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Baron's race throve never well,
Where the curse of minstrel fell.
If you love that noble kin,
Take the weary harpes in the
“Hark! Harpool parleys--there is hope,
Said Redmond, " that the gate will ope.
“For all thy brag and boast, I trow,
Nought know'st thou of the Felon Sowe
Quoth Harpool, “nor how Greta-side
She roam'd, and Rokeby forest wide;
Now how Ralph Rokeby gave the beast
To Richmond's friars to make a feast.
Of Gilbert Griffinson the tale
Goes, and of gallant Peter Dale,
That well could strike with sword amain,
And of the valiant son of Spain,
Friar Middleton, and blithe Sir Ralph;
There were a jest to make us laugh!
If thou canst tell it in yon shade
Thou'st won thy supper and ihy bed.
Matilda smil'd; "Cold hope," said shes
* From Harpool's love of minstrelsy!
But, for this harper, may we dare,
Redmond, to mend his couch and fare?"
“O, ask not mel-At minstrel-string
My heart from infancy would spring;
Nor can I hear its simplest strain,
But it brings Erin's dream again,
When plac'd by Owen Lysagh's knees
(The Filea of O'Neale was he,
A blind and bearded man, whose eld
Was sacred as a prophet's held)
I've seen a ring of rugged kerne,
With aspect shaggy, wild and stern,
Enchanted by the master's lay,
Linger around the livelong day,
Shift from wild rage to wilder gleby
To love, to grief, to ecstasy,
And feel each varied change of sont
Obedient to the bard's. control.
Ah, Clandeboy! thy friendly floor
Sheve-Donard's oak shall light no mores
Nor Owen's harp, bcside the blaze,
Tell maiden's love, or hero's praised
The mantling brambles hide thy hearth,
Centre of hospitable mirth;
All undistinguish'd in the glade,
My sires' glad home is prostrate laid,
Their vassals wander wide and far,
Serve foreign lords in distant war,
And now the stranger's sons enjoy
The lovely woods of Clandeboy!"
He spoke, and proudly turn'd aside,
The starting tear to dry and hide.
Matilda's dark and soften'd eye
Was glist'ning ere O'Neale's was dry.
Her hand upon his arm she laid,
“ It is the will of heav'n," she said.
“ And think'st thou, Redmond, I can part
From this lov'd home with lightsome heart,
Leaving to wild neglect whate'er
Ev’n from my infancy was dear?
For in this calm domestic bound
Were all Matilda's pleasures found.
That hearth, my sire was wont to grace,
Full soon may be a stranger's place;
This hall, in which a child I play'd,
Like thine, dear Redmond, lowly laid,
The bramble and the thorn may braid;
Or, pass'd for aye from me and mine,
It ne'er may shelter Rokeby's line.
Yet is this consolation giv'ri,
My Redmond,--'tis the will of heav'n."
Her word, her action, and her phrase,
Were kindly as in early days;
For cold reserve had lost its pow'r,
In sorrow's sympathetic hour.
Young Redmond dar'd not trust his voico
But rather had it been his choice
To share that melancholy hour,
Than, arm'd with all a chieftain's pow'r,
In full possession to enjoy
Slieve-Donard widė, and Clandeboy.
The blood left Wilfrid's ashen cheek;
Matilda sees, and hastes to speak.
“ Happy in friendship's ready aid,
Let all my murmurs here be staidi
And Rokeby's Maiden will not part
From Rokeby's hall with moody lieart.
This night at least, for Rokeby's faire,
The hospitable hearth shall flame,
And, ere its native heir retire,
Find for the wand'rer rest and fire,
While this poor harper, by the blaze,
Recounts the tale of other days.
Bid Harpool ope the door with spced,
Admit him, and relieve each need.
Meantime, kind Wycliffe, wilt thou try
Thy minstrel skill?_Nay, no reply-
And look not sad! I guess thy thought,
Thy verse with laurels would be bought;
And poor Matilda, landless now,
Has not a garland for thy brow.
True, I must leave sweet Rokeby's glades,
Nor wander more in Greta shades;
But sure, no rigid jailer, thou
Wilt a short prison-walk allow,
Where summer flow’rs grow wild at will,
On Marwood-chase and Toller Hill;
Then holly green and lily gay
Shall twine in guerdon of thy lay,"
The mournful youth, a space aside,
To tune Matilda's harp applied;
And then a low sad descant rung,
As prelude to the lay he suig.
0, Lady, twine no wreath for me,
Or twine it of the cypress-tree!
Too lively glow the lilies light,
The varnish'd holly's all too bright,
The May-flow'r and the eglantine
May shade a brow less sad than mino;
But, Lady, weave no wreath for me,
Or weave it of the cypress-tree!
Let dimpled Mirth his temples twine
With tendrils of the laughing vine;
The manly oak, the pensive yew,
To patriot and to sage be due;
The myrtle bough bids lovers live,
But that Matilda will not give;
Then, Lady, twine no wreath for me,
Or twine it of the cypress-tree!
Let merry England proudly rear
Her blended roses, bou_ht so dear,
Let Albin bind her bonnet bine
With heath and harebell dipp'd in dew;
On favour'd Erin's crest be seen
The flow'r she loves of em'rald green
But, Lady, twine no wreath for me,
Or twine it of the cypress-tree.
Strike the wild harp, while maids preparo
The ivy meet for minstrel's hair;
And, while his crown of laurel-leaves
With bloody hand the victor weaves,
Let the loud trump his triumph tell;
But when you hear the passing bell,
Then, Lady, twine a wreath for me,
And twine it of the cypress-tree.
Yes! twine for me the cypress bough;
But, O Matilda, twine not now!
Stay till a few brief months are past,
And I have look'd and lov'd my last!
When villagers my shroud bestrew
With panzies, rosemary, and rue,
Then, Lady, weave a wreath for me,
And weave it of the cypress-tree.
O'Neale observ'd the starting tear,
And spoke with kind and blithesome cheer
“No, noble Wilfrid! ere the day
When mourns the land thy silent lay,
Shall many a wreath be freely wove
By hand of friendship and of love.
I would not wish that rigid Fate
Had doom'd thee to a captive's state,
Whose hands are bound by honour's law
Who wears a sword he must not draw;
But were it so, in minstrel pride
The land together would we ride,
On prancing steeds, like harpers old,
Bound for the halls of barons bold,
Each lover of the lyre we'd seek,
From Michael's Mount to Skiddaw's Peak,
Survey wild Albin's mountain strand,
And roam green Erin's lovely land,
While thou the gentler souls should move,
With lay of pity and of love,
And I, thy mate, in rougher strain,
Would sing of war and warriors slain.
Old England's bards were yanquish'd then,
And Scotland's vaunted Hawthornden,
ni, silenc'd on Iernian shore,
M'Curtin's harp should charm no more!”
In lively mood he spoke, tu wile
From Wilfrid's woe-worn cheek a smile.
“But," said Matilda, “ere thy name,
Good Redmond, gain its destin'd fame,
Say, wilt thou kindly deign to call
Thy brother-minstrel to the hall?
Bid all the household, too, attend,
Each in his rank a humble friend;
I know their faithful hearts will grieve,
When their poor Mistress takes her leave
So let the horn and beaker flow
To mitigate their parting woe."
The harper came;-in youth's first prime
Himself; in mode of olden time
His garb was fashion'd, to express
The ancient English minstrel's dress,
A seemly gown of Kendal green,
With gorget clos'd of silver sheen;
His harp in silken scarf was slung,
And by his side an anlace hung.
It seem'd some masquer's quaint array,
For revel or for holiday.
He made obeisance with a free
Yet studied air of courtesy.
Each look and accent, fram'd to please,
Seem'd to affcct a playful ease;
His face was of that doubtful kind,
That wins the eye, but not the mind;
Yet harsh it seem'd to dcem amiss
Of brow so young and smooth as this.
His was the subtle look and sly,
That, spying all, seems nought to spy;
Round all the group his glances stolo
Unmark'd themselves to mark the whole.