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Peasants fled inward his fury to 'scape,
Beacons were lighted on headland and cape,
Bells were told out, and age as they rung,
Fearful and faintly the gray brothers sung,
« Bless us, St Mary, from flood and from fire,
From famine and pest, and Count Witikind's ire!»—

He kneel'd before Saint Cuthbert's shrine,
With patience unwonted at rites divine;
He abjured the gods of heathen race,
And be bent his head at the font of grace;
But such was the griesly old proselyte's look,
That the priest who baptized him grew pale and shook,
And the old monks mutter'd beneath their hood,
« Of a stem so stubborn can never spring good!a-

VII.

UU. He liked the wealth of fair England so well, That he sought in her bosom as native to dwell. He enter'd the Humber in fearful hour, And disembark'd with his Danish power. Three earls came against him with all their train,Two hath he taken, and one hath he slain : Count Witikind left the Humber's rich strand, And he wasted and warr'd in Northumberland. But the Saxon king was a sire in age, Weak in battle, in council sage; Peace of that heathen leader he sought, Gifts he gave, and quiet he bought; And the count took upon him the peaceable style, Of a vassal and liegeman of Britain's broad isle.

Up then arose that grim convertite,
Homeward he hied hiin when ended the rite;
The prelate in honour will with him ride,
And feast in his castle on Tyne's fair side,
Banners and banderols danced in the wind,
Monks rode before them, and spearmen behind;
Onward they pass'd, till fairly did shine
Pennon and cross on the bosom of Tyne;
And full in front did that fortress lour,
In darksome strength with its buttress and tower;
At the castle-gate was young Harold there,
Count Witikind's only offspring and heir.

.

IV. Time will rust the sharpest sword, Time will consume the strongest cord; That which moulders hemp and steel, Mortal arm and nerve must feel. Of the Danish band, whom Count Witikind led, Many wax'd aged, and many were dead; Himself found his armour full weighty to bear, Wrinkled his brows grew, and hoary his hair ; He lean'd on a staff, when bis step went abroad, And patient his palfrey, when steed he bestrode; As he grew feebler bis wildness ceased, He made himself peace with prelate and priest, Made his peace, and, stooping his head, Patiently listed the counsel they said; Saint Cuthbert's bishop was holy and grave, Wise and good was the counsel he gave.

VIII. Young Harold was feard for his hardihood, His strength of frame, and his fury of mood; Rude he was and wild to behold, Wore neither collar nor bracelet of gold, Cap of vair, nor rich array, Such as should grace that festal day: His doublet of bull's hide was all unbraced, Uncover'd his head, and his sandal unlaced : His shagey black locks on his brow hung low, And his eyes glanced through them a swarthy plos: A Danish club in his hand he bore, The spikes were clotted with recent gore ; At his back a she-wolf, and her wolf-cubs twain, In the dangerous chase that morning slain. Rude was the greeting to his father he made, None to the bishop, while thus he said:

« Thou hast murder'd, robb'd, and spoil'd,
Time it is thy poor soul were assoild;
Priest didst thou slay, and churches burn,
Time it is now to repentance to turn;
Fiends hast thou worshipp'd, with fiendish rite,
Leave now the darkness, and wend into light:
0! while life and space are given,
Turo thee yet, and think of Heaven!»
That stern old heathen his head he raised,
And on the good prelate he steadfastly gazed ;
« Give me broad lands on the Wear and the Type,
My faith I will leave and I'll cleave unto thine.»

IX. « What priest-led hypocrite art thon, With thy humbled look and thy monkish brow, Like a shaveling who studies to cheat his vox! Canst thou be Witikind the Waster known, Royal Eric's fearless son, Haughty Gunhilda's baughtier lord, Who won his bride by the axe and sword; From the shrine of St Peter the chalice who tore, And melted to bracelets for Freya and Thor; With ove blow of his gauntlet who burst the skull, Before Odin's stone, of the Mountain Bull: Then ye worshipp'd with rites that to war-gods bebaran With the deed of the brave, and the blow of the struar And now, in thine age to dotage sunk, Wilt thou patter thy crimes to a shaven monk, Lay down thy mail-shirt for clothing of hair, Fasting and scourge, like a slave, wilt thou bear? Or, at best, be admitted in slothful bower To batten with priest and with paramour ! 0! out upon thine endless shame! Each scald's high harp shall blast thy fame, And thy son will refuse thee a father's name!-

VI. Broad lands he gave him on Tyne and on Wear, To be held of the church by bridle and spear; Part of Monk wearmouth, of Tynedale part, To better his will, and to soften his heart : Count Witikind was a joyful man, Less for the faith than the lands that he wan. The high church of Durham is dress'd for the day, The clergy are rankd in their solemn array; There came the count, in a bear-skin warm, Leaning on Hilda his concubine's arm;

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And the tempest within, having ceased its wild rout,
X.

Gave place to the tempest that thunder'd withoùt.
Treful wax'd old Witikind's look,
His faltering voice with fury shook ;-

XIV. « Hear me, Harold, of harden'd heart!

Apart from the wassail, in turret alone, Stubborn and wilful ever thou wert.

Lay flaxen-hair'd Gunnar, old Ermengarde's son; Thiae outrage insane I command thee to cease, In the train of Lord Harold the page was the first, Fear my wrath and remain at peace :

For Harold in childhood had Ermengarde nursed; Jast is the debt of repentance I 've paid,

And grieved was young Gunnar his master should Richly the church has a recompense made,

roam, And the truth of her doctrines I prove with my blade. Unhoused and unfriended, an exile from home. But reckoning to none of my actions I owe,

He heard the deep thunder, the plashing of rain, And least to my son such accounting will show. He saw the red lightning through shot-hole and pane; Why speak I to thee of repentance or truth,

« And oh!» said the page, « on the shelterless wold Who ne'er from thy childhood knew reason or ruth? Lord Harold is wandering in darkness and cold! Hence! to the wolf and the bear in her den;

What though he was stubborn, and wayward, and wild, These are thy mates, and not rational men.»

He endured me because I was Ermengarde's child,
And often from dawn till the set of the sun,

In the chase, by his stirrup, unchidden I run:
Grimly smiled Harold, and coldly replied,

I would I were older, and knighthood could bear, * We must honour our sires, if we fear when they I would soon quit the banks of the Tyne and the Wear; chide.

For my mother's command with her last parting For me, I am yet what thy lessons have made,

breath, I was rock'd in a buckler and fed from a blade ; Bade me follow her nursling in life and to death. An infant, was taught to clap hands and to shout, krom the roofs of the tower when the flame had broke

xv. out;

« It pours and it thunders, it lightens amain, In the blood of slain foemen my finger to dip,

As if Lok, the Destroyer, had burst from his chain ! And tiage with its purple my cheek and my lip.- Accursed by the church, and expelld by his sire,

T is thou know'st not truth, that has barter'd in eld, Nor christian nor Dane give him shelter or fire,
For a price, the brave faith that thine ancestors held. And this tempest what mortal may houseless endure ?
When this wolf»--and the carcase he flung on the Unaided, unmantled, he dies on the moor!
plain-

Whate'er comes of Gunnar he tarries not here.» Shall awake and give food to her nurslings again, He leapt from his couch and he grasp'd to his spear, The face of his father will Harold review;

Sought the hall of the feast. Undisturbd by his tread, Till then, aged heathen, young christian, adieu !» The wassailers slept fast as the sleep of the dead :

« Ungrateful and bestial!» his anger broke forth, XII.

« To forget 'mid your goblets the pride of the North! Priest, mook, and prelate stood aghast,

And you, ye cowl'd priests, who have plenty in store, As through the pageant the heathen passid.

Must give Gunnar for ransom a palfrey and ore. »
A cross-bearer out of his saddle he flung,
Laid his hand on the pommel and into it sprung;

XVI.
Loud was the shriek, and deep the groan,

Then heeding full little of ban or of curse, When the holy sign on the earth was thrown!

He has seized on the Prior of Jorvaulx's purse : The fierce old count unsheathed his brand,

Saint Meneholt's abbot next morning has miss'd Eat the calmer prelate stay'd his hand;

His mantle, deep furr'd from the cape to the wrist : Let him pass free !-Heaven knows its hour,

The seneschal's keys from his belt he has ta'en Bat he must own repentance's power,

(Well drench'd on that eve was old Hildebrand's brain). Pray and werp, and penance bear,

To the stable-yard he made his way, Ere he hold land by the Tyne and the Wear.»-

And mounted the bishop's palfrey gay, I lus in scorn and in wrath from his father is gone

Castle and hamlet behind him bas cast, Young Harold the Dauntless, Count Witikind's son. And right on his way to the moorland has pass d.

Sore snorted the palfrey, unused to face

A weather so wild at so rash a pace; High was the feasting in Witikind's hall,

So long he snorted, so loud he neighd, Prevelld priests, soldiers, and pagans, and all;

There answer'd a steed that was bound beside, Sed e'en the good bishop was fain to endure

And the red flash of lightning show'd there where lay
The scandal which time and instruction might cure: His master, Lord Harold, outstretclid on the clay.
It were dangerous, he deem'd, at the first to restrain,
In his wine and his wassail, a half-christend Dane.

XVII.
The mead flow'd around, and the ale was draind dry, C'p he started, and thunder'd out, « Stand !»
Wild was the langhter, the song, and the cry;

And raised the club in his deadly hand.
With Kyrie Eleison came clamourously in

The flaxen-hair'd Gunnar his purpose told, The war-songs of Danesman, Norweyan, and Finn, Show'd the palfrey and proffer'd the gold. Till man after man the contention gave o'er,

« Back, back, and home, thou simple boy! (utstretch'd on the rushes that strew'd the hall floor; Thou canst not share my grief or joy .

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Have I not markd thee wail and cry
When thou hast seen a sparrow'die?
And canst thou, as my follower should,
Wade ancle-deep through foeman's blood,
Dare mortal and immortal foe,
The gods above, the fiends below,
And man on earth, more hateful still,
The very fountain-head of ill?
Desperate of life, and careless of death,
Lover of bloodshed, and slaughter, and scathe,
Such must thou be with me to roam,
And such thou canst not be-back, and home !»-

« And hear ye not, brethren,» the proud bishop said,
« That our vassal, the Danish Count Witikind, 's dead
All his gold and his goods hath he given,
To holy church for the love of Heaven,
And hath founded a chantry with stipend and dole,
That priests and that beadsmen may pray for his soul.
Harold his son is wandering abroad,
Dreaded by man and abhorred by God;
Meet it is not, that such should heir
The lands of the eburch on the Tyne and the Wear;
And at her pleasure, her hallow'd hands
May now resume these wealthy lands.»-

XVIII.
Young Gunnar shook like an aspen-bough,
As he heard the harsh voice and beheld the dark brow,
And half he repented his purpose and vow.
But now to draw back were bootless shame,
And he loved his master, so urged his claim :
« Alas! if my arm and my courage be weak,
Bear with me a while for old Ermengarde's sake;
Nor deem so lightly of Gunnar's faith,
As to fear he would break it for peril of death.
Have I not risk'd it to fetch thee this gold,
This surcoat and mantle to fence thee from cold ?
And, did I bear a baser mind,
What lot remains if I stay behind ?
The priests' revenge, thy father's wrath,
A dungeon and a shameful death.»-

XXI.
Answer'd good Eustace, a canon old,
« Harold is tameless, and furious, and bold;
Ever renown blows a note of fame,
And a note of fear, when she sounds his name:
Much of bloodshed and much of scath
Have been their lot who have waked his wrath.
Leave him these lands and lordships still,
Heavca in its hour may change his will:
But if reft of gold, and of living bare.
An evil counsellor is despair.»—
More had he said, but the prelate frown'd,
And murmur'd his brethren who sate around,
And with one consent have they given their doom,
That the church should the lands of Saint Cathberto

sume.
So will'd the prelate ; and canon and dean
Gave to his judgment their loud amen.

CANTO II.

XIX.
With gentler look Lord Harold eyed
The page, then turn'd his head aside;
And either a tear did his eye-lash stain,
Or it caught a drop of the passing rain.
« Art thou an outcast then ?» quoth he,
« The meeter page to follow me.”
*T were bootless to tell what climes they sought,
Ventures achieved, and battles fought;
How oft with few, how oft alone,
Fierce Harold's arm the field hath won.
Men swore his eye, that flash'd so red
When each other glance was quench'd with dread,
Bore oft a light of deadly flame
That ne'er from mortal courage came.
Those limbs so strong, that mood so stern,
That loved the couch of heath and fern,
Afar from hamlet, tower, and town,
More than to rest on driven down;
That stubborn frame, that sullen mood,
Men deem'd must come of aught but good;
And they whisper'd, the great Master Fiend was at one
With Harold the Dauntless, Count Witikiod's son.

XX.
Years after years had gone and fled,
The good old prelate lies lapp'd in lead;
In the chapel still is shown
His sculptured form on a marble stone,
With staff and ring and scapulaire,
And folded hands in the act of prayer.
Saint Cuthbert's mitre is resting now
On the haughty Saxon, bold Aldingar's brow;
The power of his crosier he loved to extend
D'er whatever would break or whatever would bend:
And now hath le clothed him in cope and in pall,
And the Chapter of Durham has met at his call.

'Tis merry in green-wood, - thus runs the old lay,
In the gladsome month of lively May,
When the wild birds' song on stem and spray

Invites to forest bower;
Then rears the ash his airy crest,
Then shines the birch in silver vest,
And the beech in glistening leaves is drest,
And dark between shows the oak's proud breasi.

Like a chieftain's frowning tower;
Though a thousand branches join their sereen,
Yet the broken sun-beams glance between,
And tip the leaves with lighter green,

With brighter tints the flower:
Dull is the heart that loves not thea
The deep recess of the wild-wood glen,
Where roe and red-deer find sheltering den,

When the sun is in his power.

II.
Less merry, perchance, is the fading leaf
That follows so soon on the gather'd sheaf,

When the green-wood loses the name;
Silent is then the forest bound,
Save the redbreast's note, and the rusting sound
Of frost-nipt leaves that are dropping round,
Or the deep-mouth'd cry of the distant hound

That opens on his game;

Yet then, too, I love the forest wide,
Whether the sun in splendour ride,
And gild its many-colour'd side,
Or whether the soft and silvery haze.
In vapoury folds, o'er the landscape strays,
And half involves the woodland maze,

Like an early widow's veil,
Where wimpling tissue from the gaze
The form half hides and half betrays,

Of beauty wan and pale.

She sat her down, unseen, to thread The scarlet berry's mimic braid,

And while her beads she strung, Like the blithe lark, whose carol gay Gives a good-morrow to the day,

So lightsomely she sung :

VI.

SONG « Lord William was born in gilded bower, The heir of Wilton's lofty tower; Yet better loves Lord William now To roam beneath wild Rookhope's brow; And William has lived where ladies fair With gauds and jewels deck their hair, Yet better loves the dew-drops still That pearl the locks of Metelill.

III.
Fair Metelill was a woodland maid,
Her father a rover of green-wood shade,
Dy forest statutes undismay'd,

Who lived by bow and quiver.
Well known was Wulfstane's archery,
By merry Tyne hoth on moor and lea,
Through wooded Weardale's glens so free,
Well beside Stanhope's wild-wood tree,

And well on Ganlesse river.
Yet free though he trespassid on woodland game,
More known and more fear'd was the wizard fame
Of Jutta of Rookhope, the outlaw's dame;
Feard when she frown'd was her eye of flame,

More fear'd when in wrath she laughd;
Tor then, 't was said, more fatal true
To its dread aim her spell-glance flew,
Than when from Wulfstane's bended yow

Sprung forth the gray-goose shaft.

« The pious palmer loves, I wis,
Saint Cuthbert's hallow'd beads to kiss ;
But I, though simple girl I be,
Might have such bomage paid to me;
For did Lord William see me suit
This necklace of the bramble's fruit,
He fain--but must not have his will, -
Would kiss the beads of Metelill.

« My nurse has told me many a tale,
llow vows of love are weak and frail ;
My mother says that courtly youth
By rustic maid means seldom sooth.
What should they mean? it cannot be,
That such a warning's meant for me,
For nought-oh! nought of fraud or ill
Can William mean to Metelill!»-

JV.
Yet bad this fierce and dreaded pair,
So Heaven decreed, a daughter fair ;

None brighter crown'd the bed,
In Britain's bounds, of pcer or prince,
Nor hath, percbance, a lovelier since

In this fair isle been bred.
And nought of fraud, or ire, or ill,
Was known to gentle Metelill,

A simple maiden she;
The spells in dimpled smiles that lie,

And a downcast blush, and the darts that fly With the sidelong glance of a hazel eye,

Were her arms and witchery.
So young, so simple was sbe yet,
She scarce could childhood's joys forget,
And still she loved, in secret set

Beneath the green-wood tree,
To plait the rushy coronet,
And braid with flowers her locks of jet,

As when in infancy ;-
Yet could that heart so simple prove
The early dawn of stealing love:

Ah! gentle maid, beware!
The power who, now so mild a guest,
Gives dangerous yet delicious zest
To the calm pleasures of thy breast,
Will soon, a tyrant o'er the rest,

Let none his empire share.

VII. Sudden she stops--and starts to feel A weighty band, a glove of steel, Upon her shrinking shoulders laid; Fearful she turn'd, and saw, dismay'd, i A knight in plate and mail array'd, Ilis crest and bearing worn and fray'd,

His surcoat soild and riven; Form'd like that giant race of yore, Whose long-continued crimes out-wore

The sufferance of Heaven. Stern accents made his pleasure known, Though then he used his gentlest tone: « Maiden,» he said, « sing forth thy glee ; Start not-sing on-it pleases me.»

VIII.
Secured within his powerful hold,
To bend her knee, her hands to fold,

Was all the maiden might;
And « Oh! forgive,» she faintly said,
« The terrors of a simple maid,

If thou art mortal wight! But if-of such strange tales are told, Unearthly warrior of the wold, Thou comest to chide mine accents bold, My mother, Jutta, knows the spell, At noon and midnight pleasing well

The disembodied ear;

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Oh ! let her powerful charms alone
For aught my rashness may have done,

And cease thy grasp of fear.»
Then laughd the knight,-his laughter's sound
Half in the hollow helmet drown'd;
His barred visor then he raised,
And steady on the maiden gazed..
He smooth'd his brows, as best he might,
To the dread calm of autumn night,

When sinks the tempest's roar;
Yet still the cautious fishers eye
The clouds, and fear the gloomy sky,

And haul their barks on shore.

It recks not-it is I demand Fair Metelill ia marriage band; Harold the Dauntless I, whose name Is brave men's boast and caitiffs' shame.The parents sought cach other's eyes, With awe, resentment, and surprise: Wulfstane, to quarrel prompt, began The stranger's size and thewes to scan; But, as he scann'd, his courage sunk, And from unequal strife he shrank. Then forth, to blight and blemish, flies The harmful curse from Jutta's eyes; Yet fatal howsoe'er, the spell On Harold innocently fell; And disappointment and amaze Were in the witch's wilderd gaze.

IX. « Damsel,» he said, « be wise, and learn Matters of weight and deep concern:

From distant realms I come,
And, wanderer long, at length have plano'd
In this my native northern land

To seek myself a home.
Nor that alone-a mate I seek ;
She must be gentle, soft, and meek, –

No lordly dame for me;
Myself am something rough of mood,
And feel the fire of royal blood,
And therefore do not hold it good

To match in my degree.
Then, since coy maidens say my face
Is harsh, my forın devoid of grace,
For a fair lineage to provide,
"T is meet that my selected bride

In lineaments be fair;
I love thine well-till now I ne'er
Look'd patient on a face of fear,
But now that tremulous sob and tear

Become thy beauty rare.
One kiss-nay, damsel, coy it not:
And now, go seek thy parents cot,'
And say, a bridegroom soon I come,
To woo my love and bear her home.»

XII. But soon the wit of woman woke, And to the warrior mild she spoke : « Her child was all too young.»-« A toy, The refuge of a maiden coy.»— Again, « A powerful baron's heir . Claims in her heart an interest fair.» . « A trifle--whisper in his ear That liarold is a suitor here!» Baffled at length, she sought delay: « Would not the knight till morning stay? Late was the hour-he there might rest Till morn, their lodge's honour'd guest.» Such were her words,-her craft might cast, Her honour'd guest should sleep his last : « No, not to night,-but soon,» he swore, « He would return, nor leave them more.»The threshold then his huge stride crost, And soon he was in darkness lost.

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Home sprung the maid without a pause, As leveret 'scaped from greyhound's jaws; But still she lock'd, howe'er distress'd, The secret in her boding breast; Dreading her sire, who oft forbade Her steps should stray to distant glade. Night came--to her accustom'd nook Her distaff aged Jutta took, And, by the lamps imperfect glow, Rough Wulfstane trimm'd his shafts and bow. Sudden and clamorous, from the ground Upstarted slumbering brach and hound; Loud knocking next the lodge alarms, And Wulfstane snatches at his arms. When open fiew the yielding door, And that grim warrior press'd the floor.

XIII. Appall'd awhile the parents stood, Then changed their fear to angry mood, And foremost fell their words of ill On unresisting Metelill: Was she not caution'd and forbid, Forewarnd, implored, accused, and chid, And must she still to green-wood roam, To marshal sach misfortune lome? « Hence, minion-to thy chamber hence, There prudence learn and penitence. She went-her lonely couch to steep In tears which absent lovers weep; Or if she gain d a troubled sleep, Fierce Harold's suit was still the theme And terror of her feverish dream.

XIV. Scarce was she gone, her dame and sire Upon each other bent their ire ; « A woodsman thou, and hast a spear, And couldst thou such an insult bear! Sullen he said, « A man contends With men-a witch with sprites and fiends; Not to mere mortal wight belong Yon gloomy brow and frame so strong. But thou-is this thy promise fair, That your Lord William, wealthy heir

XI. « All peace be here-What! none replies ? Dismiss your fears and your surprise. 'Tis 1--that maid hath told my tale, Or, trembler, did thy courage fail ?

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