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For vengeance dark and fell, were made,
X. Oft mingled with the direful theme, Came Mortham's form—was it a dream? Or had be seen, in vision true, That very Mortham whom he slew: Or had in living flesh appear'd The only man on earth he fear'd?— To try the mystic cause intent, His eyes, that on the cliff were bent, Counter'd at once a dazzling glance, Like sun-beam flash'd from sword or lance. At once he started as for fight, But not a foeman was in sight; He heard the cushat's murmur hoarse, He heard the river's sounding course, The solitary woodlands lay, As slumbering in the summer ray. He gazed, like lion roused, around, Then sunk again upon the ground. "T was but, he thought, some fitful beam, Glanced sudden from the sparkling stream; Then plunged him in his gloomy train Of ill-connected thoughts again, Until a voice behind him cried, • Bertram' well met on Greta side.”
xi. Instant his sword was in his hand, As instant sunk the ready brand; Yet, dubious still, opposed he stood To him that issued from the wood: • Guy Denzil!—is it thou?» he said; * Do we two meet in Scargill shade'— Stand back a space!—thy purpose show, Whether thou comest as friend or foe. Report hath said that Denzil's name From Rokeby’s band was razed with shame."— * A shame I owe that hot O'Neale, Who told his knight, in peevish zeal, Of my marauding on the clowns Of Calverley and Bradford downs. (6) I reck not. In a war to strive, Where, save the leaders, none can thrive, Suits ill my mood; and better game Awaits us both, if thou'rt the same Unscrupulous, bold Risingham, Who watch'd with me in midnight dark, To snatch a deer from Rokeby-park. How think'st thou?”—“Speak thy purpose out; I love not mystery or doubt.”—
XII. * Then list.—Not far there lurk a crew, Of trusty comrades staunch and true, Glean'd from both factions—Roundheads, freed From cant of sermon and of creed; And cavaliers, whose souls, like mine, Spurn at the bonds of discipline. Wiser we judge, by dale and wold, A warfare of our own to hold,
Than breathe our last on battle-down,
xiii. • Even now,” thought Bertram, “passion-stirr'd, I call d on hell, and hell has heard! What lack I, vengeance to command, But of staunch comrades such a band! This Denzil, vow'd to every evil, Might read a lesson to the devil. Well, be it so each knave and fool Shall serve as my revenge's tool.”— Aloud, “I take thy proffer, Guy, But tell me where thy comrades lie."— * Not far from hence,” Guy Denzil said; * Descend and cross the river's bed, Where rises yonder cliff so gray.” * Do thou,” said Bertram, a lead the way.” Then mutter'd, “ It is best make sure; Guy Denzil's faith was never pure.” He follow'd down the steep descent, Then through the Greta's streams they went, And, when they reach'd the farther shore, They stood the lonely cliff before.
xi W. With wonder Bertram heard within The flinty rock a murmur'd din; But when Guy pull'd the wilding spray And brambles from its base away, He saw, appearing to the air, A little entrance low and square, Like opening cell of hermit lone, Dark winding through the living stone. Here enter'd Denzil, Bertram here, And loud and louder on their ear, As from the bowels of the earth, Resounded shouts of boisterous mirth. Of old, the cavern strait and rude In slaty rock the peasant hew'd; And Brignal's woods, and Scargill's, wave Een now o'er many a sister cave, (7) Where, far within the darksome rift, The wedge and lever ply their thrift. But war had silenced rural trade, And the deserted mine was made The banquet-hall, and fortress too, Of Denzil and his desperate crew. There Guilt his anxious revel kept; There on his sordid pallet slept Guilt-born Excess, the goblet drain'd Still in his slumbering grasp retain'd : Regret was there, his eye still cast With vain repining on the past; Among the feasters waited near, Sorrow, and unrepentant Fear,
And Blasphemy, to frenzy driven,
wV. Hark! the loud revel wakes again, To greet the leader of the train. Rehold the group by the pale lamp, That struggles with the earthy damp. By what strange features Vice hath known To single out and mark her own! Yet some there are, whose brows retain Less deeply stamp'd her brand and stain. See yon pale stripling! when a boy, A mother's pride, a father's joy! Now, 'gainst the vault's rude walls reclined, An early image fills his mind: The cottage, once his sires, he sees, Embower'd upon the banks of Tees; He views sweet Winton's woodland scene, And shares the dance on Gainford-green. A tear is springing—but the zest Of some wild tale, or brutal jest, Hath to loud laughter stirr'd the rest. On him they call, the apiest mate, For jovial song and merry feat; Fast flies his dream—with dauntless air, As one victorious o'er despair, He bids the ruddy cup go round, Till sense and sorrow both are drown'd, And soon in merry wassail he, The life of all their revelry, Peals his loud song!—The Muse has found Her blossoms on the wildest ground, "Mid noxious weeds at random strew'd, Themselves all profitless and rude.— With desperate merriment he sung, The cavern to the chorus rung; Yet mingled with his reckless glee Remorse's bitter agony.
xvi. son G.
0, Brignal banks are wild and fair,
• O, Brignal banks are fresh and fair, And Greta woods are green;
l'd rather rove with Edmund there, Than reign our English queen.”—
* If, maiden, thou wouldst wend with me, To leave both tower and town,
Thou first must guess what life lead we,
And if thou canst that riddle read,
Then to the green-wood shalt thou speed, As blithe as queen of May.”—
choraus. Yet sung she, a Brignal banks are fair, And Greta woods are green; I 'd rather rove with Edmund there, Than reign our English queen.
XVII. « I read you, by your bugle-horn, And by your palfrey good, I read you for a ranger sworn, To keep the king's green-wood.”— • A ranger, lady, winds his horn, And t is at peep of light; His blast is heard at merry morn, And mine at dead of night.”—
chorus. Yet sung she, a Brignal banks are fair, And Greta woods are gay; I would I were with Edmund there, ; : To reign his queen of May!
« With burnish'd brand and musquetoon,
“And O' though Brignal banks be fair,
Yet mickle must the maiden dare,
xviii. w Maiden, a nameless life I lead, A nameless death I 'll die; The fiend whose lantern lights the mead Were better mate than 11 And when I'm with my comrades met, Beneath the green-wood bough, What once we were we all forget, Nor think what we are now.
... Yet Brignal banks are fresh and fair, And Greta woods are green,
And you may gather garlands there, would grace a summer queen.”
When Edmund ceased his simple song,
Wix. At length his wond’rous tale he told, When scornful smiled his comrade bold; For, train'd in license of a court, Religion's self was Denzil's sport; Then judge in what contempt he held The visionary tales of eld! His awe for Bertram scarce repress'd The unbeliever's sneering jest. “'T were hard,” he said, “ for sage or seer To spell the subject of your fear; Nor do I boast the art renown'd, Vision and omen to expound. Yet, faith if I must needs afford To spectre watching treasured hoard, As ban-dog keeps his master's roof, Bidding the plunderer stand aloof, This doubt remains—thy goblin gaunt Hath chosen ill his ghostly haunt; For why his guard on Mortham hold, When Rokeby Castle hath the gold Thy patron won on Indian soil, By stealth, by piracy, and spoil?”—
XX. At this he paused—for angry shame Lower'd on the brow of Risingham, He blush'd to think that he should seem Assertor of an airy dream, And gave his wrath another theme. • Denzil,” he says, a though lowly laid, Wrong not the memory of the dead; For, while he lived, at Mortham's look, Thy very soul, Guy Denzil, shook! And when he tax'd thy breach of word To yon fair Rose of Allenford, I saw thee crouch like chasten’d hound, Whose back the huntsman's lash hath found. Nor dare to call his foreign wealth The spoil of piracy or stealth; He won it bravely with his brand, When Spain waged warfare with our land. (8) Mark too—I brook no idle jeer, Nor couple Bertram's name with fear; Mine is but half the demon's lot, For I believe, but tremble not. Enough of this.-Say, why this hoard Thou deem'st at Rokeby Castle stored : Or think'st that Mortham would bestow His treasure with his faction's foe on
XXI. Soon quench'd was Denzil's ill-timed mirth; Rather he would have seen the earth Give to ten thousand spectres birth, Than ventured to awake to flame The deadly wrath of Risingham. Submiss he answer’d—a Mortham's mind, Thou know'st, to joy was ill inclined. In youth, "t is said, a gallant free, A lusty reveller was he; But since return'd from over sea, A sullen and a silent mood Hath numb'd the current of his blood. Hence he refused each kindly call To Rokeby's hospitable hall,
And our stout knight, at dawn of morn,
xxli. * Destined to her to yon slight maid! The prize my life had well nigh paid, When 'gainst Laroche, by Cayo's wave, I fought, my patron's wealth to save"— Denzil, I knew him long, but ne'er Knew him that joyous cavalier, whom youthful friends and early fame Call'd soul of gallantry and game, A moody man he sought our crew. Desperate and dark, whom no one knew; And rose as men with us must rise, By scorning life and all its ties. On each adventure rash he roved, As danger for itself he loved; On his sad brow nor mirth nor wine Could eer one wrinkled knot untwine; Ill was the omen if he smiled, For 't was in peril stern and wild; But when he laugh'd, each luckless mate Might hold our fortune desperate. Foremost he fought in every broil, Then scornful turn'd him from the spoil; Nay, often strove to bar the way Between his comrades and their prey; Preaching, even then, to such as we, Hot with our dear-bought victory, Of mercy and humanity
XXIII. “I loved him well—his fearless part, His gallant leading, won my heart. And, after each victorious fight, "T was I that wrangled for his right, Redeem'd his portion of the prey That greedier mates had torn away; In field and storm thrice saved his life, And once amid our comrades' strife.—(9) Yes, I have loved thee! well hath proved My toil, my danger, how I loved." Yet will I mourn no more thy fate, Ingrate in life, in death ingrate. Rise, if thou &nst!»—he look d around, And sternly stamp'd upon the ground— “Rise, with thy bearing proud and high, Even as this morn it met mine ey And give me, if thou darest, the lie! He paused—then, calm and passion-freed, Bade Denzil with his tale proceed.
XXIV. “Bertram, to thee I need not tell What thou hast cause to wot so well, How superstition's nets were twined Around the Lord of Mortham's mind;
But since he drove thee from his tower,
xxv. • Then Denzil, as I guess, lays train, These iron-banded chests to gain; Else, wherefore should he hover here, Where many a peril waits him near, For all his feats of war and peace, For plunder'd boors and harts of greece " ' Since through the hamlets as he fared, What hearth has Guy's marauding spared, Or where the chase that hath not rung With Denzil's bow at midnight strung on— -- I hold my wont—my rangers go Even now to track a milk-white doe. (10) By Rokeby-hall she takes her lair, In Greta wood she harbours fair, And when my huntsman marks her way, What think'st thou, Bertram, of the prey ! Were Rokeby’s daughter in our power, We rate her ransom at her dower!» –
XXVI. * T is well —there's vengeance in the thought ! Matilda is by Wilfrid sought, And hot-brain'd Redmond, too, 'tis said, Pays lover's homage to the maid. Bertram she scorn’d—if met by chance, She turn'd from me her shuddering Blance, Like a nice dame, that will not brook On what slic hates and loathes to look; She told to Mortham, she could ne'er Behold me without secret fear, Foreboding evil:—she may rue To find her prophecy fall true!— The war has weeded Rokeby's train, Few followers in his halls remain ; If thy scheme miss, then, brief and bold, We are enow to storm the hold, Bear off the plunder and the dame, And leave the castle all in flame."—
xxWii. * Still art thou Walour's venturous son' Yet ponder first the risk to run: The menials of the castle, true, And stubborn to their charge, though few; The wall to scale—the moat to cross— The wicket-trate—the inner fosse—n * Fool! if we blench for toys like these, On what fair guerdon can we seize? Our hardiest venture, to explore Some wretched peasant's fenceless door, And the best prize we bear away The earnings of his sordid day.”— —s Awhile thy hasty taunt forbear : In sight of road more sure and fair, Thou wouldst not chuse, in blindfold wrath, Or wantonness, a desperate path 1 List then:—for vantage or assault, From gilded vane to dungeon-vault, Each path of Rokeby-house I know; There is one postern dark and low, That issues at a secret spot, By most neglected or forgot. Now, could a spial of our train On fair pretext admittance gain, That sally-port might be unbarr'd : Then, vain were battlement and ward ' "
But Wilfrid Wycliffe sought her side,
I. When Denmark's Raven soard on high, Triumphant through Northumbrian sky, Till, hovering near, her fatal croak Bade Reged's Britons dread the yoke, (1) And the broad shadow of her wing Blacken'd each cataract and spring, Where Tees in tumult leaves his source, Thunderint; o'er Caldron and High-Force; (2) Reneath the shade the Northmen came, Fix'd on each vale a Runic name, (3) Rear'd high their altars' rugged stone, And tave their gods the land they won. Then, Balder, one bleak garth was thine, And one sweet brooklet's silver line, And Woden's Croft did title gain From the stern Father of the Slain : I}ut to the Monarch of the Mace, That held in fight the foremost place, To Odin's son, and Sifia's spouse, Near Startforth high they paid their vows, Remember'd Thor's victorious fame, And gave the dell the Thunderer's name.
ii. Yet scald or kemper errod, I ween, a Who gave that soft and quiet scene, With all its varied light and shade, And every little sunny glade, And the blithe brook that strolls along Its pebbled bed with summer song, To the grim god of blood and scar, The grisly King of Northern War. O better were its banks assign'd To spirits of a gentler kind For, where the thicket-groups recede, And the rathe primrose decks the mead, The velvet grass seems carpet meet For the light fairies' lively feet. Yon tufted knoll, with daisies strown, Might make proud Oberon a throne, While, hidden in the thicket nigh, Puck should brood o'er his frolic sly; And where profuse the wood-veitch clings Round ash and elm in verdant rings, Its pale and azure-pencilid flower Should canopy Titania's bower.
iii. Here rise no cliffs the vale to shade, But skirting every sunny glade,