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Or dream of greeting, peace, or truce,
With excommunicated Bruce!
Yet will I grant to end debate,
Thy sainted voice decide his fate."
The Abbot seemed with eye severe
The hardy chieftain's speech to hear;
Then on King Robert turned the

But twice his courage came and

sunk, Confronted with the hero's look; Twice fell his eye, his accents shook; Like man by prodigy amazed, Upon the King the Abbot gazed ; Then o'er his pallid features glance Convulsions of ecstatic trance; His breathing came more thick and

fast, And from his pale blue eyes were

cast Strange rays of wild and wandering

light; Uprise his locks of silver wbite, Flushed is his brow; through every

vein In azure tide the currents strain, And undistinguished accents broke The awful silence ere he spoke. “ De Bruce! I rose with purpose

dread To speak my curse upon thy head, And give thee as an outcast o'er To him who burns to shed thy

gore; But, like the Midianite of old, Who stood on Zophim, heaven-con

trolled, I feel within mine aged breast A power that will not be repressed. It prompts my voice, it swells my

veins, It burns, it maddens, it constrains !De Bruce, thy sacrilegious blow Hath at God's altar slain thy foe: O’ermastered yet by high behest, I bless thee, and thou shalt be

blessed!" He spoke, and o'er the astonished

throng Was silence, awful, deep, and long. Again that light has fired his eye, Again his form swells bold and high, The broken voice of age is gone, 'Tis vigorous mianhood's lofty


“ Thrice vanquished on the battle

plain, Thy followers slaughtered, fled, or

ta’en, A hunted wanderer on the wild, On foreign shores a man exiled, Disowned, deserted, and distressed, I bless thee, and thou shalt be

blessed! Blessed in the hall and in the field, Under the mantle as the shield. Avenger of thy country's shame, Restorer of her injured fame, Blessed in thy sceptre and thy

sword, De Bruce, fair Scotland's rightful

Lord. Blessed in thy deeds and in thy fame, What lengthened honors wait thy

name! In distant ages, sire to son Shall tell thy tale of freedom won, And teach his infants, in the use Of earliest speech, to falter Bruce. Go, then, triumphant! sweep along Thy course, the theme of many a

song! The Power, whose dictates swell my

breast, Hath blessed thee, and thou shalt be blessed!”



The king was on his throne,

The satraps thronged the hall; A thousand bright lamps shone

O'er that high festival. A thousand cups of gold,

In Judah deemed divine, Jehovah's vessels hold

The godless heathen's wine! In that same hour and hall,

The fingers of a hand Came forth against the wall,

And wrote as if on sand : The fingers of a man;

A solitary hand Along the letters ran,

And traced them like a wand.

The monarch saw, and shook,

And bade no more rejoice: All bloodless waxed his look,

And tremulous his voice.

“ Who cometh in such haste ?"

“Sir Pavon, late, I hight, Of all the land around

The stanchest, mightiest knight.

“My foes — they dared not face

Beset me at my back
In ambush. Fast and hard

They follow on my track.

" Let the men of lore appear,

The wisest of the earth,
And expound the words of fear,

Which mar our royal mirth.”
Chaldæa's seers are good,

But here they have no skill; And the unknown letters stood,

Untold and awful still. And Babel's men of age

Are wise and deep in lore; But now they were not sage,

They saw, — but knew no more.
A captive in the land,

A stranger and a youth,
He heard the king's command,

He saw that writing's truth.
The lamps around were bright,

The prophecy in view: He read it on that night,

The morrow proved it true. “ Belshazzar's grave is made,

His kingdom passed away, He in the balance weighed,

Is light and worthless clay.
The shroud, his robe of state;

His canopy, the stone;
The Mede is at his gate!
The Persian on his throne!”


“ Now wilt thou let me in,

Or shall I burst the door?” The grating bolts ground back; the

knight Lay swooning in his gore. As children, half afraid,

Draw near a crushed wasp, Look, touch, and twitch away

Their hands, then lightly grasp, – Him to their spital soon

The summoned brethren bore, And searched his wounds. He woke,

And roundly cursed and swore.

The younger friar stopped his ears;

The elder chid. He flung His gummy plasters at his mouth,

And bade him hold his tongue.

But, faint and weak, when, left

Upon his couch alone, He viewed the valley, framed with

in His window's carven stone,



St. MARK's hushed abbey heard,

Through prayers, a roar and din; A brawling voice did shout,

“Knave shaveling, let me in!”

He learned anew to weep,

All as he lay along, To see the smoke-wreaths from his

towers Climb up the clouds among. The abbot came to bring

A balsam to his guest, On soft feet tutored long

To break no sufferer's rest,

The cagèd porter peeped,

All Buttering, through the grate, Like birits that hear a mew.

A knight was at the gate.

His left hand reined his steed,

Still smoking from the ford; Ais crimson right, that dangled,

clutched Half of his broken sword.

And heard his sobbing heart

Drink deep in draughts of woe; Then“ Benedicite, my son,”

He breathed, in murmurs low. Right sharply turned the knight

Upon the unwelcome spy;
But changed his shaggy face, as

Down through a stormy sky,

His broken plume flapped low;

His charger's mane with mud Was clogged; he wavered in his seat, His mail dropped drops of blood.

“(I was a new-breeched boy,

And sat upon her knee, Less mindful of the story than

Of cates she gave to me.)

The quiet autumn siin

Looks on a landscape grim. He crossed himself before the priest,

And speechless gazed on him. His brow was large and grand,

And meet for governing; The beauty of his holiness

Did crown him like a king.

“But then I thought a flood

Came down to clrown them all, And that they only now in stone

Stood on the minster wall,

His mien was high, yet mild;

His deep and reverent eye
Seemed o'er a peaceful past to

A blest futurity.

His stainless earthy shell

Was worn so pure and thin, That

through the callow angel

showed, Half-hatched that stirred within.

“Or painted in the glass

Upon the window high,
Where, swelled with spring-tides,

breaks the sea
Beneath, and leaves them dry,
“Quite out of danger's way,

And breathed and walked no more Upon the muddy earth, to do

The deeds they did of yore, “ When still the sick were healed

Where e'en their shadows fell; But here is one that's living yet,

And he shall make me well.” The patient priest benign

His watch beside him kept, Until he dropped his burning lids,

And like an infant slept.

The cloisters when he paced

At eve, the brethren said, E'en then a shimmering halo dawned

Around his saintly head.

If forth he went, the street

Became a hallowed aisle. Men knelt; and children ran to seek

The blessing of his smile;


And mothers on each side came out,

And stood at every door,
And held their babies up, and put

The weanlings forth before.
As pure white lambs unto

Men sickening unto death Their sweet infectious health give

out, And heal them with their breath,

IIis white and thriving soul,

In heavenly pastures fed, Still somewhat of its innocence

On all around him shed.

Some weary weeks were spent

In tossing and in pain, Before the knight's huge frame was

With strength and steel again.
(He had his armor brought

The day he left his bed,
And fitted on by novice hands,

To prop him up,” he said.) Soon jangling then he stamped,

Amazed with all he saw, Through cell and through refectory,

With little grace or awe. Unbidden at the board

He sat, a mouthful took, And shot it spattering through his

beard, Sprang up, and cursed the cook. If some bowed friar passed by,

He chucked him 'neath the chin And cried, “What cheer?

• Dost thou find That hair-cloth pricks the skin por

Sir Pavon's scarce-stanched wounds

He bound with fearless skill, Who lay and watched him, meek

and mute, And let him work his will,


While in his fevered brain

Thus mused his fancy quaint: "My grandam told me once of saints,

And this is, sure, a saint!

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Unto a noiseless pace

He strove to curb his stride,
And blushed to hear his jack-boots'

Amid the sandals slide.

* “Henry de Joyeuse, Comte du Bouchage, Frere puiné du Duc de Joveuse, tué à coutras. Un jour qu'il passoit à Puis à quatre heures du matin, près du Convent des Capucins, après avoir passei la nuit en débauche. il s'imagina que les Anges chantoient Matines dans le Couvent. Frappé de cette idée, il se tit Capucin, s0118 le noin de Frère-Ange.' Cette anecdote est tirée des Votes sur l'Henriade." - . moires ile Sully. Livre Dixieme, Xote 67.

The censer waved around

Its ini-ty, sweet perfume, Av over him the minster great

Came with its awful gloom.

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“ Observing every rule

Of generous chivalry;
And maid and matron ever found

A champion leal in me. “What gallantly I won

In war, I did not hoard,
But spent as gallantly in peace,

With neighbors round my board."

But heard a hunt sweep by,

And to the door did leap,
Cried, “Holla, ho!” and then,

Sat down and dropped asleep.

“Thy neighbors, son ? The serfs

For miles who tilled thy ground?” “ Tush, father, nay! The high-born

knights For many a league around.

“ They were my brethren sworn,

In battle and in sport. 'Twere wondrous shame, should one

like me
With beggar kernes consort!

“Clean have I made my shrift,"'

He said; and so he ceased, And bore a blithe and guileless cheer,

That sore perplexed the priest.

“Such novice ne'er I saw !

Sweet Mary be my speed! For sure the sorer is my task,

The sorer is his need.” He gazed upon him long,

With pondering, pitying eyes, As the leech on the sick whose hid

den ail All herbs and drugs defies; And, “ Hath thy heart might,” at

last, “ to-night, He to Sir Pavon said, “When all men sleep, thy vigil to

keep, In the crypt among the dead ? “Night hath many a tongue, her

black hours among, Less false than the tongues of Day, While Mercy the prayer hath full

leisure to hear, Of all who wake to pray. The inute swart queen hides many

a sin, But oft to the sinner's heart Remorse, with the tale, she sends

to wail,
And thus atones in part.”

With words both soft and keen,

He searched his breast within. Still said he, “So I sinned not,"

Or, “ That is, sure, no sin."

* The regular form of amouncement that a single combat had begun between knights.

† “ To smyte a wounded man that may not stonde, God deffende me from such a shame." “ Wyt thon well, Syr Gawayn, I wyl neuer emite a fellyd knight." -- Prose Romance of King Arthur.

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