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gives countenance. The ring within which justs would not have suited poetry, and would besides were formerly practised, in the castle park, is still at once, and prematurely, have announced the plot called the Round Table. Snawdoun is the official to many of my countrymen, among whom the tratitle of one of the Scottish heralds, whose epithets ditional stories above mentioned are still current. seem in all countries to have been fantastically adopted from ancient history or romance. It appears from the preceding note, that the real

michail The author has to apologise for the inadvertent name by which James was actually distinguished. in his private excursions, was the goodman of Bal. J appropriation of a whole line from the tragedy of lenguich; derived from a steep pass leading up to Douglas, the castle of Stirling, so called. But the epithet “I hold the first who strikes, my foe.”

Rokeby;

APOEM.

TO JOHN B. S. MORRITT, Esq.

THIS POEM, THE SOKNE OF WHICH IS LAID IN HIS BEAUTIFUL DEMESNE OF ROKEBI, IS IXSCRIBED

IN TOKEN OF SINCERE FRIENDSHIP, BY WALTER SCOTT.

ADVERTISEMENT. The scene of the poem is laid at Rokeby, near Those towers, which, in the congeful glean. Greta-bridge. in Yorkshire, and shifts to the Throw murky shadows on the totam. adjacent fortress of Barnard castle, and to other | Those towers of Barnard box... gricst, places in that vicinity.

The emotions of whose turu's.ed breast, The time occupied by the action is a space of In wild and strange con!rsion driven, five days, three of which are supposed to elapse Rival the flitting rack o? Lacaven. between the end of the fifth and beginning of the Ere sleep stern Oswal:l's senses tied, sixth canto.

Oft had he changed his weary side, The date of the supposed events is immediately Composed his limbs, ar.d vainly sought subsequent to the great battle of Marston-moor, By effort strong to 'oauish thought. 3d July, 1644. This period of public confusion Sleen camera

Sleep came at length, but with a train has been chosen, without any purpose of combin-|Of feelings true and fancies vain, ing the fable with the military or political events | Mingling in wild disorder cast. of the civil war, but only as affording a degree of The expected future with the past. probability to the fictitious narrative now presented Conscience, anticipating time to the public.

Already rues the unacted crime,

And calls her furies forth, to shake
ROKEBY.

The sounding scourge and hissing spake
CANTO 1.

While her poor victim's outward throes
1.

Bear witness to his mental woes,

And show what lesson may be read
The moon is in her summer glow,

Beside a sinner's restless bed.
But hoarse and high the breezes blow, .
And, racking o'er her face, the cloud

III.
Varies the tincture of her shroud;
On Barnard's towers,' and Tees's stream, Thus Oswald's labouring feelings trace
She changes as a guilty dream,

Strange changes in his sleeping face,
• When conscience, with remorse and fear, Rapid and ominous as these
Goads sleeping fancy's wild career.

With which the moon-beams tinge the Teer Her light seemed now the blush of shame,

There might be seen of shame the blush. Seemed now fierce anger's darker ftame,

There anger's dark and fiercer flush, Shifting that shade, to come and go,

While the perturbed sleeper's hand Like apprehension's hurried glow;

Seemed grasping dagger-knife, or brand. Then sorrow's livery dims the air,

Relaxed that grasp, the heavy sigh, And dies in darkness, like despair.

The tear in the half-opening eye, Such varied hues the warder sees

The pallid cheek and brow, confessed Reflected from the woodland Tees,

That grief was busy in his breast; Then from old Baliol's tower looks forth,

Nor paused that mood-a sudden start Sees the clouds mustering in the north,

Impelled the life-blood from the heart; Hears, upon turret-roof and wall,

Features convulsed, and mutterings dread, By fits the plashing rain-drop falí,

Show terror reigns in sorrow's steád; Lists to the breeze's boding sound,

That pang the painful slumber broke, And wraps his shaggy mantle round.

| And Oswald, with a start, awoke.

IV. He woke, and feared again to close His eyelids in such dire repose; He woke,-to watch the lamp, and tell From hour to hour the castle bell, Or listen to the owlet's cry, Or the sad breeze that whistles by. Or catch, by fits, the tuneless rhyme With which the warder cheats the time, And envying think how, when the sun Bids the poor soldier's watch be done, Couched on his straw, and fancy free, He sleeps like careless infancy.

V.

Far townward sounds a distant tread,
And Oswald, starting from his bed,
Hath caught it, though no human ear,
Unsharpened by revenge and fear,
Could e'er distinguish horse's clank,
Until it reached the castle-bank.
Now nigh and plain the sound appears,
The warder's challenge now he hears.
Then clanking chains and levers tell,
That o'er the moat the drawbridge fell,
And, in the castle court below,
Voices are heard, and torches glow,
As marshalling the stranger's way,
Straight for the room where Oswald lay;
The cry was—“Tidings from the host,
Of weight-a messenger comes post.”
Stifling the tumult of his breast,
His answer Oswald thus expressed
“ Bring food and wine, and trim the fire;
Admit the stranger, and retire.”-

VI.
The stranger came with heavy stride;
The morion's plumes his visage hide,
And the buff coat, in ample fold,
Mantles his form's gigantic mould.3
Full slender answer deigned he
To Oswald's anxious courtesy,
Bat marked, by a disdainful smile,
He saw and scorned the petty wile,
When Oswald changed the torch's place,
Anxious that on the soldier's face
Its partial lustre might be thrown,
To show his looks, yet hide his own.
His guest, the while, laid slow aside
The ponderous cloak of tough bull's hide,
And to the torch glanced broad and clear
The corslet of a cuirassier.
Thea from his brows the casque he drew
And from the dank plume dashed the dew,
From gloves of mail relieved his hands,
And spread them to the kindling brands,
And, turning to the genial board,
Without a health, or pledge, or word
Of meet and social reverence said,
Deeply he drank, and fiercely fed;
As free from ceremcoy's sway,
As famished wolf that tears his prey.

VII. With deep impatience, tinged with fear, His host beheld him gorge his cheer, And quaff the full carouse, that lent His brow a fiercer hardiment. Now Oswald stood a space aside, Now paced the room with hasty stride, In feverish agony to learn Tidings of deep and dread concern,

Cursing each moment that his guest
Protracted o'er his ruffian feast.
Yet, viewing with alarm, at last,
The end of that uncouth repast,
Almost he seemed their haste to rue,
As at his sign. his train withdrew,
And left him with the stranger, free
To question of his mystery.
Then did his silence long proclaim
A struggle between fear and shame.

VIII.
Much in the stranger's mien appears,
To justify suspicious fears.
On his dark face a scorching clime,
And toil, had done the work of time,
Roughened the brow, the temples bared,
And sable hairs with silver shared,
Yet left-what age alone could tame
The lip of pride, the eye of flame,
The full-drawn lip that upward curled,
The eye, that seemed to scorn the world.
That lip had terror never blanched;
Ne'er in that eye had tear-drop quenched
The flash severe of swarthy glow,
That mocked at pain, and knew not wo;
Inured to danger's direst form,
Tornade and earthquake, flood and storm,
Death had he seen by sudden blow,
By wasting plague, by tortures slow.
By mine or breach, by steel or ball,
Knew all his shapes, and scorned them all.

IX. But yet, though Bertram's hardened look, Unmoved, could blood and danger brook, Still worse than apathy had place On his swart brow and callous face; For evil passions, cherished long, Had ploughed them with impressions strong. All that gives gloss to sin, all gay Light folly, passed with youth away, But rooted stood, in manhood's hour, The weeds of vice without their flower. And yet the soil in which they grew, Had it been tamed when life was new, Had depth and vigour to bring forth The hardier fruits of virtuous worth. Not that, e'en then, his heart had known The gentler feelings' kindlier tone; But lavish waste had been refined To bounty in his chastened mind, And lust of gold, that waste to feed, Been lost in love of glory's meed, And, frantic then no more, his pride Had ta'en fair virtue for its guide.

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E'en now, by conscience unrestrained, Clogged by gross vice, by slaughter stained, Still knew his daring soul to soar, And mastery o’er the mind be bore; For meaner guilt, or heart less hard, Quailed beneath Bertram's bold regard. And this felt Oswald, while in vain He strove, by many a winding train, To lure his sullen guest to show, Unasked, the news he longed to know, While on far other subject hung His heart, than faltered from his tongue. Yet nought for that his guest did deiga To note or spare his secret pain, But still, in stern and stubborn sort, | Returned him answer dark and short,

E'en thus, upon the bloody field,
The eddying tides of conflict wheeled
Ambiguous, till that heart of flame,
Hot Rupert, on our squadrons came,
Harling against our spears a line
Of gallants, fiery as their wine;
Then ours, though stubborn in their zeal,
In zeal's despite began to reel.
What wouldst thou more-in tumult tost,
Our leaders fell, our ranks were lost.
A thousand men, who drew the sword
For both the houses and the word,
Preached forth from hamlet, grange, and down
To curb the erosier and the crown,
Now, stark and stiff, lie stretched in gore,
And ne'er shall rail at mitre more.-
Thus fared it, when I left the fight,
With the good cause and commons' right.”

Or started from the theme, to range
In loose digression wild and strange,
And foreed the embarrassed host to buy,
By query close, direct reply.

XL
Awhile he glozed upon the cause
Of commons, covenant, and laws,
And church reformed-but felt rebuke
Beneath grim Bertram's speering look.
Then stammered" Has a field been fought?
Has Bertram news of battle brought?
For sure a soldier, famed so far
In foreign fields for feats of war,
On eve of fight ne'er left the host,
Until the field were won or lost.”
Here, in your towers by circling Tees,
You, Oswald Wycliffe, rest at ease;
Why deem it strange that others come
To share such safe and easy home,
Prom fields where danger, death, and toil,
Are the reward of civil broil?"
" Nay, mock pot, friend!-since well we know
The near advances of the foe,
To mar our northern army's work,
Encamped before beleaguered York;
Thy horse with valiant Fairfax lay,
And must have fought-how went the day?”

xn. “ Wouldst hear the talel-On Marston heath Met, front to front, the ranks of death;5 Flourished the trumpets fierce, and now Fired was each eye, and fushed each brow; On either side loud clamours ring, • God and the cause!-God and the king!' Right English all, they rushed to blows, With nought to win, and all to lose. I could have laughed-but lacked the timeTo see, in phrenezy sublime, How the fierce zealots fought and bled, For king or state, as humour led; Some for a dream of public good, Some for church-tippet, gown, and hood, Draining their veins, in death to claim A patriot's or a martyr's name. Led Bertram Risingham the hearts, That countered there on adverse parts, No superstitious fool had [ Soughi El Dorados in the sky! Chili had heard me through her states. And Lima oped her silver gates, Rich Mexico I had marched through, And sacked the splendours of Peru, Till supk Pizarro's daring name, And, Cortez, thine, in Bertram's fame.”

"Still from the purpose wilt thou stray! Good gentle friend, how went the day?"

XIII.
“Good am I (leemed at trumpet-sound,
And good where goblets dance the round,
Though gentle ne'er was joined, till now,
With rugged Bertram's breast and brow.-
But I resume. The battle's rage
Was like the strife which currents wage,
Where Orinoco, in his pride,
Rolls to the main no tribute tide,
But 'gainst broad ocean urges far
A rival sea of roaring war;
While, in ten thousand eddies driven,
The billows fling their foam to heaven.
And the pale pilot seeks in vain,
Where rolls the river, where the main.

XIV. “Disastrous news!” dark Wycliffe said; Assumed despondence bent his head, While troubled joy was in his eye, The well-feigned sorrow to belie.“Disastrous news!-when needed most, Told ye not that your chiefs were lost! Complete the woful tale, and say, Who fell upon that fatal day; What leaders of repute and name Bought by their death a deathless fame. If such my direst foeman's doom, My tears shall dew his honoured tomb. No answer?-Friend, of all our host, Thou know'st whom I should hate the most; Whom th u too once were wont to hate, Yet leav'st me doubtful of his fate.”— With look inmoved,-"Of friend or foe, Aught,"answered Bertram, “wouldst thou know Demand in simple terms and plain, A soldier's answer shalt thou gain; For question dark, or riddle high, | 1 have nor judgment nor reply."

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The wrath his art and fear suppressed
Now blazed at once in Wycliffe's breast;
And brave from man so meanly born,
Roused his hereditary scorp.
-“ Wretch! hast thou paid thy bloody debt?
Philip of Mortham, lives he yet?
False to thy patron or thine oath,
Trait'rous or perjured, one or both,
Slave! hast thou kept thy promise plight,
To slay thy leader in the fight?"-
Then from his seat the soldier sprung,
Aud Wycliffe's hand he strongly wrung;
His grasp, as hard as glove of mail,
Forced the red blood-drop from the nail-
“A health!” he cried; and, ere he quaffed,
Flung from him Wycliffe's hand, and laughed
-"Now, Oswald Wycliffe, speaks thy heart!
Now play'st thou well thy genuine part!
Worthy, but for thy craven fear,
Like me to roam a buccaneer.
What reck'st thou of the cause divine,
If Mortham's wealth and lands be thine!
What car'st thou for beleaguered York,
If this good hand have done its work!
Or what though Fairfax and his best
Are reddening Marston's swarthy breast,

If Philip Mortham with them lie, | Lending his life-blood to the dye?

XVIII. “But civil discord gave the call, And made my trade the trade of all. By Mortham urged, I came again His vassals to the fight to train. What guerdon waited on my care! I could not cant of creed or prayer; Sour sanatics each trust obtained, And I, dishonoured and disdained, Gained but the high and happy lot, In these poor arms to front the shot! All this thou know'st, thy gestures tell; Yet hear it o'er, and mark it well. 'Tis honour bids me now relate Each circumstance of Mortham's fate.

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Sit then! and as 'mid comrades free
Carousing after victory,
When tales are told of blood and fear,
That boys and women shrink to hear,
From point to point I frankly tell
The deed of death as it befel.

XVI.
“ When purposed vengeance I forego,
Term me a wretch, nor deem me foe;
And when an insult I forgive,
Then brand me as a slave, and live!
Philip of Mortham is with those
Whom Bertram Risingham calls foes,
Or whom more sure revenge attends,
If numbered with ungrateful friends.
As was his wont, ere battle glowed,
Along the marshalled ranks he rode,
And wore his vizor up the while.
I saw his melancholy smile,
When, full opposed in front, he knew
Where Rokeby's kindred banner flew.
"And thus,' he said, 'will friends divide!'-
I heard, and thought how, side by side,
We two had turned the battle's tide,
In many a well debated field,
Where Bertram's breast was Philip's shield.
I thought on Darien's deserts pale,
Where death bestrides the evening gale.
How o'er my friend my cloak 1 threw,
And fenceless faced the deadly dew;
I thought on Quariana's cliff,
Where, rescued from our foundering skiff,
Through the white breakers' wrath I bore
Exhausted Mortham to the shore;
And when his side an arrow found,
I sucked the Indian's venomed wound.
These thoughts like torrents rushed along,
To sweep away my purpose strong.

XVII. “ Hearts are not flint, and flints are rent; Hearts are not steel, and steel is bent. When Mortham bade me, as of yore, Be near him in the battle's roar, I scarcely saw the spears laid low, I scarcely heard the trumpets blow; Lost was the war in inward strife, Debating Mortham's death or life. 'Twas then I thought, how, lured to come As partner of his wealth and home, Years of piratic wandering o'er, With him I sought our native shore. But Mortham's lord grew far estranged From the bold hearts with whom he ranged; Doubts, horrors, superstitious fears, Saddened and dimmed descending years; The wily priests their victim sought, And damned each freeborn deed and thought. Then must I seek another home, My license shook his sober dome; If gold he gave, in one wild day I revelled thrice the sum away. An idle outcast then I strayed, Unfit for tillage or for trade, Deemed, like the steel of rusted lance, Useless and dangerous at once. The women feared my hardy look, At my approach the peaceful shook: The merchant saw my glance of flame, And locked his hoards when Bertram came; Each child of coward peace kept far From the neglected son of war.

“ Thoughts, from the tongue that slowly part,
Glance quick as lightning through the heart.
As my spur pressed my courser's side,
Philip of Mortham's cause was tried,
And, ere the charging squadrons mixed,
His plea was cast, his doom was fixed.
I watched him through the doubtful fray,
That changed as March's moody day,
Till, like a stream that bursts its bank,
Fierce Rupert thundered on our flank.
'Twas then, 'midst tumult, smoke, and strife,
Where each man fought for death or life,
'Twas then I fired my petronel,
And Mortham, steed and rider, fell.
One dying look he upward cast,
Of wrath and anguish- 'twas his last.
Think not that there I stopped to view
What of the battle should ensue;
But ere I cleared that bloody press,
Our northern horse ran masterless;
Monckton and Mitton told the news,
How troops of Roundheads choked the Ouse
And many a bonny Scot, aghast,
Spurring his palfrey northward, past,
Cursing the day when zeal or meed
First lured their Lesley o'er the Tweed.
Yet when I reached the banks of Swale,
Had rumour learned another tale;
With his barbed horse, fresh tidings say
Stout Cromwell has redeemed the day:7
But whether false the news, or true,
Oswald, I reck as light as you.”-

XX.
| Not then by Wycliffe might be shown,
How his pride startled at the tone
In which his complice, fierce and free,
Asserted guilt's equality.
In smoothest terms his speech he wove
Of endless friendship, faith, and love;

Promised and vowed in courteous sort,
| But Bertram broke professions short.
“ Wycliffe, be sure not here I stay!
No, scarcely till the rising day:
Warned by the legends of my youth,
I trust not an associate's truth.
Do not my native dales prolong
Of Percy Rede the tragic song,
Trained forward to his bloody fall,
By Girsonfield, that treacherous Hall ?
Oft, by the Pringle's haunted side,
The shepherd sees his spectre glide.
And near the spot that gave me name,
The moated mound of Risingham,
Where Reed upon her margin sees,
Sweet Woodburn's cottages and trecs,

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Some ancient sculptor's art has shown

I've sprung from walls more high than there, An outlaw's image on the stone;'

I've swam through deeper streams than Teen Unmatched in strength, a giant he,

Might I not stab thee, ere one yell With quivered back, and kirtled knee;

Could rouse the distant sentinel? Ask how he died, that hunter bold,

Start not—it is not my design, The tameless monarch of the wold,

But, if it were, weak fence were thine; And age and infancy can tell,

that, in time of need, By brother's treachery he fell.

This hand hath done more desperate deed. Thus warned by legends of my youth,

Go, haste and rouse thy slumbering son;
I trust to no associate's truth.

Time calls, and I must needs be gone."
XXI.

XXIV. “When last we reasoned of this deed,

Nought of his sire's ungenerous part Nought, I bethink me, was agreed, .

Polluted Wilfrid's gentle heart;
Or by what rule, or when, or where,

A heart, too soft from early life
The wealth of Mortham we should share; To hold with fortune needful strife.
Then list, while I the portion name,

His sire, while yet a hardier race
Our differing laws give each to claim.

Of numerous sons were Wycliffe's grace, Thou. vassal sworn to England's throne,

On Wilfrid set contemptuous brand, Her rules of heritage must own;

For feeble beart and forceless hand; They deal thee, as to nearest heir,

But a fond mother's care and joy Thy kinsman's lands and livings fair,

Were centered in her sickly boy. And these 1 yield: do thou revere

No touch of childhood's frolic mood The statutes of the buccaneer. 10

Showed the elastic spring of blood; Friend to the sea, and foeman sworn

Hour after hour he loved to pore To all that on her wares are borne,

On Shak speare's rich and varied lore, When falls a mate in battle broil,

But turned from martial scenes and light, His comrade heirs his portioned spoil;

From Falstaff's feast and Percy's fight, When dies in fight a daring foe,

To ponder Jacques's moral strain, He claims his wealth who struck the blow; And muse with Hamlet, wise in vain; And either rule to me assigns

And weep himself to soft repose Those spoils of Indian seas and mines,

O'er gentle Desdemona's woes. Hoarded in Mortham's caverns dark;

XXV. Ingot of gold and diamond spark,

In youth, he sought not pleasures found Chalice and plate from churches borne,

By youth in horse, and hawk, and hound, And gems from shrieking beauty torn,

But loved the quiet joys that wake Each string of pearl, each silver bar,

By lonely stream and silent lake; And all the wealth of western war;

In Deepdale's solitude to lie, I go to search, where, dark and deep,

Where all is cliff, and copse, and sky:
Those transatlantic treasures sleep.

To climb Catcastle's dizzy peak,
Thou must along-for, lacking thee,
The heir will scarce find entrance free:

Or lone Pendragon's mound to seek.
And then farewell, I haste to try

Such was his wont; and there his dream Each varied pleasure wealth can buy;

Soared on some wild fantastic theme,

Of faithful love, or ceaseless spring, When cloyed each wish, these wars afford

Till contemplation's wearied wing
Fresh work for Bertram's restless sword.”-

The enthusiast could no more sustain,
XXI.

And sad he sunk to earth again.
An undecided answer hung
On Oswald's hesitating tongue.

XXVI.
Despite his craft, he heard with awe

He loved as many a lay can tell, This ruffian stabber fix the law;

Preserved in Stanmore's lonely dell; While his own troubled passions veer

For his was minstrel's skill, he caught Through hatred, joy, regret, and fear,

The art unteachable, untaught; Joyed at the soul that Bertram flies,

He loved-his soul did nature frame He grudged the murderer's mighty prize,

For love, and fancy nursed the flame; Hated his pride's presumptuous tone,

Vainly he loved-for seldom swain And feared to wend with him alone.

Of such soft mould is loved again; At length, that middle course to steer,

Silent he loved-in every gaze To cowardice and craft so dear,

Was passion, friendship in his phrase, “ His charge,” he said, “ would ill allow

So mused his life away-till died His absence from the fortress pow;

His brethren all, their father's pride.

Wilfrid is now the only heir
Wilfred on Bertram should attend,
His son should journey with his friend.”

Of all his stratagems and care,

And destined, darkling, to pursue
XXIII.
Contempt kept Bertram's anger down,

Ambition's maze by Oswald's clue.
And wreathed to savage smile his frown.

XXVII. “ Wilfrid, or thou—'us one to me,

Wilfrid must love and woo the bright Whichever bears the golden key.

Matilda, heir of Rokeby's knight. Yet think not but I mark, and smile

To love her was an easy best, To mark, thy poor and selfish wile!

The secret empress of his breast; If injury from me you fear,

To woo her was a harder task What, Oswald Wycliffe, shields thee here! | To one that durst pot bope or ask;

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