Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

III.

V.

Still on the sordid board appear Gliding by crag and copsewood green,

The relics of the noontide chcer: A solitary form was seen

Flagons and emptied flasks were there, To trace with stealthy pace the wold, ! And bench o'erthrown, and shatter'd Like fox that seeks the midnight fold,

chair; And pauses oft, and cowers dismay'd,

And all around the semblance show'd, At every breath that stirs the shade. | As when the final revel glow'd, He passes now the ivy bush, : When the red sun was setting fast, The owl has seen him, and is hush;

And parting pledge Guy Denzil past. He passes now the dodder'd oak, • To Rokeby treasure-vaults!' they Ye heard the startled raven croak;

quaftd, Lower and lower he descends,

And shouted loud and wildly laugh, Rustle the leaves, the brushwood

Pour'd maddening from therocky door, bends;

| And parted to return no more: The otter hears him tread the shore,

They found in Rokeby vaults their And dives, and is beheld no more;

doom,And by the cliff of pale grey stone

A bloody death, a burning tomb! The midnight wanderer stands alone. Mcthinks, that by the moon we trace A well-remember'd form and face! There his own peasant-dress he spics, That stripling shape, that cheek so Doff"d to assume that quaint disguise; pale,

And, shuddering, thought upon his Combine to tell a rueful tale,

glee, Of powers misused, of passion's force, When prank'd in garb of minstrelsy. Of guilt, of grief, and of reinorse ! "O, be the fatal art accurst,' 'Tis Edmund's eye, at every sound

He cried, that moved my folly first; That flings that guilty glance around: Till, bribed by bandits' base applause, Tis Edmund's trembling haste divides I burst through God's and Nature's The brushwood that the cavern hides;

laws! And, when its narrow porch lies bare, Three summer days are scantly past 'Tis Edmund's form that enters there. Since I have trod this cavern last,

A thoughtless wretch, and prompt to

err Ilis flint and steel have sparkled bright, But, O, as yet no murderer! A lamp hath lent the cavern light; Even now I list my comrades' cheer, Fearful and quick his eye survey's That general laugh is in mine ear, Each angle of the gloomy maze. Which raised my pulse and steel'd my Since last he left that stern abode

heart, It seem'd as none its floor had trode; As I rehearsed my treacherous partUntouch'd appear'd the various spoil, And would that all since then could The purchase of his comrades' toil; Masks and disguises grim'd with mud, | The phantom of a fever's dream! Arms broken and defiled with blood, But fatal Memory notes too well And all the nameless tools that aid The horrors of the dying yell Night-felons in their lawless trade, From my despairing mates that broke, Upon the gloomy walls were hung, When flash'd the firc and rollid the Or lay in nooks obscurely flung.

smoke;

IV.

scem

VI.

When the avengers shouting came, And tell me now, thou aguish boy, And hemm'd us 'twixt the sword and What makest thou here? what means flame!

this toy? My frantic flight,--the listed brand, - Denzil and thou, I mark'd, were ta'en; That angel's interposing hand ! ---- What lucky chance unbound your If, for my life from slaughter freed,

chain ? I yet could pay some grateful meed! I deem'd, long since on Baliol's tower, Perchance this object of my quest Your heads were warp'd with sun May aid'-he turn'd, nor spoke the

and shower. rest.

Tell me the whole—and, mark! nought

e'er

Chafes me like falsehood, or like fear.' Duenorthward from the rugged hearth, Gathering his courage to his aid, With paces five he metes the carth, But trembling still, the youth obey'd. Then toil'd with mattock to explore The entrails of the cavern floor,

VII. Nor paused till, deep beneath the 'Denzil and I two nights pass'd o'er ground,

In fetters on the dungeon floor. Ilis scarch a small steel casket found. A guest the third sad morrow brought; Just as he stoop'd to loose its hasp Our hold dark Oswald Wycliffe sought, His shoulder felt a giant grasp ; And eyed my comrade long askance, lle started, and look'd up aghast, With fix'd and penetrating glance. Then shrick’d!'Twas Bertram held “Guy Denzil art thou call'd ?”—“The him fast.

same.”'Fear not!' he said; but who could “At Court who served wild Buckinghear

hamc; That deepstern voice, and cease to fear? Thence banish’d, won a keeper's place, 'Fear not !- By heaven, he shakes as So Villiers will’d, in Marwood-chase; inuch

That lost-I need not tell thee whyAs partridge in the falcon's clutch!'- Thou madest thy wit thy wants supply, Ile raised him, and unloosed his hold, Then fought for Rokeby:- Ilave I While from the opening casket roll'd guess'd A chain and reliquaire of gold. My prisoner right?"_" At thy beBertram beheld it with surprise,

hest."Gazed on its fashion and device, Ile paused a while, and then went on Then, cheering Edmund as he could, With low and confidential tone;Somewhat he smooth'd his rugged Me, as I judge, not then he saw, mood :

Close nestled in my couch of straw.-For still the youth's half-lifted eye " List to me, Guy. Thou know'st the Quiver'd with terror's agony,

great Ind sidelong glanced, as to explore, Ilave frequent need of what they In mcditated flight, the door.

hate; •Sit,' Bertram said, “from danger free: Ilence, in their favour oft we see Thou canst not, and thou shalt not, Unscrupled, useful men like thee. flec.

Were I disposed to bid thee live Chance brings me hither; hilland plain What pledge of faith hast thou to I've sought for reluge-place in vain.

give?"

VIII.

X.

Ashamed to livc, yet loth to die, *The ready Fiend, who never yet I soild me with their infamy!'--Ilath failed to sharpen Denzil's wit, "Poor youth,' said Bertram, 'wavering Prompted his lic—"His only child

still, Should rest his pledge."— The Baron Unfit alike for good or ill! smiled,

! But what fell next?'-..Soon asat large And turn'd to me—"Thou art his son?" | Was scrolldand sign dourfatalcharge, I bowed-our fetters were undone, There never yet, on tragic stage, And we were led to hear apart Was seen so well a painted rage A dreadful lesson of his art.

As Oswald's show'd! With loud alarm Wilfrid, he said, his heir and son, He call'd his garrison to arm; llad fair Matilda's favour won; From tower to tower, from post to post, And long since had their union been He hurried as if all were lost; But for her father's bigot spleen, Consign'd to dungeon and to chain Whose brute and blindfold party raye | The good old Knight and all his train; Would, force per force, her hand Warn’d cach suspected Cavalier, engage

Within his limits, to appear To a basc kern of Irish carth,

To-morrow, at the hour of noon, Unknown his lineage and his birth, In the high church of Egliston.' Save that a clying ruffian bore The infant brat to Rokeby door. * Of Egliston!—Even now I pass'd,' Gentle restraint, he said, would lead Said Bertram,'as the night closed fast; Old Rokeby to enlarge his creed;

Torches and cressets glcam'd around, But fair occasion he must find

I heard the saw and hammer sound, For such restraint well-meant and kind, And I could mark they toild to raise The Knight beingrender'd to his charge A scaffold, hung with sable baize, But as a prisoner at large.

Which the grim headsman's scene

display'd,

Block, axe, and sawdust ready laid. Ile school'd us in a well-forged tale, Some evil deed will there be done, Of scheme the Castle walls to scale, | Unless Matilda wed his son ;To which was leagued cach Cavalier She loves him not-'tis shrewdly That dwells upon the Tyne and Wear; guess'c That Rokeby, his parole forgot,

That Realmond rules thc damsel's Hlac dealt with us to aid the plot.

breast. Such was the charge, which Ienzil's | This is a turn of Oswald's skill ; zeal

But I may meet, and foil him still! Of hate to Rokehy and O'Neale Ilow camest thou to thy freedom?' I'roiler'd, as witness, to make good,

“There Even though the forfeit were their 'Lies mystery inore dark and rare. blood.

; Inmidst of Wycliffe's well-feign'drage, I serupled, until o'er and o'er

scroll was offer'l by a page, Ilis prisoners' safety Wycliffe swore; Who told, a muffled horseman late And then-alas! what needs there | Had left it at the Castle-gate. more?

He broke the seal--his check show'd I knew I should not live to say

change, The profler I refused that day; | Sudden, portentous, wild, and strange;

IX.

XII.

XI.

The mimic passion of his eye
Was turn'd to actual agony;
His hand like summer sapling shook,

*This billet while the Baron read, Terror and guilt were in his look. His faltering accents show'd his dread; Denzil he judged, in time of need,

He press'd his forehead with his palm, Fit counsellor for evil deed;

Then took a scornful tone and calm; And thus apart his counsel broke, “Wild as the winds, as billows wild ! While with a ghastly smile he spoke:- What wot I of his spouse or child ?

Hither he brought a joyous dame,

Unknown her lineage or her name: ** As in the pageants of the stage, Her, in some frantic fit, he slew; The dead awake in this wild age.

The nurse and child in fear withdrew. Mortham-whom all men deem'd Heaven be my witness! wist I where decreed

To find this youth, my kinsman's heir,In his own deadly snare to bleed, Unguerdon’d, I would give with joy Slain by a bravo, whom, o'er sea, The father's arms to fold his boy, He train'd to aid in murdering me, And Mortham's lands and towers Mortham has 'scaped! Thecoward shot resign The steed, but harm'd the rider not.”. To the just heirs of Mortham's line." Here, with an execration fell,

Thou know'st that scarcely e'en his Bertram leap'dup, and paced the cell:

fear * Thine own grey head, or bosom dark,' Suppresses Denzil's cynic sneer ;He mutter'd, ‘may be surer mark!' “ Then happy is thy vassal's part," Then sat, and sign’d to Edmund, pale He said, “to case his patron's heart! 'With terror, to resume his tale. In thine own jailer's watchful care «Wycliffe went on:-"Mark with what | Lies Mortham's just and rightful heir; flights

Thy generous wish is fully won,Of wilder'd reverie he writes: Redmond O'Neale is Mortham's

son."

THE LETTER.

XIII.

6“Ruler of Mortham's destiny ! Though dead, thy victim lives to thee. Up starting with a frenzied look, Once had he all that binds to life, His clenched hand the Baron shook: A lovely child, a lovelier wife; " Is Hell at work? or dost thou rave, Wealth, fame, and friendship, were Or darest thou palter with me, slave! his own

Perchance thou wot'st not, Barnard's Thou gavest the word, and they are

towers flown.

Have racks, of strange and ghastly Mark how he pays thee:-To thy hand

powers.” He yields his honours and his land, Denzil, who well his safety knew, One boon premised;-Restore his Firmly rejoin'd, " I tell thee true. child!

Thy racks could give thee but to know And, from his native land exiled, The proofs, which I, untortured, Mortham no more returns to claim i show. His lands, his honours, or his name ; It chanced upon a winter night, Refuse him this, and from the slain When carly snow made Stanmore Thou shalt see Mortham rise again." white,

XV.

That very night, when first of all
Redmond O'Neale saw Rokeby-hall,
It was my goodly lot to gain

6. O Neale it was, who, in despair, A reliquary and a chain,

Robb'd Mortham of his infant heir ; Twisted and chased of massive gold. lle bred him in their nurture wild,

Demand not how the prize I hold! And call'd him murder'd Connel's It was not given, nor lent, nor sold.

child. Gilt tablets to the chain were hung, : Soon died the nurse; the clan believed With letters in the Irish tongue. What from their Chieftain they reI hid my spoil, for there was need

ceived. That I should leave the land with. His purpose was, that ne'er again speed;

The boy should cross the Irish main ; Nor then I decm'd it safe to bear But, like his mountain sires, enjoy On mine own person gems so rare.

The woods and wastes of Clandeboy. Small heed I of the tablets took, Then on the land wild troubles came, But since have spell’d them by the And stronger chieftains urged a claim, book,

And wrested from the old man's hands When some sojourn in Erin's land His native towers, his father's lands. Of their wild speech had given com Unable then, amid the strife, mand.

To guard young Redinond's rights or But darkling was the sense; the phrase life, And language those of other days, Late and reluctant he restores Involved of purpose, as to foil The infant to his native shores, An interloper's prying toil.

With goodly gifts and letters stored, The words, but not the sense, I knew, With many a deep conjuring word, Till fortune gave the guiding clew. To Mortham and to Rokeby's Lord.

Yought knew the clod of Irish earth,

Who was the guide, of Redmond's "" Three days since was that clew i birth; reveald,

Butdecm'd his Chief's commands were In Thorsgill as I lay conceal'd.

laid And hcard at full when Rokeby's maid

On both, by both to be obey'd. Iler uncle's history display'd ;

Ilow he was wounded by the way, And now I can interpret well

I need not, and I list not say."
Each syllable the tablets tell.
Mark, then : Fair Edith was the joy
Ot old O'Neale of Clandeboy ;

6 " A wondrous tale! and, grant it true, But from her sire and country fled, What," Wycliffe answer'd, "might I In secret Mortham's Lord to wed.

do ? O'Neale, his first resentment o'er, Heaven knows, as willingly as now Despatch'd his son to Greta's shore, I raise the bonnet from my brow, Enjoining he should make him known Would I my kinsman's manors fair (Until his farther will were shown Restore to Mortham, or his heir; To Edith, but to her alone.

But Mortham is distraught-O'Neale What of their ill-starr'd meeting fell Has drawn for tyranny his steel, Lord W’ycliffe knows, and none so Malignant to our rightful cause, well.

And traind in Rome's delusive laws.

XIV.

XVI.

« AnteriorContinuar »