Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ΤΟ

Not here need my desponding rhyme

Lament the ravages of time, INTRODUCTION TO CANTO

As erst by Newark's riven towers,
FIFTH.

And Ettrick stripp'd of forest bowers.
True, Caledonia's Queen is chang'd,
Since on her dusky summit rang'd,

Within its steepy limits pent,
GEORGE ELLIS, EsQ

By bulwark, line, and battlement,

And flanking towers, and laky flood,

Edinburgh. Guarded and garrison'd she stood, When dark December glooms the day, Denying entrance or resort, And takes our autumn joys away ; Save at each tall embattled port; When short and scant the sunbeam Above whose arch, suspended, hung throws,

Portcullis spiked with iron prong. Upon the weary waste of snows, That long is gone,- but not so long, A cold and profitless regard,

Since, early clos'd, and opening late, Like patron on a needy bard ; Jealous revolved the studded gate, When silvan occupation 's done, Whose task, from eve to morning tide, And o'er the chimney rests the gun,

A wicket churlishly supplied. And hang, in idle trophy, near, Stern then, and steel-girt was thy The game-pouch, fishing-rod, and brow, spear;

Dun-Edin! O, how alter'd now, When wiry terrier, rough and grim, When safe amid thy mountain court And greyhound, with his length of Thou sit'st, like Empress at her sport, limb,

And liberal, unconfin'd, and free, And pointer, now employ'd no more, Flinging thy white arms to the sea, Cumber our parlour's narrow floor; For thy dark cloud, with umber'd When in his stall the impatient steed lower, Is long condemn'd to rest and feed; Thathung o'ercliff,and lake,and tower, When from our snow-encircled home Thou gleam'st against the western ray Scarce cares the hardiest step to roam, Ten thousand lines of brighter day. Since path is none, save that to bring The needful water from the spring ; Not she, the Championess of old, When wrinkled news-page, thrice In Spenser's magic tale enrollid, conn'd o'er,

She for the charmed spear renown'd, Beguiles the dreary hour no more, Which forc'd cach knight to kiss the And darkling politician, cross'd,

ground, Inveighs against the lingering post, Not she more chang’d, when, plac'd And answering housewife sore com

at rest, plains

What time she was Malbecco's guest, Of carriers' snow-impeded wains; She gave to flow her maiden vest; When such the country cheer, I come, When from the corslet's grasp reliev'd, Well pleas'd, to seek our city home; Free to the sight her bosom heav'd; For converse, and for books, to change Sweet was her blueeye's modest smile, The Forest's melancholy range, Erst hidden by the aventayle ; And welcome, with renew'd delight, And down hershouldersgraceful roll'd The busy day and social night. Her locks profuse, of paly gold.

[ocr errors]

They who whilom, in midnight fight, Since first, when conquering York Had marvell'd at her matchless might,

arose, No less her maiden charms approv'd, To Henry meek she gave repose, But looking lik’d, and liking lov'd. Till late, with wonder, grief, and awc, The sight could jealous pangs beguile, Great Bourbon's relics sad she saw!, And charm Malbecco's cares a while ; And he, the wandering Squire of Truce to these thoughts :-for, as Dames,

they rise, Forgot his Columbella's claims, How gladly I avert mine eyes, And passion, erst unknown, could gain Bodings, or true or false, to change, The breast of blunt Sir Satyrane ; For Fiction's fair romantic range, Nor durst light Paridel advance, Or for tradition's dubious light, Bold as he was, a looser glance. That hovers 'twixt the day and night: She charm’d, at once, and tamed the Dazzling alternately and dim, hcart,

Her wavering lamp I'd rather trim, Incomparable Britomarte !

Knights, squires, and lovely dames to

see, So thou, fair City! disarray'd Creation of my fantasy, Of battled wall, and rampart's aid,

Than gaze abroad on reeky fen, As stately seem'st, but lovelier far

And make of mists invading men. Than in that panoply of war.

Who loves not more the night of Nor dcem that from thy fenceless June throne

Than dull December's gloomy noon? Strength and security are flown ;

The moonlight than the fog of frost ? Still, as of yore, Queen of the North!

And can we say, which cheats the most? Stillcanst thou send thy children forth. Ne'er readier at alarm-bell's call

But who shall teach my harp to Thy burghers rose to man thy wall,

gain Than now, in danger, shall be thine,

A sound of the romantic strain, Thy dauntless voluntary line;

Whose Anglo-Norman tones whilere For fosse and turret proud to stand,

| Could win the royal Henry's ear, Their breasts the bulwarks of the land.

Famed Beauclerc call'd, for that he Thy thousands, train'd to martial toil,

lov'd Full red would stain their native soil,

The minstrel, and his lay approv'd ? Erc from thy mural crown there fell

Who shall these lingering notes The slightest knosp, or pinnacle.

redcem, And if it come,-as come it may, Decaying on Oblivion's stream; Dun-Edin! that eventful day,

Such notes as from the Breton tongue Renown'd for hospitable deed,

Marie translated, Blondel sung ?That virtue much with Heaven may | O! born, Time's ravage to repair, plead,

And make the dying Muse thy care ; In patriarchal times whose care

Who, when his scythe her hoary foe Descending angels deignod to share; ! Was poising for the final blow, That claim may wrestle blessings down Onthose who fight for The Good Town, Destin'd in every age to be

1 In January, 1796, the exiled Count d'Artois, after.

wards (Charles X of France, took up his residence in Refuge of injured royalty;

llolyrood, where he remained until August, 179.

I.

can

The weapon from his hand could

Canto Fifth. wring, And break his glass, and shear his wing,

The Court. And bid, reviving in his strain, The gentle poet live again ; Thou, who canst give to lightest lay The train has left the hills of Braid; An unpedantic moral gay,

The barrier guard have open made Nor less the dullest theme bid flit

(So Lindesay bade) the palisade, On wings of unexpected wit;

That closed the tented ground; In letters as in life approv'd,

Their men the warders backward drew, Example honour'd, and belov'd, - And carried pikes, as they rode through Dear Ellis! to the bard impart

Into its ample bound. A lesson of thy magic art,

Fast ran the Scottish warriors there, To win at once the head and heart, - Upon the Southern band to stare, At once to charm, instruct, and mend, And envy with their wonder rose, My guide, my pattern, and my friend! To see such well-appointed foes ;

Such length of shafts, such mighty Such minstrel lesson to bestow

bows, Be long thy pleasing task,-but, O! So huge, that many simply thought No more by thy example teach, But fora vaunt such weapons wrought; What few can practise, all And little deem'd their force to feel, preach,

Through links of mail, and plates of With even patience to endure

steel, Lingering disease, and painful cure, When rattling upon Flodden vale, And boast affliction's pangs subdu'd The cloth-yard arrows flew like hail. By mild and manly fortitude.

II. Enough, the lesson has been given : Forbid the repetition, Heaven ! Nor less did Marmion's skilful view

Glance every line and squadron Come listen, then! for thou hast through; known,

And much he marvell’d one small land And lov'd the Minstrel's varying tone, Could marshalforth such various band: Who, like his Border sires of old, For men-at-arms were here, Wak'd a wild measure rude and bold, Heavily sheath'd in mail and plate, Till Windsor's oaks, and Ascot plain, Like iron towers for strength and With wonder heard the northern weight, strain.

On Flemish steeds of bone and height, Come listen! bold in thy applause, With battle-axe and spear. The Bard shall scorn pedantic laws; Young knights and squires, a lighter And, as the ancient art could stain

train, Achievements on the storied pane, Practis'd their chargers on the plain, Irregularly trac'd and plann'd,

By aid of leg, of hand, and rein, But yet so glowing and so grand, - Each warlike feat to show, So shall he strive, in changeful hue, To pass, to wheel, the croupe to gain, Field, feast, and combat, to renew, And high curvett, that not in vain Andloves, and arms, and harpers' glee, The sword sway might descend amain And all the pomp of chivalry.

On foeman's casque below.

He saw the hardy burghers there Let nobles fight for fame;
March arm’d, on foot, with faces bare, Let vassals follow where they lead,
For vizor they wore none,

Burghers to guard their townships
Nor waving plume, norcrest of knight; bleed,
But burnish'd were their corslets But war's the Borderer's game.
bright,

Their gain, their glory, their delight, Their brigantines, and gorgets light, To sleep the day, maraud the night, Like very silver shone.

O'er mountain, moss, and mour ; Long pikes they had forstanding fight, , Joyful to fight they took their way,

Two-handed swords they wore, Scarce caring who might win the day, And many wielded mace of weight, Their booty was secure. And bucklers bright they bore. These, as Lord Marmion's train pass'd

by, III.

Look'd on at first with careless cyc, On foot the yeoman too, but dressid Nor marvell’d aught, well taught to In his stecl-jack, a swarthy vest,

know With iron quilted well ;

The form and force of English bow'. Each at his back (a slender store) But when they saw the Lord array'd His forty days' provision bore, In splendid arms and rich brocade, As feudal statutes tell.

Each Borderer to his kinsman said, His arms were halbert, axe, or spear, • Hist, Ringan! secst thou there? A crossbow there, a hagbut here, Canst guess which road they 'll homeA dagger-knife, and brand.

ward ride? Sober he scom’d, and sad of cheer, O! could we but on Border side, As loth to leave his cottage dear, By Euscdale glen, or Liddell's tide,

And march to foreign strand; Beset a prize so fair ! Or musing, who would guide his sleer ; That fangless Lion, too, their guide, To till the fallow land.

Might chance to lose his glisteringhide; Yet deem not in his thoughtful cye Brown Maudlin, of that doublet picd, Did aught of dastard terror lie;

Could inake a kirtle rare.'
More dreadful far his irc,
Than theirs, who, scorning danger's
name,

v.

Next, Marmion mark'd the Celtic racc, In cager mood to battle came,

of different language, form, and face, Their valour like light straw on flame, A various race of man; A fierce but fading fire.

Just then the Chiefstheirtribes array'd,
And wild and garish semblance made,

The chequer'd trews, and belted plaid, Not so the Borderer: bred to war, And varying notes the war-pipes bray'd, He knew the battle's din afar,

To every varying clan ; And joy'd to hear it swell.

Wild through their red or sable hair His peaceful day was slothful ease; | Look'dout their eyes with savage stare, Norharp, nor pipe, his ear could please On Marmion as he pass'd; Like the loud slogan yell.

Their legs above the knee were bare; On active steed, with lance and blade. Their frame was sincwy, short, and The light-arm'd pricker plied his spare, trade,

! And hardend to the blast;

IV.

I

VI.

Of taller race, the chiefs they own While burghers, with important face,
Were by the eagle's plumage known. Describ'd each new-come lord,
The hunted red-deer's undress'd hide Discuss'd his lineage, told his name,
Their hairy buskins well supplied ; His following, and his warlike fame.
The graceful bonnet deck'd their head: The Lion led to lodging meet,
Back from their shoulders hung the Which high o'erlook'd the crowded
plaid ;

street;
A broadsword of unwieldy length, There must the Baron rest,
A dagger proved for edge andstrength, Till past the hour of vesper tide,

A studded targe they wore, And then to Holy-Rood must ride,And quivers, bows, and shafts,-but, O! Such was the King's behest. Short was the shaft, and weak the bow, Meanwhile the Lion's care assigns

To that which England bore. A banquet rich, and costly wines, The Isles-men carried at their backs To Marmion and his train ; The ancient Danish battle-axe. And when the appointed hour sucThey raised a wild and wondering cry,

ceeds, As with his guide rode Marmion by. The Baron dons his peaceful weeds, Loud were their clamouring tongues, And following Lindesay as he leads as when

The palace-halls they gain.
The clanging sea-fowl leave the fen,
And, with their cries discordant mix'd,

VII.
Grumbled and yell’d the pipes betwixt. Old Holy-Rood rung merrily,

That night, with wassell, mirth, and

glee: Thus through the Scottish camp they King James within her princely pass'd,

bower, And reach'd the City gate at last, Feasted the Chiefs of Scotland's power, Where all around, a wakeful guard, Summon'd to spend the parting hour; Arm'd burghers kept their watch and For he had charged, that his array ward.

Should southward march by break of Well had they cause of jealous fear,

day. When lay encamp'd, in field so near, Well lov'd that splendid monarch aye The Borderer and the Mountaineer. The banquet and the song, As through the bustling streets they By day the tourney, and by night go,

The merry dance, trac'd fast and light, All was alive with martial show: The maskers quaint, the pageant bright, At every turn, with dinning clang, The revel loud and long. The armourer's anvil clash'd and rang; This feast outshone his banquets past, Or toil'd the swarthy smith, to wheel It was his blithest-and his last. The bar that arms the charger's heel; The dazzling lamps, from gallery gay, Or axe, or falchion, to the side Cast on the Court a dancing ray; Of jarring grindstone was applied. Here to the harp did minstrels sing; Page, groom, and squire, with hurrying There ladies touch'd a softer string; pace,

With long-ear'd cap, and motley vest, Through street, and lane, and market. The licensed fool retail'd his jest ; place,

His magic tricks the juggler plied ; Bore lance, or casque, or sword; At dice and draughts the gallants vied;

« AnteriorContinuar »