band
With Rokeby's heiress Redmond's hand.
And shall their triumph soar o'er all
The schemes deep-laid to work their fall »
No! deeds which prudence might not dare.
Appal not vengeance and despair.
The outmost crowd have heard a sound.
Like horse's hoof on harden'd ground;
Nearer it came, and yet more near,—
The very deaths-men paused to hear.
T is in the church-yard now—the tread
Hath waked the dwelling of the dead I
Fresh sod, and old sepulchral stone.
Return the tramp in varied tone.
All eyes upon the gale-way hung,
When through the Gothic arch there sprung
A horseman arm'd, at headlong speed—(l)
Sable his cloak, his plume, his steed.
Fire from the flinty floor was spurn'd,
The vaults unwonted clang retum'd !—
One instant's glance around he threw,
From saddle-bow his pistol drew.
Grimly determined was his look!
His charger with the spurs be slrook—
All scatter'd backward as he came.
For all knew Bertram Risingham!
Three bounds that noble coarser gave;
The first has reach'd the central nave,
The second clear'd the chancel wide.
The third—he was at Wycliffe's side.
Full lcvell'd at the baron's head.
Rung the report—the bullet sped—
And to his long account, and last,
witlimit a groan dark Oswald past!
All was so quick, that it might seem
A flash of lightning, or a dream.
While yet the smoke the deed conceals,