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Then, to her patron saint a previous rite
Resounded with deep swell and solemn close,
Through unremitting vigils of the night,
Till from his couch the wished-for sun uprose.
He rose, and straight-as by divine command,
They who had waited for that sign to trace
Their work's foundation, gave with careful hand,
To the high altar its determined place;
Mindful of him who in the Orient born
There lived, and on the cross his life resigned,
And who, from out the regions of the morn,
Issuing in pomp, shall come to judge mankind.
So taught their creed ;-nor failed the eastern sky,
Vid these more awful feelings, to infuse
The sweet and natural hopes that shall not die
Long as the sun his gladsome course renews.
For us hath such prelusive vigil ceased;
Yet still we plant, like men of elder days,
Our Christian altar faithful to the east,
Whence the tall window drinks the morning rays;
That obvious emblem giving to the eye
Of meek devotion, which erewhile it gave,
That symbol of the dayspring from on high,
Triumphant o'er the darkness of the grave.
OR THE FOUNDING OF BOLTON PRIORY.
“What is good for a bootless bene?”
With these dark words begins my tale;
And their meaning is, Whence can comfort spring
When prayer is of no avail ?
* What is good for a bootless bene?”
The falconer to the lady said;
And she made answer,
For she knew that her son was dead.
She knew it by the falconer's words,
And from the look of the falconer's eye;
And from the love which was in her soul
For her youthful Romilly.
Young Romilly through Barden woods
Is ranging high and low;
And holds a greyhound in a leash,
To let slip upon buck or doe.
The pair have reached that fearful chasm,
How tempting to bestride!
For lordly Wharfe is there pent in,
With rocks on either side.
This striding-place is called the Strid,
A name which it took of yore;
A thousand years hath it borne that name,
And shall a thousand more.
And hither is young Romilly come,
And what may now forbid
That he, perhaps for the hundredth time,
Shall bound across the Strid ?
in glee,--for what cared he
That the river was strong, and the rocks were steep?
But the greyhound in the leash hung back,
And checked him in his leap.
The boy is in the arms of Wharfe,
And strangled by a merciless force;
For never more was young Romilly seen
Till he rose a lifeless corse.
Now there is stillness in the vale,
And deep unspeaking sorrow:
Wharfe shall be to pitying hearts
A name more sad than Yarrow,
If for a lover the lady wept,
A solace she might borrow
From death, and from the passion of death;-
Old Wharfe might heal her sorrow,
She weeps not for the wedding-day
Which was to be to-morrow :
Her hope was a farther-looking hope,
And hers is a mother's sorrow.
He was a tree that stood alone,
And proudly did its branches wave ;
And the root of this delightful tree
Was in her husband's grave!
Long, long in darkness did she sit,
And her first words were, “Let there be
In Bolton, on the field of Wharfe
A stately priory!"
The stately priory was reared ;
And Wharfe, as he moved along,
To matins joined a mournful voice,
Nor failed at evensong.
And the lady prayed in heaviness
That looked not for relief!
But slowly did her succour come,
And a patience to her grief.
Oh, there is never sorrow of heart
That shall lack a timely end,
If but to God we turn, and ask
Of him to be our Friend !
A FACT AND AN IMAGINATION;
The Danish conqueror, on his royal chair,
Mustering a face of haughty sovereignty,
To aid a covert purpose, cried—“Oh, ye
Approaching waters of the deep, that share
With this green isle my fortunes, come not where
Your master's throne is set!”-Absurd decree !
A mandate uttered to the foaming sea
Is to its motion less than wanton air.
Then Canute, rising from the invaded throne,
Said to his servile courtiers, “Poor the reach,
The undisguised extent, of mortal sway!
He only is a king, and he alone
Deserves the name (this truth the billows preach)
Whose everlasting law, sea, earth, and heaven obey,"
This just reproof the prosperous Dane
Drew, from the influx of the main,
For some whose rugged northern mouths would strain
At oriental flattery ;
And Canute (truth more worthy to be known)
From that time forth did for his brows disown
The ostentatious symbol of a crown ;
Esteeming earthly royalty
Comtemptible and vain.
Now hear what one of elder days,
Rich theme of England's fondest praise,
Her darling Alfred, might have spoken ;
To cheer the remnant of his host
When he was driven from coast to coast,
Distressed and harassed, but with mind unbroken:
“My faithful followers, lo! the tide is spent ;
That rose, and steadily advanced to fill
The shores and channels, working nature's will
Among the mazy streams that backward went,
And in the sluggish pools where ships are pent ;
And now, its task performed, the flood stands still
At the green base of many an inland hill,
In placid beauty and sublime content !
Such the repose that sage and hero find;
Such measured rest the sedulous and good
Of humbler name; whose souls do, like the flood
Of ocean, press right on; or gently wind,
Neither to be diverted nor withstood,
Until they reach the bounds by Heaven assigned."
* A LITTLE ONWARD LEND THY GUIDING
“A little onward lend thy guiding hand
To these dark steps, a little further on!”
What trick of memory to my voice hath brought
This mournful iteration ? For though Time,
The conqueror, crowns the conquered, on this brow
Planting his favourite silver diadem,
Nor he, nor minister of his intent
To run before him-hath enrolled me yet,
Though not unmenaced, among those who lean
Upon a living staff, with borrowed sight.
O my Antigone, beloved child !
Should that day come—but hark! the birds salute
The cheerful dawn, brightening for me the east;
For me, thy natural leader, once again
Impatient to conduct thee, not as erst
A tottering infant, with compliant stoop
From flower to flower supported; but to curb
Thy nymph-like step swift-bounding o'er the lawn,