Изображения страниц

They who whilome, in midnight fight,
Had marvelled at her matchless might,
No less her maiden charms approved, s
But looking liked, and liking loved.” -
The sight could jealous pangs beguile, *
And charm Malbecco's cares awhile;
And he, the wandering Squire of Dames,
Forgot his Columbella's claims, -
And passion, erst unknown, could gain. -
The breast of blunt Sir Satyrane; -
Nor durst light Paridel advance,
Bold as he was, a looser glance,—
She charmed, at once, and tamed the heart,
Incomparable Britomarte!
So thou, fair City disarrayed
Of battled wall, and rampart's aid,
As stately seem'st, but lovelier far
Than in that panoply of war.
Nor deem that from thy fenceless throne
Strength and security are flown;
Still, as of yore, Queen of the North!
Still canst thou send thy children forth.
Ne'er readier at alarm-bell's call
Thy burghers rose to man thy wall,
Than now, in danger, shall be thine,
Thy dauntless voluntary line;
For fosse and turret proud to stand,
Their breasts the bulwarks of the land.

* “For every one her liked, and every one her loved.” Spenser, as above.

Thy thousands, trained to martial toil,
Full red would stain their native soil, *
Ere from thy mural crown there fell
The slightest knosp, or pinnacle.
And if it come, as come it may,
Dun-Edin' that eventful day,
Renowned for hospitable deed,
That virtue much with heaven may plead, -
In patriarchal times whose care
Descending angels deign to share;
That claim may wrestle blessings down
On those who fight for the Good Town,
Destined in every age to be
Refuge of injured royalty;
Since first, when conquering York arose,
To Henry meek she gave repose,
Till late, with wonder, grief, and awe,
Great Bourbon's relics, sad she saw.
Truce to these thoughts!—for, as they rise,
How gladly I avert mine eyes,
Bodings, or true or false, to change,
For Fiction's fair romantic range,
Or for Tradition's dubious light,
That hovers 'twixt the day and night:
Dazzling alternately and dim,
Her wavering lamp I'd rather trim,
Knights, squires, and lovely dames to see,
Creation of my fantasy,
Than gaze abroad on reeky fen,
And make of mists invading men.-

Who loves not more the night of June
Than dull December's gloomy noon?
The moonlight than the fog of frost? **
And can we say, which cheats the most?
But who shall teach my harp to gain
A sound of the romantic strain,
Whose Anglo-Norman tones whilere
Could win the Second Henry's ear,
Famed Beauclerc called, for that he loved
The minstrel, and his lay approved?
Who shall these lingering notes redeem,
Decaying on Oblivion's stream;
Such notes as from the Breton tongue
Marie translated, Blondel sung —
O! born Time's ravage to repair,
And make the dying Muse thy care;
Who, when his sithe her hoary foe
Was poising for the final blow,
The weapon from his hand could wring,
And break his glass, and shear his wing,
And bid, reviving in his strain,
The gentle poet live again;
Thou, who canst give to lightest lay
An unpedantic moral gay,
Nor less the dullest theme bid flit
On wings of unexpected wit;
In letters as in life approved,
Example honoured, and beloved,
Dear ELLIs! to the bard impart
A lesson of thy magic art,
To win at once the head and heart, -

At once to charm, instruct, and mend,
My guide, my pattern, and my friend!
Such minstrel lesson to bestow
Be long thy pleasing task, but, O!
No more by thy example teach
What few can practise, all can preach;
With even patience to endure
Lingering disease, and painful cure,
And boast affliction's pangs subdued
By mild and manly fortitude.
Enough, the lesson has been given:
Forbid the repetition, Heaven!
Come listen, then! for thou hast known,
And loved the Minstrel's varying tone;
Who, like his Border sires of old,
Waked a wild measure, rude and bold,
Till Windsor's oaks, and Ascot plain,
With wonder heard the northern strain.
Come, listen!—bold in thy applause,
The bard shall scorn pedantic laws;
And, as the ancient art could stain
Achievements on the storied pane,
Irregularly traced and planned,
But yet so glowing and so grand;
So shall he strive, in changeful hue,
Field, feast, and combat, to renew,
And loves, and arms, and harpers' glee,
And all the pomp of chivalry.

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »