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Then in a gayer, lighter strain,
Compell’d himself 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.

CANTO V.

1. DENMARK's sage courtier to her princely youth,

Granting his cloud an ouzel or a whale, Spoke, though unwittingly, a partial truth;

For phantasy embroiders nature's veil. The tints of ruddy eve, or dawning pale,

Of the swart thunder-cloud, or silver haze, Are 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 bursting sunbeam, or from flashing levin,

She limns her pictures-on 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 half the share.

When slum field, or lea.'

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. Midward 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 crowned its battlement, Twisting her fibrous roots through craony, flaw,

and rent. This rock and tree could Gunnar's thought engage,

Till fancy brought the tear-drop to his eye, And at his master asked the timid page,

“ What is the emblem that a bard should spy In that rude rock and its green canopy?

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

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 fates are with some hero's interwove,

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

Nourish those drooping boughs, and as the scathe Of the red lightning rends both tree and stone, So fares it with her unrequited faith

Her sole relief is tears-her only refuge death.”

“ 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
He loves the bed of gray wolf's hide,
When slumbering by lord Harold's side.
In forest, field, or lea.

VI.
“Break off!” said Harold, in 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 manue known,

My monitor is near.
Now mark him, Gunnar, heedfully;
He pauses by the blighted tree--
Dost see him, youthThou coul I'st not see
When in the vale of Galilee

I first beheld his form,
Nor when we met that other while
In Cephalonia's rocky isle,

Before the fearful storm
Dost see him now?"--The page, distraught
With terror, answer'd, “I see nought,

And there is pought to see,
Save that the oak's scathed boughs thing down
Upon the path a shadow brown,
That, like a pilgrim's dusky gown,
Waves with the waving tree.”

VII.
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, nor hell, shall ever say
That for their shadows from his way

Count Harold turu'd dismayid:
I'll speak him, though his accents G11
My heart with that unwonted thrill

Which vulgar minds call fear.
I will subdue it!"--Forth be 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 hear.”

III.

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“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 atar,
Though destined by thy evil star

With one like me to rove,
Whose business and whose joys are found
Upon the bloody battle-ground.
Yet, foolish trembler as thou art,
Thou hast a nook of my rude heart,
And thou and I will never part;
Harold would wrap the world in flame
Ere injury on Gunnar came.”

IV. The grateful page made no reply, But turn'd to heaven his gentle eye, And clasp'd his hands, as one who said, “My toils my wanderings are o'erpaid!”

The deep voice said, “ ( 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 makest
The ashes of the dead thou wakest;
And shout in triumph o'er thy path
The fiends of bloodshed and of wrath.
In this thine hour, yet turn and hear!
For life is brief and judgment near.”

IX.
Then ceased the voice. - The Dane replied
In tones where awe and inborn pride
For mastery strove,-" In vain se chide

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The wolf for ravaging the flock,

XII. Or with its hardness taunt the rock,

Harold might see from his high stance, I am as they--my Danish strain

Himself unseen, that train advance Sends streams of fire through every vein.

With mirth and melody; Amid thy realms of goule and ghost,

On horse and foot a mingled throng, Say, is the fame of Erick lost?

Measuring their steps to bridal song Or Witikind's the Waster, known

And bridal minstrelsy; Where fame or spoil was to be won;

And ever when the blithsome rout Whose galleys ne'er bore off a shore

Lent to the song their choral shout, They left not black with flame!

Redoubling echoes roll'd about, He was my sire,--and sprung oflum,

While echoing cave and cliff sent out That rover merciless, and grim,

The answering symphony, Can I be soft and tame?

Of all those mimic notes which dwell Part hence, and with my crimes no more upbraid Io hollow rock and sounding dell. me,

XIII.
I am that Waster's son, and am but what he made Joy sbook his torch above the band,

By many a various passion fann'd;

As elemental sparks can feed
The phantom groan'd; the mountain shook around, On essence pure and coarsest weed,
The fawn and wild-doe started at the sound, Gentle, or stormy, or refined,
The gorse and fern did wildly round them wave, Joy takes the colours of the mind.
As if some sudden storm the impulse gave.

Lightsome and pure, but unrepress'd,
“ All thou hast said is truth-Yet on the head He fired the bridegroom's gallant breast;
Of that bad sire let not the charge be laid,

More feebly strove with maiden fear, That he, like thee, with unrelenting pace,

Yet still joy glimmer'd through the tear From grave to cradle ran the evil race:

On the bride's blushing cheek, that shows Relentless in his avarice and ire

Like dew-drop on the budding rose; Churches and towns he gave to sword and fire; While Wulfstane's gloomy smile declared Shed blood like water, wasted every land,

The joy that selfish avarice shared, Like the destroying angel's burning brand;

And pleased revenge and malice high Fulfill'd whate'er of ill might be invented:

Its semblance took in Jutta's eye. Yes-all these things he did-he did, but he RE On dangerous adventure sped, PENTED!

The witch deem'd Harold with the dead, Perchance it is part of his punishment still,

For thus that morn her demon said: That his offspring pursues his example of ill. “ If, ere the set of sun, be tied But thou, when thy tempest of wrath shall next The knot 'twixt bridegroom and his bride, shake thee,

The Dane shall have no power of ill Gird thy loins for resistance, my son, and awake O'er William and o'er Metelill.”

And the pleased witch made answer, " Then If thou yield'st to thy fury, how tempted soever, Must Harold have

from the paths of men! The gate of repentance shall ope for thee NEVER!” Evil repose may his spirit have XI.

May hemlock and mandrake find root in his grave, “ He is gone,” said lord Harold, and gazed as he May his death-sleep be dogg'd by dreams of dismay, spoke;

And his waking be worse at the answering day!” “There is nought on the path but the shade of the

XIV. oak

Such was their various mode of glee He is gone, whose strange presence my feelings Blent in one shout of ecstasy. oppress'd,

But still when joy is brimming highest, Like the night-hag that sits on the slumberer's Of sorrow and misfortune nighest, breast.

Of terror with her ague cheek,
My heart beats as thick as a fugitive's tread, And lurking danger, sages speak:-
And cold dews drop from my brow and my head. These haunt each path, but chief they lav
Ho! Gunnar, the Aasket yon almoner gave;

Their snares beside the primrose way. He said that three drops would recal from the Thus found that bridal band their path grave.

Beset by Harold in his wrath. For the first time count Harold owns leech-craft Trembling beneath his maddening mood, has power,

High on a rock the giant stood; Or, his courage to aid, lacks the juice of a flower!"| His shout was like the doom of death The page gave the Gasket, which Walwayn had Spoke o'er their heads that pass'd beneath. fill'd

His destined victims might not spy With the juice of wild roots that his art had dis 'The reddening terrors of his eyetillid

The frown of rage that writhed his face
So baneful their influence on all that had breath, The lip that foam'd like boar's in chase;
One drop had been frenzy, and two bad been death. But all could see-and, seeing, all
Harolıl took it, but drank not: for jubilee shrill, Bore back to shun the threatened fall
And music and clamour, were heard on the hill, The fragment which their giant foe
And down the steep path way, o'er stock, and o'er Rent from the cliff and heaved to throw.
stone,

XV.
The train of a bridal came blithsomely on;

Backward they bore;-yet are there twe There was song, there was pipe, there was timbrel, For battle who prepare: and still

No pause of dread lord William knew The burden was, “ Joy to the fair Metelill!” Ere his good blade was bare;

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And Wulfstane bent his fatal yew,

Lord William on the plain is lying, But ere the silken cord he drew,

Beside bim Metelill scems dying! As hurl'd from Hecla's thunder, ftew

Bring odoursessences in hasteThat ruin through the air;

And lo! a flasket richly chased, Full on the outlaw's front it came,

But Jutta the elixir proves And all that late had human name,

Ere pouring it for those she loves And human face, and human frame,

Then Walwayn's potion was not wasted, That lived, and moved, and had free will

For when three drops the hag had tasted, To choose the path of good or ill,

So dismal was her yell, Is to its reckoning gone;

Each bird of evil omen woke, And nought of Wulfstane rests behind,

The raven gave his fatal croak, Save that beneath that stone,

And shriek'd the night-crow from the oak, Half buried in the dinted clay,

The screech-owl from the thicket broke, A red and shapeless mass there lay,

And flutter'd down the dell!
Of mingled Hesh and bone!

So fearful was the sound and stern,
XVI.

The slumbers of the full-gorged erne
As from the bosom of the sky

Were startled, and from farze and fern, The eagle darts amain,

Of forest and of fell, Three bounds from yonder summit high

The fox and famish'd wolf replied, Placed Harold on the plain.

(For wolves then prow!'d the Cheviot side, ) As the scared wild-fowl scream and fly,

From mountain bead to mountain head So fled the bridal train;

The unhallow'd sounds around were sped;

But when their latest echo fled,
As 'gainst the eagle's peerless might
The noble falcon dares the fight,

The sorceress on the ground lay dead.
But dares the fight in vain,

XIX. So fought the bridegroom; from his hand

Such was the scene of blood and woes, The Dane's rude mace has struck his brand,

With which the bridal morn arose Its glittering fragments strew the sand,

Of William and of Metelill; lis lord lies on the plain.

But oft, when dawning 'gins to spread, Now, heaven! take noble William's part,

The summer-morn peeps dim and red And 'melt that yet unmelted heart,

Above the eastern bill, Or, ere his bridal hour depart,

Ere, bright and fair, upon his road The hapless bridegroom's slain!

The king of splendour walks abroad;

So, when this cloud bad pass'd away,
XVII.

Bright was the noon-tide of their day,
Count Harold's frenzied rage is high,

And all serene its setting ray.
There is a death-fire in his eye,
.Deep furrows on his brow are trench'd,

CANTO VI.
His teeth are set, his hand is clench'd,
The foam upon his lip is white,

WELL do I hope that this my mirstrel tale
His deadly arm is up to smite!

Will tempt no traveller from southern fie But, as the mace aloft he swung,

Whether in tilbury, barouche, or mail, To stop the blow young Gunnar sprung.

To view the castle of these seven proud shields Around his master's knees he clung,

Small confirmation its condition yields And cried, “In mercy spare!

To Meneville's high lay-Do towers are seen 0, think upon the words of fear

On the wild heath, but those that faney builds, Spoke by that visionary seer,

And, save a fosse which tracks the moor with The crisis he foretold is here

green, Grant mercy-or despair!"

ls nought remains to tell of what may there have This word suspended Harold's mood,

been. Yet still with arm upraised he stood,

And yet grave authors, with the no small waste And visage like the headsman's rude

of their grave time, have dignified the spot That pauses for the sign.

By theories, to prove the fortress placed “O mark thee with the blessed rood,"

'By Roman bands, to curb the invading Scot. The page implored: “ Speak word of good,

Hutchinson, Horsley, Camden, 1 might quote, Resist the fiend, or be subdued!”

But rather choose the theory less civil He signed the cross divine

Of boors, who, origin of things forgot, Instant his eye hath human light,

Refer still to the origin of evil, Less red, less keen, less fiercely bright;

And for their master-mason choose that master His brow relax'd the obdurate frown,

fend the devil. The fatal mace sinks gently down, He turns and strides away;

Therefore, I say, it was on fiend-built towers Yet oft, like revellers who leave

That stout count Harold bent his wond'ring gaze, Unfinish'd feast, looks back to grieve,

When evening dew was on the heather flowers, As if repenting the reprieve

And the last sunbeams bade the mountain blaze. He granted to his prey.

And tinged the battlements of other days Yet still of forbearance one sign hath he given, With a bright level light ere sinking down. And fierce Witikind's son made one step towards Humined thus, the dauntless Dane surveys heaven.

The seven proud shields that o'er the portal XVIII.

frown, But though his dreaded footsteps part,

And on their blazons traced high marks of old rem Death is behind and shakes his dart:

nown.

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A wolf North Wales had on his armour-coat, For whom the bride's shy footstep, slow and light,

And Rhys of Powis-land a couchant stag; I Was changed ere morning to the murderer Strath-Clwyde's strange emblem was a stranded

tread. boat;

For human bliss and wo in the frail thread Donald of Galloway a trotting nag;

Of human life are all so closely lwined, A corn-sheaf gilt was fertile Lodon's lyrag; That till the shears of fate the texture shred, A dudgeon-clagger was by Dunmail worn;

The close succession cannot be disjoin'd, Northumbrian Adolf gave a sea-beat crag

Nor dare we from one hour 'udge that which comm Surmounted by a cross-such signs were borne behind. Opon these antique shields, all wasted now and

VI. word.

But where the work of vengeance had been done, III.

In that seventh chamber was a sterner sight; These scann'd, count Harold sought the castle door, There of the witch-brides lay each skeleton,

Whose ponderous bolts were rusted to decay; Still in the posture as to death when dight. Yet till that hour adventurous knight forbore For this lay prone, by one blow slain outright; The unobstructed passage to essay.

And that, as one who striggled long in dying; More strong than armed warders in array, One bony hand held knife as if to smite; And obstacle more sure than holt or bar,

One bent on fleshless knees as mercy crying; Sate in the portal Terror and Dismay,

One lay across the door, as kill'd in act of Aying. While Superstition, who forbade to war The stern Dane smiled this charnel-house to see With foes of other mould than mortal clay, For his chafed thought returp'd to Metelill; Cast spells across the gate, and barr'd the onward and, “Well," he said, “hath woman's perfidy, way.

Empty as air, as water volatile,
Vain now those spells-for soon with heavy clank | Been here avenged.—The origin of ill
The feebly-fasten'd gate was inward push'd,

I Thro'woman rose, the christian doctrine saith; And, as it oped, through that emblazon'd rank

Nor deem I, Gunnar, that thy minstrel skill Of antique shields the wind of evening rush'd

Can show example where a woman's breath With sound most like a groan, and then was hush'd.

Hath made a true-love vow, and tempted, kept her Is none who on such spot such sounds could hear

faith.”

VII.
But to his heart the blood had faster rush'd,
Yet to bold Harold's breast bat throb was dear,

The minstrel boy half smiled, half sigh'd, It spoke of danger nigh, but had no touch of fear.

And his half filling eyes be dried,
And said, “ The theme I should but wrong,

Unless it were my dying song,
Yet Harold and his page no signs have traced (Our scalds have said in dying hour
Within the castle that of danger show'd;

The northern harp has treble power,)
Por still the halls and courts were wild and waste, Else could I tell of woman's faith

As through their preciocts the adventurers strode. Defying danger, scorn, and death.
The seven huge towers rose stately, tall, and broad, firm was that faith-as diamond stone
Each tower presenting to their scrutiny

Pure and unflaw'd-her love unknown,
A hall in which a king might make abode,

And unrequited; firm and pure, And fast beside, garnishd both proud and high, Her stainless faith could all endure: Was placed a power for rest in which a king might From clime to elime-from place to placelie.

Through want, and danger, and disgrace,

A wanderer's wayward steps could trace. As if a bridal there of late had been

All this she did, and guerdon none Deck'd stood the table in each gorgeous hall;

Required, save that her burial-stone And yet it was two hundred years, I ween,

Should make at length her secret know: Since date of that unhallow'd festival.

Thus hath a faithful woman done. Flagons, and ewers, and standing cups, were all

Not in each breast such truth is laid, Of tarnish'd gold, or silver nothing clear,

But Eivir was a Danish maid.” With throne begilt, and canopy of pall,

VIII. And tapestry clothed the walls with fragments sear,

“ Thou art a wild enthusiast,” said Frail as the spider's mesh did that rich woof ap Count Harold, “ for thy Danish maid; pear.

And yet, young Gunnar, I will own
v.

Her's were a faith to rest upon.
In every bower, as round a hearse, was hung But Eivir sleeps beneath her stone,
A dusky crimson curtain o'er the bed,

And all resembling her are gone.
And on each couch in ghastly wise were fung What maid e'er show'd sach constancy
The wasted relics of a monarch dead;

In plighted faith, like thine to me?
Barbaric ornaments around were spread,

But couch thee, boy: the darksome shade
Vests twined with gold, and chains of precious Falls thickly round, nor be dismay'd
stone,

Because the dead are by.
And golden circlets, meet for monarch's head; They were as we; our little day
While grion'd, as if in scorn amongst them O'erspent, and we shall be as they.
thrown,

Yet near me, Gunnar, be thou laid, The wearer's fleshless scull, alike with dust be Thy couch upon my mantle made, strown.

That thou may'st think, should fear in nado,

Thy master slumbers nigh.”
For these were they who, drunken with delight, Thus couch'd they in that dread abode
On pleasure's opiate pillow laid their head, Until the beams of dawning glow'd.

IX.
An alter'd man lord Harold rose,
When he beheld that dawn unclose

There's trouble in his eyes,
And traces on his brow and cheek
Of mingled awe and wonder speak:

“My page,” he said, "arise; Leave we this place, my page.” Nor more He utter'd till the castle door They cross'd-but there he paused and said, “My wildness hath awaked the dead

Disturb'd the sacred tomb!
Methought this night I stood on high
Where Hecla roars in middle sky,
And in her cavernd gulfs could spy

The central place of doom!
And there before my mortal eye
Souls of the dead came flitting by,
Whom fiends, with many a fiendish cry,

Bore to that evil den!
My eyes grew dizzy, and my brain
Was wilder'd, as the elvish train,
With shriek and howl, dragg'd on amain

Those who had late been men.

“ With haggard eyes and streaming hair,
Jutta, the sorceress, was there,
And there pass'd Wulfstane, lately slain.
All crush'd and foul with bloody stain.
More bad I seen, but that uprose
A whirlwind wild, and swept the snows;
And with such sound as when at need
A champion spurs his horse to speed,
Three armed knights rush on, who lead
Caparison'd a sable steed.
Sable their harness, and there came
Through their closed visors sparks of flame.
The first proclaim'd, in sounds of fear,
“Harold the Dauntless, welcome here!!
The next cried, Jubilee! we've won
Count Witikind the Waster's son!'
And the third rider steruly spoke,
• Mount, in the name of Zernebock!
From us, O Harold, were thy powers,
Thy strength, thy dauntlessness, are ours;
Nor think, a vassal thou of hell,
With hell canst strive.' The fiend spoke true!
My inmost soul the summons knew,

As captives know the knell,
That says the headsman's sword is bare,
And with an accent of despair

Commands them quit their cell.
I felt resistance was iu vain,
My foot had that fell stirrup ta'en,
My hand was on the fatal mane,

When to my rescue sped
That palmer's visionary form,
And, like the passing of a storm,

The demons yelld and fled!

Gunnar, he must not haunt in vain
This world of wretchedness and pains
I'll tame my wilful heart to live
In peace-to pity and forgive--
And thou, for so the vision said,
Must in thy lord's repentance aid.
Thy mother was a prophetess,"
He said, “who by her skill could guess
How close the fatal textures join
Which knit that thread of lite with mine,
Then, dark, he hinted of disguise
She framed to cheat too curious eyes,
That not a moment might divide
Thy fated footsteps from my side.
Methought, while thus my sire did teach,
I caught the meaning of his speech,
Yet seems its purport doubtful now.”
His band then sought his thoughtful brow,
Then first he mark'd, that in the tower
His glove was left at waking hour.

XII.
Trembling at first, and deadly pale,
Had Gunoar heard the vision'd tale;
But when he learn'd the dubious close,
He blusbed like any opening rose,
And, glad to hide his tell-tale cheek,
Hied back that glove of mail to seek;
When soon a shriek of deadly dread
Summon'd his master to his aid.

XIII.
What sees.count Harold in that boves,

So late his resting place?
The semblance of the Evil Power,

Adored by all his race!
Odin in living form stood there,
His cloak the spoils of polar bear;
For plumy crest, a meteor shed
Its gloomy radiance o'er his head,
Yet veil'd its haggard majesty
To the wild lightnings of his eye.
Such height was his, as when in stone
O'er Upsal's giant altar shown;

So flow'd his hoary beard;
Such was his lance of mountain-pine,
So did his sevenfold buckler shine;

But when his voice he rear'd,
Deep, without harshness, slow and strong
The powerful accents roll'd along,
And, while he spoke, his hand was laid
On captive Gunnar's shrinking head.

XIV. " Harold,” he said, “ What rage is thorne To quit the worship of thy line, To leave thy warrior god? With me is glory or disgrace, Mine is the onset and the chase, Embattled hosts before my face Are withered by a nod. Wilt thou then forfeit that high seat, Deserved by many a dauntless feat Among the heroes of thy live, Erio and fiery Thorarine? Thou wilt not. Only I can give The joys for which the valiant live, Victory and vengeance--only I Can give the joys for which they die, The immortal ült-the banquet full, The brimming draught from foeman's skull Mine art thou, witness this thy glove, The faithful pledge of vassal's love."

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