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Her stately prose, her verse's charms,
To hear the clash of rusty arms :
In Fairy Land or Limbo lost,
To jostle conjurer and ghost,
Goblin and witch ! '-Nay, Heber dear,
Before you touch my charter, hear;
Though Leyden aids, alas! no more,
My cause with many-languaged lore,
This may I say :-in realms of death
Ulysses meets Alcides' wraith ;
Æneas, upon Thracia's shore,
The ghost of murder'd Polydore ;
For omens, we in Livy cross,
At every turn, locutus Bos.
As grave and duly speaks that ox,
As if he told the price of stocks;
Or held, in Rome republican,
The place of Common-councilman.
All nations have their omens drear,
Their legends wild of woe and fear.
To Cambria look-the peasant see,
Bethink him of Glendowerdy,
And shun “the Spirits Blasted Tree.'
The Highlander, whose red claymore
The battle turn'd on Maida's shore,
Will, on a Friday morn, look pale,
If ask'd to tell a fairy tale :
He fears the vengeful Elfin King,
Who leaves that day his grassy ring :
Invisible to human ken,
He walks among the sons of men.
Did'st e'er, dear Heber, pass, along
Beneath the towers of Franchémont,
Which, like an eagle's nest in air,
Hang o’er the stream and hamlet fair ?
Deep in their vaults, the peasants say,
A mighty treasure buried lay, - ..
Amass'd through rapine and through wrong
By the last Lord of Franchémont.
The iron chest is bolted hard,
A Huntsman sits, its constant guard ;
Around his neck his horn is hung,
His hanger in his belt is slung;
Before his feet his blood-hounds lie :
Whose withering glance no heart can brook,
As true a huntsman doth he look,
As bugle e'er in brake did sound,
Or ever hollow'd to a hound.
To chase the fiend, and win the prize,
In that same dungeon ever tries
An aged Necromantic Priest;
It is an hundred years at least,
Since 'twixt them first the strife begun,
And neither yet has lost nor won.
And oft the Conjurer's words will make
The stubborn Demon groan and quake;
And oft the bands of iron break,
Or bursts one lock, that still amain,
Fast as 'tis open'd, shuts again.
That magic strife within the tomb
May last until the day of doom,
Unless the Adept shall learn to tell
The very word that clench'd the spell,
When Franch’mont lock'd the treasure cell.
An hundred years are pass'd and gone,
And scarce three letters has he won.
Such general superstition may
Excuse for old Pitscottie say ;
Whose gossip history has given
My song the messenger from Heaven,
That warn’d, in Lithgow, Scotland's King,
Nor less the infernal summoning ;
May pass the Monk of Durham's tale,
Whose Demon fought in Gothic mail ;
May pardon plead for Fordun grave,
Who told of Gifford's Goblin-Cave.
But why such instances to you,
Who, in an instant, can renew
Your treasured hoards of various lore,
And furnish twenty thousand more?
Hoards, not like theirs whose volumes rest
Like treasures in the Franch’mont chest,
While gripple owners still refuse
To others what they cannot use;
Give them the priest's whole century,
They shall not spell you letters three;
Their pleasure in the books the same
The magpie takes in pilfer'd gem.
Thy volumes, open as thy heart,
Delight, amusement, science, art,
To every ear and eye impart;
Yet who, of all who thus employ them,
Can like the owner's self enjoy them ?-
But, hark! I hear the distant drum!
The day of Flodden Field is come.-
Adieu, dear Heber! life and health,
And store of literary wealth.
WHILE great events were on the gale,
And each hour brought a varying tale,
And the demeanour, changed and cold,
Of Douglas, fretted Marmion bold,
And, like the impatient steed of war,
He snuff?d the battle from afar;
And hopes were none, that back again
Herald should come from Terouenne,
Where England's King in leaguer lay,
Before decisive battle-day ;
Whilst these things were, the mournful Clare
Did in the Dame's devotions share:
For the good Countess ceaseless pray'd
To Heaven and Saints, her sons to aid.
And, with short interval, did pass
From prayer to book, from book to mass,
And all in high Baronial pride,
A life both dull and dignified ;-
Yet as Lord Marmion nothing press'd
Upon her intervals of rest,
Dejected Clara well could bear
The formal state, the lengthen'd prayer,
Though dearest to her wounded heart
The hours that she might spend apart.
I said, Tantallon's dizzy steep
Hung o'er the margin of the deep.
Many a rude tower and rampart there
Repellid the insult of the air,
Which, when the tempest vex'd the sky,
Half breeze, half spray, came whistling by.
Above the rest, a turret square
Did o'er its Gothic entrance bear,
Of sculpture rude, a stony shield ;
The Bloody Heart was in the Field,
And in the chief three mullets stood,
The cognizance of Douglas blood.
The turret held a narrow stair,
Which, mounted, gave you access where
A parapet's embattled row
Did seaward round the castle go.
Sometimes in dizzy steps descending,
Sometimes in narrow circuit bending,
Sometimes in platform broad extending,
Its varying circle did combine
Bulwark, and bartisan, and line,
And bastion, tower, and vantage-coign :
Above the booming ocean leant
The far-projecting battlement;
The billows burst, in ceaseless flow,
Upon the precipice below.
Where'er Tantallon faced the land,
Gate-works, and walls, were strongly mann'd;
No need upon the sea-girt side;
The steepy rock, and frantic tide,
Approach of human step denied ;
And thus these lines, and ramparts rude,
Were left in deepest solitude.
And, for they were so lonely, Clare
Would to these battlements repair,
And muse upon her sorrows there,
And list the sea-bird's cry ;