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Not that he augur’d of the doom, .
Which on the living closed the tomb;
But, tired to hear the desperate maid
Threaten by turns, beseech, upbraid ; .
And wroth, because, in wild despair,
She practised on the life of Clare ;
Its fugitive the church he gave,
Though not a victim, but a slave;
And deemed restraint in convent strange,
Would hide her wrongs, and her revenge.
Himself, proud Henry's favourite peer,
Held Romish thunders idle fear,
Secure his pardon he might hold,
For some slight mulct of penance-gold.
Thus judging, he gave secret way, :
When the stern priests surprised their prey :
His train but deemed the favourite page
Was left behind, to spare his age ;
Or other if they deemed, none dared
To mutter what he thought and heard :
Woe to the vassal, who durst pry
Into Lord Marmion's privacy!
His conscience slept—he deemed her well,
And safe secured in distant cell ;
But, wakened by her favourite lay,
And that strange Palmer's boding say,
That fell so ominous and drear,
Full on the object of his fear,
To aid remorse's venomed throes,
Dark tales of convent vengeance rose;
And Constance, late betrayed and scorned,
All lovely on his soul returned : .
Lovely as when, at treacherous call,
She left her convent's peaceful wall,
Crimsoned with shame, with terror mute,
Dreading alike escape, pursuit,
Till love, victorious o'er alarms,
Hid fears and blushes in his arms.
“ Alas!” he thought, “ how changed that mien !
How changed these timid looks have been,
Since years of guilt, and of disguise,
Have steeled her brow, and armed her eyes !
No more of virgin terror speaks
The blood that mantles in her cheeks ;
Fierce, and unfeminine, are there,
Frenzy for joy, for grief despair ;
And I the cause—for whom were given
Her peace on earth, her hopes in heaven! -
Would,” thought he, as the picture grows,
“ I on its stalk had left the rose !
Oh why should man's success remove
The very charms that wake his love !
Her convent's peaceful solitude
Is now a prison harsh and rude;
And, pent within the narrow cell,
How will her spirit chafe and swell!:
How brook the stern monastic laws !
The penance how-and I the cause !
Vigil and scourge—perchance even worse!”—
And twice he rose to cry“ to horse !"
And twice his sovereign's mandate came,
Like damp upon a kindling flame ;
And twice he thought, “ Gave I not charge
She should be safe, though not at large?
They durst not; for their island,' shred
One golden ringlet from her head.”—.
While thus in Marmion's bosom strove
Repentance and reviving love,
Like whirlwinds, whose contending sway
I've seen Loch Vennachar obey,
Their Host the Palmer's speech had heard,
And, talkative, took up the word:-
“ Aye, reverend Pilgrim, you, who stray
From Scotland's simple land away,
To visit realms afar,
Full often learn the art to know,
Of future weal, or future woe, ' i
By word, or sign, or star ;
Yet might a knight his fortune hear,
If, knight-like, he despises fear,
Not far from hence ;-if fathers old.
Aright our hainlet legend told.”—
These broken words the menials move,
(For marvels still the vulgar love ;)
And, Marmion giving license cold,
His tale the host thus gladly told.
The host's Tale. « A clerk could tell what years have flown Since Alexander filled our throne, (Third monarch of that warlike name,) And eke the time when here he came To seek Sir Hugo, then our lord : A braver never drew a sword; A wiser never, at the hour Of midnight, spoke the word of power; ' The same, whom ancient records call The founder of the Goblin-Hall.