« AnteriorContinuar »
WELL do I hope that this my minstrel
Will tempt no traveller from southern
To view the Castle of these Seven
Small confirmation its condition
A wolf North Wales had on his armour-coat,
And Rhys of Powis-land a couchant stag;
Strath-Clwyd's strange emblem was a stranded boat,
Donald of Galloway's a trotting nag;
A corn-sheaf gilt was fertile Lodon's brag;
A dudgeon-dagger was by Dunmail
Northumbrian Adolf gave a sea-beat crag
Surmounted by a cross; such signs were borne
By theories, to prove the fortress Upon these antique shields, all wasted
now and worn.
To Meneville's high lay: no towers
On the wild heath, but those that fancy builds,
And, save a fosse that tracks the moor with green,
Is nought remains to tell of what may there have been.
And yet grave authors, with the no small waste
Of their grave time, have dignified
By Roman bands, to curb the invading Scot.
Hutchinson, Horsley, Camden, I
But rather choose the theory less civil
With the bright level light ere sinking down.
Illumined thus, the dauntless Dane surveys
The Seven Proud Shields that o'er the portal frown,
And on their blazons traced high marks of old renown.
Therefore, I say, it was on fiendbuilt towers
These scann'd, Count Harold sought the castle-door
Whose ponderous bolts were rusted to decay;
Yet till that hour adventurous knight forbore
The unobstructed passage to essay. More strong than armed warders in array,
And obstacle more sure than bolt
Sate in the portal Terror and Dis-
With foes of other mould than mortal clay,
That stout Count Harold bent his
And the last sunbeams made the
And tinged the battlements of other Cast spells across the gate, and barr'd the onward way.
Vain now those spells; for soon with heavy clank
The feebly-fasten'd gate was inward push'd,
And, as it oped, through that emblazon'd rank
Of tarnish'd gold, or silver nothing clear,
With throne begilt, and canopy of pall,
And tapestry clothed the walls with fragments sear:
Of antique shields, the wind of Frail as the spider's mesh did that evening rush'd rich woof appear.
With sound most like a groan, and then was hush'd.
Is none who on such spot such sounds could hear
But to his heart the blood had faster rush'd;
Yet to bold Harold's breast that throb was dear
It spoke of danger nigh, but had no touch of fear.
Each tower presenting to their scrutiny
A hall in which a king might make abode,
And fast beside, garnish'd both proud and high,
Was placed a bower for rest in which a king might lie.
As if a bridal there of late had been,
On pleasure's opiate pillow laid their head,
For whom the bride's shy footstep, slow and light,
Was changed ere morning to the murderer's tread.
For human bliss and woe in the frail thread
Of human life are all so closely twined,
That till the shears of Fate the texture shred,
The close succession cannot be disjoin'd,
Since date of that unhallow'd festival. Flagons, and ewers, and standing Nor dare we, from one hour, judge cups, were all that which comes behind.
Deck'd stood the table in each
And yet it was two hundred years,
In every bower, as round a hearse, was hung
A dusky crimson curtain o'er the bed,
And on each couch in ghastly wise were flung
The wasted relics of a monarch
Barbaric ornaments around were spread,
Vests twined with gold, and chains of precious stone,
And golden circlets, meet for monarch's head;
While grinn'd, as if in scorn amongst them thrown,
The wearer's fleshless skull, alike with dust bestrown.
For these were they who, drunken with delight,
Empty as air, as water volatile,
Nor deem I, Gunnar, that thy
A wanderer's wayward steps could
All this she did, and guerdon none
"Thus hath a faithful woman done." Not in each breast such truth is laid, But Eivir was a Danish maid.'
And his half-filling eyes he dried,
Unless it were my dying song,
Firm was that faith, as diamond stone
Her stainless faith could all endure;
The stern Dane smiled this charnelhouse to see,
For his chafed thought return'd to But Eivir sleeps beneath her stone, And all resembling her are gone.
And 'Well,' he said, 'hath woman's What maid e'er show'd such constancy
In plighted faith, like thine to me?
Falls thickly round, nor be dismay'd
'Thou art a wild enthusiast,' said
Can show example where a woman's Yet near me, Gunnar, be thou laid, Thy couch upon my mantle made, Hath made a true-love vow, and, That thou mayst think, should fear tempted, kept her faith.'
Thy master slumbers nigh.'
The minstrel-boy half smiled, half! Thus couch'd they in that dread abode, sigh'd, Until the beams of dawning glow'd.
An alter'd man Lord Harold rose;
Leave we this place, my page.' No
'My wildness hath awaked the dead,
The central place of doom;
Those who had late been men.
He utter'd till the castle door
All crush'd and foul with bloody stain.
And with such sound as when at need
Nor think, a vassal thou of hell,
The first proclaim'd, in sounds of fear,
'His sable cowl, flung back, reveal'd
In him whose counsels strove to stay
'With haggard eyes and streaming Doom'd for his sins, and doom'd for hair,
Jutta the Sorceress was there,
Commands them quit their cell.
A wanderer upon earth to pine
I caught the meaning of his speech,
Then first he mark'd, that in the tower His glove was left at waking hour.
Trembling at first, and deadly pale,
What sees Count Harold in that bower,
The powerful accents roll'd along, And, while he spoke, his hand was laid On captive Gunnar's shrinking head.
'Harold,' he said, 'what rage is thine, To quit the worship of thy line,
To leave thy Warrior-God? With me is glory or disgrace, Mine is the onset and the chase, Embattled hosts before my face
Are wither'd by a nod.
Wilt thou then forfeit that high seat