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And well my folly's meed he gave,
But, did my fate and wish agree,
Whose faith with Clare's was plight,
Their oaths are said,
Their lances in the rest are laid,
De Wilton to the block !”'
Say, was heaven's justice here ?
Beneath a traitor's spear. How false the charge, how true he fell, This guilty packet best can tell."Then drew a packet from her breast, Paused, gathered voice, and spoke the rest.
XXIX. “ Still was false Marmion's bridal stayed; To Whitby's convent fled the maid,
The hated match to shun. ‘Ho ! shifts she thus ?' King Henry cried; Sir Marmion, she shall be thy bride,
If she were swore a nun.'
For Clara and for me:
A saint in heaven should be.
xxx. “And now my tongue the secret tells, Not that remorse my bosom swells, But to assure my soul, that none Shall ever wed with Marmion. Had fortune my last hope betrayed, This packet, to the king conveyed, Had given him to the headsman's stroke, Although my heart that instant broke. Now, men of death, work forth your will, For I can suffer, and be still; And come he slow, or come he fast, It is but Death who comes at last.
“ Yet dread me, from my living tomb,
From that dire dungeon, place of doom, Of execution too, and tomb,
Paced forth the judges three; Sorrow it were, and shame, to tell
The butcher-work that there befell,
And many a stifled groan:
As hurrying, tottering on:
INTRODUCTION TO CANTO THIRD.
Ashestiel, Ettricke Forest
Yet pleased, our eye pursues the trace
Need I to thee, dear Erskine, tell, I love the license all too well, In sounds now lowly, and now strong, To raise the desultory song ? Oft, when 'mid such capricious chime, Some transient fit of lofty rhyme, To thy kind judgment seemed excuse For many an error of the muse; Oft hast thou said, “If still mis-spent, Thine hours to poetry are lent, Go, and to tame thy wandering course, Quaff from the fountain at the source; Approach those masters, o'er whose tomb Immortal laurels ever bloom : Instructive of the feebler bard, Still from the grave their voice is heard ; From them, and from the paths they showed, Choose honoured guide and practised road; Nor ramble on through brake and maze, With harpers rude of barbarous days.
" Or deem'st thou not our later time Yields topic meet for classic rhyme ? Hast thou no elegiac verse For Brunswick's venerable hearse ? What! not a line, a tear, a sigh, When valour bleeds for liberty Oh, hero of that glorious time, When, with unrivalled light sublime, Though martial Austria, and though all The might of Russia, and the Gaul, Though banded Europe stood her foes-The star of Brandenburgh arose ! Thou could'st not live to see her beam For ever quenched in Jena's stream. Lamented chief !-it was not given, To thee to change the doom of heaven, And crush that dragon in its birth, Predestined scourge of guilty earth. Lamented chief !--not thine the power, To save in that presumptuous hour, When Prussia hurried to the field, And snatched the spear, but left the shield; Valour and skill 'twas thine to try, And, tried in vain, 'twas thine to die.
Ill had it seemed thy silver hair
“Or of the Red-Cross hero teach, Dauntless in dungeon as on breach : Alike to him the sea, the shore, The brand, the bridle, or the oar; Alike to him the war that calls Its votaries to the sbattered walls, Which the grim Turk, besmeared with blood, Against the Invincible made good; Or that, whose thundering voice could wake The silence of the polar lake, When stubborn Russ, and metalled Swede, On the warped wave their death-game played; Or that, where vengeance and affright Howled round the father of the fight, Who snatched on Alexandria's sand The conqueror's wreath with dying hand.
“Or, if to touch such chord be thine, Restore the ancient tragic line, And emulate the notes that rung From the wild harp which silent hung, By silver Avon's holy shore, Till twice an hundred years rolled o'er ; When she, the bold Enchantress, came, With fearless hand and heart on flame! From the pale willow snatched the treasure, And swept it with a kindred measure, Till Avon's swans, while rung the grove With Montfort's bate and Basil's love, Awakening at the inspired strain, Deemed their own Shakespeare lived again.”_Thy friendship thus thy judgment wronging, With praises not to me belonging, In task more meet for mightiest powers, Would'st thou engage my thriftless hours. But say, my Erskine, hast thou weighed That secret power by all obeyed, Which warps not less the passive mind, Its source concealed or undefined;