WILSON'S TALES OF THE BORDERS AND OF SCOTLAND.
HISTORICAL, TRADITIONARY, & IMAGINATIVE.
WITH A GLOSSARY.
REVISED BY ALEXANDER LEIGHTON,
One of the Original Editors and Contributors.
LONDON: WALTER SCOTT, 14 PATERNOSTER SQUARE, AND NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE. 1884
THE MINSTREL'S TALES—
I. EDMUND AND HELEN, (John Mackay Wilson), 5
II. THE ROMAUNT OF SIR PEREGRINE AND THE LADY ETHELINE,...... (Alexander Leighton), 43
III. THE LEGEND OF ALLERLEY HALL, (Alexander Leighton),................................. 52
IV. THE LEGEND OF THE LADY KATHARINE, (Alexander Leighton),..................... 57
V. THE BALLAD OF AILIE FAA,.......(Alexander Leighton),................................. 67
VI. THE LEGEND OF THE FAIR EMERGILDE, (Alexander Leighton),..................... 72
VII. THE ROMAUNT OF THE CASTLE OF WEIR, (Alexander Leighton),..................... 78
VIII. THE ROMAUNT OF ST. MARY'S WYND, (Alexander Leighton),..................... 87
IX. THE LEGEND OF MARY LEE,.......(_Alexander _Leighton_),................................ 98
X. THE BALLAD OF AGE AND YOUTH,...(Alexander Leighton),................................. 107
XI. THE LEGEND OF CRAIGULLAN,.....(_Alexander _Leighton_),................................ 113
XII. THE HERMIT OF THE HILLS,...(John Mackay Wilson),................................... 119
XIII. THE BALLAD OF RUMBOLLOW,....(Alexander Leighton),................................. 123
XIV. THE LEGEND OF THE BURNING OF MRS. JAMPHRAY, ................(Alexander Leighton),..... 133
XV. THE BALLAD OF BALLOGIE'S DAUGHTERS,........ (Alexander Leighton),..................... 141
XVI. THE LEGEND OF DOWIELEE,........(Alexander Leighton),................................. 145
XVII. THE BALLAD OF MAID MARION,....(Alexander Leighton),.................................. 154
XVIII. THE BALLAD OF ROSEALLAN CASTLE,......... (Alexander Leighton),...................... 158
XIX. THE BALLAD OF THE TOURNAY,.....(Alexander Leighton),.................................. 160
XX. THE BALLAD OF GOLDEN COUNSEL,...(Alexander Leighton),.................................. 164
XXI. THE BALLAD OF MATRIMONY,......._(Alexander _Leighton_),................................. 168
XXII. THE SONG OF ROSALIE, .........(Alexander Leighton),.................................. 171
XXIII. THE BALLAD OF THE WORLD'S VANITY,....... (Alexander Leighton),...................... 173
XXIV. THE SIEGE: A DRAMATIC TALE,........(_John _Mackay Wilson_),............................ 177
XXV. FAREWELL TO A PLACE ON THE BORDERS,....... (Rev. W.G.),............................... 207
GENERAL INDEX,................................. 251
WILSON'S TALES OF THE BORDERS, AND OF SCOTLAND.
THE MINSTREL'S TALES.
EDMUND AND HELEN.
Come, sit thee by me, love, and thou shalt hear A tale may win a smile and claim a tear— A plain and simple story told in rhyme, As sang the minstrels of the olden time. No idle Muse I'll needlessly invoke— No patron's aid, to steer me from the rock Of cold neglect round which oblivion lies; But, loved one, I will look into thine eyes, From which young poesy first touched my soul, And bade the burning words in numbers roll;— They were the light in which I learned to sing; And still to thee will kindling fancy cling— Glow at thy smile, as when, in younger years, I've seen thee smiling through thy maiden tears, Like a fair floweret bent with morning dew, While sunbeams kissed its leaves of loveliest hue. Thou wert the chord and spirit of my lyre— Thy love the living voice that breathed—"aspire!"— That smoothed ambition's steep and toilsome height, And in its darkest paths was round me, light. Then, sit thee by me, love, and list the strain, Which, but for thee, had still neglected lain.
Didst thou e'er mark, within a beauteous vale, Where sweetest wild-flowers scent the summer gale, And the blue Tweed, in silver windings, glides, Kissing the bending branches on its sides, A snow-white cottage, one that well might seem A poet's picture of contentment's dream? Two chestnuts broad and tall embower the spot, And bend in beauty o'er the peaceful cot; The creeping ivy clothes its roof with green, While round the door the perfumed woodbine's seen Shading a rustic arch; and smiling near, Like rainbow fragments, blooms a rich parterre; Grey, naked crags—a steep and pine-clad hill— A mountain chain and tributary rill— A distant hamlet and an ancient wood, Begirt the valley where the cottage stood. That cottage was a young Enthusiast's home, Ere blind ambition lured his steps to roam; He was a wayward, bold, and ardent boy, At once his parents' grief—their hope and joy. Men called him Edmund.—Oft his mother wept Beside the couch where yet her schoolboy slept, As, starting in his slumbers, he would seem To speak of things of which none else might dream.
Adown the vale a stately mansion rose, With arboured lawns, like visions of repose Serene in summer loveliness, and fair As if no passion e'er was dweller there Save innocence and love; for they alone Within the smiling vale of peace were known. But fairer and more lovely far than all, Like Spring's first flowers, was Helen of the Hall— The blue-eyed daughter of the mansion's lord, And living image of a wife adored, But now no more; for, ere a lustrum shed Its smiles and sunshine o'er the infant's head, Death, like a passing spirit, touched the brow Of the young mother; and the father now Lived as a dreamer on his daughter's face, That seemed a mirror wherein he could trace The long lost past—the eyes of love and light, Which his fond soul had worshipped, ere the night Of death and sorrow sealed those eyes in gloom— Darkened his joys, and whelmed them in the tomb.
Young Edmund and fair Helen, from the years Of childhood's golden joys and passing tears, Were friends and playmates; and together they Across the lawn, or through the woods, would stray. While he was wont to pull the lilies fair, And weave them, with the primrose, round her hair;— Plait toys of rushes, or bedeck the thorn With daisies sparkling with the dews of morn; While she, these simple gifts would grateful take—- Love for their own and for the giver's sake. Or, they would chase the butterfly and bee From flower to flower, shouting in childish glee; Or hunt the cuckoo's echo through the glade, Chasing the wandering sound from shade to shade. Or, if she conned the daily task in vain, A word from Edmund made the lesson plain.
Thus years rolled by in innocence and truth, And playful childhood melted into youth, As dies the dawn in rainbows, ray by ray In blushing beauty stealing into day. And thus too passed, unnoticed and unknown, The sports of childhood, fleeting one by one. Like broken dreams, of which we neither know From whence they come, nor mark we when they go. Yet would they stray where Tweed's fair waters glide, As we have wandered—fondly side by side; And when dun gloaming's shadows o'er it stole As silence visible—until the soul Grew tranquil as the scene—then would they trace The deep'ning shadows on the river's face— A voiceless world, where glimmered, downward far, Inverted mountain, tree, and cloud, and star. 'Twas Edmund's choicest scene, and he would dwell On it, till he grew eloquent, and tell Its beauties o'er and o'er, until the maid Knew every gorgeous tint and mellowed shade Which evening from departed sunbeams threw, And as a painter on the waters drew.
Or, when brown Autumn touched the leaves with age, The heavens became the young Enthusiast's page Wherein his fancy read; and they would then, Hand locked in hand, forsake the haunts of men; Communing with the silver queen of night, Which, as a spirit, shone upon their sight, Full orbed in maiden glory; and her beams Fell on their hearts, like distant shadowed gleams Of future joy and undefined bliss— Half of another world and half of this. Then, rapt in dreams, oft would he gazing stand, Grasping in his her fair and trembling hand, And thus exclaim, "Helen, when I am gone, When that bright moon shall shine on you alone, And but one shadow on the river fall— Say, wilt thou then these heavenly hours recall? Or read, upon the fair moon's smiling brow The words we've uttered—those we utter now? Or think, though seas divide us, I may be Gazing upon that glorious orb with thee At the same moment—hearing, in its rays, The hallowed whisperings of early days! For, oh, there is a language in its calm And holy light, that hath a power to balm The troubled spirit, and like memory's glass, Make bygone happiness before us pass."
Or, they would gaze upon the evening star, Blazing in beauteous glory from afar, Dazzling its kindred spheres, and bright o'er all, Like LOVE on the Eternal's coronal; Until their eyes its rays reflected, threw In glances eloquent—though words were few; For well I ween, it is enough to feel The power of such an hour upon us steal, As if a holy spirit filled the air, And nought but love and silence might be there— Or whispers, which, like Philomel's soft strains, Are only heard to tell that silence reigns. Yet, he at times would break the hallowed spell, And thus in eager rhapsodies would dwell Upon the scene: "O'er us rolls world on world, Like the Almighty's regal robes unfurled;— O'erwhelming, dread, unbounded, and sublime— Eternity's huge arms that girdle time And roll around it, marking out the years Of this dark spot of sin amidst the spheres! For, oh, while gazing upon worlds so fair, 'Tis hard to think that sin has entered there; That those bright orbs which now in glory swim, Should e'er for man's ingratitude be dim! Bewildered, lost, I cast mine eyes abroad, And read on every star the name of GOD! The thought o'erwhelms me!—Yet, while gazing on Yon star of love, I cannot feel alone; For wheresoe'er my after lot may be, That evening star shall speak of home and thee. Fancy will view it o'er yon mountain's brow That sleeps in solitude before us now; While memory's lamp shall kindle at its rays, And light the happy scenes of other days— Such scenes as this; and then the very breeze That with it bears the odour of the trees, And gathers up the meadow's sweet perfume, From off my clouded brow, shall chase the gloom Of sick'ning absence; for the scented air To me wafts back remembrance, as the prayer Of lisping childhood is remembered yet, Like living words, which we can ne'er forget."
Till now, their life had been one thought of joy, A vision time was destined to destroy— As dies the dewy network on the thorn, Before the sunbeams, with the mists of morn. Thus far their lives in one smooth current ran— They loved, yet knew not when that love began, And hardly knew they loved; though it had grown A portion of their being, and had thrown Its spirit o'er them; for its shoots had sprung Up in their hearts, while yet their hearts were young; Even like the bright leaves of some wandering seed, Which Autumn's breezes bear across the mead, O'er naked wild and mountain, till the wind, Dropping its gift, a stranger flower we find. And with their years the kindling feeling grew, But grew unnoticed, and no change they knew; For it had grown, even as a bud displays Its opening beauties—one on which we gaze, Yet note no seeming change from hour to hour, But find, at length, the bud a lovely flower.
Thus, thrice six golden summers o'er them fled, And on their hearts their rip'ning influence shed; Till one fair eve, when from the gorgeous west, Cloud upon cloud in varied splendour pressed Around the setting sun, which blinding shone On the horizon like its Maker's throne, Till veiled in glory, and its parting ray Fell as a blessing on the closing day; Or, like the living smile of Nature's God Upon his creatures, shedding peace abroad. The early lark had ceased its evening song, And silence reigned amidst the feathered throng, Save where the chaffinch, with unvarying strain, Its short, sweet line of music trilled again; Or where the stock-dove, from the neighbouring grove, Welcomed the twilight with the voice of love: Then Edmund wandered by the trysting-tree, Where, at that hour, the maid was wont to be; But now she came not. Deepening shade on shade, The night crept round him; still he lonely strayed, Gazed on the tree till grey its foliage grew, And stars marked midnight, ere he slow withdrew. Another evening came—a third passed on— And wondering, fearing, still he stood alone, Trembling and gazing on her father's hall, Where lights were glittering as a festival; And, as with cautious step he ventured near, Sounds of glad music burst upon his ear, And figures glided in the circling dance, While wild his love and poverty at once Flashed through his bursting heart, and smote him now As if a thunderbolt had scorched his brow, And scathed his very spirit; as he stood, Mute as despair—the ghost of solitude!
Strange guests were revelling at the princely hall— Proud peers and ladies fair; but, chief of all, A rich and haughty knight, from Beaumont side, Who came to woo fair Helen as his bride; Or rather from her father ask her hand, And woo no more, but deem consent command. He too was young, high-born, and bore a name Sounding with honours bought, though not with fame; And the consent he sought her father gave, Nor feared the daughter of his love would brave In aught his wishes, or oppose his will; For she had ever sought it, as the rill Seeketh the valley or the ocean's breast; And ere his very wishes were expressed, She strove to trace their meaning in his eyes, Even as a seaman readeth on the skies The coming breeze, the calm, or brooding gale, Then spreads the canvas wide, or reefs the sail. Nor did he doubt that still her heart was free As the fleet mountain deer, which as a sea The wilderness surrounds; for she had grown Up as a desert flower, that he alone Had watched and cherished; and the blinding pride Of wealth and ancestry had served to hide From him alone, what long within the vale Had been the rustic gossip's evening tale. That such presumptuous love could e'er employ The secret fancies of the cottage boy, He would have held impossible, or smiled At the bold madness of a thought so wild—- Reading his daughter's spirit by his own, Which reared an ancient name as virtue's throne, And only stooped to look on meaner things, Whose honours echoed not the breath of kings.
Wild were the passions, fierce the anguish now, Which tore the very soul, and clothed the brow Of the Enthusiast; while gaunt despair Its heavy, cold, and iron hand laid bare, And in its grasp of torture clenched his heart, Till, one by one, the life-drops seemed to start In agony unspeakable: within His breast its freezing shadow—dark as sin, Gloomy as death, and desolate as hell— Like starless midnight on his spirit fell, Burying his soul in darkness; while his love, Fierce as a whirlwind, in its madness strove With stern despair, as on the field of wrath The wounded war-horse, panting, strives with death. Then as the conflict weakened, hope would dash Across his bosom, like the death-winged flash That flees before the thunder; yet its light Lived but a moment, leaving deeper night Around the strife of passions; and again The struggle maddened, and the hope was vain.
He heard the maidens of the valley say, How they upon their lady's wedding-day Would strew her path with flowers, and o'er the lawn Join in the dance, to eve from early dawn; While, with a smile and half deriding glance, Some sought him as their partner in the dance: And peasant railers, as he passed them by, Laughed, whispered, laughed again, and mocked a sigh. But he disdained them; and his heaving breast Had no room left to feel their vulgar jest, For it ran o'er with agony and scorn, As water dropping on a rock was borne.
Twas a fair summer night, and the broad moon Sailed in calm glory through the skies of June, Pouring on earth its pale and silv'ry light, Till roughest forms were softened to the sight; And on the western hills its faintest ray Kissed the yet ruddy streaks of parted day. The stars were few, and, twinkling, dimly shone, For the bright moon in beauty reigned alone. One cloud lay sleeping 'neath the breathless sky, Bathed in the limpid light; while, as the sigh Of secret love, silent as shadows glide, The soft wind played among the leafy pride Of the green trees, and scarce the aspen shook; A babbling voice was heard from every brook, And down the vale, in murmurs low and long, Tweed poured its ancient and unwearied song. Before, behind, around, afar, and near, The wakeful landrail's watchword met the ear. Then Edmund leaned against the hallowed tree, Whose shade had been their temple, and where he Had carved their names in childhood, and they yet Upon the rind were visible. They met Beneath its branches, spreading as a bower, For months—for years; and the impassioned hour Of silent, deep deliciousness and bliss, Pure as an angel's, fervid as the kiss Of a young mother on her first-born's brow, Fled in their depth of joy they knew not how; Even as the Boreal meteor mocks the eye, Living a moment on the gilded sky, And dying in the same, ere we can trace Its golden hues, its form, or hiding-place. But now to him each moment dragged a chain, And time itself seemed weary. The fair plain, Where the broad river in its pride was seen, With stately woods and fields of loveliest green, To him was now a wilderness; and even Upon the everlasting face of heaven A change had passed—its very light was changed, And shed forth sickness; for he stood estranged From all that he had loved, and every scene Spoke of despair where love and joy had been. Thus desolate he stood, when, lo! a sound Of voices and gay laughter echoed round. Then straight a party issued from the wood, And ere he marked them all before him stood. He gazed, he startled, shook, exclaimed aloud, "Helen!" then burst away, and as a shroud The sombre trees concealed him; but a cry Of sudden anguish echoed a reply To his wild word of misery, though he Heard not its tone of heart-pierced agony. She, whom his fond soul worshipped as its bride, He saw before him by her wooer's side, 'Midst other proud ones. 'Twas a sight like death— Death on his very heart. The balmy breath Of the calm night struck on his brow with fire; For each fierce passion, burning in its ire, Raged in his bosom as a with'ring flame, And scarce he knew he madly breathed her name; But, as a bark before the tempest tost, Rushed from the scene, exclaiming wildly, "Lost!"
Two days of sorrow slowly round had crept, And Helen lonely in her chamber wept, Shunning her father's guests, and shunning, too, The glance of rage and scorn which now he threw Upon the child that e'er to him had been Dear as immortal hope, when o'er the scene Of human life, death, slow as twilight, lowers. She was the sunlight of his widowed hours— The all he loved, the glory of his eye, His hope by day, the sole remaining tie That linked him with the world; and rudely now That link seemed broken; and upon his brow Wrath lay in gloom; while, from his very feet, He spurned the being he was wont to meet With outstretched arms of fondness and of pride, While all the father's feelings in a tide Of transport gushed. But now she wept alone, Shunning and shunned; and still the bitter tone In which she heard her Edmund breathe her name, Rang in her heaving bosom; and the flame That lit his eye with frenzy and despair, Upon her naked spirit seemed to glare With an accusing glance; yet, while her tears Were flowing silently, as hours and years Flow down the tide of time, one whom she loved, And who from childhood's days had faithful proved, Approached her weeping, and within her hand A packet placed, as Edmund's last command! Wild throbbed her heart, and tears a moment fled, While, tremblingly, she broke the seal, and read; Then wept, and sobbed aloud, and read again, These farewell words, of passion and of pain.
Helen!—farewell!—I write but could not speak That parting word of bitterness; the cheek Grows pale when the tongue utters it; the knell Which tells "the grave is ready!" and doth swell On the dull wind, tolling—"the dead—the dead!" Sounds not more desolate. It is a dread And fearful thing to be of hope bereft, As if the soul itself had died, and left The body living—feeling in its breast The death of deaths, its everlasting guest! Such is my cheerless bosom; 'tis a tomb Where Hope lies buried in eternal gloom, And Love mourns o'er it—yes, my Helen—Love— Like the sad wailings of a widowed dove Over its rifled nest. Yet blame me not, That I, a lowly peasant's son, forgot The gulf between our stations. Could I gaze Upon the glorious sun, and see its rays Fling light and beauty round me, and remain Dead to its power, while on the lighted plain The humblest weed looked up in love, and spread Its leaves before it! The vast sea doth wed The simple brook; the bold lark soars on high, Bounds from its humble nest and woos the sky; Yea, the frail ivy seeks and loves to cling Round the proud branches of the forest's king: Then blame me not;—thou wilt not, canst not blame; Our sorrows, hopes, and joys have been the same— Been one from childhood; but the dream is past, And stern realities at length have cast Our fates asunder. Yet, when thou shalt see Proud ones before thee bend the suppliant knee, And kiss thy garment while they woo thy hand, Spurn not the peasant boy who dared to stand Before thee, in the rapture of his heart, And woo thee as thine equal. Courtly art May find more fitting phrase to charm thine ear, But, dearest, mayst thou find them as sincere! And, oh! by every past and hallowed hour! By the lone tree that formed our trysting bower! By the fair moon, and all the stars of night, That round us threw love's holiest, dearest light! By infant passion's first and burning kiss! By every witness of departed bliss! Forget me not, loved one! forget me not! For, oh, to know that I am not forgot— That thou wilt still retain within thy breast Some thought of him who loved you first and best— To know but this, would in my bosom be Like one faint star seen from the pathless sea By the bewildered mariner. Once more, Maid of my heart, farewell! A distant shore Must be thy Edmund's home—though where the soul Is as a wilderness; from pole to pole The desolate in heart may ceaseless roam, Nor find on earth that spot of heaven—a home! But be thou happy!—be my Helen blessed!— Thou wilt be happy! Oh! those words have pressed Thoughts on my brain on which I may not dwell! Again, farewell!—my Helen, fare-thee-well!
A gallant bark was gliding o'er the seas, And, like a living mass, before the breeze, Swept on majestic, as a thing of mind Whose spirit held communion with the wind, Rearing and rising o'er the billowed tide, As a proud steed doth toss its head in pride. Upon its deck young Edmund silent stood— A son of sadness; and his mournful mood Grew day by day, while wave on wave rolled by, And he their homeward current with a sigh Followed with fondness. Still the vessel bore The wanderer onward from his native shore, Till in a distant land he lonely stood 'Midst city crowds in more than solitude.
There long he wandered, without aim or plan, Till disappointment whispered, Act as man! But though it cool the fever of the brain, And shake, untaught, presumption's idle reign, Bring folly to its level, and bid hope Before the threshold of attainment stop, Still—when its blastings thwart our every scheme, When humblest wishes seem an idle dream, And the bare bread of life is half denied— Such disappointments humble not our pride; But do they change the temper of the soul, Change every word and action, and enrol The nobler mind with things of basest name— With idleness, dishonesty, and shame! It hath its bounds, and thus far it is well To check presumption—visions wild to quell; Then 'tis the chastening of a father's hand— All wholesome, all expedient. But to stand Writhing beneath the unsparing lash, and be Trampled on veriest earth, while misery Stems the young blood, or makes it freeze with care, And on the tearless eyeballs writes, Despair! Oh! this is terrible!—and it doth throw Upon the brow such early marks of woe, That men seem old ere they have well been young; Their fond hopes perish, and their hearts are wrung With such dark feelings—misanthropic gloom, Spite of their natures, haunts them to the tomb.
Now, Edmund 'midst the bustling throng appears One old in wretchedness, though young in years; For he had struggled with an angry world, Had felt misfortune's billows o'er him hurled, And strove against its tide—where wave meets wave Like huge leviathans sporting wild, and lave Their mountain breakers round with circling sweep, Till, drawn within the vortex of their deep, The man of ruin struggleth—but in vain; Like dying swimmers who, in breathless pain Despairing, strike at random!—It would be A subject worth the schoolmen's scrutiny, To trace each simple source from whence arose The strong and mingled stream of human woes. But here we may not. It is ours alone To make the lonely wanderer's fortunes known; And now, in plain but faithful colours dressed, To paint the feelings of his hopeless breast.
His withered prospects blacken—wounds await— The grave grows sunlight to his darker fate. All now is gall and bitterness within, And thoughts, once sternly pure, half yield to sin. His sickened soul, in all its native pride, Swells 'neath the breast that tattered vestments hide Disdained, disdaining; while men flourish, he Still stands a stately though a withered tree. But, Heavens! the agony of the moment when Suspicion stamped the smiles of other men; When friends glanced doubts, and proudly prudent grew, His counsellors, and his accusers too!
Picture his pain, his misery, when first His growing wants their proud concealment burst; When the first tears start from his stubborn soul. Big, burning, solitary drops, that roll Down his pale cheek—the momentary gush Of human weakness—till the whirlwind rush Of pride, of shame, had dashed them from his eye, And his swollen heart heaved mad with agony! Then, then the pain—the infinity of feeling— Words fail to paint its anguish. Reason, reeling, Staggered with torture through his burning brain, While his teeth gnashed with bitterness and pain; Reflection grew a scorpion, speech had fled, And all but madness and despair were dead.
He slept to dream of death, or worse than death; For death were bliss, and the convulsive wrath Of living torture peace, to the dread weight That pressed upon sensation, while the light Of reason gleamed but horror, and strange hosts Of hideous phantasies, like threatening ghosts. Grotesquely mingled, preyed upon his brain: Then would he dream of yesterdays again, Or view to-morrow's terrors thick surround His fancy with forebodings. While the sound Of his own breath broke frightful on his ear, He, bathed in icy sweat, would start in fear, Trembling and pale; then did his glances seem Sad as the sun's last, conscious, farewell gleam Upon the eve of judgment. Such appear His days and nights whom hope has ceased to cheer But grov'llers know it not. The supple slave Whose worthiest record is a nameless grave, Whose truckling spirit bends and bids him kneel, And fawn and vilely kiss a patron's heel— Even he can cast the cursed suspicious eye, Inquire the cause of this—the reason why? And stab the sufferer. Then, the tenfold pain To feel a gilded butterfly's disdain!— A kicking ass, without an ass's sense, Whose only virtue is, pounds, shillings, pence; And now, while ills on ills beset him round, The scorn of such the hopeless Edmund found.
But hope returned, and on the wanderer's ear Breathed its life-giving watchword, Persevere! And torn by want, and struggling with despair, These were his words, his fixed resolve and prayer, "Hail perseverance, rectitude of heart, Through life thy aid, thy conquering power impart; Repulsed and broken, blasted, be thou ever A portion of my spirit! Leave me never; Firm, fixed in purpose, watchful, unsubdued, Until my hand hath grasped the prize pursued."
Now, list thee, love, again, and I will tell Of other scenes, and changes which befell The hero of our tale. A wanderer still, Like a lost sheep upon a wintry hill— Wild through his heart rush want and memory now, Like whirlwinds meeting on a mountain's brow; Slow in his veins the thin blood coldly creeps; He starts, he dreams, and as he walks, he sleeps! He is a stranger—houseless, fainting, poor, Without the shelter of one friendly door; The cold wind whistles through his garments bare, And shakes the night dew from his freezing hair. You weep to hear his woes, and ask me why, When sorrows gathered and no aid was nigh, He sought not then the cottage of his birth, The peace and comforts of his father's hearth? That also thou shalt hear. Scarce had he left His parents' home, ere ruthless fortune reft His friend and father of his little all. Crops failed, and friends proved false; but, worse than all, The wife of his young love, bowed down with grief For her sole child, like an autumnal leaf Nipped by the frosts of night, drooped day by day, As a fair morning cloud dissolves away. Her eyes were dimmed with tears, and o'er her cheek, Like a faint rainbow, broke a fitful streak, Coming and vanishing. She weaker grew, And scarce the half of their misfortunes knew, Until the law's stern minions, as their prey, Relentless seized the bed on which she lay. "My husband! Oh my son!" she faintly cried; Sank on her pillow, and before them died. Even they shed tears. The widowed husband, there, Stood like the stricken ghost of dumb despair; Then sobbed aloud, and, sinking on the bed, Kissed the cold forehead of his sainted dead. Then went he forth a lone and ruined man; But, ere three moons their circling journeys ran, Pride, like a burning poison in his breast, Scorched up his life, and gave the ruined rest; Yet not till he, with tottering steps and slow, Regained the vale where Tweed's fair waters flow, And there, where pines around the churchyard wave, He breathed his last upon his partner's grave!
I may not tell what ills o'er Edmund passed; Enough to say that fortune smiled at last. In the far land where the broad Ganges rolls; Where nature's bathed in glory, and the souls Of me alone dwell in a starless night, While all around them glows and lives in light: There now we find him, honoured, trusted, loved, For from the humblest stations he had proved Faithful in all, and trust on trust obtained, Till, if not wealth, he independence gained— Earth's noblest blessing, and the dearest given To man beneath the sacred hope of heaven. And still, as time on silent pinions flew, His fortunes flourished and his honours grew; But as they grew, an anxious hope, that long Had in his bosom been but as the song Of viewless echo, indistinct, and still Receding from us, grew as doth a rill Embraced by others and increasing ever, Till distant plains confess the sweeping river. And, need I say, that hope referred alone To her who in his heart had fixed her throne, And reigned within it still, the sovereign queen. Yet darkest visions oft would flit between His fondest fancies, as the thought returned That she for whom his soul still restless burned, Would be another's now, while haply he, Lost to her heart, would to her memory be As the remembrance of a pleasing dream, Vague and forgotten half, but which we deem Worthy no waking thought. Thus years rolled by; Hope wilder glowed and brightened in his eye. Nor knew he why he hoped; but though despair The Enthusiast's heart may madly grasp, and glare Even on his soul, it may not long remain A dweller on his breast, for hope doth reign There as o'er its inheritance; and he Lives in fond visions of futurity.
Twelve slow and chequered years had passed.—Again A stately vessel ploughed the pathless main, And waves and days together glided by, Till, as a cloud on the Enthusiast's eye, His island home rose from the ocean's breast— A thing of strength, of glory, and of rest— The giant of the deep!—while on his sight Burst the blue hills, and cliffs of dazzling white— Stronger than death! and beautiful as strong! Kissed by the sea, and worshipped with its song! "Home of my fathers!" the Enthusiast cried; "Their home—ay, and their grave!" he said and sighed. But gazing still upon its glorious strand, Again he cried, "My own, my honoured land! Fair freedom's home and mine! Britannia! hail! Queen of the mighty seas; to whom each gale From every point of heaven a tribute brings, And on thy shores earth's farthest treasure flings! Land of my heart and birth! at sight of thee My spirit boundeth, like a bird set free From long captivity! Thy very air Is fragrant with remembrance! Thou dost bear, On thy Herculean cliffs, the rugged seal Of godlike Liberty! The slave might kneel Upon thy shore, bending the willing knee, To kiss the sacred earth that sets him free! Even I feel freer as I reach thy shore, And my soul mingles with the ocean's roar That hymns around thee! Birthplace of the brave! My own—my glorious home!—the very wave, Rolling in strength and beauty, leaps on high, As if rejoicing on thy beach to die! My loved—my father-land! thy faults to me Are as the specks which men at noontide see Upon the blinding sun, and dwindle pale Beneath thy virtue's and thy glory's veil. Land of my birth! where'er thy sons may roam, Their pride—their boast—their passport is their home!"
'Twas early spring; and winter lingered still On the cold summit of the snow-capt hill; The day was closing, and slow darkness stole Over the earth as sleep steals on the soul, Sealing the eyelids up—unconscious, slow, Till sleep and darkness reign, and we but know, On waking, that we slept—but may not tell; Nor marked we when sleep's darkness on us fell. A lonely stranger then bent anxious o'er A rustic gate before the cottage door— The snow-white cottage where the chestnuts grew, And o'er its roof their arching branches threw. It was young Edmund, gazing, through his tears, On the now cheerless home of early years— While as the grave of buried joys it stood, Its white walls shadowed through the leafless wood; The once arched woodbine waving wild and bare; The parterre, erst the object of his care, With early weeds o'ergrown; and slow decay Had changed or swept all else he loved away. Upon the sacred threshold, once his own, He silent stood, unwelcomed and unknown; Gazed, sighed, and turned away; then sadly strayed To the cold, dreamless churchyard, where were laid His parents, side by side. A change had come O'er all that he had loved: his home was dumb, And through the vale no accent met his ear That he was wont in early days to hear; While childhood's scenes fell dimly on his view, As a dull picture of a spot we knew, Where we but cold and lifeless forms can trace. But no bold truth, nor one familiar face.
Night sat upon the graves, like gloom to gloom, As silent treading o'er each lowly tomb, Thoughtful and sad, he lonely strove to trace, Amidst the graves, his father's resting-place. And well the spot he knew; yea, it alone Was all now left that he might call his own Of all that was his kindred's; and although He looked for no proud monument to show The tomb he sought, yet mem'ry marked the spot Where slept his ancestors; and had it not, He deemed—he felt—that if his feet but trode Upon his parents' dust, the voice of God, As it of old flashed through a prophet's breast, Would in his bosom whisper, "Here they rest!" 'Twas an Enthusiast's thought;—but, oh! to tread, With darkness round us, 'midst the voiceless dead, With not an eye but Heaven's upon our face— At such a moment, and in such a place, Seeking the dead we love—who would not feel. Yea, and believe as he did then, and kneel On friend or father's grave, and kiss the sod As in the presence of our father's God!
He reached the spot; he startled—trembled—wept; And through his bosom wildest feelings swept. He sought a nameless grave, but o'er the place Where slept the generations of his race, A marble pillar rose. "Oh Heaven!" he cried, "Has avaricious Ruin's hand denied The parents of my heart a grave with those Of their own kindred?—have their ruthless foes Grasped this last, sacred spot we called our own? If but a weed upon that grave had grown, I would have honoured it!—have called it brother! Even for my father's sake, and thine, my mother! But that cold marble freezes up my heart, And seems to tell me that I have no part With its proud dead; while through the veil of night The name it bears yet mocks my anxious sight." Thus cried he bitterly; then, trembling, placed His finger on the marble, while he traced Its letters one by one, and o'er and o'er;— Grew blind with eagerness, and shook the more, As with each touch, the feeling o'er him came— The unseen letters formed his father's name!
While thus, with beating heart, pursuing still His anxious task, slow o'er a neighbouring hill The broad moon rose, by not a cloud concealed, Lit up the valley, and the tomb revealed!— His parents' tomb!—and now, with wild surprise, He saw the column burst upon his eyes— Fair, chaste, and beautiful; and on it read These lines in mem'ry of his honoured dead: "Beneath repose the virtuous and the just, Mingled in death, affection's hallowed dust. In token of their worth, this simple stone Is, as a daughter's tribute, reared by one Who loved them as such, and their name would save As virtue's record o'er their lowly grave." "Helen!" he fondly cried, "thy hand is here!" And the cold grave received his burning tear; Then knelt he o'er it—clasped his hands in prayer; But, while yet lone and fervid kneeling there, Before his eyes, upon the grave appear Primroses twain—the firstlings of the year,— And bursting forth between the blossomed two, Twin opening buds in simple beauty grew. He gazed—he loved them as a living thing; And wondrous thoughts and strange imagining Those simple flowers spoke to his listening soul In superstition's whispers; whose control The wisest in their secret moments feel, And blush at weakness they may not reveal.
He left the place of death; and, rapt in thought, The trysting-tree of love's young years he sought; And, as its branches opened on his sight, Bathing their young buds in the pale moonlight, A whispered voice, melodious, soft, and low, As if an angel mourned for mortal woe, Borne on the ev'ning breeze, came o'er his ear: He knew the voice—his heart stood still to hear! And each sense seem'd a listener; but his eye Sought the sad author of the wand'ring sigh; And 'neath the tree he loved, a form as fair As summer in its noontide, knelt in prayer. He clasped his hands—his brow, his bosom burned; He felt the past—the buried past returned! Still, still he listened, till, like words of flame, Through her low prayer he heard his whispered name! "Helen!" he wildly cried—"my own—my blest!" Then bounded forth.—I cannot tell the rest. There was a shriek of joy: heart throbbed on heart, And hands were locked as though they ne'er might part; Wild words were spoken—bliss tumultuous rolled, And all the anguish of the past was told.
Upon her love long had her father frowned, Till tales of Edmund's rising fortunes found Their way across the wilderness of sea, And reached the valley of his birth. But she, With truth unaltered, and with heart sincere, Through the long midnight of each hopeless year That marked his absence, shunned the proffered hand Of wealth and rank; and met her sire's command With tears and bended knees, until his breast Again a father's tenderness confessed.
'Twas May—bright May: bird, flower, and shrub, and tree, Rejoiced in light; while, as a waveless sea Of living music, glowed the clear blue sky, And every fleecy cloud that floated by Appeared an isle of song!—as all around And all above them echoed with the sound Of joyous birds, in concert loud and sweet, Chanting their summer hymns. Beneath their feet The daisy put its crimson liv'ry on; While from beneath each crag and mossy stone Some gentle flower looked forth; and love and life Through the Creator's glorious works were rife, As though his Spirit in the sunbeams said, "Let there be life and love!" and was obeyed. Then, in the valley danced a joyous throng, And happy voices sang a bridal song; Yea, tripping jocund on the sunny green, The old and young in one glad dance were seen; Loud o'er the plain their merry music rang, While cripple granddames, smiling, sat and sang The ballads of their youth; and need I say 'Twas Edmund's and fair Helen's wedding-day? Then, as he led her forth in joy and pride, A hundred voices blessed him and his bride. Yet scarce he heard them; for his every sense, Lost in delight and ecstasy intense, Dwelt upon her; and made their blessings seem As words breathed o'er us in a wand'ring dream.
Now months and years in quick succession flew, And joys increased, and still affection grew. For what is youth's first love to wedded joy? Or what the transports of the ardent boy To the fond husband's bliss, which, day by day, Lights up his spirit with affection's ray? Man knows not what love is, till all his cares The partner of his bosom soothes and shares— Until he find her studious to please— Watching his wishes!—Oh, 'tis acts like these That lock her love within his heart, and bind Their souls in one, and form them of one mind. Love flowed within their bosoms as a tide, While the calm rapture of their own fireside Each day grew holier, dearer; and esteem Blended its radiance with the glowing beam Of young affection, till it seemed a sun Melting their wishes and their thoughts as one.
Eight years passed o'er them in unclouded joy, And now by Helen's side a lovely boy, Looked up and called her, Mother; and upon The knee of Edmund climbed a little one— A blue-eyed prattler—as her mother fair. They were their parents' joy, their hope, their care; But, while their cup with happiness ran o'er, And the long future promised joys in store, Death dropped its bitterness within the cup, And its late pleasant waters mingled up With wailing and with woe. Like early flowers, Which the slow worm with venomed tooth devours, The roses left their two fair children's cheeks, Or came and went like fitful hectic streaks, As day by day they drooped: their sunny eyes Grew lustreless and sad; and yearning cries— Such as wring life-drops from a parent's heart— Their lisping tongues now uttered. The keen dart Of the unerring archer, Death, had sunk Deep in their bosoms, and their young blood drunk; Yet the affection of the children grew, As its dull, wasting poison wandered through Their tender breasts; and still they ever lay With their arms round each other. On the day That ushered in the night on which they died, The boy his mother kissed, and fondly cried, "Weep not, dear mother!—mother, do not weep! You told me and my sister, death was sleep— That the good Saviour, who from heaven came down, And who for our sake wore a thorny crown— You often told us how He came to save Children like us, and conquered o'er the grave; And I have read in his blessed book, How in his hand a little child He took, And said that such in heaven should greatest be: Then, weep not, mother—do not weep for me; For if I be angel when I die, I'll watch you, mother—I'll be ever nigh; Where'er you go, I'll hover o'er your head; Then, though I'm buried, do not think me dead! But let my sister's grave and mine be one, And lay us by the pretty marble stone, To which our father dear was wont to go, And where, in spring, the sweet primroses blow; Then, weep not, mother!" But she wept the more; While the sad father his affliction bore Like one in whom all consciousness was dead, Save that he wrung his hands and rocked his head, And murmured oft this short and troubled prayer— "O God! look on me, and my children spare!"
Their little arms still round each other clung, When their last sleep death's shadow o'er them flung! And still they slept, and fainter grew their breath— Faint and more faint, until their sleep was death. Deep, but unmurmured was the mother's grief, For in her FAITH she sought and found relief; Yea, while she mourned a daughter and a son, She looked to heaven, and cried, "Thy will be done!" But, oh! the father no such solace found— Dark, cheerless anguish wrapt his spirit round; He was a stranger to the Christian's hope, And in bereavement's hour he sought a prop On which his pierced and stricken soul might lean; Yet, as he sought it, doubts would intervene— Doubts which for years had clouded o'er his soul— Doubts that, with prayers he struggled to control; For though a grounded faith he ne'er had known, He was no prayerless man; but he had grown To thinking manhood from his dreaming youth, A seeker still—a seeker after truth!— An earnest seeker, but his searching care Sought more in books and nature than by prayer; And vain he sought, nor books nor nature gave The hope of hopes that animates the grave! Though, to have felt that hope, he would have changed His station with the mendicant who ranged Homeless from door to door and begged his bread, While heaven hurled its tempest round his head. For what is hunger, pain, or piercing wind, To the eternal midnight of the mind? Or what on earth a horror can impart, Like his who feels engraven on his heart The word, Annihilation! Often now The sad Enthusiast would strike his brow, And cry aloud, with deep and bitter groans, "How have I sinned, that both my little ones— The children of my heart—should be struck down! O Thou Almighty Spirit! if thy frown Is now upon me, turn aside thy wrath, And guide me—lead, oh lead me in the path Of heaven's own truth; direct my faith aright, Teach me to hope, and lend thy Spirit's light."
Thus, long his soul as a frail bark was tossed On a dark sea, with helm and compass lost, Till she who ever to his breast had been The star of hope and love, with brow serene, As if no sorrow e'er her heart had riven, But her eye calmly looked through time to heaven— Soothed his sad spirit, and with anxious care Used much of reason, and yet more of prayer; Till bright'ning hope dawned gently o'er his soul, Like the sun's shadow at the freezing pole, Seen by the shiv'ring Greenlander, or e'er Its front of fire does his horizon cheer; While brighter still that ardent hope became, Till in his bosom glowed the living flame Of Christian faith—faith in the Saviour sent, By the eternal God, to preach, "Repent And be ye saved."—-Then peace, as sunshine, fell On the Enthusiast's bosom, and the swell Of anguish died away, as o'er the deep The waves lie down when winds and tempests sleep.
Time glided on, and wedded joys still grew As beauty deepens on an autumn view With tinges rich as heaven! and, though less green, More holy far than summer's fairest scene. Now o'er the happy pair, at life's calm eve Age like a shadow fell, and seemed to weave So fair a twilight round each silvered brow, That they ne'er felt so young, so blest as now; Though threescore winters o'er their path had fled, And left the snow of years on either head. For age drew round them, but they knew it not— The once bright face of youth was half forgot; But still the young, the unchanged heart was there, And still his aged Helen seemed as fair As when, with throbbing heart and giddy bliss, He from her lips first snatched the virgin kiss!
Last scene of all: An old and widowed man, Whose years had reached life's farthest, frailest span, And o'er whose head, as every moment flew, Eternity its dark'ning twilight threw, Lay in his silent chamber, dull and lone, Watching the midnight stars, as one by one They as slow, voiceless spirits glided past The window of his solitude, and cast Their pale light on his brow; and thus he lay Till the bright star that ushers in the day Rose on his sight, and, with its cheering beams, Lit in his bosom youth's delicious dreams; Yea, while he gazed upon that golden star, Rolling in light, like love's celestial car, He deemed he in its radiance read the while His children's voices and his Helen's smile; And as it passed, and from his sight withdrew, His longing spirit followed it! and flew To heaven and deathless bliss—from earth and care— To meet his Helen and his children there!
THE ROMAUNT OF SIR PEREGRINE AND THE LADY ETHELINE.
Of a maiden's beauty the world-wide praise Was a thing of duty in chivalrous days, When her envied name was a nation's fame, And raised in knights' breasts an emulous flame, Which lighted to honour and grand emprise— Things always so lovely in ladies' eyes; For a true woman's favour will ever be won By that which is noble and nobly done.
Sir Peregrine sounded his bugle horn With a note of love and a blast of scorn; Of love to the Ladye Etheline Up in yon Castle of Eaglestein, Whose beauty had passed o'er Christian land As a philter to nerve the resolute hand Of many a knight in the goodly throng Who gathered round Godfrey of Buglion, With Richard, and Raymond, and Leopold, And thousands of others as brave and bold; And a blast of scorn to every knight Who would dare to challenge his envied right. The porte yields quick to the warder's hand By the Yerl's consent, by the Yerl's command; And the ladye, who knew the winding sound, As the tra-la-la rang all around, Has opened her casement up on high, And thrown him the kiss of her courtesy.
"I am come, fair ladye, to beg of thee, As here I crave upon bended knee, That thou wilt grant unto my prayer A single lock of thy golden hair, To wear in a lockheart over my breast, And carry with me to the balmy East— The land where the Saviour met his death, The sacred Salem of saving faith, Which holds the sepulchre of our Lord, Defiled by a barbarous Paynim horde. Grant me the meed for which I burn, And, by our Ladye, on my return, We will wedded be in the sacred bands Of a sacrament sealed by holy hands."
The ladye has, with a gesture bland, Taken her scissors into her hand, And clipt a lock of her auburn hair, And yielded it to his ardent prayer; But a pearly drop from her weeping eyes Hath fallen upon the golden prize. "Ah! blessed drop," said the knight, and smiled— "This tear was from thine heart beguiled, And I take it to be an omen of good, For tears, my love, are purified blood, That impart a beauty to female eyes, And vouch for her kindly sympathies." "Ah! no, ah! no," the maid replied— "An omen of ill," and she heavily sighed; Then a flood came gushing adown her cheek, Nor further word could the damoiselle speak. Then said Sir Peregrine, smiling still, "If tears, my love, are an omen of ill, The way to deprive them of evil spell Is to kiss them away, and—all is well!" And he took in his arms the yielding maid, And kissed them away, as he had said.
The warder has oped the porteluse again, To let Sir Peregrine forth with his train. Loud spoke the horn o'er fell and dell, "Fare thee—fare thee—fare thee well;" But Etheline, as she waved her hand, Could not those flowing tears command, And thought the bugle in sounds did say, "Fare thee—fare thee well for aye."
A year has passed: at Eaglestein There sat the Ladye Etheline; Her eyes were wet, and her cheek was pale, Her sweet voice dwindled into a wail; For though through the world's busy crowd The deeds of the war were sung aloud, And the name of Sir Peregrine was enrolled With Godfrey's among the brave and bold, No letter had come from her knight so dear, To belie the spell of the lock and tear. The Countess would weep, and the Yerl would say, "Alas! for the hour when he went away." But the womb of old Time is everly full, And the storm-wind bloweth after a lull. Hark! a horn has sounded both loud and clear, And echoed around both far and near; It is Sir Ronald from Palestine— Sir Ronald, a suitor of Etheline. "I have come," said he, "through pain and peril, To tell unto thee, most noble Yerl: Woe to the sword of the fierce Soldan, Who slew our most gallant capitan! Sir Peregrine, in an unhappy hour, Fell wounded before High Salem's tower, And ere he died he commissioned me To bear to Scotland, and give to thee, This bit of the genuine haly rood Dipt in his heart's outpouring blood, That thou mightst give it to Etheline, As a relic of dead Sir Peregrine."
All Eaglestein vale is yellow and sere, The ancient elms seem withered and bare, The river asleep in its rushy bed, The waters are green, and the grass is red, The roses are dead in the sylvan bowers, Where oft in the dewy evening hours, Ere yet the fairies had sought the dell, And the merle was singing her day-farewell, The Lady Etheline would recline And think of her dear Sir Peregrine: All was cheerless now, forlorn, As if they missed her at early morn; At noontide and at evening fall They sorrowed for her, the spirit of all.
In the solary, up in the western wing, The Countess and Yerl sat sorrowing For one so young, so gentle, and fair, Their only child, lying ailing there, Waning and waning slowly away, Yet waxing more beautiful every day, As if she were drawing from spheres above, Before she got there, the spirit of love, Which shone as a light through the silken lire, Pure as was that of the vestal fire; And ever she kissed in hysterical mood The bit of the cross all red with blood. "Oh mother dear! I wish—I fear The time of my going is drawing near: Last night, at the mirk and midnight hour, A voice seemed to come through my chamber door— For the ear of the dying is tender and fine— And three times it sounded Etheline; And it is true, as I've heard say, Such voices are calls to come away— The voices of angels hovering near, Who wish us to join them in yonder sphere." "Oh! no, oh! no, my own dear child, Thine overfine ears have thee beguiled: It was the Yerl, when in a dream, Who three times called thy dear-loved name; I heard the call as awake I lay, And thou mayst believe what now I say."
"Oh mother! oh mother! what do I hear? It is the nightingale singing clear; I have heard the notes in Italian clime, And remember them since that early time; And it is true, as I've heard say, That when the nightingale sings by day, The dying who hears it will pass away." "No, no, my child, the song you hear Is that of the throstle-cock singing clear: I see him upon the linden tree, And you, if you like, may also see. I know its speckled breast too well; It is not, dear child, the nightingale."
When this she heard, the maiden sighed, As if she were vexed she was denied The hope of passing quickly away To yon regions bright of eternal day.
"Oh mother! list, what do I hear? Sir Peregrine's horn is winding clear; Ah, I know the sound, as it seems to say In its windings, 'Hali-hali-day;' And it is true, as I've heard tell, When a dead man's horn sounds loud and shrill, It is a true sign to his earthly bride, He will wait for her spirit at evening tide."
The Countess turned her face to the Yerl; It was true what was said by the dying girl; It was Sir Peregrine's horn they heard, And they both sat mute, nor whispered a word, For they wondered much, and were sore afraid Of mysteries working about the maid, Who, as she lay in her ecstasie, Kept muttering slow an Ave Marie: "Oh, Lady sweet! the sign hath come, Happy the maid whom her knight calls home; It is the nightingale that I hear, The golden sun is shining clear; And I've heard tell in time past gone, Blessed is the bier that the sun shines on."
And, as they listened, there came to their ear The grating of the portcullis gear, And a cry of fear from the ballion green, As if the retainers a ghost had seen: Tramp and tramp on the scaliere, And along the corridor leading there; The door is opened, and lo! comes in The leal and the living Sir Peregrine. "Holy Maria!" the Countess cried, "Holy Maria!" the Yerl replied; The maid looked up, then sank her head, As an Ave Marie again she said: "Ave Marie! my sweet ladye, Ave Marie! I come to thee. Ah, soft and clear those eyes of thine, That look so kindly into mine; Oh Ladye sweet! stretch forth thy hand To welcome me to yon happy land; Oh Virgin! open thy bosom fair, That thy poor child may nestle there;" Then she laid her arms across her breast, And gently, softly, sank to rest. The throstle-cock's voice rang out more clear On the linden tree there growing near, And the sun burst forth with brighter ray On the couch where her spirit had passed away.
Over hollow, and over height, Sir Peregrine sought that caitiff knight Who had wrought such woe to Eaglestein— To him and the Lady Etheline. The time has come and the wish made good, The villain he met in the Calder Wood. "Hold, hold, thou basest dastard Theou, For Ceorl's a name thou'rt far below; Ten lives like thine would not suffice To be to my soul a sacrifice; There is the glaive, it is thine to try. Or with it or without it thou must die." But the caitiff laughed a laugh of scorn: "Come on, thou bastard of bastards born." Their falchions are gleaming in bright mid-day: They rushed like tigers upon their prey; Sir Peregrine's eyes flashed liquid fire, The caitiff's shone out with unholy ire; But victory goes not aye with right, Nor the race to those the quickest in flight. Sir Peregrine's fury o'ershot his aim: His sword breaks through—his arm is maim! With nothing to wield, with nothing to ward. No word of mercy or quarter heard; With a breast-wound deep as his heart he lies, A look of scorn—Sir Peregrine dies.
Behind the crumbling walls of Eaglestein, The tomb of the old Yerls may still be seen, And there long mouldering lay close side by side, Sir Peregrine the bold and his fair bride; Their ashes scattered now and blown away, As thine and mine will be some coming day. This world is surely an enchanted theme, A thing of seims and shows—a wild fantastic dream.
THE LEGEND OF ALLERLEY HALL.
The tower-bell has sounded the midnight hour, Old Night has unfolded her sable pall, Darkness o'er hamlet, darkness o'er hall, Loud screams the raven on Allerley Tower;[A] A glimmering gleam from yon casement high Is all that is seen by the passer-by.
[Footnote A: In Ayrshire, as I have heard, but I know of no trace of the family. The old distich may be traced to some other county:
"The Allerley oak stands high, abune trees; When the raven croaks there, an Allerley dees."
Such rhymes have generally something to rest upon, but I cannot associate this with any county, far less a family.]
All things are neglected, time-smitten there, Crazy and cobwebbed, mildewed and worn, Moth-eaten, weeviled, dusty, forlorn, Everything owning to waning and wear; From the baron's hall to the lady's bower NEGLECT is the watchword in Allerley Tower.
There is silence within old Allerley Hall, Save the raven without with her "croak, croak," And the cricket's "click, click," in the panels of oak, Behind the dim arras that hangs on the wall; So silent and sad in the midnight hour, Yet life may still linger in Allerley Tower.
An old woman sits by a carved old bed— The drape of green silk, all yellow and sere, The gold-coloured fringes dingy and drear; And she nods and nods her silvery head, And sometimes she looks with a half-drowsy air. To notice how Death may be working there.
Lord William lies there, care-worn and pale, All his sunlight of spirit has passed away, And left to him only that twilight of grey Which ushers men into the long dark vale; Fast ebbing his life, yet feeling no pain, Save a memory working within his brain.
He had sought the world's crowd for forty years, But only a little relief to borrow From the heartfelt pangs of that early sorrow Which had drawn him away from his gay compeers, And made him oft sigh, with a pain-begot scorn, That into this world he ever was born.
But being brought in, as a victim, to tarry, With him, as with all, it is how to get out With no more of pain than you can't go without, Where all have original sin to carry; But his memory brightened, as strength waxed low, Of the grief he had borne forty years ago.
There is silence and sadness in Allerley Tower; The taper is glimmering with murky snot, The raven croak-croaking with rusty throat, And the cricket click-clicking at midnight hour; And the woman mope-moping by the bed, Still nodding and nodding her drowsy head.
"Now bring me, old nurse, from that escritoire, A packet tied up with a ribbon of blue;" Ah! well, though now faded, that ribbon he knew, Which his fingers had bound forty years before. He shuddered to look, yet afraid to wait, Lest Death might render his vision too late.
That ribbon he drew in a calm despair: Behold now revealed to his wondering eyes A face of all beautiful harmonies, Set fair among ringlets of golden hair; With eyes so blue and a smile of heaven, Which haply some angel to her had given.
Beside that miniature lay a scroll, As written by him forty years before: He read every word of it o'er and o'er, And every word of it flashed through his soul, In a flood of that bright and awakened light Which slumbers and sleeps through a long, long night.
"I loved my love early, the young Lady May; I saw her bloom rarely in youth's rosy day; But her eye looked afar to some orb that was shining, As if for that sphere her spirit was pining.
"Faint in the light of day seemed what was near her; Visions far, far away, clearer and clearer; Still, as flesh wears away spirits that bear it, Eyeing yon milky way, sigh to be near it.
"Lady May, she is dying—she hears some one whisper, Near where she's lying, 'Come away, sister'— Draw down each silky lid—draw them down over Eyes whose last light on earth shone on her lover.
"My lost Lady May in yon vault now is sleeping; Her sisters who go to pray come away weeping; And while I yet linger here, some one elates me, Whispering into my ear, 'Yonder she waits thee.'"
And thus they had waited until this last day, But the hour of their meeting was coming apace; And as he still gazed on that beautiful face, His spirit so weary passed gently away; And the nurse would unfold those fingers so cold, Which still of that picture retained the hold.
There's the silence of death in Allerley Tower, The taper gone out with its murky smoke, The raven has finished her croak-croak, The cricket is silent at midnight hour; The last of the Allerley lords lies there, And Allerley goes to a distant heir.
In yon tomb where was laid his young Lady May, Lord William sleeps now by the side of her bier; And the Allerley lords and ladies lie near. But nearest of neighbours they nothing can say: No "Good morrow, my lord," when the day is begun, No "My lady, good night," when the day it is done.
THE LEGEND OF THE LADY KATHARINE.
'Twas at a time now long past gone, And well gone if 'twill stay, When our good land seemed made alone For lords and ladies gay; When brown bread was the poor man's fare, For which he toiled and swet, When men were used as nowt or deer. And heads were only worth the wear When crowned with coronet.
There was a right good noble knight, Sir Bullstrode was his name[A]— A name which he acquired by fight, And with it meikle fame. Upon his burnished shield he bore A head of bull caboshed (For so they speak in herald lore), And for his crest he aptly wore Two bones of marrow crossed.
[Footnote A: A knight called Bullstrode, as having got his name in the way set forth, is mentioned by Guillim; but whether he is the same as he who figures in the Scotch legend I do not know.]
For he had slain in tournay set Full many a blazoned fool; Nor would he deem his praise complete Till he had slain a bull. He threw the gauntlet at the brute, Which was received with scorn, For Taurus straight the gauntlet took, Then in the air the bauble shook, And tossed it on his horn.
To fight they went with might and main, And fought a good long hour; The knight's long lance was broke in twain— Sir Bull had now the power; The ladies laughed, the barons too, As they Sir Bull admired! But where fair ladies are to view, Who may declare what knight may do, By noble emprise fired?
The knight he paused amid the claque, And threw a look of scorn: Sir Bull has Bullstrode on his back, Who held by either horn; And round the ring, and round the ring, Rushed bull in wild affray, Stamping, roaring, bellowing,— And, stumbling, gave his neck a wring, And Bullstrode won the day.
This valiant knight, by love inspired, Next sued fair Katharine, The daughter of Sir Ravensbeard, A man of ancient line; And he had known the reason good Sir Bullstrode got his name, And wished—if Kate could be subdued— To mix his blue and blazoned blood With one of such a fame.
But when the knights are thus employeed, The lady is in yon glen, There seated by the river side With one, the flower of men— George Allan—a rich yeoman's heir, Who leased her father's land. Yet, though beloved by all the fair, Young Allan might not surely dare To claim this envied hand.
Yet hearts will work, and hearts will steal What high commands deny; And beauty is a thing to feel, Self-chosen by the eye: Nor would fair Katharine had gi'en A touch of Allan's hand For all the honours she could gain From duke or earl, lord or thane, Or knight in all the land.
She knew the price she had to pay For this her secret love; But where's a will there is a way, And Kate she would it prove. The will we know, the way's obscure, Deep in her soul confined; What quick invention might secure, With love for the inspiring power, Was in that maiden's mind.
"Now, Allan," she said, with a silent laugh, In eyes both quaint and keen, "Thou must not fear, for here I swear By Coz. Saint Catharine, 'Twas easier for this doughty knight To hold these horns he dared, Than take for wife by a father's right, Against the spurn of a maiden's spite, The daughter of Ravensbeard."
"No, no, fair lady," George Allan said— With tears his eyes were full— "'Tis easier to force the will of a maid, Than hold by the horns a bull." "Yes! yes! of the maids who say a prayer, Like sisters of orders grey; But Kate admits no craven fear, And she can do what they cannot dare, For she's quicker of parts than they."
It's up in yon chamber well bedight Of the castle of Invercloyd, A maiden sits with a grim sir knight Seated on either side. "I come to thee by a father's right, To issue my last command, That thou concede to this gallant knight, What his noble nature will requite, The guerdon of thy hand."
"And here, upon my bended knee," Sir Bullstrode blandly said, "I pray thee, in knightly courtesie, The grace thy sire hath pled." "Oh yes! a guerdon let it remain, I give thee free consent; But I have a mind, and will maintain, This knight shall only my favour gain In knightly tournament."
"What meaneth the wench?" the father cried, With a fire-flaught in his eye, "What other knight would'st thou invite Sir Bullstrode to defy? Is he a lover? I grant no parle, For I am resolved to know, And wish, by my sword, no better a quarrel; And be he a ceorl, or be he an earl, He goes to shades below."
"No lover is he, my father dear, My champion who shall be; A stranger knight shall for me fight, And shall my fate decree." "Well done! well done!" cried Sir Bullstrode, "That goeth with my gree; May the carrion crow be then abroad, All hungry to feed upon carrion food, That day he fights with me."
"But let this contract," said the maid, "Be written on parchment skin, And signed, and sealed, and witnessed, That surety I may find." Again the father knit his brow, Yet could not he complain, Because Sir Bullstrode wished it so, That all the world might come to know His honour he could maintain.
It's up in yon chamber tapestried, Sits the Lady Katharine; She smiled at a woman's art applied Her own true love to win. And lo! who comes in a tearful way, But her pretty tire-woman, "Hey! hey! what now? good lack-a-day! Such cheeks so pale, and lips like clay; What ails maid Lilian?"
"Oh it is, it is, young mistress mine, All about this valiant knight, Who came to me all drunk with wine, At the dead hour of the night. He seized me struggling to get free, And swore by the goat of Jove, He would me fee, if I would be, La! my lady! I fear to tell it to thee, His left-hand lady-love."
"Ho! ho! my maid, a pretty scene! A brute of noble parts! But 'tis easier to turn a bull by each horn, Than rule two women's hearts. No harems have we in western land, Where a woman's soul is free, To rule weak man by her high command, And rouse by a wave of her wizard wand The fire of his chivalrie."
Lo! round the lists, and round the lists, Bedecked with pennons gay, Environed there with ladies fair, Sir Bullstrode held his way. High mounted on a gallant steed, And armed a-cap-a-pie, His lance well graced by a pennon red, A white plume nodded o'er his head, With ribbons at his knee.
"Why mounts not Kate the dais seat?" The father loudly cried. "She hath not finished her robing yet," A lady quick replied. And now a shout rang all about, Ho! ho! there comes apace, A Cataphract[A] of noble mien, With armour bright as silver sheen, And eke of gentle grace.
[Footnote A: A knight completely equipped; a word in common use in the times of chivalry.]
He bore for his escochion Dan Cupid with his dart, And for his crest there was impressed A well-skewered bleeding heart; His yellow streamer on his spear, Flew fluttering in the wind, And thrice he waved it in the air, As if to fan the ladies there, And thrice his head inclined.
"Who's he, who's he?" cried Ravensbeard; But no one there could say. "Knowest thou him?" cried some who heard; But each one answered Nay. "I am Sir Peveril," said the knight, "If you my name would learn, And I will for fair Katharine fight, A lady's love, and a lady's right, And a lady's choice to earn."
The gauntlet thrown upon the ground, Sir Bullstrode laughed with joy: "Short work," said he, "I'll make of thee— Methinks a beardless boy." Nor sooner said than in he sprang And aimed a mortal blow, The crenel upon the buckler rang, And having achieved an echoing clang, It made no more ado.
The stranger knight wheeled quick as light, And charging with gratitude, Gave him good thank on his left flank, And lo! a stream of blood! Shall he this knight, so dread in fight, Cede to this beardless foe, And feel in his pain, returned again, That vaunt of his so empty and vain, That vaunt of the carrion crow?
Stung by the wound, not less by shame, He gathered all his force, And sprang again, with desperate aim, His enemy to unhorse; But he who watched the pointed lance A dexterous movement made, And saw his foe, as he missed the blow, Rock in his selle both to and fro, And vault o'er his horse's head.
Sore fainting from the loss of blood, He lay upon the ground, Nor e'er a leech within his reach Can stop that fatal wound. And there with many an honour full, That brave and doughty knight, Sir Bullstrode, who once strode the bull, And killed (himself one) many a fool, Has closed his eyes in night.
And now within the ballion court There sits Sir Ravensbeard: "Who shall me say what popinjay Hath earned this proud reward?" And there stands Katharine all confessed In maiden dignity; "'Twas I, in 'fence of life sore pressed, 'Twas I, at honour's high behest, This bad man made to die.
"For hear me, sire, restrain your ire, This knight you so admired, A plan had laid to ruin my maid, While he for my love aspired. I claim the contract by his hand, Whereto thou'rt guarantee, And this young Allan is the man, And he alone of all Scotland, Thy Katharine's lord shall be."
THE BALLAD OF AILIE FAA.
Sir Robert has left his castle ha', The castle of fair Holmylee, And gone to meet his Ailie Faa, Where no one might be there to see. He has sounded shrill his bugle horn, But not for either horse or hound; And when the echoes away were borne, He listened for a well-known sound.
He hears a rustling among the leaves, Some pattering feet are drawing near; Like autumn's breathings among the sheaves, So sweet at eventide to hear: His Ailie Faa, who is sweeter far Than the white rose hanging upon the tree, Who is fairer than the fairies are That dance in moonlight on the lea.
Oh! there are some flowers, as if in love, Unto the oak their arms incline; And tho' the tree may rotten prove, They still the closer around it twine: So has it been until this hour, And so in coming time 'twill be, Wherever young love may hang a flower, 'Twill think it aye ane trusty tree.
He has led her into a summer bower, For he was fond and she was fain, And there with all of a lover's power He whispered that old and fatal strain, Which those who sing it and those who hear Have never sung and never heard, But they have shed the bitter tear For every soft delusive word.
He pointed to yon castle ha', And all its holts so green and fair; And would not she, poor Ailie Faa, Move some day as a mistress there? As the parched lea receives the rains, Her ears drank up the sweet melodie; A gipsy's blood flowed in her veins, A gipsy's soul flashed in her eye.
Oh! it's time will come and time will go, That which has been will be again; This strange world's ways go to and fro, This moment joy, the next is pain. A sough has thro' the hamlet spread, To Ailie's ear the tidings came, That Holmylee will shortly wed A lady fair of noble name.
In yon lone cot adown the Lynne A widowed mother may think it long Since there were lightsome words within, Since she has heard blithe Ailie's song. A gloomy shade sits on Ailie's brow, At times her eyes flash sudden fires, The same she had noticed long ago, Deep flashing in her gipsy sire's.
When the wind at even was low and loun, And the moon paced on in her majesty Thro' lazy clouds, and threw adown Her silvery light o'er turret and tree, Then Ailie sought the green alcove, That place of fond lovers' lone retreat, Where she for the boon of gentle love, Had changed the meed of a deadly hate.
She sat upon "the red Lynne stone," Where she between the trees might see, By yon pale moon that shone thereon, The goodly turrets of Holmylee. And as she felt the throbbing pains, And as she heaved the bursting sigh, A gipsy's blood burned in her veins, A gipsy's soul flashed in her eye.
If small the body that thus was moved, So like the form that fairies wear, It was that slenderness he loved, So tiny a thing he might not fear. But there is an insect skims the air, Bedecked with azure and green and gold, Whose sting is a deadlier thing by far Than dagger of yon baron bold.
She sat upon the red Lynne stone, The midnight sky was overcast, The winds are out with a sullen moan, The angry Lynne is rolling past. What then? there was no lack of light, Full fifteen windows blazing shone Up on the castle on the height, While Ailie Faa sat there alone.
For there is dancing and deray In the ancient castle of Holmylee, And barons bold and ladies gay Are holding high-jinks revelry. Sir Robert has that day been wed, 'Midst sounding trumpets of eclat, And one that night will grace his bed Of nobler birth than Ailie Faa.
Revenge will claim its high command, And Ailie is on her feet erect, She passes nervously her hand Between her jupe and jerkinet. There lies a charm for woman's wrong, Concealed where beats the bursting heart, Which, ere an hour hath come and gone, Will play somewhere a fatal part.
Up in the hall of Holmylee Still sound the revel, the dance, and song, And through the open doors and free There pours the gay and stately throng; But of all the knights and barons there, The bridegroom still the foremost stood, And she the fairest of the fair, The bride who was of noble blood.
It was when feet were tripping The mazes of the dance, It was when lips were sipping The choicest wines of France, A wild scream rose within the hall, Which pierced the roofen tree, And in the midst was seen to fall The Baron of Holmylee.
"To whom belongs this small stilette. By whom our host is slain?" Between a jupe and jerkinet That weapon long had lain. Each on his sword his hand did lay, This way and that they ran; But she who did the deed is away, Ho! catch her if you can.
THE LEGEND OF THE FAIR EMERGILDE
Thou little god of meikle sway, Who rul'st from pole to pole, And up beyond yon milky way, Where wondrous planets roll: Oh! tell me how a power divine, That tames the creatures wild, Whose touch benign makes all men kin, Could slay sweet Emergilde?
It's up the street, and down the street, And up the street again, And all the day, and all the way, She looks at noble men; But him she seeks she cannot find In all that moving train; No one can please that anxious gaze, And own to "Ballenden."
From the high castle on the knowe, Adown the Canongate, And from the palace in the howe, Up to the castle yett, A hizzy here, a cadie there, She stops with modest mien; All she can say four words convey: "I seek for Ballenden."
Nor more of our Scotch tongue she knew, For she's of foreign kin, And all her speech can only reach "I seek for Ballenden." No Ballenden she yet could find, No one aught of him knew; She sought at night dark Toddrick's Wynd, Next morn to search anew.
And who is she, this fair ladye, To whom our land is strange? Why all alone, to all unknown, Within this city's range? Her face was of the bonnie nut-brown Our Scotch folk love to view, When 'neath it shows the red, red rose, Like sunlight shining through.
Her tunic was of the mazerine, Of scarlet her roquelaire, And o'er her back, in ringlets black, Fell down her raven hair. Her eyes, so like the falling sterns, Seen on an August night, Had surely won from eastern sun Some rayons of his light.
And still she tried, and still she plied, Her task so sad and vain, The words still four—they were no more— "I seek for Ballenden." No Ballenden could she yet find, No one aught of him knew, And still at night down Toddrick's Wynd, Next morn to search anew.
In Euphan Barnet's lowly room, Adown that darksome wynd, A ladye fair is lying there, In illness sair declined; Her cheeks now like the lily pale, The roses waned away, Her eyes so bright have lost their light, Her lips are like the clay.
On her fair breast a missal rests, Illumed with various dyes, In which were given far views of heaven In old transparencies. There hangs the everlasting cross Of emerald and of gold, That cross of Christ so often kissed When she her beads had told.
Those things are all forgotten now, Far other thoughts remain; And as she dreams she ever renes, "I seek for Ballenden." Oh Ballenden! oh Ballenden! Whatever, where'er thou be, That ladye fair is dying there, And all for love of thee.
In the old howf of the Canongate There is a little lair, And on it grows a pure white rose, By love implanted there; And o'er it hangs a youthful man, With a cloud upon his brow, And sair he moans, and sair he groans, For her who sleeps below.
No noble lord nor banneret, Nor courtly knight is he, No more than a simple advocate, Who pleadeth for his fee. He holds a letter in his hand, On which bleared eyes are bent, It came afar from Almanzar, The Duke of Bonavent—
A noble duke whom he had seen In his castle by the sea, When for one night he claimed the right Of his high courtesie; And that letter said, "Kind sir, I write In sorrow, sooth to say, That my dear child, fair Emergilde, Hath from us flown away;
"And all the trace that I can find Is this, and nothing more, She took to sea at Tripoli For Scotland's distant shore. It is a feat of strange conceit That fills us with alarms: Oh seek about, and find her out, And send her to our arms."
And who is he this letter reads With tears the words atween? Yea! even he she had sought to see, The sair-sought Ballenden. Yet little little had he thought, When away in that far countrie, That a look she had got of a humble Scot Would ever remembered be.
But tho' he had deemed himself forgot By one so far away, Her image had still, against his will, Him haunted night and day. And when he laid him on his bed, And sair inclined to sleep, That face would still, against his will, Its holy vigil keep.
Oh gentle youth, thou little thought, When away in our north countrie, That up and down, thro' all the town, That ladye sought for thee. And little little did thou wot What in Euphan's room was seen, Where, as she died, she whispering sighed, "I die for Ballenden."[A]
[Footnote A: The reader will remember the romantic story of the English A'Becket; but it would seem our Scottish advocate was even more highly favoured. Nor is the romance in such cases limited to the ladies. I may refer to the pathetic story of Geoffrey Rudel, a gentleman of Provence, and a troubadour, who, having heard from the knights returned from the Holy Land of the hospitality of a certain countess of Tripoli, whose grace and beauty equalled her virtue, fell deeply in love with her without ever having seen her. In 1162 he quitted the court of England and embarked for the Holy Land. On his voyage he was attacked by a severe illness, and had lost the power of speech when he arrived at the port of Tripoli. The countess, being informed that a celebrated poet was dying of love for her on board a vessel, visited him on shipboard, took him by the hand, and attempted to cheer him. Rudel recovered his speech sufficiently to thank the countess for her humanity, and to declare his passion, when his expressions of gratitude were silenced by the convulsions of death. He was buried at Tripoli, beneath a tomb of porphyry which the countess raised to his memory. His verses "On Distant Love" were well known. They began thus:
Angry and sad shall be my way If I behold not her afar, And yet I know not when that day Shall rise, for still she dwells afar. God, who has formed this fair array Of worlds, and placed my love afar, Strengthen my heart with hope, I pray, Of seeing her I love afar. ]
THE ROMAUNT OF THE CASTLE OF WEIR.
The baron has gone to the hunting green, All by the ancient Castle of Weir, With his guest, Sir Hubert, of Norman kin, And a maiden, his only daughter dear— The Ladye Tomasine, famed around For beauty as well as for courtesie, Wherever might sensible heads be found, Or ears to listen, or eyes to see. Nor merely skin-deep was she fair: She had a spirit both true and leal, As all about the Castle of Weir Were many to know, and many to tell. Right well she knew what it was to feel Grim poverty in declining day, With a purse to ope, and a hand to deal, And tears to bless what she gave away; Yet she was blithe and she was gay. And now she has gone to the hunting green, All on this bright and sunshiny day, To fly her favourite peregrine, With her hunting coat of the baudykin, Down which there flowed her raven hair, And her kirtle of the red sendal fine, With an eagle's plume in her heading gear.
If the knight had not a hawk on his wrist, He had kestrel eyes both cunning and keen, And the quarry of which he was in quest Was the heart of the lovely Tomasine; But the ladye thought him a kestrel kite, With a grovelling eye to the farmer's coop, And wanted the bold and daring flight That mounts to the sun to make a swoop.
The Baron of Weir points to the sky, "Ho! ho! a proud heron upon the wing! Unhood, my Tomasine dear, untie! Off with the jesses—away him fling!" "Up! up! my Guy," cried the laughing maid, As with nimble fingers she him unjessed, "Up! up! and away! and earn thy bread, Then back to thy mistress to be caressed." Up sprang the bird with a joyful cry, And eyed his quarry, yet far away, Still up and up in the dark blue sky, That he might aim a swoop on his prey; Then down as the lightning bolt of Jove On the heron, who, giving a scream of fear, Shoots away from his enemy over above, And makes for the rushing Water of Weir.
The Water of Weir is rushing down, Foaming and furious, muddy and brown, From the heights where the laughing Naeiads dwell, And cascades leap from the craggy fell, Where the mountain streamlets brattle and brawl, 'Midst the mountain maidens' echoing call, Through pools where the water-kelpies wait For the rider who dares the roaring spate. Rain-fed, proud, turgid, and swollen, Now foaming wild, now sombre and sullen; Dragging the rushes from banks and braes, Tearing the drooping branches of trees, Rolling them down by scallop and scaur, Involving all in a watery war— Turned, and whirled, and swept along, Down to the sea to be buried and gone.
The peregrine, fixed on the wader's back, Is carried along in her devious track, As with a weak and a wailing scream The victim crosses the raging stream. "I will lose, I will lose my gay peregrine!" Cried shrilly the Ladye Tomasine: She will hurry across the bridge of wood, With its rail of wattle which long hath stood; Her nimble feet are upon the plank That will bear her over from bank to bank; She has crossed it times a thousandfold: Time brings youth and Time makes old; The wattles have rotted while she was growing, The wind is up and the waters rowing, And to keep her feet she must use her hand. "Come back! come back!" was the baron's command, Too late!—go wattles—a piercing scream! And the maid falls into the roaring stream! Round and round, in eddying whirl, Who shall save the perishing girl? Round and round, and down and away, Nothing to grasp, and nothing to stay. The baron stands fixed and wrings his hands, And looks to Sir Hubert, who trembling stands. Sir Hubert! one moment now is thine— The next! and a power no less than divine Can save this maid of so many charms From the grasp of Death's enfolding arms. Spring! spring! Sir Hubert, the moment is thine To save a life, and a love to win. No! no! the dastard kestrel kite Aye hugs the earth in his stealthy flight. Hope gone! the pool at the otter's cave Will prove the Ladye Tomasine's grave. Ho! ho! see yonder comes rushing down A lithe young hind, though a simple clown— Off bonnet and shoes, and coat and vest, A plunge! and he holds her round the waist! Three strokes of his arm, with his beautiful prize All safe, although faint, on the bank she lies! A cottager's wife came running down, "Take care of the ladye," said the clown. He has donned his clothes, and away he has gone, His name unuttered, his home unknown.