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Sometimes I thought I heard it plain,
On hills of Armenie hath been,
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
From hence to Holy-Rood,
With angels fair and good.
With song, romance, or lay:
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;
Or looked more high and keen ;
As he his peer had been.
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
More deeply than despair.
Lord Marmion then his boon did ask ;
To fair Saint Andrew's bound,
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,
The page presents on knee.
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;
And hid its turrets hoar,
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
It bore a bark along.
As she were dancing home;
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,
Their wonderment engage.
With many a benedicite;
And would for terror pray,
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,
To hide it till the jackals come
who lay Prisoned in Cuthbert's islet gray.
Black was her garb, her rigid rule
And now the vessel skirts the strand
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,
On Dunstanborough's caverned shore ;
The tide did now its flood-mark gain
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.
They closed around the fire ;
The rival merits of their saint,
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
Bemoaned their torments there.
But though, in the monastic pile,
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
As if it scarce might keep alive ;
Were placed the heads of convents three,
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,
She closely drew her veil;
Than the worst dungeon cell ; By her proud mien and flowing dress,