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Oft did the cliff, and swelling main,
Recall the thoughts of Whitby's fane,
A home she ne'er might see again ;
For she had laid adown,
So Douglas bade, the hood and veil,
And frontlet of the cloister pale,
And Benedictine gown :
It were unseemly sight, he said,
A novice out of convent shade.+
Now her bright locks, with sunny glow,
Again adorn'd her brow of snows
Her mantle rich, whose borders, round,
A deep and fretted broidery bound,
In golden foldings sought the ground;
Of holy ornament, alone
Remain'd a cross of ruby stone;
And often did she look On that which in her hand she bore, With velvet bound, and -broiderld oler,
Her breviary book.
In such a place, so lone, so grim,
At dawning pale, or twilight dim,
It fearful would have been,
To meet a form so richly dressid,
With book in hand, and cross on breast,
And such a woeful mien.
Fitz-Eustace, loitering with his bow,
To practice on the gull and crow,
Saw her, at distance, gliding slow,
And did by Mary swear,
Some love-lorn fay she might have been,
Or, in romance, some spell-bound queen ;
For ne'er, in work-day world, was seen
A form so witching fair. .
IV. Once walking thus, at evening tide, It chanced a gliding sail she spied, And, sighing, thought—“The Abbess there, Perchance, does to her home repair ;
Her peaceful rule, where Duty, free, Walks hand in hand with Charity; Where oft Devotion's tranced glow Can such a glimpse of heaven bestow, That the enraptured sisters see High vision, and deep mystery ; The very form of Hilda fair, * Hovering upon the sunny air, And smiling on her votaries' prayer. 0! wherefore, to my duller eye, Did still the Saint her form deny Was it, that, sear’d by sinful scorn, My heart could neither melt nor burn ? Or lie my warm affections low With him, that taught them first to glow? Yet, gentle Abbess, well I knew To pay thy kindness grateful due, And well could brook the mild command That ruled thy simple maiden band.
How different now! condemn'd to bide
My doom from this dark tyrant's pride.
But Marmion has to learn, ere long,
That constant mind, and hate of wrong,
Descended to a feeble girl,
From Red De Clare, stout Gloster's Earl:
Of such a stem a sapling weak,
He ne'er shall bend, although he break.
“ But see !--what makes this armour here ?"
For in her path there lay
Targe, corslet, helm ;-she view'd them near.-
“ The breast-plate pierced !-Ay, much I fear,
Weak fence wert thou 'gainst foeman's spear,
That hath made fatal entrance here,
As these dark blood-gouts say.-
Thus Wilton !--Oh! not corslet's ward,
Not truth, as diamond pure and hard,
Could be thy manly bosom’s guard
On yon disastrous day!"
She raised her eyes in mournful mood,
-Wilton himself before her stood !
It might have seem'd his passing ghost,
For every youthful grace was lost;
And joy unwonted, and surprise,
Gave their strange wildness to his eyes.-
Expect not, noble dames and lords,
That I can tell such scene in words :
What skilful limner e'er would chuse
To paint the rainbow's varying hues,
Unless to mortal it were given
To dip his brush in dyes of heaven ?
Far less can my weak line declare
Each changing passion's shade ;
Brightening to rapture from despair,
Sorrow, surprise, and pity there,
And joy, with her angelic air,
And hope, that paints the future fair,
Their varying hues display'd :
Each o'er its rival's ground extending,
Alternate conquering, shifting, blending,