That elder leader's calm reply

In stcady voice was given, « Jo man's most dark extremity

Oft succour dawns from heaven. Edward, trim thou the shatter'd sail, The helm be mine, and down the gale

Let our free course be driven;
So shall we 'scape the western bay,
The hostile fleet, the unequal fray,
So safely hold our vessel's way,

Beneath the castle wall;
For if a hope of safety rest,
"T is on the sacred name of guest,
Who seeks for shelter, storm-distress'd,

Within a chieftain's hall. If pot-it best beseems our worth, Our name, our right, our lofty birth,

By noble hands to fall.»

By peasants heard from cliffs on high,
When triumph, rage, and agony,

Madden the fight and rout.
Now nearer yet, through mist and storm,
Dimly arose the castle's form,

And deepen'd shadow made,
Far lengthend on the main below,
Where, dancing in reflected glow,

An hundred torches play'd,
Spangling the wave with lights as vain
As pleasures in this vale of pain,

That dazzle as they fade.

The helm, to his strong arm consign'd,
Gave the reefd sail to meet the wind,

And on her alter'd way,
Fierce-bounding, forward sprung the ship,
Like greyhound starting from the slip,

To seize his flying prey.
Awaked before the rushing prow,
The mimic fires of ocean clow, ,

Those lightnings of the wave; (9)
Wild sparkles crest the broken rides,
And, flashing round, the vessel's sides

With elvish lustre lave,
While, far behind, their livid light
To the dark billows of the night

A gloomy splendour gave.
It seems as if old Ocean shakes
From his dark brow the livid flakes

In envious pageantry,
To match the meteo

hat streaks Grim Hecla's mid

Beneath the castle's sheltering lee,
They staid their course in quiet sea.
Hewn in the rock, a passage there
Sought the dark fortress by a stair

So straight, so high, so steep,
With peasant's staff one valiant hand
Might well the dizzy pass have mann'd,
'Gainst hundreds armd with spear and brand,

And plunged them in the deep. (10)
His bugle then the helmsman wound;
Loud answer'd every echo round,

From turret, rock, and bay,
The postern's hinges crash and groan,
And soon the warder's cresset sbone
On those rude steps of slippery stone,

To light the upward way.
« Thrice welcome, holy sire!» he said;
« Full long the spousal train have slaid,

And, vex'd at thy delay,
Fear'd lest, amidst these wildering seas,
The darksome night and freshening breeze

Had driven thy bark astray.»

XXII. Nor lack'd they steadier light to keep Their course upon the darken'd deep ;Artornish, on her frowning steep,

'Twixt cloud and ocean hung, Glanced with a thousand lights of glee, And landward far, and far to sea,

Her festal radiance flung. By that blithe beacon-light they steerd,

Whose lustre mingled well With the pale beam that now appear'd, As the cold moon her head upreard

Above the eastern fell.

« Warder,» the younger stranger said,
« Thine erring guess some mirth had made
In mirthful hour; but nights like these,
When the rough winds wake western seas,
Brook not of glee. We crave some aid
And needful shelter for this maid,

Until the break of day;
For, to ourselves, the deck's rude plank
Is easy as the mossy bank

That's breathed upon by May;
And for our storm-toss'd skiff we seek
Short shelter in this leeward creek,
Prompt when the dawn the east shall streak;

Again to bear away.»—
Answer'd the warder, « In what name
Assert ye hospitable claim ?

Whence come, or whither bound?
Hath Erin seen your parting sails,
Or come ye on Norweyan gales ?
And seek ye England's fertile vales,

Or Scotland's mountain ground?»
« Warriors-for other title none
For some brief space we list to own,
Bound by a vow-warriors are we;
In strife by land, and storm by sea,

We have been known to fame;
And these brief words have import dear,
When sounded in a noble ear,

XXIII. Thus guided, on their course they bore, Until they near'd the main-land shore, When frequent on the hollow blast Wild shouts of merriment were cast, And wind and wave and sea-birds' cry With wassail sounds in concert vie Like funeral shrieks with revelry,

Or like the battle-shout

To harbour safe, and friendly cheer,

That gives us rightful claim. Grant us the trivial boon we seek, And we in other realms will speak

Fair of your courtesy; Deny-and be your niggard hold Scornd by the noble and the bold, Shuno'd by the pilgrim on the wold,

And wanderer on the lea,»

XXVI. « Bold stranger, no—'gainst claim like thine, No bolt revolves by hand of mine, Though urged in tone that more expressid A monarch than'a suppliant guest. Be what ye will, Artornish Ilall On this glad eve is free to all. Though ye had drawn a hostile sword 'Gainst our ally, great England's lord, Or mail upon your shoulders borne, To battle with the Lord of Lorn, Or, outlaw'd, dwelt by green-wood tree With the fierce Knight of Ellerslie, Or aided even the murderous strife, When Comyo fell beneath the knife Of that fell homicide the Bruce, This night had been a term of truce.Ho, vassals! give these guests your care, And show the narrow postern stair.»

And, comrades, gaze not on the maid,
And on these men who ask our aid,

As if ye ne'er had seen
A damsel tired of midnight bark,
Or wanderers of a moulding stark,

And bearing martial mien.»
But not for Eachin's reproof
Would page or vassal stand aloof,

But crowded on to stare,
As men of courtesy untaught,
Till fiery Edward roughly caught,

From one the foremost there,
His chequer'd plaid, and in its shroud,
To hide her from the vulgar crowd,

Involved his sister fair.
His brother, as the claosman bent
His sullen brow in discontent,

Made brief and stera excuse ;« Vassal, were thrine the cloak of pall That decks thy lord in bridal hall,

'T were honour'd by her use.s

[ocr errors]

Proud was his tone, but calm; his eye
Had that compelling dignity,
His mien that bearing haught and high,

Which common spirits fear;
Needed nor word nor sigpal more,
Nod, wink, and laughter, all were o'er;
Upon each other back they bore,

Add gazed like startled deer. But now appear'd the seneschal, Commission'd by his lord 10 call The strangers to tbe baron's hall,

Where feasted fair and free That Island Prince in nuptial tide, With Edith there, his lovely bride, And her bold brother by her side, And many a chief, the flower and pride

Of western land and sea.

To land these two bold brethren leapt
(The weary crew their vessel kept),
And, lighted by the torches' flare,
That seaward flung their smoky glare,
The younger knight that maiden bare

Half lifeless up the rock;
On his strong shoulder lean'd her head,
And dova her long dark tresses shed,
Ås the wild vine, in tendrils spread,

Droops from the mountain oak.
Him follow'd close that elder lord,
And in his hand a sheathed sword,

Such as few arms could wield;
But when he bound him to such task,
Well could it cleave the strongest oasque,
And rend the surest shield.

The raised portcullis arch they pass,
The wicket with its bars of brass,

The entrance long and low,
Flank'd at each turn by loop-holes strait,
Where bowmen might in ambush wait
(If force or fraud should burst the gate),

To gall an entering foe,
But every jealous post of ward
Was vow defenceless and unbarr'd,

And all the passage free
To one low-browd and vaulted room,
Where squire and yeomen, page and groom,

Plied their loud revelry.

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

With beakers' clang, with harpers' lay, With all that olden time deem'd gay,

The Island Chieftain feasted high;
But there was in his troubled eye
A gloomy fire, and on his brow
Now sudden flush'd, and faded now,
Emotions such as draw their birth
From deeper source than festal mirth.
By fits he paused, and harper's strain
And jester's tale went round in vain,
Or fell but on his idle ear
Like distant sounds which dreamers hear.
Then would be rouse him, and employ
Each art to aid the clamorous joy,

And call for pledge and lay,
And, for brief space, of all the crowd,
As he was loudest of the loud,

Seem gayest of the gay.

III. Yet nought amiss the bridal throng Mark'd in brief mirth, or musing long; The vacant brow, the unlistening ear, They gave to thoughts of raptures near, And his fierce starts of sudden glee, Seem'd bursts of bridegroom's ecstasy. Nor thus alone misjudged the crowd, Siace lofty Lorn, suspicious, proud, And jealous of his honour'd line, And that keen knight, De Argentine (1) (From England sent on errand high, The western league more firm to tie), Both deem'd in Ronald's mood to find A lover's transport-troubled mind. But one sad beart, one tearful eye, Pierced deeper through the mystery, And watch'd, with agony and fear, Her wayward bridegroom's varied cheer.

But when the warder in his ear
Tells other news, his blither cheer

Returns like sun of May,
When through a thunder-cloud it beams;
Lord of two hundred isles, he seems

As glad of brief delay,
As some poor criminal might feel,
When from the gibbet or the wheel
Respited for a day.

« Brother of Lorn,» with hurried voice
He said, « and you, fair lords, rejoice!

Here, to augment our glee,
Come wandering knights from travel far,
Well proved, they say, in strife of war,

And tempest on the sea.-
Ho! give them at your board such place
As best their presences may grace,

And bid them welcome free !--
With solemn step, and silver wand,
The seneschal the presence scana'd
Of these strange guests ; (3) and well he knew
How to assign their rank its due;

For, though the costly Furs
That erst had deck'd their caps were torn,
And their gay robes were over-worn,

And soild their gilded spurs,
Yet such a bigh commanding grace
Was in their mien and in their face,
As suited best the princely dais,

And royal canopy;
And there he marshall'd them their place,
First of that company.

Then lords and ladies spake aside,
And angry looks the error chide,
That gave to guests unnamed, unknown,
A place so near their prince's throne;

But Owen Erraught said,
« For forty years a seneschal,
To marshal guests in bower and hall

Has been my honour'd trade.
Worship and birth to me are known,
By look, by bearing, and by tone,
Not by furr'd robe or broider'd zone ;

And 'gainst an oaken bough
I'll cage my silver wand of state,
That these three strangers oft have sale
In higher place than now.»–

IV. She watch'd-yet fear'd to meet his glance, And he shunn'd her's ;-till when by chance They met, the point of foeman's lance

Had given a milder pang!
Beneath the intolerable smart
He writhed;-then sternly mann'd his heart
To play his hard but destined part,

And from the table sprang.
« Fill me the mighty cup!» he said,
« Erst own'd by royal Somerled. (2)
Fill it, till on the studded brim
In burning gold the bubbles swim,
And every gem of varied shine
Glow doubly bright in rosy wine!
To you, brave lord, and brother mine,

of Lorn, this pledge 1 drink-
The union of our house with thine,

By this fair bridal-link !»–

VIU. « 1, too,» the aged Ferrand said, « Am qualified by minstrel trade

Of rank and place to tell ;-
Mark'd ye the younger stranger's eye,
My mates, how quick, how keen, how high,

How fierce its flashes fell,
Glancing among the noble rout
As if to seek the noblest out,
Because the owner might not brook
On any save his peers to look?

And yet it moves me more,
That steady, calm, majestic brow,
With which the elder chief een now

Scann'd the gay presence o'er,

« Let it pass round!» quoth he of Lorn, « And in good time—that wioded horn

Must of the abbot tell;
The laggard monk is come at last.»--
Lord Ronald heard the bugle-blast,
And, on the floor at random cast,

The untasted goblet fell.

Like being of superior kind,
In whose high-toned impartial mind
Degrees of mortal rank and state
Seem objects of indifferent weight.
The lady 100-hough, closely tied,

The mande veil both face and eye,
Her motions' grace it could not hide,

Nor could her form's fair symmetry.»-

Or the mermaid of the wave,
Frame thee in some coral cave!
Did in Iceland's darksome mine
Dwarf's swart hands thy metal twine?
Or, mortal-moulded, comest thou here,
From England's love, or Erance's fear?

IX. Suspicious doubt and lordly scorn Lour'd on the haughty front of Lorn. From underneath-his brows of pride, The stranger guests he sternly eyed, And whisper'd closely what the ear Of Argentine alone might hear;

Then question'd, high and brief, If, in their voyage, aught they knew Of the rebellious Scottish crew, Who to Rath-Erin's shelter drew,

With Carrick's outlaw'd chief? (4) And if, their winter's exile o'er, They harbour'd still by Ulster's shore, Or launch'd their galleys on the main, To vex their native land again ?

XII. .

SONG CONTINUED. « No!-thy splendours nothing tell, Foreign art or faëry spell. Moulded thou for monarch's use, By the over-weening Bruce, When the royal robe he tied O'er a heart of wrath and pride ; • Thence in triumph wert thou torn, By the victor hand of Lorn!

« When the gem was won and lost,
Widely was the war-cry toss'd!
Rung aloud Bendourish Fell,
Answerd Douchart's sounding dell,
Fled the deer from wild Teyndrum,
When the homicide, o'ercome,
Hardly 'scaped with scathe aud scorn,
Left the pledge with conquering Lorn!


SONG CONCLUDED. « Vain was then the Douglas brand, Vain the Campbeil's vaunted hand, (7) Vain Kirkpatrick's bloody dirk, Making sure of murder's work; (8) Barendown fled fast away, Fled the fiery De la Haye, (9) When this broach, triumphant borne, Beam'd upon the breast of Lorn.

That younger stranger, fierce and high,
At once confronts the chieftain's eye

With look of equal scorn ;-
* Of rebels have we nought to show;
But if of royal Bruce thou 'dst know,

I warn thee he has sworn,
Ere thrice three days shall come and go,
His banner Scottish winds shall blow,
Despite each mean or mighty foe,
From England's every bill and bow,

To Allaster of Lorn.»-
Kindled the mountain chieftain's ire,
But Ronald quenchid the rising fire ;
« Brother, it better suits the time
To chase the night with Ferrand's rhyme,
Than wake, 'midst mirth and wine, the jars
That flow from these unhappy wars.»-

Conten!,» said Lorn; and spoke apart With Ferrand, master of his art,

Then whisper'd Argentine, -
« The lay I named will carry smart
To these bold strangers' haughty heart,

If right this guess of mine.»
He ceased, and it was silence all,
Until the minstrel waked the hall.

« Farthest fled, its former lord
Left his men to brand and cord,
Bloody brand of Highland steel,
English gibbet, axe, and wheel.
Let him fly from coast to coast,
Dogg'd by Comyn's vengeful ghost,
While his spoils, io triumph worn,
Long shall grace victorious Lorn!»--

XI. TIE BROACE OF LORN. (5) «Whence the broach of burning gold, That clasps the chieftain's mantle-fold, Wrought and chased with rare device, Studded fair with gems of price, (6) On the varied tartans beaming, As, through night's pale rainbow gleaming, Fainter now, now seen afar, Fitful shines the northern star?

XIV. As clares the tiger on his foes, Hemm'd in by hunters, spears, and bows, And, ere he bounds upon the ring, Selects the object of his spring,Now on the bard, now on his lord, So Edward glared and grasp'd bis swordBut stern his brother spoke,-«Be still! What! art thou' yet so wild of will, After high deeds and sufferings long, To chafe thee for a menjal's song ?Well hast thou framed, old man, thy straios, To praise the hand that pays thy pains; (10) Yet something might thy song have told Of Lorn's three vassals, true and bold, Who rent their lord from Bruce's hold, As 'inderneath his knee he lay, And died to save him in the fray.

« Gem, ne'er wrought on Highland mountain, Did the fairy of the fountain,

room, where he found a lady, newly delivered of an in- Howell in his own house, after the manner he had fant. He was commanded by his attendants to say seene in the French warres, and consumed with fire such prayers by her bed-side as were fitting for a per- his barnes and luis out houses. Whilst he was thus ar son not expected to survive a mortal disorder. He ven- saulting the hall, which Howell ap Rys and many other tured to remonstrate, and observe that her safe delivery people kept, being a very strong house, he was shot warranted better hopes. But he was sternly com- out of a crevice of the house, through the sight of Luis manded to obey the orders first given, and with dif6- beaver into the head, and slayne out-right, being otherculty recollected himself sufficiently to acquit himself wise armed at all points. Notwithstanding his death, of the task imposed on him. He was then again hur- the assault of the house was continued with great veheried into the chair; but, as they conducted him down mence, the doores fired with great burthens of strav: stairs, he heard the report of a pistol. He was safely besides this, the smoake of the out-houses and barnes conducted home; a purse of gold was forced upon him; not farre distant annoyed gready the defendants, for but he was warned, at the same time, that the least al- that most of them lay under boordes and benches upon lusion to this dark transaction would cost him his life. the floore, in the hall, the better to avoyd the smoake. He betook himself to rest, and, after long and broken During this scene of confusion onely the old man, musing, fell into a deep sleep. From this he was Howell ap Rys, never stooped, but stood valiantly in awakened by his servant, with the dismal news, that a the middest of the floore, armed with a gleve in his fire of uncommon fury had broken out in the house of band, and called into them, and bid them arise like ****, near the head of the Canongate, and that it was men, for shame, for he had knowne there as greate a totally consumed; with the shocking addition, that the smoke in that hall upon Christmas even. In the end, daughter of the proprietor, a young lady eminent for seeing the house could no longer defend them, being beauty and accomplishments, had perished in the flames.overlayed with a multitude, upon parley betwerge The clergyman had his suspicions, but to have made them, Howell ap Rys was content to yeald himself prithem public would have availed nothing. He was ti- soner to Morris ap John ap Meredith, John ap Mereduh's mid; the family was of the first distinction; above eldest sonne, soe as he would swear unto him to briu all, the deed was done, and could not be amended. him safe to Carnarvon Castle, to abide the triall of lae Time wore away, however, and with it his terrors. He law for the death of Graff ap John ap Gronw, who was became unhappy at being the solitary depositary of this cosen-german removed to the said Howell ap Rys, and fearful mystery, and mentioned it to some of his bre- of the very same house he was of. Which Morris thren, through whom the anecdote acquired a sort of ap John ap Meredith undertaking, did put a guard publicity. The divine, however, had been long dead, and about she said Howell of his trustiest friends and serthe story in some degree forgotten, when a fire broke vants, who kept and defended him from the rage of his out again on the very same spot where the house of **** kindred, and especially of Owen ap John ap Aleredith, had formerly stood, and which was now occupied by his brother, who was very eager against him. They buildings of an inferior description. When the flames passed by leisure thence like a campe to Carnarvon; were at their height, the tumult, which usually attends the whole countrie being assembled, Howell his friends such a scene, was suddenly suspended by an unex- | posted a horseback from one place or other by the pected apparition. A beautiful female, in a night way, who brought word that he was come thither sife, dress, extremely rich, but at least half a century old, for they were in great fear lest he should be murtbered, appeared in the very midst of the fire, and uttered and that Morris ap John ap Meredith could not be able these tremendous words in her vernacular idiom : to defend him, neither durst any of Howell's friends Lue « Anes burned; twice burned; the third time I 'll scare there, for fear of the kindred. In the end, being delt you all!» The belief in this story was formerly so vered by Morris ap John ap Meredith to the constable strong, that on a fire brcaking out, and seeming to ap- of Carnarvon Castle, and there kept safely in ward upproach the fatal spot, there was a good deal of anxiety til the assises, it fell out by law that the burning of testified lest the apparition should make good her de-Howell's houses, and assaulting him in his owne hour, nunciation.

was a more haynous offence in Morris ap John ap Me

redith and the rest, than the death of Graff ap Joha up Note ul. Stanza xxxiii.

Gronw in Howell, who did it in his own defence As thick a smoke these bearths have given

whereupon Morris ap John ap Meredith, with thirty-tive At Hallowtide or Christmas even.

more, were indicted of felouy, as appeareth by the Such an exhortation was, in similar circumstances,

copic of the indictment, which I had from the records, s actually given to his followers by a Welch chicftain:

Sir John Wynne's History of the Gwydir Family, Land. « Enmity did continue betweene Howell ap Rys ap

11770, 8vo. p. 116. Howell Vaughan and the sonnes of John ap Meredith. After the death of Evan ap Robert, Griffith ap Gronw (cozen-german to John ap Meredith's sonnes of Gwynfryn, who had long served in France and had cbarge

CANTO VI. there), comeing home to live in the countrey, it happened that a servant of his, comeing to fish in Stymllyn, his fish was taken away, and the fellow beaten by Howell ap Rys his servants, and by his commandment.

Note 1. Stanza xxi. Griffith ap John ap Gronw took the matter in sucli

O'er Hexbam's altar hung my clove. dudgeon that he challenged Howell ap Rys to the field, This custom among the Redesdale and Tynelale lier which he refusing, assembling his cosins John ap Me- derers is mentioned in the interesting life of BD redith's sonnes and bis friends together, assaulted Gilpin, where some account is given of these wild do

« 前へ次へ »