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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,
Like to ambitious Aldingar I hold;
!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.
As sohjeel meet, I tune my rugged rhymes.
Huge- brass-clasp'd volumes, which the hand
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
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
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
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.
TBI CISTLB OP THE SEVEN SHIELDS.—A BAU.A.D.
The [>ruid I'rien had daughters seven,
King Mador and Rhys came from Powis and Wales,
Lot. King of Lodon, was hunch-back'd from youth;
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—
■ 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,
Witbin that dread castle seven monarchs were wed,
StT kingly bridegrooms to death we' have don e,
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
The gate of the raslle he bolted and scaid,
Seven monarch** wealth in that castle lies stow'd,
But manhood grows faint as the world waxes old!
The waste ridge of Cheviot shall wave with the rye,
«< 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.
Hugh Meneville, the adventure of thy lay,
Ever companion of his master's way.
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,—
Yet prating still of love;
With one like me to rove.
Yet, foolish trembler as thou art,
And, as they flow'd along,
They melted into song.
« What though through fields of carnage wide
Lord Harold's feats can see?
In forest, field, or lea.n
« Break off, we are not here alone;
A palmer form comes slowly on!
By cowl, and staff, and mantle known,
My mouitor is near.
I first beheld his form,
Before the fearful storm,—
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,—
Count Harold turn'd dismay'd:
Which vulgar minds call fear.
His arms, said, « Speak—I hcar.»
The deep voice said, «< O wild of will.
Then ceased the voice.—The Dane replied
They left not black with flume, ?—
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.
With mirth and melody;—
And bridal minsirelsv;
The answering symphony,
Joy shook his torch above ibe band,
For thus that mom her demon said:
« If, ere the set of sun, be tied
And lurking danger, sages speak:
These haunt each path, hut chief they lay
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
Backward they bore;—yet arc there two
For battle who prepare;
Ere his good blade was hire;
That ruin through the air; —