Изображения страниц
PDF

Thou wert the best to follow gear!
'Twas pleasure, as we looked behind,
To see how thou the chase couldst wind,
Cheer the dark bloodhound on his way,
And with the bugle rouse the fray!
I'd give the lands of Deloraine,
Dark Musgrave were alive again.'

xxx.
So mourned he, till Lord Dacre's band
Were bowning back to Cumberland.
They raised brave Musgrave from the field,
And laid him on his bloody shield;
On levelled lances, four and four,
By turns the noble burden bore.
Before, at times, upon the gale,
Was heard the minstrel's plaintive wail;
Behind, four priests, in sable stole,
Sung requiem for the warrior's soul:
Around, the horsemen slowly rode:
With trailing pikes the spearmen trode;
And thus the gallant knight they bore,
Through Liddesdale to Leven's shore;
Thence to Holme Coltrame's lofty nave,
And laid him in his father's grave.

The harp's wild notes, though hushed the song,
The mimic march of death prolong;
Now seems it far, and now a-near,
Ņow meets, and now eludes the ear;
Now seems some mountain side to sweep,
Now faintly dies in valley deep;
Seems now as if the minstrel's wail,
Now the sad requiem, loads the gale;

Last, o'er the warrior's closing grave,
Rung the full choir in choral stave.

After due pause, they bade him tell,
Why he, who touched the harp so well,
Should thus, with ill-rewarded toil,
Wander a poor and thankless soil,
When the more generous Southern land
Would well requite his skilful hand.

The aged harper, howsoe'er
His only friend, his harp, was dear,
Liked not to hear it ranked so high
Above his flowing poesy:
Less liked he still, that scornful jeer
Misprised the land he loved so dear;
High was the sound, as thus again
The bard resumed his minstrel strain.

CANTO SIXTH.

I. BREATHES there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said,

This is my own, my native land! Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned, As home his footsteps he hath turned,

From wandering on a foreign strand ! If such there breathe, go, mark him well; For him no minstrel raptures swell ; High though his titles, proud his name, Boundless his wealth as wish can claim; . Despite those titles, power, and pelf, The wretch, concentred all in self, Living, shall forfeit fair renown, And, doubly dying, shall go down

To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.

II.
O Caledonia ! stern and wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child !
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of my sires! what mortal hand
Can e'er untie the filial band,
That knits me to thy rugged strand !
Still, as I view each well-known scene,
Think what is now, and what hath been,
Seems as, to me, of all bereft,
Sole friends thy woods and streams were left;
And thus I love them better still,
Even in extremity of ill.
By Yarrow's streams still let me stray,
Though none should guide my feeble way;
Still feel the breeze down Ettrick break,
Although it chill my withered cheek;
Still lay my head by Teviot Stone,
Though there, forgotten and alone,
The bard may draw his parting groan.

III.
Not scorned like me! to Branksome Hall
The minstrels came, at festive call;
Trooping they came, from near and far,
The jovial priests of mirth and war;
Alike for feast and fight prepared,
Battle and banquet both they shared.
Of late, before each martial clan,
They blew their death-note in the van,
But now, for every merry mate,
Rose the portcullis' iron grate;

They sound the pipe, they strike the string,
They dance, they revel, and they sing,
Till the rude turrets shake and ring.

IV.
Me lists not at this tide declare

The splendour of the spousal rite,
How mustered in the chapel fair

Both maid and matron, squire and knight; Me lists not tell of owches rare, Of mantles green, and braided hair, And kirtles furred with miniver; What plumage waved the altar round, How spurs and ringing chainlets sound; And hard it were for bard to speak The changeful hue of Margaret's cheek; That lovely hue which comes and flies, As awe and shame alternate rise!

Some bards have sung, the Ladye high
Chapel or altar came not nigh:
Nor durst the rites of spousal grace,
So much she feared each holy place.
False slanders these :- I trust right well
She wrought not by forbidden spell;
For mighty words and signs have power
O'er sprites in planetary hour:
Yet scarce I praise their venturous part,
Who tamper with such dangerous art,
But this for faithful truth I say,

The Ladye by the altar stood,
Of sable velvet her array,

And on her head a crimson hood, With pearls embroidered and entwined,

Guarded with gold, with ermine lined;
A merlin sat upon her wrist,
Held by a leash of silken twist.

VI. The spousal rites were ended soon: 'Twas now the merry hour of noon, And in the lofty arched hall Was spread the gorgeous festival. Steward and squire, with heedful haste, Marshalled the rank of every guest; Pages, with ready blade, were there, The mighty meal to carve and share: O'er capon, heronshew, and crane, And princely peacock's gilded train, And o'er the boar-head, garnished brave, And cygnet from St. Mary's wave; O'er ptarmigan and venison, The priest had spoke his benison. Then rose the riot and the din, Above, beneath, without, within ! For, from the lofty balcony, Rung trumpet, shalm, and psaltery: Their clanging bowls old warriors quaffed, Loudly they spoke, and loudly laughed; Whispered young knights, in tone more mild, To ladies fair; and ladies smiled. The hooded hawks, high perched on beam, The clamour joined with whistling scream, And flapped their wings, and shook their bells, In concert with the staghound's yells. Round go the flasks of ruddy wine, From Bordeaux, Orleans, or the Rhine; Their tasks the busy sewers ply, And all is mirth and revelry.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »