Imágenes de páginas


[ocr errors]

Nor less his wild adventurous youth
Believed in every legend's truth; Thus, as a man, a youth, a child,
Learn'd when, beneath the tropic gale, Train’d in the mystic and the wild,
Full swell'd the vessel's steady sail, With this on Bertram's soul at times
And the broad Indian moon her light Rush'd a dark feeling of his crimes;
Pour'd on the watch of middle night, Such to his troubled soul their form
When seamen love to hear and tell As the pale Death-ship to the storm,
Of portent, prodigy, and spell : And such their omen, dim and dread,
What gales are sold on Lapland's shore, | As shricks and voices of the dead.
How whistle rash bids tempests roar, That pang, whose transitory force
Of witch, of mermaid, and of sprite, Hover'd 'twixt horror and remorse ;
Of Erick's cap and Elmo's light ; That pang, perchance, his bosom
Or of that Phantom Ship, whose form press'd,
Shoots likea meteor through thestorm; s Wilfrid sudden he address :-
When the dark scud comes driving Wilfrid, this glen is never trode


Until the sun rides high abroad; Ind lower'd is every topsail-yard, Yet twice have I beheld to-day And canvas, wove in earthly looms, A Form that seem'd to dog our way; No more to brave the storm presumes: Twice from my glance it seem'd to flee, Then, 'mid the war of sea and sky, And shroud itself by cliff or tree. Top and top-gallant hoisted high, How think'st thou ?. Is our path wayFull spread and crowded every sail,

laid? The Demon Frigate braves the gale; Or hath thy sire my trust betray'd ? And well the doom'd spectators know ! If so'--- Fre, starting from his dream, The harbinger of wreck and woe. That turn'd upon a gentler theme,

Wilfrid had roused him to reply,

Bertram sprung forward, shouting Then, too, were told, in stitled tone,

high, Marvels and omens all their own ; Whate'er thou art, thou now shalt How, hy some desert isle or key,

stand: Where Spaniards wrought their · And forth he darted, sword in hand.

cruelty, Or where the savage pirate's mood Repaid it home in deeds of blood, As bursts the levin in its wrath, Strange nightly sounds of woe and fear Ile shot him down the sounding path : Appall’d the listening Bucanier, Rock, wood, and stream rang wildly Whose light arm'd shallop anchor'dlay In ambush by the lonely bay.

To his loud step and savage shout. The groan of grief, the shriek of pain, Seems that the object of his race Ringfromthemoonlight groves ofcane; Hath scaled the cliffs ; his frantic chase The fierce adventurer's heart they Sidelong he turns, and now 'tis bent scare,

Right up the rock's tall battlement; Who wearies memory for a prayer, Straining cach sinew to ascend, Curses the roadstead, and with gale Foot, hand, and knee their aid must Of early morning lifts the sail,

lend. To give, in thirst of blood and prey, Wilfrid, all dizzy with dismay, 1 legend for another bay.

Views from beneath his dreadful way:





Now to the oak's warp'd roots he Rude steps ascending from the dell clings,

Render'd the cliffs accessible. Now trusts his weight to ivy strings; By circuit slow he thus attain'd Now, like the wild-goat, must he dare The height that Risingham had gain’d, An unsupported leap in air;

And when he issued from the wood, Hid in the shrubby rain-course now, Before the gate of Mortham stood. You mark him by the crashing bough, 'Twas a fair scene! the sunbeam lay And by his corslet's sullen clank, On battled tower and portal grey: And by the stones spurn’d from the And from the grassy slope he sees bank,

The Greta flow to meet the Tecs; And by the hawk scared from her Where, issuing from her darksome nest,

And ravens croaking o'er their guest, She caught the morning's eastern red,
Who deem his forfeit limbs shall pay And through the softening vale below
The tribute of his bold essay.

Rolld her bright waves, in rosy glow,
All blushing to her bridal bed,

Like some shy maid in convent bred;
Sce, he emerges ! desperate now While linnet, lark, and blackbird gay,
All farther course ; yon beetling brow, Sing forth her nuptial roundelay.
In craggy nakedness sublime,

XVII. What heart or foot shall dare to climb? It bears no tendril for his clasp, 'Twas sweetly sung, that roundelay; Presents no angle to his grasp : That summer morn shone blithe and Sole stay his foot may rest upon

gay ; Is yon earth-bedded jetting stone. But morning beam, and wild-bird's Balanced on such precarious prop,

call, He strains his grasp to reach the top. Awaked not Mortham's silent hall. Just as the dangerous stretch he makes, No porter, by the low-brow'd gate, By heaven, his faithless footstool Took in the wonted niche his scat; shakes!

To the paved court no peasant drew; Bencath his tottering bulk it bends, Waked to their toil no menial crew; It sways, ... it loosens, ... it de- The maiden's carol was not heard, scends!

As to her morning task she fared : And downward holds its headlong in the void offices around way,

Rung not a hoof, nor bay'd a hound; Crashing o'er rock and copsewood Nor eager steed, with shrilling neigh, spray.

Accused the lagging groom's delay; Loud thunders shake the echoing dell! Untrimm'd, undress’d, neglected now, Fell it alone ? Alone it fell

Was alley'd walk and orchard bough;
Just on the very verge of fate, All spoke the master's absent care,
The hardy Bertram's falling weight All spoke neglect and disrepair.
He trusted to his sinewy hands, South of the gate, an arrow-flight,
And on the top unharm'd he stands ! Two mighty elms their limbs unite,

As if a canopy to spread

O'er the lone dwelling of the dead; Wilfrid a safer path pursued;

For their huge boughs in arches bent At intervals where, roughly hewd, Above a massive monument,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Carved o'er in ancient Gothic wise, But yet of Bertram sought to know With many a scutcheon and device : The apparition's form and show. There, spent with toil and sunk in The power within the guilty breast, gloom,

Oft vanquish'd, never quite suppress`d, Bertram stood pondering by the tomb. That unsubdued and lurking lies

To take the felon by surprise,

And force him, as by magic spell, 'It vanish d, like a flitting ghost ! In his despite his guilt to tell --Behind this tomb,' he said, " 'twas lost- That power in Bertram's breast awoke; This tomb, where oft I deem'd lies Scarce conscious he was heard, he stored

spoke : Of Mortham's Indian wealth the hoard. " 'Twas Mortham's form, from foot to 'Tis true, the aged servants said

head: Here his lamented wife is laid; His inorion, with the plume of red, But weightier reasons may be guess'd His shape, his mien—'twas Mortham For their lord's strict and stern behest, right, That none should on his steps intrude, , As when I slew him in the fight.' Whene'er he sought this solitude.-- · Thou slay him? thou?'.-- With conAn ancient mariner I knew,

scious start What time I sail'd with Morgan's He heard, then mann'd his haughty crew,

heart :Who oft, ʼmid our carousals, spake I slew him? I! I had forgot Of Raleigh, Frobisher, and Drake; Thou, stripling, knew'st not of the Adventurous hearts: who barter'd,

plot. bold,

But it is spoken ; nor will I Their English steel for Spanish gold. Deed done, or spoken word, deny. Trust not, would his experience suy', I slew him ; I! for thankless pride; Captain or comrade with your prey ; 'Twas by this hand that Mortham died!' But scck some charnel, when, at full, The moon gilds skeleton and skull: There dig, and tomb your precious Wilfrid, of gentle hand and heart, heap,

Averse to every active part, And bid the dead your treasure keep; But most averse to martial broil, Sure stewards they, if fitting spell From danger shrunk, and turn'd from Their service to the task compel.

toil ; Lacks there such charnel ? kill a slave, Yet thc mcek lover of the lyre Or prisoner, on the treasure-grave; Nursed one brave spark of noble fire: And bid his discontented ghost Against injustice, fraud, or wrong, Stalk nightly on his lonely post. His blood beat high, his hand wax'd Such was his tale. Its truth, I ween,

strong. Is in my morning vision seen.' Not his the nerves that could sustain,

Unshaken, danger, toil, and pain; ΧΙΧ. .

But, when that spark blazed forth to Wilfrid, who scornd the legend wild, flame, In mingled mirth and pity smiled, He rose superior to his frame. Much marvelling that a breast so bold | And now it came, that generous mood; In such fond tale belief should hold; And, in full current of his blood,




On Bertram he laid desperate hand, Through Bertram's dizzy brain career Placed firm his foot, and drewhisbrand. A thousand thoughts, and all of fear; 'Should every fiend to whom thou 'rt | His wavering faith received not quite sold

The form he saw as Mortham's sprite; Rise in thine aid, I keep my hold. But more he feard it, if it stood Arouse there, ho! take spear and His lord, in living flesh and blood. sword!

What spectre can the charnel send Attach the murderer of your Lord !' So dreadful as an injured friend?

Then, too, the habit of command,

Used by the leader of the band, A moment, fix'd as by a spell, When Risingham, for many a day, Stood Bertram. seem'd miracle Had march'd and fought beneath his That one so feeble, soft, and tame

sway, Set grasp on warlike Risingham. Tamed him-and, with reverted face, But when he felt a feeble stroke, Backwards he bore his sullen pace; The fiend within the ruffian woke ! Oft stopp'd, and oft on Mortham stared, To wrench the sword from Wilfrid's | And dark as rated mastiff glared ; hand,

But when the tramp of steeds was To dash him headlong on the sand,

heard, Was but one moment's work,-one Plunged in the glen, and disappear’d.

Nor longer there the Warrior stood, llad drench'd the blade in Wilfrid's Retiring castward through the wood; gore;

But first to Wilfrid warning gives, But, in the instant it arose,

'Tell thou to none that Mortham lives.' To cnd his life, his love, his woes, A warlike form, that mark'd the scene,

XXIII. Presents his rapier sheath'd between, Still rung these words in Wilfrid's car, Parries the fast-descending blow, Hinting he knew not what of fear; And steps 'twixt Wilfrid and his foe; When nearer came the coursers' Nor then unscabbarded his brand,

tread, But, sternly pointing with his hand, And, with his father at their head, With monarch's voice forbade the fight, Of horsemen arm’d a gallant power And motion d Bertram from his sight. Rein'd up their steeds before thetower. 'Go, and repent,' he said, 'while time Whence these pale looks, my son ?' Is given thee; add not crime to crime.' he said :

"Where's Bertram ? why that naked XXII.

blade?' Mute, and uncertain, and amazed, Wilfrid ambiguously replied, As on a vision Bertram gazed ! For Mortham's charge his honour 'Twas Mortham's bearing, bold and tied) high,

Bertram is gone--the villain's word Ilis sinewy frame, his falcon eye, Avouch'd him murderer of his lord ! Ilis look and accent of command, Even now we fought; but, when your The martial gesture of his hand,

tread His stately form, spare-built and tall, Announced you nigh, the felon fled.' llis war-bleach'd locks—'twas Mor- In Wycliffe's conscious eye appear tham all.

A guilty hope, a guilty fear;



[ocr errors]


On his palc brow the dewdrop broke,
And his lip quiver'd as he spoke: Instant to earth young REDMOND

sprung ;

Instant on earth the harness rung 'A murderer: Philip Mortham died

Of twenty men of Wycliffe's band, Amid the battle's wildest tide. | Who waited not their lord's command. Wilfrid or Bertram raves, or you! | Redmond his spurs from buskins drew, Yet, grant such strange confession

His mantle from his shoulders threw, truc,

His pistols in his belt he placed, Pursuit were vain; let him fly far

The greenwood gain'd, the footsteps Justice must sleep in civil war.'

traced, A gallant Youth rode near his side,

Shouted like huntsman to his hounds, Brave Rokeby's page, in battle tried; "To cover, hark!' and in he bounds. That morn, an embassy of weight Scarce heard was Oswald'sanxiouscry, Ile brought to Barnard's castle gate,

• Suspicion ! yes, pursue him—fly; And follow'd now in Wycliffe's train, But venture not, in useless strife, An answer for his lord to gain.

On ruffian desperate of his life. His steed, whose arch'd and sable neck Whoever finds him, shoot him dead! An hundred wreaths of foam bedeck,

Five hundred nobles for his head!' Chafed not against the curb more high Than he at Oswald's cold reply; He bit his lip, implored his saint, The horsemen gallop'd, to make good (Ilis the old faith) then burst restraint. Each path that issued from the wood.

Loud from the thickets rung the shout

Of Redmond and his eager rout; "Yes! I beheld his bloody fall, With them was Wilfrid, stung with ire, By that base traitor's dastard ball,

And envying Redmond's martial fire, Just when I thought to measure sword, And emulous of fame.--But where Presumptuous hope! with Mortham's

Is Oswald, noble Mortham's heir ? lord.

He, bound by honour, law, and faith, And shall the murderer 'scape, who

Avenger of his kinsman's death ? slow

Leaning against the elmin tree, His leader, generous, brave, and true ?

| With drooping head and slacken'd Escape, while on the dew you trace

knee, The marks of his gigantic pace ? And clenched teeth, and close-clasp'd No! cre the sun that dew shall dry,

hands, False Risingham shall yield or die.

In agony of soul he stands! Ring out the castle 'larum bell!

His downcast eye on earth is bent, Arouse the peasants with the knell!

His soul to every sound is lent; Meantime disperse-ride, gallants, | For in each shout that cleaves the air ride!

May ring discovery and despair.
Beset the wood on every side.
But if among you one there be

That honours Mortham's memory, What'vail'd ithim, that brightly play'd
Let him dismount and follow me! The morning sun on Mortham's glade?
Else on your crests sit fear and shame, All seems in giddy round to ride,
And foul suspicion dog your name!' Like objects on a stormy tide,


[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »