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Sometimes I thought I heard it plain,
As other voices spoke again.
I cannot tell-I like it not-
Friar John hath told us it is wrote,
No conscience clear and void of wrong
Can rest awake and pray so long.
Himself still sleeps before his beads
Hare marked ten aves and two


On hills of Armenie hath been,
Where Noah's ark may yet be seen ;
By that Red Sea, too, hath be trod,
Which parted at the Prophet's rod;
In Sinai's wilderness he saw
The Mount where Israel heard the law,
Mid thunder-dint, and flashing levin,
And shadows, mists, and darkness,

He shows Saint James's cockle-shell,
Of fair Montserrat, too, can tell ;

And of that Grot where Olives nod, Where, darling of each heart and eye, From all the youth of Sicily,

Saint Rosalie retired to God. “To stout Saint George of Norwich

Saint Thonias, too, of Canterbury,
Cuthbert of Durham and Saint Bede,
For his sins' pardon hath he prayed.
He knows the passes of the North,
And seeks far shrines beyond the Forth ;
Little he eats, and long will wake,
And drinks but of the stream or lake.
This were a guide o'er moor and dale ;
But when our John hath quaffed his ale,
As little as the wind that blows,
And warms itself against his nose,
Kens he, or cares, which way he goes."-
“Gramercy!" quoth Lord Marmion,
“ Full loath were I that Friar John,
That venerable man, for me
Were placed in fear or jeopardy:
If this same Palmer will me lead

From hence to Holy-Rood,
Like bis good saint, I'll pay his meed,
Instead of cockle-shell or bead,

With angels fair and good.
I love such holy ramblers; still
They know to charm a weary hill

With song, romance, or lay:
Some jovial tale, or glee, or jest,
Some lying legend, at the least,

They bring to cheer the way.”“ Ah! noble sir," young Selby said, And finger on his lip he laid, “This man knows much, perchance e'en Than he could learn by holy lore. Still to himself he's muttering, And shrinks as at some unseen thing. Last night we listened at his cell ; Strange sounds we heard, and, sooth to

tell, He murmured on till morn, howe'er No living mortal could be near.

“Let pass,” quoth Marmion ; " by my

fay, This man shall guide me on my way, Although the great arch-fiend and he Had sworn themselves of company. So please you, gentle youth, to call This Palmer to the castle-hall." The summoned Palmer came in place : His sable cowl o'erhung his face ; In his black mantle was he clad, With Peter's keys, in cloth of red,

On his broad shoulders wrought; The scallop shell his cap did deck; The crucifix around his neck

Was from Loretto brought;
His sandals were with travel tore.
Staff, budget, bottle, scrip, he wore;
The faded palm-branch in his land
Showed pilgrim from the Holy Land.
When as the Palmer came in hall,
Nor lord nor knight was there more tall,
Or had a statelier step withal,

Or looked more high and keen ;
For no saluting did he wait,
But strode across the hall of state,
And fronted Marmion where he sate,

As he his peer had been.
But his gaunt frame was worn with

toil; His cheek was sunk, alas the while ! And when he struggled at a smile

His eye looked haggard wild : Poor wretch, the mother that him bare, If she had been in presence there, In his wan face and sunburnt hair

She had not known her child. Danger, long travel, want, or woe, Soon change the form that best we

know For deadly fear can time outgo,

And blanch at once the hair ; Hard toil can roughen form and face, And want can quench the eye's bright

Nor does old age a wrinkle trace

More deeply than despair.
Happy whom none of these befall,
But this poor Palmer knew them all.



Lord Marmion then his boon did ask ;
The Palmer took on him the task,
So he would march with morning tide,
To Scottish court to be his guide.
“* But I have solemn vows to pay,
And may not linger by the way,

To fair Saint Andrew's bound,
Within the ocean-cave to pray,
Where good Saint Rule his holy lay,
From midnight to the dawn of day,

Sung to the billows' sound; Thence to Saint Fillan's blessed well, Whose spring can frenzied dreams dispel

And the crazed brain restore. Saint Mary grant that cave or spring Could back to peace my bosom bring,

Or bid it throb no more !”

And now the midnight draught of sleep,
Where wine and spices richly steep,
In massive bowl of silver deep,

The page presents on knee.
Lord Marmion drank a fair good rest,
The Captain pledged his noble guest,
The cup went through among the rest,

Who drained it merrily ; Alone the Palmer passed it by, Though Selby pressed him courteously. This was a sign the feast was o'er ; It hushed the merry wassail roar,

The minstrels ceased to sound. Soon in the castle nought was heard But the slow footstep of the guard

Pacing his sober round. With early dawn Lord Marmion rose : And first the chapel doors unclose ; Then, after morning rites were done A hasty mass from Friar JohnAnd knight and squire had broke their

fast On rich substantial repast, Lord Marmion's bugle blew to horse. Then came the stirrup-cup in course : Between the baron and his host, No point of courtesy was lost; High thanks were by Lord Marmion paid, Solemn excuse the Captain made, Till, filing from the gate, had passed That noble train, their lord the last. Then loudly rung the trumpet call; Thundered the cannon from the wall,

And shook the Scottish shore;
Around the castle eddied slow
Volumes of smoke as white as snow

And hid its turrets hoar,
Till they rolled forth upon the air,
And met the river breezes there,
Which gave again the prospect fair.

THE CONVENT The breeze which swept away the smoke

Round Norham Castle rolled, When all the loud artillery spoke With lightning-flash and thunder-stroke,

As Marmion left the Hold.It curled not Tweed alone, that breeze, For, far upon Northumbrian seas,

It freshly blew and strong, Where, from high Whitby's cloistered

Bound to Saint Cuthbert's Holy Isle,

It bore a bark along.
Upon the gale she stooped her side,
And bounded o'er the swelling tide,

As she were dancing home;
The merry seamen laughed to see
Their gallant ship so lustily

Furrow the green sea-foam. Much joyed they in their honored

freight; For, on the deck, in chair of state, The Abbess of Saint Hilda placed, With five fair nuns, the galley graced. “T was sweet to see these holy maids, Like birds escaped to greenwood shades,

Their first flight from the cage,
How timid, and how curious too,
For all to them was strange and new,
And all the common sights they view

Their wonderment engage.
One eyed the shrouds and swelling sail,

With many a benedicite;
One at the rippling surge grew pale,

And would for terror pray,
Then shrieked because the sea-dog nigh
His round black head and sparkling eye

Reared o'er the foaming spray ; And one would still adjust her veil Disordered by the summer gale, Perchance lest some more worldly eye Her dedicated charms might spy, Perchance because such action graced Her fair-turned arm and slender waist. Light was each simple bosom there, Save two, who ill might pleasure share,The Abbess and the Novice Clare. The Abbess was of noble blood, But early took the veil and hood, Ere upon life she cast a look, Or knew the world that she forsook. Fair too she was, and kind had been As she was fair, but ne'er had seen For her a timid lover sigh, Nor knew the influence of her eye.

Love to her ear was but a name,
Combined with vanity and shame ;
Her hopes, her fears, her joys, were all
Bounded within the cloister wall;
The deadliest sin her mind could reach
Was of monastic rule the breach,
And her ambition's highest aim
To emulate Saint Hilda's fame.
For this she gave her ample dower
To raise the convent's eastern tower ;
For this, with carving rare and quaint,
She decked the chapel of the saint,
And gave the relic-shrine of cost,
With ivory and gems embossed.
The poor her couvent's bounty blest,
The pilgrim in its halls found rest.

To hide it till the jackals come
To tear it from the scanty tomb.-
See what a woful look was given,
As she raised up her eyes to heaven!
Lovely, and gentle, and distressed
These charms might tame the fiercest

breast :
Harpers bare sung and poets told
That he, in fury uncontrolled,
The sbaggy monarch of the wood,
Before a virgin, fair and good,
Hath pacified his savage mood.
But passions in the human frame
Oft put the lion's rage to shame;
And jealousy, by dark intrigue,
With sordid avarice in league,
Had practised with their bowland knife
Against the mourner's harmless life.
This crime was charged gainst those

who lay Prisoned in Cuthbert's islet gray.

Black was her garb, her rigid rule
Reformed on Benedictine school;
Her cheek was pale, her form was spare ;
Vigils and penitence austere
Had early quenched the light of youth :
But gentle was the dame, in sooth;
Though, vain of her religious sway,
She loved to see her maids obey,
Yet nothing stern was she in cell,
And the nuns loved their Abbess well.
Sad was this voyage to the dame;
Summoned to Lindisfarne, she came,
There, with Saint Cuthbert's Abbot old
And Tynemouth's Prioress, to hold
A chapter of Saint Benedict,
For inquisition stern and strict
On two apostates from the faith,
And, if need were, to doom to death.
Nouglit say I here of Sister Clare,
Save this, that she was young and fair ;
As yet a novice unprofessed,
Lovely and gentle, but distressed,
She was betrothed to one now dead,
Or worse, who had dishonored fled.
Her kinsmen bade her give her hand
To one who loved her for her land ;
Herself, almost heart-broken now,
Was bent to take the restal vow,
And shroud within Saint Hilda's gloom
Her blasted hopes and withered bloom.

And now the vessel skirts the strand
Of mountainous Northumberland ;
Towns, towers, and halls successive rise,
And catch the nuns' delighted eyes.
Monk-Wearmouth soon behind them lay,
And Tynemouth's priory and bay:
They marked amid her trees the hall
Of lofty Seaton-Delaval;
They saw the Blythe and Wansbeck

floods Rush to the sea through sounding

woods; They passed the tower of Widderington, Mother of many a valiant son ; At Coquet-isle their beads they tell To the good saint who owned the cell ; Then did the Alne attention claim, And Warkworth, proud of Percy's And next they crossed themselves to

liear The whitening breakers sound so near, Where, boiling through the rocks, they



She sate upon the galley's prow,
And seemed to mark the waves below;
Nay, seemed, so fixed her look and eye,
To count them as they glided by:
She saw them not-'t was seeming all-
Far other scene her thoughts recall-,
A sun-scorched desert, waste and bare ;
Nor waves nor breezes murmured there ;
There saw she where some careless hand
O'er a dead corpse had heaped the sand,

On Dunstanborough's caverned shore ;
Thy tower, proud Bamborough, marked

they there,
King Ida's castle, huge and square,
From its tall rock look grimly down,
And on the swelling ocean frown ;
Then from the coast they bore away
And reached the Holy Island's bay,

The tide did now its flood-mark gain
And girdled in the Saint's domain;
For, with the flow and ebb, its style

Varies froni continent to isle:

To hale the bark to land ; Dry shod, o'er sands, twice every day Conspicuous by her veil and hood, The pilgrims to the shrine find way ; Signing the cross, the Abbess stood, Twice every day the waves efface

And blessed them with her band. Of staves and sandalled feet the trace. As to the port the galley flew,

Suppose we now the welcome said, Higher and higher rose to view

Suppose the convent banquet made: The castle with its battled walls,

All through the holy dome, The ancient monastery's halls,

Through cloister, aisle, and gallery, A solemn, huge, and dark-red pile, Wherever vestal maid might pry, Placed on the margin of the isle.

Nor risk to meet unhallowed eye,

The stranger sisters roam ; In Saxon strength that abbey frowned, Till fell the evening damp with dew, With massive arches broad and round, And the sharp sea-breeze coldly blew,

That rose alternate, row and row, For there even summer night is chill.
On ponderous columns, short and low, Then, having strayed and gazed their fill
Built ere the art was known,

They closed around the fire ;
By pointed aisle and shafted stalk And all, in turn, essayed to paint
The arcades of an alleyed walk

The rival merits of their saint,
To emulate in stone.

A theme that ne'er can tire On the deep walls the heathen Dane A holy maid, for be it known Had poured his impious rage in vain ; That their saint's honor is their own. And needful was such strength to these, Exposed to the tempestuous seas,

Then Whitby's nuns exulting told Scourged by the winds' eternal sway, How to their house three barons bold Open to rovers fierce as they,

Must menial service do, Which could twelve hundred years with- While horns blow out a note of shame, stand

And monks cry, “ Fie upon your name! Winds, waves, and northern pirates' In wrath, for loss of sylvan game, hard.

Saint Hilda's priest ye slew. Not but that portions of the pile,

"This, on Iscension-day, each year Rebuilded in a later style,

While laboring on our harbor-pier, Showed where the spoiler's hand had Must Herbert, Bruce, and Percy hear." been ;

They told how in their convent-cell Not but the wasting sea-breeze keen A Saxon princess once did dwell, Had worn the pillar's carving quaint, The lovely Edelfled ; And mouldered in his niche the saint, And how, of thousand snakes, each one And rounded with consuming power Was changed into a coil of stone The pointed angles of each tower;

When holy Hilda prayed ; Yet still entire the abbey stood,

Themselves, within their lioly bound, Like veteran, worn, but unsubdued. Their stony folds had often found.

They told how sea-fowls' pinions fail Soon as they neared his turrets strong, As over Whitby's towers they sail, The maidens raised Saint Hilda's song, And, sinking down, with flutterings And with the sea-wave and the wind

faint, Their voices, sweetly shrill, combined They do their homage to the saint.

And made harmonious close ; Then, answering from the sandy shore, Nor did Saint Cuthbert's daughters fail Half-drowned amid the breakers' roar, To vie with these in holy tale ; According chorus rose :

His body's resting-place, of old, Down to the haven of the Isle

How oft their patron changed, they told ; The monks and nuns in order file

How, when the rude Dane burned their From Cutlibert's cloisters grim ;

pile, Banner, and cross, and relics there, The monks fled forth from Holy Isle ; To meet Saint Hilda's maids, they bare; O'er northern mountain, marsh, and And, as they caught the sounds on air,

moor, They echoed back the hymn.

From sea to sea, from shore to shore, The islanders in joyous mood

Seven years Saint Cuthbert's corpse they Rushed emulously through the flood


They rested them in fair Melrose ;

Old Colwulf built it, for his fault But though, alive, he loved it well, In penitence to dwell, Not there his relics might repose ;

When he for cowl and beads laid For, wondrous tale to tell !

down In his stone coffin forth he rides, The Saxon battle-axe and crown. A ponderous bark for river tides, This den, which, chilling every sense Yet light as gossamer it glides

Of feeling, hearing, sight, Downward to Tilmouth cell.

Was called the Vault of Penitence, Nor long was his abiding there,

Excluding air and light, For southward did the saint repair ; Was by the

prelate Sexhelm made Chester-le-Street and Ripon saw

A place of burial for such dead His holy corpse ere Wardilaw

As, having died in mortal sin, Hailed him with joy and fear ;

Might not be laid the church within. And, after many wanderings past, 'Twas now a place of punishment; He chose his lordly seat at last

Whence if so loud a shriek were sent Where his cathedral, huge and vast, As reached the upper air, Looks down upon the Wear.

The hearers blessed themselves, and said
There, deep in Durham's Gothic shade, The spirits of the sinful dead
His relics are in secret laid ;

Bemoaned their torments there.
But none may know the place,
Save of his holiest servants three,

But though, in the monastic pile,
Deep sworn to solemn secrecy,

Did of this penitential pile, Who share that wondrous grace.

Some vague tradition go,

Few only, save the Abbot, knew Who may his miracles declare?.

Where the place lay, and still more few Even Scotland's dauntless king and Were those who had from him the clew heir

To that dread vault to go. Although with them they led

Victim and executioner Galwegians, wild as ocean's gale,

Were blindfold when transported there. And Loden's knights, all sheathed in In low dark rounds the arches hung, mail,

From the rude rock the side-walls sprung And the bold men of Teviotdale

The gravestones, rudely sculptured o'er, Before his standard fled.

Half sunk in earth, by time half wore, 'Twas he, to vindicate his reign,

Were all the pavement of the floor ; Edged Alfred's falchion on the Dane, The mildew drops fell one by one, And turned the Conqueror back again, With tinkling plash, upon the stone. When, with his Norman bowyer band, A cresset, in an iron chain, He came to waste Northumberland. Which served to light this drear domain,

With damp and darkness seemed to
But fain Saint Hilda's nuns would learn strive,
If on a rock, by Lindisfarne,

As if it scarce might keep alive ;
Saint Cuthbert sits, and toils to frame And yet it dimly served to show
The sea-born beads that bear his name : The awful conclave met below.
Such tales lad Whitby's fishers told,
And said they might his shape behold, There, met to doom in secrecy,
And hear lis anvil sound ;

Were placed the heads of convents three,
A deadened clang,-a huge dim form, All servants of Saint Benedict,
Seen but, and heard, when gathering The statutes of whose order strict

On iron table lay ; And night were closing round.

In long black dress, on seats of stone, But this, as tale of idle fame,

Behind were these three judges shown The nuns of Lindisfarne disclaim.

By the pale crescent's ray.

The Abbess of Saint Hilda's there While round the fire such legends go, Sat for a space with visage bare, Far different was the scene of woe

Until, to hide her bosom's swell, "Vhere, in a secret aisle beneath,

And tear-drops that for pity fell,
Council was held of life and death.

She closely drew her veil;
It was more dark and long, that vault, Yon shrouded figure, as I guess,

Than the worst dungeon cell ; By her proud mien and flowing dress,

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