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III.

Gunnar pursued his steps in faith Of the red lightning rends both and love,

tree and stone, Ever companion of his master's So faresit with her unrequited faith; way.

Her sole relief is tears, her only Midward their path, a rock of refuge death.'

granite grey From the adjoining cliff had made descent,

• Thou art a fond fantastic boy;' A barren mass, yet with her Harold replied, “to females coy, drooping spray

Yet prating still of love; Ilad a young birch-tree crown'd its Even so amid the clash of war battlement,

I know thou lovest to keep afar, Twisting her fibrous roots through Though destined by thy evil star cranny, flaw, and rent.

With one like me to rove, Whose business and whose joys are

found This rock and tree could Gunnar's Upon the bloody battle-ground. thought engage

Yet, foolish trembler as thou art, Till Fancy brought the tear-drop to

Thou hast a nook of my rude heart, his eye,

And thou and I will never part; And at his master ask'd the timid Harold would wrap the world in flame Page,

Ere injury on Gunnar came!' What is the emblem that a bard should spy

iv. In that rude rock and its green The grateful Page made no reply,

canopy ?' And Harold said, Like to the But turn'd to Heaven his gentle eye, helmet brave

And clasp'd his hands, as one who Of warrior slain in fight it seems

said,

‘Mytoils, my wanderings are o'erpaid.' to lie, And these same drooping boughs Compelld himself to speech again;

• Then in a gayer, lighter strain, do o'er it wave Not all unlike the plume his lady's His words took cadence soft and slow,

And, as they flow'd along, favour gave.'

And liquid, like dissolving snow,

They melted into song. “Ah, no!' replied the Page; "the

ill-starr'd love Of some poor maid is in the emblemWhat though through fields of shown,

carnage wide Whose fates are with some hero's I may not follow Harold's stride, interwove,

Yet who with faithful Gunnar's pride And rooted on a heart to love Lord Harold's feats can see ? unknown :

And dearer than the couch of pride, And as the gentle dews of heaven He loves the bed of grey wolf's hide, alone

When slumbering by Lord Harold's Nourish those drooping boughs,

side and as the scathe

In forest, field, or lea.'

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IX.

Break off!' said Harold, in a tone

The Deep Voice said, 'O wild of will,

Furious thy purpose to fulfil, Where hurry and surprise were

Heart-sear'd and unrepentant stiil, shown,

How long, O Harold, shall thy tread With some slight touch of fear;

Disturb the slumbers of the dead ? Break off, we are not here alone; A Palmer form comes slowly on!

Each step in thy wild way thou By cowl, and staff, and mantle known, The ashes of the dead thou wakest;

makest My monitor is near.

And shout in triumph o'er thy path Now mark him, Gunnar, hecdfully;

The fiends of bloodshed and of wrath, He pauses by the blighted tree

In this thine hour, yet turn and hear! Dost see him, youth? Thou could'st

For life is brief and judgment near.' not see When in the vale of Galilee I first beheld his form,

Then ceased The Voice. The Dane Nor when we met that other while

replied In Cephalonia's rocky isle Before the fearful storm;

In tones where awe and inborn pride Dost see him now?' The Page, 1 The wolf for ravaging the flock,

For mastery strove: “In vain ye chide distraught With terror, answer'd,' I see nought, Or with its hardness taunt the rock ; And there is nought to see,

I am as they—my Danish strain Save that the oak's scathed boughs Sends streams of fire through every

vein. fling down Upon the path a shadow brown,

Amid thy realms of goule and ghost, That, like a pilgrim's dusky gown,

Say, is the fame of Eric lost,

Or Witikind's the Waster, known
Waves with the waving tree.'

Where fame or spoil was to be won;
Whose galleys ne'er bore off a shore

They left not black with flame?
Count Harold gazed upon the oak He was my sire, and, sprung of him,
As if his eyestrings would have broke, | That rover merciless and grim,
And then resolvedly said,

Can I be soft and tame? "Be what it will yon phantom grey, Part hence, and with my crimes no Nor heaven, nor hell, shall ever say

more upbraid me, That for their shadows from his I am that Waster's son, and am but way

what he made me.' Count Harold turn'd dismay'd : I'll speak him, though his accents fill My heart with that unwonted thrill The Phantom groan'd; the mountain Which vulgar minds call fear.

VII.

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shook around, I will subdue it!' Forth he strode, The fawn and wild-doe started at the Paused where the blighted oak-tree sound, show'd

The gorse and fern did wildly round Its sable shadow on the road, And, folding on his bosom broad As if some sudden storm the impulse His arms, said, 'Speak, I hear.'

gave.

them wave,

All thou hast said is truth; yet on For the first time Count Harold owns the head

leech-craft has power, Of that bad sire let not the charge be Or, his courage to aid, lacks the juice laid,

of a flower!' That he, like thee, with unrelenting The Page gave the flasket, which pace,

Walwayn had fillid From grave to cradle ran the evil race: With the juice of wild roots that his Relentless in his avarice and ire,

art had distill'd ; Churches and towns he gave to sword So baneful their influence on all that and fire;

had breath, Shed blood like water, wasted every one drop had been frenzy, and two land,

had been death. Like the destroying angel's burning Harold took it, but drank not; for brand;

jubilee shrill, Fulfill'd whate'er of ill might be And music and clamour were heard invented,

on the hill, Yes! all these things he did—he did, And down the steep pathway, o'er but he repented !

stock and o'er stone, Perchance it is part of his punishment The train of a bridal came blithestill,

somely on; That his offspring pursues his example There was song, there was pipe, there of ill.

was trimbrel, and still But thou, when thy tempest of wrath | The burden was · Joy to the fair shall next shake thee,

Metelill!' Gird thy loins for resistance, my son, and awake thee;

XII. If thou yield'st to thy fury, how Harold might see from his high stance, tempted soever,

Himself unseen, that train advance The gate of repentance shall ope for With mirth and melody; thee never !'

On horse and foot a mingled throng,

Measuring their steps to bridal song He is gone,' said Lord Harold, and And bridal minstrelsy ; gazed as he spoke;

And ever when the blithesome rout “There is nought on the path but the Lent to the song their choral shout, shade of the oak.

Redoubling echoes roll'd about, He is gone, whose strange presence While echoing cave and cliff sent out my feeling oppress’d,

The answering symphony Like the night-hag that sits on the Of all those mimic notes which dwell slumberer's breast.

In hollow rock and sounding dell. My heart beats as thick as a fugitive's

XIII. trcad, And cold dews drop from my brow Joy shook his torch above the band, and my head.

By many a various passion fann'd; Ho! Gunnar, the flasket yon almoner As elemental sparks can feed gave;

On essence pure and coarsest weed, He said that three drops would recall Gentle, or stormy, or refined, from the grave.

Joy takes the colours of the mind.

XI.

XV.

Lightsome and pure, but unrepressid, His shout was like the doom of death He fired the bridegroom's gallant Spoke o'er their heads that pass'd breast;

beneath. More feebly strove with maiden fear, His destined victims might not spy Yet still joy glimmer'd through the tear The reddening terrors of his eye, On the bride's blushing cheek, that The frown of rage that writhed his face, shows

The lip that foam'd like boar'sin chase; Like dewdrop on the budding rose ; But all could see-and, secing, all While Wulfstane's gloomy smile Bore back to shun the threaten'd fall-declared

The fragment which their giant foe The glee that selfish avarice shared, Rent from the cliffand heaved to throw. And pleased revenge and malice high Joy's semblance took in Jutta's eye. Backward they bore: yet are there On dangerous adventure sped,

two The witch deem'd Harold with the For battle who prepare; dead,

No pause of dread Lord William knew For thus that morn her Demon said : Ere his good blade was bare ; • If, ere the set of sun, be tied

And Wulfstane bent his fatal yew', The knot 'twixt bridegroom and his But ere the silken cord he drew, bride,

As hurl'd from Hecla'sthunder, flew The Dane shall have no power of ill That ruin through the air! O'er William and o'er Metelill.' Full on the outlaw's front it came, And the pleased witch made answer, And all that late had human name, Then

And human face, and human frame, Must Harold have pass'd from the That lived, and moved, and had free paths of men !

will Evil repose may his spirit have ; To choose the path of good or ill, May hemlock and mandrake find root Is to its reckoning gone ; in his grave;

And nought of Wulfstane restsbehind, May his death-sleep be dogged by Save that beneath that stone, dreams of dismay,

Half-buried in the dinted clay, And his waking be worse at the A red and shapeless mass there lay answering day!'

Of mingled flesh and bone !
XIV.
Such was their various mood of glec ! As from the bosom of the sky
Blent in one shout of ecstasy.

The eagle darts amain,
But still when Joy is brimming highest, | Three bounds from yondersummithigh
Of Sorrow and Misfortune nighest, Placed Harold on the plain.
Of Terror with her ague cheek, As the scared wild-fowl scream and fly,
And lurking Danger, sages speak :

So fled the bridal train; These haunt each path, butchieftheylay | As 'gainst the eagle's peerless might Their snares beside the primrose way. The noble falcon dares the fight, Thus found that bridal band their path But dares the fight in vain, Beset by Harold in his wrath. So fought the bridegroom ; from his Trembling beneath his maddening hand mood,

The Dane's rude mace has struck his High on a rock the giant stood;

brand,

XVI.

T

XVIII.

!

XVII.

are

Its glittering fragments strew thesand,

Its lord lies on the plain. But though his dreaded footsteps part, Now, Heaven! take noble William's Death is behind and shakes his dart; part,

Lord William on the plain is lying, And melt that yet unmelted heart, Beside him Metelill seems dying! Or, ere his bridal hour depart, Bring odours, essences in hasteThe hapless bridegroom's slain !

And lo! a flasket richly chased;

But Jutta the elixir proves Count Harold's frenzied rage is high, | Ere pouring it for those she loves ; There is a death-fire in his eye, Then Walwayn's potion was not Deep furrows on his brow

wasted, trench’d,

For when three drops thè hag had His teeth are set, his hand is tasted, clench’d,

So dismal was her yell, The foam upon his lip is white, Each bird of evil omen woke, His deadly arm is up to smite !

The raven gave his fatal croak, But, as the mace aloft he swung, And shriek'd the night-crow from the To stop the blow young Gunnar oak, sprung,

Thescreech-owlfrom the thicket broke, Around his master's knees he clung And flutter'd down the dell!

And cried, “ In mercy spare ! So fearful was the sound and stern, O think upon the words of fear The slumbers of the full-gorged erne Spoke by that visionary Seer; Were startled, and from furze and fern The crisis he foretold is here,

Of forest and of fell, Grant mercy, or despair!' The fox and famish'd wolf replied This word suspended Harold's mood, (For wolves then prowld the Cheviot Yet still with arm upraised he stood, side). And visage like the headsman's rude From mountain head to mountain head That pauses for the sign.

The unhallow'd sounds around were O mark thee with the blessed rood,' sped; The Page implored ; 'speak word of But when their latest echo fled, good,

The sorceress on the ground lay dead. Resist the fiend, or be subdued !'

XIX.
He sign'd the cross divine;

Such was the scene of blood and
Instant his eye hath human light,
Less red, less keen, less fiercely bright;
His brow relax'd the obdurate frown, with which the bridal morn arose
The fatal mace sinks gently down,

Of William and of Metelill;
He turns and strides away;

But oft, when dawning’gins to spread, Yet oft, like revellers who leave

The summer morn peeps dim and red Unfinish'd feast , looks back to grieve, Ere, bright and fair, upon his road

Above the eastern hill,
As if repenting the reprieve
He granted to his prey.

The King of Splendour walks abroad; Yet still of forbearance one sign hath So, when this cloud had pass'd away, he given,

Bright was the noontide of their day, And fierce Witikind's son made one

And all serene its setting ray. step towards heaven.

woes

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