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Of such a maid, that fancy ne'er * Let mass be said, and trentals read,
In fairest vision form'd her peer ? When thou’rt to convent gone,
Was it my hand that could unclose And bid the bell of St. Benedict
The postern to her ruthless foes ? Toll out its deepest tone.'
Foes, lost to honour, law, and faith,

The shrift is done, the Friar is gone,
Their kindest mercy sudden death!
Have I done this ? I! who have swore, Next morning, all in Littlecot Hall

Blindfolded as he came-
That if the globe such angel bore,
I would have traced its circle broad

Were weeping for their dame. To kiss the ground on which she Wild Darrell is an alter'd man, trod !

The village crones can tell ; And now—0! would that earth would He looks pale as clay, and strives to rive,

And close upon me while alive: - If he hears the convent bell.
Is there no hope? Is all then lost ?--
Bertram's already on his post !

If prince or peer cross Darrell's way, Even now, beside the Hall's arch'd He'll beard him in his pridedoor,

If he meet a Friar of orders grey,
I saw his shadow cross the floor! He droops and turns aside.
He was to wait my signal strain-

A little respite thus we gain :
By what I heard the menials say,

* Harper! methinks thy magic lays,' Young Wycliffe's troop are on their Matilda said, 'can goblins raise ! way

Well-nigh my fancy can discern, Alarm precipitates the crime !

Near the dark porch, a visage stern; My harp must wear away the time.'— E'en now, in yonder shadowy nook, And then, in accents faint and low,

I see it !-Redmond, Wilfrid, look:He falter'd forth a tale of woe.

A human form distinct and clear-
God, for thy mercy!- It draws near!'
She saw too true. Stride after stride,
The centre of that chamber wide

Fierce Bertram gain'd; then made a * And whither would you lead me,

stand, then?'

And, proudly waving with his hand, Quoth the Friar of orders grey ; Thunder'd-Be still, upon your And the Ruffians twain replied again,

lives By a dying woman to pray.' He bleeds who speaks, he dies who

strives.' • I see,' he said, “a lovely sight,

Behind their chief, the robber crew A sight bodes little harm,

Forth from the darken'd portal drew A lady as a lily bright, With an infant on her arm.'

In silence-save that echo dread

Return'd their heavy measured tread. * Then do thine office, Friar grey, The lamp's uncertain lustre gave

And see thou shrive her free! Their arms to gleam, their plumes to Else shall the sprite, that parts to. wave; night,

File after file in order pass, Fling all its guilt on thee.

Like forms on Banquo's mystic glass.




Then, halting at their leader's sign, 'Lady,' he said, 'my band so ncar, At once they form'd and curved their | In safety thou may'st rest thee here. line,

For Redmond's death thou shalt not Hemming within its crescent drear

mourn Their victims, like a herd of dcer. If mine can buy his safe return.' Another sign, and to the aim

He turn'd away, his heart throbb'd Levell'd at once their muskets came,

high, As waiting but their chieftain's word The tear was bursting from his cyc; To make their fatal volley heard. The sense of her injustice press'd xxix.

Upon the maid's distracted breast,Back in a heap the menials drew;

Stay, Wilfrid, stay! all aid is vain!' Yct, even in mortal terror, true,

le hcard, but turn'd him not again; Their pale and startled group oppose

He reaches now the postern-door, Between Matilda and the focs.

Now enters-and is scen no more. O, haste thee, Wilfrid !' Redmond cried;

With all the agony that c'er "Undo that wicket by thy side! Was gender'd 'twixt suspenseand fear, Bear hence Matilda-gain the wood She watch'd the line of windows tall, The pass may be a while made good- | Whose Gothic lattice lights the Hall, Thy band, ere this, must sure be nigh- Distinguish'd by the paly red O speak not-dally not—but fly!' The lamps in dim reflection shed, While yet the crowd their motions, While all beside in wan moonlight hide,

Each grated casement glimmer'd white. Through the low wicket-door they . No sight of harm, no sound of ill, glide.

It is a deep and midnight still. Through vaulted passages they wind, : Wholook'd upon the scene had guess'd In Gothic intricacy twined;

All in the Castle were at rest: Wilfrid half led, and half he bore, When sudden on the windows shone Matilda to the postern-door,

A lightning Nash, just seen and gone! And safe beneath the forest tree A shot is heard—Again the flame The Lady stands at liberty.

Flash'd thick and fast-a volley came! The moonbeams, the fresh gale's caress, Then echo'd wildly, from within, Renew'd suspended consciousness;--- Of shout and scream the mingled din, "Where's Redmond ? cagerly she | And weapon-clash and maddening cry, cries:

Of those who kill, and those who dic! "Thou answer'st not-hedies! hedics: As filld the Hall with sulphurous And thou hast left him, all bereft

smoke, Of mortal aid-with murderers left! More red, more dark, the death-flash I know it well—he would not yield

broke; His sword to man-his doom is scal'd! And forms were on the lattice cast, For my scorn'd life, which thou hast That struck, or struggled, as they past. bought

XXXII. At price of his, I thank thce not,'

What sounds upon the midnight wind xxx.

Approach so rapidly behind ? The unjust reproach, the angry look, It is, it is, the tramp of steeds! The heart of Wilfrid could not brook. , Matilda hears the sound, she speeds,

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Seizes upon the leader's rein

These slaves! they dare not, hand to O, haste to aid, ere aid be vain !

hand, Fly to the postern-gain the Hall!' Bide buffet from a true man's brand.' From saddle spring the troopers all; Impetuous, active, fierce, and young, Their gallant steeds, at liberty, Upon the advancing foes he sprung. Run wild along the moonlight lea. Woe to the wretch at whom is bent But, ere they burst upon the scene, Hisbrandish'd falchion’sshcer descent! Full stubborn had the conflict been. Backward they scatter'd as he came, When Bertram mark'd Matilda's flight Like wolves before the levin flame, It gave the signal for the fight; When, 'mid their howling conclave And Rokeby's veterans, seam'd with driven,

Hath glanced the thunderbolt of Of Scotland's and of Erin's wars,

heaven. Their momentary panic o'er,

Bertram rush'd on--but Harpool Stood to the arms which then they bore; clasp'd (Forthey were weapon’d, and prepared His knees, although in death he gasp'd, Their mistress on her way to guard.) His falling corpse before him flung, Then cheer'd them tothe fight O'Neale, And round the trammell’druffian clung. Then peal’d the shot, and clash'd the Just then, the soldiers fill'd the dome, steel;

And, shouting, charged the felonshome The war-smoke soon with sable breath So fiercely, that, in panic dread, Darken’d the scene of blood and death, They broke, they yielded, fell, or fled. While on the few defenders close Bertram's stern voice they hced no The Bandits, with redoubled blows,

more, And, twice driven back, yet fierce Though heard above the battle's roar; and fell

While, trampling down the dying man, Renew the charge with frantic yell. Hestrove, with volley'd threatand ban,

In scorn of odds, in fate's despite,

To rally up the desperate fight.
Wilfrid has fall’n-but o'er him stood
Young Redmond, soild with smoke

and blood,

Soon murkier clouds the Hall enfold Cheering his mates with heartand hand Than e'er from battle-thunders roll'd; Still to make good their desperate So dense, the combatants scarce know stand.

To aim or to avoid the blow. Up, comrades, up! in Rokeby halls Smothering and blindfold grows the Ne'er be it said our courage falls.

fightWhat ! faint ye for their savage cry, But soon shall dawn a dismal light ! Or do the smoke-wreaths daunt your 'Mid cries, and clashing arms, there

eye? These rafters have return'd a shout The hollow sound of rushing flame; As loud at Rokeby's wassail rout, New horrors on the tumult dire As thick a smoke these hearths have Arise-the Castle is on fire! given

Doubtful, if chance had cast the brand, At Hallow-tide or Christmas-cven. Or frantic Bertram's desperate hand. Stand to it yet! renew the fight, Matilda saw - for frequent broke For Rokeby's and Matilda's right! From the dim casementsgusts of smoke


Yon tower, which late so clear defined In gather'd group the soldiers gaze
On the fair hemisphere reclined, Upon the broad and roaring blaze,
That, pencill'd on its azure pure, When, like infernal demon, sent,
The eye could count each embrazure, Red from his penal clement,
Now, swath'd within the sweeping To plague and to pollute the air,-

Ilis face all gore, on fire his hair,
Seems giant-spectre in his shroud; Forth from the central mass of smoke
Till, from each loop-hole flashing light, The giant form of Bertram broke !
A spout of fire shines ruddy bright, His brandish'd sword on high he rears,
And, gathering to united glare, Then plunged among opposing spears;
Streams high into the midnight air; Round his left arm his mantle truss'u,
A dismal beacon, far and wide, Received and foil'd three lances'thrust;
That waken'd Greta's slumbering side. | Nor these his headlong course with-
Soon all beneath, through gallery long, stood,
And pendant arch, the fire flash'd Like reeds he snapp'd the tough ash-

wood. Snatching whatever could maintain, In vain his focs around him clung; Raise, or extend, its furious reign; With matchless force aside he flung Startling, with closer cause of dread, Their boldest,-as the bull, at bay, The females who the conflict fled, Tosses the ban-dogs from his way, And now rush'd forth upon the plain, Through forty focs his path he made, Filling the air with clamours vain. And safely gain d the forest glade. xxxv.

XXXVII. But ccascd not yet, the Hall within, Scarce was this final conflict o'er, The shrick, the shout, the carnage-din, When from the postern Redmond bore Till bursting lattices give proof Wilfrid, who, as of life bereft, Theflames have caught the rafter'd roof. Had in the fatal Hall been left, What! wait thcy till its beams amain I)cserted there by all his train; Crash on the slayers and the slain ? But Redmond saw,and turn'dagain.The alarm is caught-the drawbridge Beneath an oak he laid him down, falls,

That in the blaze gleam'd ruddy brown, The warriors hurry from the walls, And then his mantle's clasp undid; But, by the conflagration's light, Matilda held his drooping head, Upon the lawn renew the fight. Till, given to breathe the freer air, Each struggling felon down was hew'd, Returning life repaid their care. Notonecould gain theshelteringwood; ! He gazed on them with lieavy sigh,But forth the affrighted harper sprung,

I could have wish'd even thus to And to Matilda's robe he clung.

dic!' Her shrick, entreaty, and command, No more he said—for now with speed Stopp'd the pursuer's lifted hand. Each trooper had regain d his steed; Denzil and he alive were ta'en; The ready palfreys stood array'ü The rest, save Bertram, all are slain. For Redmond and for Rokeby's maid;

Two Wilfrid on his horse sustain, XXXVI.

One leads his charger by the rein, And whereis Bertram ? - Soaring high, But oft Matilda look'd behind, The gencral flame ascends the sky; } As up the Vale of Tees they wind,




Where far the mansion of her sires And where yon tottering columns nod, Beacon'd the dale with midnight fires. The chapel sent the hymn to God.In gloomy arch above them spread, So flits the world's uncertain span ! The clouded heaven lower'd bloody Nor zeal for God, nor love for man,

Gives mortal monuments a date Beneath, in sombre light, the flood Beyond the power of Time and Fate. Appcar'd to roll in waves of blood. The towers must share the builder's Then, one by one, was heard to fall

doom ; The tower, the donjon-keep, the hall, | Ruin is theirs, and his a tomb : Each rushing down with thunder But better boon benignant Heaven sound,

To Faith and Charity has given, A space the conflagration drown'd; And bids the Christian hope sublime Till, gathering strength, again it rose, Transcend the bounds of Fate and Anrounced its triumph in its close,

Time, Shook wide its light the landscape o'er, Then sunk-and Rokeby was no more! Now the third night of summer came,

Since that which witness'd Rokeby's


On Brignal cliffs and Scargill brake
Canto Sixth.

The owlet's homilies awake,
The bittern scream'd from rush and

The summer sun, whose early power The raven slumber'd on his crag,
Was wont to gild Matilda's bower, Forth from his den the otter drew,-
And rouse her with his matin ray Grayling and trout their tyrant knew,
Her duteous orisons to pay,– As between reed and sedge he peers,
That morning sun has three times seen | With fierce round snout and sharpen'd
The flowers unfold on Rokeby green,

ears, But sees no more the slumbers fly Or, prowling by the moonbeam cool, From fair Matilda's hazel eye;

Watches the stream or swims the That morning sun has three times broke pool;On Rokeby's glades of elm and oak, Perch'd on his wonted eyric high, But, rising from their silvan screen, Sleep seald the tercelet's wearied Marks no grey turrets glance between. eye, A shapeless mass lie keep and tower, That all the day had watch'd so well That, hissing to the morning shower, | The cushat dart across the dell. Can but with smouldering vapour pay | In dubious beam reflected shone The early smile of summer day. That lofty cliff of pale grey stone, The peasant, to his labour bound, Beside whose base the secret cave Pauses to view the blacken'd mound, To rapine late a refuge gave. Striving, amid the ruin'd space, The crag's wild crest of copse and yew Each well-remember'd spot to trace. On Greta's breast dark shadows threw: That length of frail and fire-scorch'd Shadows that met or shunn'd the sight wall

With every change of fitful light; Once screen'd the hospitable hall; As hope and fear alternate chase When yonder broken arch was whole, Our course through life's uncertain 'Twas there was dealt the weekly dole; race.

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