Imágenes de páginas


[ocr errors]

While, in ten thousand eddies driven, ' With look unmoved, . Of friend or foe, The billows fling their foam to heaven, Aught,' answer'd Bertram, 'wouldst And the pale pilot seeks in vain

thou know, Where rolls the river, where the main. Demand in simple terms and plain, Even thus, upon the bloody field, A soldier's answer shalt thou gain; The eddying tides of conflict wheeld

For questi

dark, or riddle high, Ambiguous, till that heart of llame, I have nor judgment nor reply.' Hot Rupert, on our squadrons came, i Hurling against our spcars a line Of gallants, fiery as their wine; The wrath his art and fear suppressid Then ours, though stubborn in their 'Now blazed at once in Wycliffe's breast; zcal,

And brave, from man so meanly born, In zeal's despite began to reel. Roused his hereditary scorn. What wouldst thou more? In tumult · Wretch! hast thou paid thy bloody tost,

debt? Our leaders fell, our ranks were lost. | Philip of MORTHAM, lives he yet ? A thousand men, who drew the sword False to thy patron or thinc oath, For both the Houses and the Word, Trait'rous or perjured, one or both. Preach'd forth from hamlet, grange,

Slave! hast thou kept thy promise and down,

plight, To curb the crosier and the crown, · To slay thy leader in the fight?' Now, stark and stiff, lie stretch'd in | Then from his seat the soldier sprung, gore,

And Wycliffe's hand he strongly And ne'er shall rail at mitre more.

wrung; Thus fared it, when I left the fight, His

grasp, as hard as glove of mail, With the good Cause and Commons' Forced the red blood-drop from the right.'


A health!' he cried; and, ere he Disastrous news!' dark Wycliffe said; quaff'd, Assumed despondence bent his head, Flung from him Wycliffe's hand, and While troubled joy was in his eye,

laugh'd : The well-feign'd sorrow to belie. Now, Oswald Wycliffe, speaks thy Disastrous news! — when needed heart! most,

Now play'st thou wellthy genuine part! Told ye not that your chiefs were lost? Worthy, but for thy craven fear, Complete the woful tale, and say, Like me to roam a bucanier. Who fell upon that fatal day ;

What reck'st thou of the Cause divine, What leaders of repute and name If Mortham's wealth and lands bethine? Bought by their death a deathless fame. Whatcarest thou for beleaguer'd York, If such my direst foeman's doom, If this good hand have done its work? My tears shall dew his honour'd tomb. , Or what, though Fairfax and his best No answer? Friend, of all our host, Are reddening Marston's swarthy Thou know'st whom I should hate breast, the most,

If Philip Mortham with them lie, Whom thou too, once, wert wont to Lending his life-blood to the dye? hate,

Sit, then ! and as 'mid comrades free Yet leavest me doubtful of his fate.' Carousing after victory,



When tales are told of blood and fear, When Mortham bade me, as of yore,
That boys and women shrink to hear, Be near him in the battle's roar,
From point to point I frankly tell I scarcely saw the spears laid low,
The deed of death as it befell.

I scarcely heard the trumpets blow;
Lost was the war in inward strife,

Debating Mortham's death or life. “When purposed vengeance I forego, 'Twas then I thought, how, lured to Term me a wretch, nor deem me foe;

come, And when an insult I forgive, As partner of his wealth and home, Then brand me as a slave, and live! Years of piratic wandering o'er, Philip of Mortham is with those With him I sought our native shore. Whom Bertram Risingham calls foes; But Mortham's lord grew far estranged Or whom more sure revenge attends, From the bold heart with whom he If number'd with ungrateful friends.

ranged; As was his wont, ere battle glow'd, Doubts, horrors, superstitious fears, Along the marshall'd ranks he rode, Sadden'd and dimm'd descending And wore his vizor up the while.

years; I saw his melancholy smile,

The wily priests their victim sought, When, full opposed in front, he knew | And damn'd each free-born deed and Where RoKEBY's kindred banner flew. thought. “And thus,” he said, “will friends Then must I seek another home, divide !"

My licence shook his sober dome; I heard, and thought how, side by side, If gold he gave, in one wild day We two had turn'd the battle's tide I revell’d thrice the sum away. In many a well-debated field,

An idle outcast then I stray'd, Where Bertram's breast was Philip's Unfit for tillage or for trade, shield.

Deem'd, like the steel of rusted lance, I thought on Darien’s deserts pale, Useless and dangerous at once. Where death bestrides the evening The women fear d my hardy look, gale,

At my approach the peaceful shook; How o'er my friend my cloak I threw, The merchant saw my glance of flame, And fenceless faced the deadly dew; And lock'd his hoards when Bertram I thought on Quariana's cliff,

came; Where, rescued from our foundering Each child of coward peace kept far skift,

From the neglected son of war.
Through the white breakers' wrath
I bore

Exhausted Mortham to the shore; But civil discord gave the call,
And when his side an arrow found, And made my trade the trade of all.
I suck'd the Indian's venom'd wound. By Mortham urged, I came again
These thoughts like torrents rush'd His vassals to the fight to train.

What guerdon waited on my care ? To sweep away my purpose strong. I could not cant of creed or prayer;

Sour fanatics each trust obtain'd,

And I, dishonour'd and disdain'd, "Hearts are not flint, and flints are rent; Gain'd but the high and happy lot, Hearts are not steel, and steel is bent. In these poor arms to front the shot!


[ocr errors]

All this thou know'st, thy gestures tell; In which his 'complice, fierce and free,
Yet hear it o'er, and mark it well. Asserted guilt's equality.
'Tis honour bids me now relate In smoothest terms his speech hewove,
Each circumstance of Mortham's fate. Of endless friendship, faith, and love;

Promised and vow'd in courteous sort,

But Bertram broke professions short. Thoughts, from the tongue that slowly 1. Wycliffc, be sure not here I stay,

part, Glance quick as lightning through the · No, scarcely till the rising day;

Warn'd by the legends of my youth, heart.

I trust not an associate's truth. As my spur press'd my courser's side, | Do not my native dales prolong Philip of Mortham's cause was tried,

Of Percy Rede the tragic song, And, ere the charging squadrons mix'd,

Train'd forward to his bloody fall, His plea was cast, his doom was fix’d.

By Girsonfield, that treacherous Hall ? I watch'd him through the doubtful oft, by the Pringle's haunted side,

fray That changed as March's moody day, And near the spot that gave me name,

The shepherd sees his spectre glide. Till, like a stream that bursts its bank, The moated mound of Risingham, Fierce Rupert thunder'd on our flank.

Where Reed upon her margin sces 'Twas then, midst tumult, smoke, and Sweet Woodburne's cottages and strife,

trees, Where cach man fought for death or

Some ancient sculptor's art has shown life,

An outlaw's image on the stone; 'Twas then I fired my petronel,

Unmatch'd in strength, a giant he, And Mortham, steed and rider, fell.

With quiver'd back, and kirtled knee. One dying look he upward cast,

Ask how he died, that hunter bold, Of wrath and anguish—'twas his last.

The tameless monarch of the wold, Think not that there I stopp'd to view

And age and infancy can tell,
What of the battle should ensue;
But ere I clear'd that bloody press,

By brother's treachery he fell.

Thus warn’d by legends of my youth, Our northern horse ran masterless;

I trust to no associate's truth.
Monckton and Mitton told the news,
How troops of Roundheads choked the i

When last we reason'd of this deed, And many a bonny Scot, aghast,

Nought, I bethink mc, was agreed, Spurring his palfrey northward, past,

Or by what rule, or when, or where, Cursing the day when zeal or meed

The wealth of Mortham we should First lured their Lesley o'er the Tweed.

share; Yet when I reach'd the banks of Swale, Then list, while I the portion name, Had rumour learn'd another tale; With his barb’dhorse, fresh tidingssay, 'Thou, vassal sworn

Our differing laws give each to claim.

to England's Stout Cromwell has redeem'd the day:

throne, But whether false the news, or true,

Her rules of heritage must own; Oswald, I reck as light as you.'

They deal thee, as to nearest heir,

Thy kinsman's lands and livings fair, Not then by Wycliffe might be shown | And these I yield:—do thou revere How his pride startled at the tone The statutes of the Bucanier,




Friend to the sea, and foeman sw Wilfrid, or thou --'tis one to me,
To all that on her waves are borne, Whichever bears the golden key.
When falls a mate in battle broil, Yet think not but I mark, and
His comrade heirs his portion'd spoil; smile
When dies in fight a daring foe, To mark, thy poor and selfish wile !
He claims his wealth who struck the If injury from me you fear,

What, Oswald Wycliffe, shields thee And either rule to me assigns

here? Those spoils of Indian seas and mines, I've sprung from walls more high than Hoarded in Mortham's caverns dark;

these, Ingot of gold and diamond spark, I've swam through deeper streams Chalice and plate from churches borne,

than Tees. And gems from shrieking beauty torn, Might I not stab thee, ere one yell Each string of pearl, each silver bar, Could rouse the distant sentinel ? And all the wealth of western war. Start not—it is not my design, I go to search, where, dark and deep, But, if it were, weak fence were thine; Those Transatlantic treasures sleep. And, trust me, that, in time of need, Thou must along-for, lacking thee,

This hand hath done more desperate The heir will scarce find entrance free;

deed. And then farewell. I haste to try Go, haste and rouse thy slumbering Each varied pleasure wealth can buy;

son; When cloy'd each wish, these wars Time calls, and I must needs be gone.'

afford Fresh work for Bertram's restless

xxiv. sword.'

Nought of his sire's ungenerous part An undecided answer hung

Polluted Wilfrid's gentle heart; On Oswald's hesitating tongue. A heart too soft from early life Despite his craft, he heard with awe To hold with fortune needful strife. This ruffian stabber fix the law; His sire, while yet a hardier race While his own troubled passions veer Of numerous sons were Wycliffe's Through hatred, joy, regret, and fear;

grace, Joy'd at the soul that Bertram flies,

On Wilfrid set contemptuous brand, He grudged the murderer's mighty For feeble heart and forceless hand; prize,

But a fond mother's care and joy Hated his pride's presumptuous tone,

Were centred in her sickly boy. And fear'd to wend with him alone.

No touch of childhood's frolic mood At length, that middle course to steer,

Show'd the elastic spring of blood; To cowardice and craft so dear,

Hour after hour he loved to pore * His charge,' he said, “would ill allow On Shakespeare's rich and varied lore, His absence from the fortress now;

But turn'd from martial scenes and Wilfrid on Bertram should attend,

light, His son should journey with his friend. From Falstaff's feast and Percy's fight,

To ponder Jaques' moral strain,

And muse with Hamlet, wise in vain, Contempt kept Bertram's anger down, And weep himself to soft repose And wreathed to savagesmilehisfrown. ! O'er gentle Desdemona's woes,





She read the tales his taste approved, In youth he sought not pleasures found Yet, loth to nurse the fatal flame

And sung the lays he framed or loved; By youth in horse, and hawk, and of hopeless love in friendship's name, hound,

In kind caprice she oft withdrew But loved the quiet joys that wake

The favouring glance to friendship By lonely stream and silent lake ;

due, In Deepdale's solitude to lie, Where all is cliff and copse and sky;

! Then grieved to see her victim's pain,

And To climb Catcastle's dizzy peak,

gave the dangerous smiles again. Or lone Pendragon's mound to seek |

XXVIII. Such was his wont; and there his So did the suit of Wilfrid stand drcam

When war's loud summons waked the Soar'd on some wild fantastic theme,

land. Of faithful love, or ceaseless Spring,

Three banners, floating o'er the Tees, Till Contemplation's wearicd wing The enthusiast could no more sustain,

The woe-foreboding peasant sces; And sad he sunk to earth again.

In concert oft they braved of old
The bordering Scot's incursion bold;

Frowning defiance in their pride, He loved -as many a lay can tell

Their vassals now and lords divide. Preserved in Stanmore's lonely dell;

From his fair hall on Greta banks For his was minstrel's skill, he caught The Knight of Rokeby led his ranks, The art unteachable, untaught;

To aid the valiant northern Earls He loved --his soul did nature frame

Who drew the sword for royal Charles. For love, and fancy nursed the flame; | Mortham, by marriage near allied, — Vainly he loved, for seldom swain

His sister had been Rokehy's bride, Of such soft mould is loved again;

Though long before the civil fray Silent he loved-in every gaze

In peaceful grave the lady lay,— Was passion, friendship in his phrase. Philip of Mortham raised his band, So muscd his life away, till died

And marchd at Fairfax's command; His brethren all, their father's pride.

While Wycliffe, bound by many a train Wilfrid is now the only heir

Of kindred art with wily Vanc, Of all his stratagems and care,

Less prompt to brave the bloody field, And destined, darkling, to pursue

Made Barnard's battlements his shield, Ambition's maze by Oswald's clue.

Secured them with his Lunedale


And for the Coininons held the towers. Wilfrid must love and woo the bright Matilda, heir of Rokeby's knight. To love her was an easy hest,

The lovely heir of Rokeby's Knight The secret empress of his breast; Waits in his halls the event of fight; To woo her was a harder task For England's war revered the claim To one that durst not hope or ask. Of every unprotected name, Yet all Matilda could, she gave And spared, amid its fiercest rage, In pity to her gentle slave;

Childhood and womanhood and age. Friendship, esteem, and fair regard, But Wilfrid, son to Rokeby's foe', And praise, the poet's best reward! Must the dear privilege forego,




« AnteriorContinuar »