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Fl'u. many a bard hath sung the solemn gloom.

Of the long Gothic aisle and stonc-ribb'd roof, O'er canopying shrine, and gorgeous tomb,

Carved screen, and altar glimmering far aloof, And blending with the shade—a matchless proof

Of high devotion, which hath now wax'd cold; Yel legends say, that luxury's brute hoof

Intruded oft within such sacred fold, Like step of Bel's false priest, track d in his fane of old.

Well pleased am I, howe'er, that when the route

Of onr rude neighbours whiloinc deign'd to come, Cncall'd. and eke unwelcome, to sweep ouf

And cleanse our chaucel from the rage of Rome, They -spoke not on our ancient fane the doom

To which their bigot zeal gave o'er their own, But spared the martyr <1 saint and storied tomb,

Though papal miracles had graced the stone, And though the aisles still loved the organ's swelling tone.

And deem not, though 't is now my part to paint

A prelate sway'd by love of power and gold,
That all who wore the mitre of our saint

Like to ambitious Aldingar I hold;
Since both in modern limes and days of old

!t sale on those whose virtues might atone Their predecessors' frailties trebly told:

Matthew and Morton we as such may own— .And such (if fame speak truth) the honour'd Barring ton.

But now to earlier and to ruder times, t

As sohjeel meet, I tune my rugged rhymes.
Telling how fairly the chapter was met,
And rood and hooks in seemly order set; .

Huge- brass-clasp'd volumes, which the hand
Of studious priest but rarely scann'd,
Now on fair carved desk display'd,
T was theirs the solemn scene lo aid.
O'er-head with many a scutcheon graced,
.And quaint devices interlaced,
A labyrinth of crossing rows,
Tue roof in lessening arches shows;
Beneath its shade placed proud and high,
With footstool and with canopy.
Sate Aldingar, and prelate ne'er
More haughty graced Saint Cuthbert's chair.
Canons and deacons were placed below,
In due degree and lengthen'd row.
rooxoved and silent each sate there,
Like image, iu his oaken chair;
Nor head, nor hand, nor foot they stirr'd,
Kor lock of hair, nor tress of beard.
And of their eyes severe alone
'i be-twinkle show'd tbey were not stone.

The prelate was to speech address'd,
Each head sunk reverent on each breast;

But ere his voice was heard—wilhoul

Arose a wild tumultuous shout,

Offspring of wonder mix'd with fear,

Such as in crowded streets we hear,

Hailing the llames, that, bursting oat.

Attract yet scare the rabble rout.

Ere it had ceased, a giant hand

Shook oaken door and iron band,

Till oak and, iron both gave way,

Clash'd the long bolls, the hinges bray,

And ere upon angel or saint they can call,

Stands Harold the Dauntless in midst of the hall.


« Now save ye, my masters, both rocket and rood,

From bishop with mitre to deacon with hood!

For here stands.Count Harold, old Wilikind's son,

Come to sue for the lands which his ancestors wou.»

The prelate look'd round him with sore troubled eye,

Unwilling lo grant, yet afraid lo deny,

While each canon aud deacon who heard the Dane

speak, To be safely at home would have fasted a week :— Then Aldingar roused him aud answer'd again: « Thou suest for a boon which thou canst, not ohlain; The church hath no Qcfs for an unchrislcnd Dane. Thy father was wise, and his treasure hath given. That the priests of a chantry might hymn him lo

heaven; And the fiefs which whiloinc hepossess'd as his due, Have lapsed lo the church, and been granted anew To Anthony Conyers and Alberic Vere,. For the service St Culhbert's bless'd banner to bear, When the bands of the North come to foray the Wear. Then disturb not our conclave with wrangling or

blame, But in peace and in patience pass hence as ye cmne.»

Loud laugh'd the stern pagan—" They 're free from

the care
Of fief and of service, both Conyers and Vere,—
Six feet of your chancel is all they will need,
A buckler of stone and a corslet of lead.—
Ho, Gunnar!—the tokens !»—and, sevcr'd anew,
A head aud a hand on the allar he threw.
Then shuddcr'd with terror both canon and monk.
They knew the glaxcd eye and the countenance shrunk.
And of Anthony Couycrs the half-grizzled hair, •
Aud the scar on'the hand of Sir Alberic Vere.
There was not a churchman or priest thai was there.
Hut grew pale at the sight, aud betook him to prayer

Count Harold laugh'd at their looks of fear:
,i Was this the hand should your banner bear?
Was that the head should wear the casque
In battle at the church's task?
Was it to such you gave the pLice
Of Harold with the heavy mace!
Find me between the Wear and Tyne
A knight will wield this club of mine,—
Give him my fiefs, and I will say
There's wit beuealh the cowl of gray.»
lie raised it, rough with many a slain.
Caught from crush'd skull and spouting brain ,

JIc wheel'd it that it shrilly sum;,

And the aisles echoed as it swung,

Then dash'd it down with sheer descent,

And split King Osric's monument.—

« How like ye this music* How trow ye the hand

Tl111 can wield such a mace may be reft of its land t

No answer?—I spare ye a space to agree,

And St Cuthbert inspire you, a saint if tie be.

Ten strides through your chance), tea strokes on your

bell, And again I am with you,—grave fathers, farewell."


Hi.* turn'd from their presence, he clash'd the oak door. And (he clang of his stride died away on the floor; And his head from his bosom the prelate uproars With a ghost-seer's look when the ghost disappears. « Ye priests of St Cuthbert, now give me your rede, For never of counsel had bishop more need! j Were the arch-fiend incarnate in flesh and in bone, , The language, the look, and the laugh were his own. j In the bounds of St Guthbert there is not a knight Dare confront in our quarrel you goblin in fight. __ Then rede me aright to his claim to reply, T is unlawful to grant, and t is death to deny.


On ven'son and mahnsie that morning had fed

The Cellarer Vinsnuf, t was thus that he said:

« Delay till to-morrow the chapter's reply;

I .el the feast be spread fair, and the wine be pour'il

high: . If he 's mortal he drinks,—if he drinks, he is ours— His bracelets of iron,—his bed in our towers.»— This man had a laughing eye. Trust not, friends, when such you spy; A beaker's depth he well could drain. Bevel, sport, and jest amain— The haunch of the deer and the grape's bright dye Never bard loved them better than 1.; Itut sooner than Vinsauf fill'd me my wine, Pass'd mc his jest, and laughed at mine, Though the buck were of Bcarpark, of Bordeaux the

vine, With the dullest hermit I'd rather dine On an oaten cake and a draught of the Tync.


Walwayn the leech spoke next—he knew
Each plant that loves the sun and dew,
Itut special those whose juice can gain
Dominion o'er the blood and bmin;
The peasant who saw him by pale raoon-beam
Gathering finch herbs by bank and stream,
Dcem'd his thin form and soundless tread
Were those of wanderer from the dead.
« Vinsauf, thy wine," he said, « hath power,
Our gyves are heavy, strong our tower;
Yet three drops from this flask of mine,
More strong than dungeons, gyves, or wine.
Shall give him prison under ground
More dark, more narrow, more profound.
Short rede, good rede, let Harold have—
A dog's death and a heathen's grave.»—
I have lain on a sirk man's bed.
Watching for hours for the leech's (read,

As if I deem'd (hat his presence alone

Were of power to bid my paiu begone;

T have listed his words of comfort given,

As if to oracles from heaven;

I have counted his steps from my chamber door.

And bless'd them when they were heard no more ;—

But sooner than Walwayn my sick couch should nigh,

5Iy choice were by leech-craft unaided to die.

« Such service done in fervent zeal

The church may pardon and conceal,*

The doubtful prelate said, «but ne'er

The counsel ere the act should hear.—

Auselm of Jarrow, advise us now.

The stamp of wisdom is on thy brow;

Thy days, thy nights in cloister pent,

Are still to mystic learning lent;—

Ansetm of Jarrow, in thee is my hope,

Thou well canst give counsel to prelate or pope.*


Answer'd the prior—« T is wisdom's use

Still to delay what wc dare not refuse;

Ere granting the boon he comes hither to ask.

Shape for the giant gigantic task;

Let us see how a step so sounding can tread

In paths of darkness, danger, and dread;

lie may not, he will not, impugn our decree.

That calls but for proof of his chivalry.

And were Guy to return, or Sir Bevis the Strong,

Our wilds have adventure might cumber them long —

The Castle of Seven Shields » « Rind Anselm, no

more! The step of the pagan approaches the door.* The churchmen were hush'd—In his mantle of skin, I With his mace on his shouIder,Count Harold strode bv .There was foam on his lip, there was fire in his eye, I For, chafed by attendance, his fury was nigh. « Ho! Bishop, » he said, « dost thou grant me my I

• claim? Or must I assert it by falchion and flame ?*>



« On thy suit, gallant Harold," the bishop replied. In accents which trembled, « we might not deride, Until proof of your strength and your valour we saw — , I is not that wc doubt them, but such is tbe law.*— « And would you. Sir Prelate, have Harold make sport For the cowls and the sliavelings that herd ia tat

court? Say what shall he do?—From the shrine shall he tear The lead bier of thy patron and heave it in air, Aud through the loug chancel nuke Cuthbert take

wing, Willi the speed of a bullet dismiss d from the sJing !■ « Nay, spare such probation," the cellarer said, » From the mouth of our raiustreU thy taak shall W

read, While the wine sparkles high iu the goblet of g«4d, And (In- revel is loudest, thy task shall be told; Aud thyself, gallant Harold, shall, hearing it, tell That the bishop, his cowls, and his shaveling*, aaaaac

welU I

XIII. Load revell'd the guests, and tbe goblets loud rang, IU11 louder the minstrel, Hugh MeoevilJe, sang; And Harold, the hurry and pride of whose soul, fc rn when verging to fury, own'd music's control, Still bent on the harper bis broad sable eye, And often untasted tbe goblet pass'd by; Than wine, or than wassail, to him was more dear The minstrel's high tale of enchantment to hear; And the bishop that day might of Vinaauf complain That his an had but wasted his wine-casks in vaiu.



The [>ruid I'rien had daughters seven,
Their skill could call the moon from heaven;
So fair their forms, and so high their fame,
That seven proud kings for their suitors came.

King Mador and Rhys came from Powis and Wales,
In-horn was. their hair, and unpruued were their nails;
From Strath Clwyde came Ewain,and Ewaiu was lame,
And the red-bearded Donald from Galloway came.

Lot. King of Lodon, was hunch-back'd from youth;
Dunmail of Cumbria had never a tooth;
Tkit Adolf of Bambrough, Northumberland's heir,
Was gay and was gallant, was young and was fair.

There was strife 'mongst the sisters, for each one would

have For husband King Adolf, the gallant and brave, And envy bred hate, and hate urged them to blows, When the firm earth was cleft, and the arch-fiend


He swore to the maidens their wish to fulfil—
They *.»ore to the foe they would work by his will.
A spindle and distaff to each has he given,
* Now hearken my spell,» said the outcast of heaven.

■ Ve shall ply these spindles at midnight hour,

And for every spindle shall rise a tower,

Where the right shall be feeble, the wrong shall have

power, And there shall ye dwell with your paramour.»

Beneath the pale moon-light they sate on the wold, And the rhymes which they cliaunled must never be

told; And as the black wool from the distaff they sped, With blood from their bosom they moisten d the thread.

As light danced the spiudles beneath the cold gleam,
The castle arose like the birth of a dream—
Tbe seven towers ascended like mist from the ground,
Seven portals defend them, seven ditches surround.

Witbin that dread castle seven monarchs were wed,
3ut six of the seven ere flic morning lay dead;
With their eyes all on fire, and their daggers all red,
Seven damsels surround the Northumbrian's bed.

StT kingly bridegrooms to death we' have don e,
Si j^allant kingdoms King Adolf hath won,
V* lovely brides all his pleasure to do,
i r tbe bed of the seventh shall be liusbaiidlest. too.»

Well chanced it that Adolf, the night when he wed, Had confess'd and had sain'd him ere bonne to his bed; He sprung from his couch, and his broad-sword be

And there the seven daughters of Urien he slew.

The gate of the raslle he bolted and scaid,
And huug o'er each arch-stone a crowu and a shield;
To the cells of St Dunstau thcu wended his way,
And died in his cloister an anchorite gray.

Seven monarch** wealth in that castle lies stow'd,
The foul fiends brood o'er them like raven and toad.
Whoever shall gucstcn these chambers within.
From curfew till matins, lliat treasure shall win.

But manhood grows faint as the world waxes old!
There lives not in Britain a champion so bold,
So dauntless of heart, and so prudent of brain,
As to dare the adventure that treasure to gain..

The waste ridge of Cheviot shall wave with the rye,
Before the rude Scots shall Northumberland fly,
And the Hint cliffs of Bambro' shall melt in the sun,
Before that adventure be jieril'd and won.


«< And is this my probation ?» wild Harold he said, « Within a lone castle to press a loue bed ?— Good even, my Lord Bishop,—St Cuthbert to borrow, The Castle of Seven Shields receives me to-morrow.»


Denmark's sage courtier to her princely youth,

Granting his cloud an ouzel or a whale. Spoke, though unwittingly, a partial (ruth;

For Phantasy embroiders Nature's veil. The tints of ruddy eve, or dawning pale,

Of the swart thunder-cloud, or silver haze, Arc but the ground-work of the rich detail

Which Phantasy with pencil wild portrays, Blending what seems and is, in the rapt muser's gaze.

Nor are the stubborn forms of earth and stone

Less to the sorceress's empire given; For not with unsubstantial hues alone.

Caught from the varying surge, or vacant heaven, From burstiug sun-beam, or from Hushing levin.

She limns her pictures—ou the earth, as air, Arise her castles, and her car is driven;

And never gazed the eye on scene so fair.
But of its boasted charms fancy gave Iialf the share.

Up a wild pass went Harold, bent to prove,

Hugh Meneville, the adventure of thy lay,
Gunnar pursued his steps in faith and love.

Ever companion of his master's way.
Mid ward their path, a rock of granite gray

From the adjoining cliff had made descent,—

A barren mass—yet with her drooping spray

Had a young birch-tree crown'd its battlement, Twisting her fibrous roots through cranny, flaw, and rent.

This rock and tree could Gunnar's thought engage,

Tiy Fancy brought the tcar-drop to his eye, And at his master ask'd the limid page,

« What is the emblem that.a bard should spy In that rude rock aud its green canopy T»

And Harold said, « Like to the helmet brave Of warrior slain in fight it seems to He,

And these same drooping boughs do o'er it wave Not all unlike the plume his lady's favour gave.»

«Ah, no!" replied the page; «the ill-starr'd love

Of some poor maid is in the emblem shown, Whose fines are with some hero's interwove,

And rooted on a heart to love unknown: And as the gentle dews of heaven alone.

Nourish those drooping boughs, and as the scathe Of the red lightning rends both tree and stone,

So fares it with her uurcquiled faith,—
Her sole relief is tears—her only refuge death.»

« Thou art a fond fantastic boy,*.
Harold replied, « to females coy,

Yet prating still of love;
Even so amid the clash of war
I know thou lovest to keep afar,
Though destined by thy evil star

With one like me to rove.
Whose business aud whose joys arc found
Upon the bloody battle-ground.

Yet, foolish trembler as thou art,
Thou hast a nook of my rude heart,
And thou and I wdl never part;—
Harold would wrap the world In (lame
Ere injury on Guunar camc.»

The grateful page made no reply,
But tin M d to heaven his gentle eye,
And clasp'd his hands, as one who said,
« My toils—my wanderings arc o'crpaid!»
Then iu a gayer, lighter strain.
Com pel I'd bimself to speech again;

And, as they flow'd along,
His words took cadence soft and slow,
And liquid, like dissolving snow,

They melted into song.

« What though through fields of carnage wide
I may not follow Harold's stride,
Yet who with faithful Gunnar's pride

Lord Harold's feats can see?
And dearer than the couch of pride
lie loves the bed of gray wolfs hide,
When slumbering by Lord Harold's side

In forest, field, or lea.n

« Breik off!» said Harold, iu a tone
Where hurry and surprise were shown.
With some slight touch of fear,—

« Break off, we are not here alone;

A palmer form comes slowly on!

By cowl, and staff, and mantle known,

My mouitor is near.
Now mark him, Gunnar, heedful I y;
He pauses by the blighted tree—
Dost see him, youth?—Thou couldst not see
When in the vale of Galilee

I first beheld his form,
Nor when we met that other while
In GcphaloniVs rocky isle.

Before the fearful storm,—
Dost see him now?»— The page, distraught
With terror, answer'd, « I see nought.

And there is nought to see, Save that the oak's scathed boughs fling dowc Upon the path'a shadow brown. That, like a pilgrim's dusky gown,

Waves with the waving lree.»


Count Harold gazed upon the oak

As if his eye-strings would have broke.

And then resolvedly said,—
« Be what it will, yon phantom gray,
Nor heaven, nnr hell, shall ever say
That for their shadows frorh his way

Count Harold turn'd dismay'd:
I 'II speak him, though his accents fill
My heart with that unwonted thrill

Which vulgar minds call fear.
I will subdue it!»—Forth he strode,
Paused where the blighted oak-tree show'd
Its sable shadow on the road,
And, folding on his bosom broad

His arms, said, « Speak—I hcar.»


The deep voice said, «< O wild of will.
Furious thy purpose to fulfil—
Heart-sear'd and unrepentant still.
How long, O Harold, shall thy tread
Disturb the slumbers of the dead?
Each step in thy wild way thou rnakest
The ashes of the dead thou wakesl;
And shout in triumph o'er thy path
The fiends of bloodshed and of wrath.
In this thine hour, yet turn ami hear!
For life is brief, and judgment near.*


Then ceased the voice.—The Dane replied
In tones where awe and inborn pride
For mastery strove,—«In vain ye chide
The wolf for ravaging the (lock,
Or with its hardness taunt the rock,—
I am as they—my Danish strain
Sends streams of lire through every vein
Amid thy realms of goulc and gho>t,
Say, is the fame of Krick lost?
Or Wilikind's the Waster, known
Where fame or spoil Mas to be «ou,
Whose galleys ne'er bore off a shore

They left not black with flume, ?—
He was my sire,—and sprung of htm.
That rover merciless and grim.

Can I be soft and tame?

Part hence, and with my crimes no more upbraid mc lam that Waster's son, and am but what he made me.»


The phantom groan'd;—the mountain shook around,

The fawn and wild-do*- started at the sound,

The gorse and fern did wildly round them wave,

A« if some sadden storm the impulse gave.

« All thou has I s-iid is truth—Yet on the head

Of that bad sire let not the charge be laid.

That he, like thee, with unrelenting p.ice,

From grave to cradle ran the evil-race :—

Relentless in his avarice and ire,

Churches and towns he gave to sword and fire;

Sited blood like water, wasted every land,.

LAe the destroying angel's burning brand;

FtdfiH'd whate'er of ill might be invented,

Yes—all these things he did—he did, hut he Repented!

Percliance it is part of his punishment still,

That his offspring pursues his example of ill.

But thou, when thy tempest of wrath shall next shake

t hee. Gird thy loins for resistance, my son, and awake thee! If thou yield's! to thy fury, how tempted soever, The gate of repentance shall ope for thee Never

XL « He is gone,» said Lord Harold, and gazed as he spoke; -There is nougltton the palhhutlhe shade of the oak,— He U gone, whose strange presence my feeling oppress'd, Like the night-hag that sits on the sluinbcrcr's breast. 31? heart heats as thick as a fugitive's tread, And cold dews drop from my brow nnd my head.— Ho! Gunuar, the flasket yon almoner gave; He said that three drops would recaj from the grave. [For the first lime Count Harold owns leech-craft has

power, Or, his courage to aid, lacks the juice of a flower!»— The page gave the flasket, which Walwayn had fill'd With the juice of wild roots that his art had diatiU'd— So baneful their influence on all that had breath. One drop had been frenzy, and two had been death. Harold took it, hut drank not; for jubilee shrill, and music and clamour, were heard on the hill, And down the steep pathway, o'er slock, and o'er stone, The train of a bridal came bliihsomely on; There was song, there was pipe, there was timbrel, and

still The burden was, ■ Joy to the fair Mctelill!»


Harold might see from his high stance.
Himself unseen, that train advance

With mirth and melody;—
Od horse and foot a mingled throng,
Measuring their steps to bridal song

And bridal minsirelsv;
And ever when the blithesome rout
Lent to the song their choral shout,
Redoubling echoes roil'd about,
While echoing cave and cliff sent out

The answering symphony,
Of all those mimic notes which dwell
In hollow rock and sounding dell.

Joy shook his torch above ibe band,
By many a various passion fann'd;—
As elemental sparks can feed
On essence pure and coarsest weed,
Gentle, or stormy, or refined,
Joy takes the colours of the mind.
Lightsome and pure, but unrcpress'd,
He fired the bridegroom's gallant breast;
More feebly strove with maiden fear.
Yet still joy glimmer'd through the tear
On the bride's blushing check, that shows
Like dew-drop on the budding rose;
While Wulfstaoe's gloomy smile declared
The joy that selfish avarice shared,
And pleased revenge and malice high
Its semblance look in Jutta's eve.
On dangerous adventure sped,
The witch deem'd Harold with the dead,

For thus that mom her demon said:

« If, ere the set of sun, be tied
The knot 'twin bridegroom and his bride,
The Dane shall have no power of ill
O'er William nnd o'er Mctelill...
And the pleased witch made answer, .1 Then
Must Harold have pass'd from the paths of men!
Evil repose may his spirit have,—
May hemlock and mandrake find root in his grave,—
May his death-sleep be dogg'd by dreams of dismay,
And bis waking he worse at the answering day!»

Such was their various mood of glee
Blent in one shout of ecstasy.
But still when joy is brimming highest,
Of sorrow and misfortune Highest,
Of terror with her ague cheek,

And lurking danger, sages speak:

These haunt each path, hut chief they lay
Their snares beside the primrose way.—
Thus found that bridal baud their palh
Beset by Harold in his wrath.
Trembling beneath his maddening mood,
High on a rock the giant stood;
His shout was like the doom of death
Spoke o'er their heads that pass'd beneath.
His destined victims might not spy
The reddening terrors of his eye,—
The frown of rage that writhed his face,

The lip that found like boar's in chase:

But all could see—and, seeing, all

Bore hack to shun the threalcu'd fall

The fragment which their giant foe
Rent from the cliff and heaved to throw.


Backward they bore;—yet arc there two

For battle who prepare;
No pause of dread Lord William knew.

Ere his good blade was hire;
And Wulfstanc bent bis fatal yew,
But ere the silken cord he drew,
As hurl'd from llecla's thunder, Hew

That ruin through the air; —
Full on the outlaw's front it came,
And all that late had human name,

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