Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

He pass'd red Penrith's Table Round,
For feats of chivalry renown'd,
Left Mayburgh's mound and stones of

LYULPH'S TALE.
power,

King Arthur has ridden from merry By Druids raised in magic hour,

Carlisle And traced the Eamont's winding way, When Pentecost was o'er : Till Ulfo's lake bencath him lay. He journey'd like errant-knight the

while, VIII.

And sweetly the summer sun did smile Onward he rode, the pathway still On mountain, moss, and moor. Winding betwixt the lake and hill; Above his solitary track Till, on the fragment of a rock, | Rose Glaramara's ridgy back, Struck from its base by lightning Amid whose yawning gulfs the sun shock,

Cast umber'd radiance red and dun, He saw the hoary Sage: · Though never sunbeam could discern The silver moss and lichen twined, The surface of that sable tarn, With fern and deer-hair check'd and ! In whose black mirror you may spy lined,

Thestars, while noontide lightsthesky. A cushion fit for age;

The gallant King he skirted still And o'er him shook the aspen-tree, | The margin of that mighty hill ; A restless, rustling canopy.

i Rock upon rocks incumbent hung, Then sprung young Henry from his And torrents, down the gullies flung, selle,

Join'd the rude river that brawld on, And greeted Lyulph grave; Recoiling now from crag and stone, And then his master's tale did tell, Now diving deep from human ken,

And then for counsel crave. And raving down its darksome glen. The Man of Yearsmused long and deep, · The Monarch judged this desert wild, Of' time's lost treasures taking keep, With such romantic ruin piled, And then, as rousing from a sleep, Was theatre by Nature's hand His solemn answer gave.

For feat of high achievement plann'l.

[blocks in formation]

"That maid is born of middle earth, O rather he chose, that Monarch bold, And may of man be won,

On vent'rous quest to ride, Though there have glided since her . In plate and mail, by wood and wold, birth

Than, with ermine trapp'd and cloth Five hundred years and one.

of gold, But where's the knight in allthe north In princely bower to bide: That dare the adventure follow forth, The bursting crash of a foeman's spear So perilous to knightly worth,

As it shiver'd against his mail, In the valley of Saint John? Was merrier music to his car Listen, youth, to what I tell,

Than courtier's whisper'd tale: And bind it on thy memory well; And the clash of Caliburn more dear, Nor muse that I commence the rhyme When on the hostile casque it rung, Far distant 'mid the wrecks of time. Than all the lays The mystic tale, by bard and sage, To their monarch's praise Is handed down from Merlin's age. That the harpers of Reged sung.

He loved better to rest by wood or Seem'd some primeval giant's hand river,

The castle's massive walls had plann’d, Than in bower of his bride, Dame A ponderous bulwark to withstand Guenever,

Ambitious Nimrod's power. For he left that lady, so lovely of cheer, Above the moated entrance slung, To follow adventures of danger and The balanced drawbridge trembling fear;

hung, And the frank-hearted Monarch full As jealous of a foe; little did wot

Wicket of oak, as iron hard, That she smiled, in his absence, on With iron studded,clench’d, and barr’d, brave Lancelot.

And prong'd portcullis, join'd to guard

The gloomy pass below.
XII.

But the grey walls no banners crown'd, "He rode, till over down and dell Upon the watch-tower's airy round The shade more broad and deeper fell; No warder stood his horn to sound, And though around the mountain's No guard beside the bridge was found, head

And, where the Gothic gateway Flow'd streams of purple, and gold, frown'd, and red,

Glanced neither bill nor bow. Dark at the base, unblest by beam

XIV. Frown'd the black rocks, and roar'd the stream.

Beneath the castle's gloomy pride With toil the King his way pursued

In ample round did Arthur ride By lonely Threlkeld's waste and wood, Three times; nor living thing he spied, Till on his course obliquely shone

Nor heard a living sound, The narrow valley of Saint JOHN,

Save that, awakening from her dream, Down sloping to the western sky,

The owlet now began to scream, Where lingering sunbeams love to lie. In concert with the rushing stream, Right glad to feel those beams again,

That wash'd the battled mound. The King drew up his charger's rein; He lighted from his goodly steed, With gauntlet raised he screen'd his And he left him to graze on bank and sight,

mead; As dazzled with the level light,

And slowly he climb'd the narrow way And, from beneath his glove of mail,

That reach'd the entrancegrim and grey, Scann'd at his ease the lovely vale,

And he stood the outward arch below, While 'gainst the sun his armour bright And his bugle-horn prepared to blow, Gleam'd ruddy like the beacon's light.

In summons blithe and bold, Deeming to rouse from iron sleep

The guardian of this dismal Keep, *Paled in by many a lofty hill,

Which well he guess'd the hold

Of wizard stern, or goblin grim,
The narrow dale lay smooth and still,
And, down its verdant bosom led,

Or pagan of gigantic limb,

The tyrant of the wold.
A winding brooklet found its bed.
But, midmost of the vale, a mound

xv. Arose with airy turrets crown'd, “The ivory bugle's golden tip Buttress, and rampire's circling bound, Twicetouch'd the Monarch's manlylip,

And mighty keep and tower; And twice his hand withdrew.

XIII.

crown.

XVII.

Sunk on his heart, and he paused a ' Loud laugh'd they all,—the King, in

Think not but Arthur's heart was His short curl'd ringlets one smooth'd good!

down, His shield was cross'd by the blessed | One wreath'd them with a myrtle

rood, Had a pagan host before him stood A bride upon her wedding-day

He had charged them through Was tended ne'er by troop so gay.

and through;
Yet the silence of that ancient place

vain,
space
Ere yet his horn he blew.

With questions task'd the giddy train; But, instant as its 'larum rung,

Let him entreat, or crave, or call, The castle gate was open flung,

'Twasone reply-loud laugh'd theyall. Portcullis rose with crashing groan

Then o'er him mimic chains they fling, Full harshly up its groove of stone;

Framed of the fairest flowers of spring. The balance-beams obey'd the blast,

While some their gentle force unite And dow the trembling drawbridge

Onward to drag the wondering knight;

Some, bolder, urge his pace with blows, cast; The vaulted arch before him lay,

Dealt with the lily or the rose. With nought to bar the gloomy way,

Behind him were in triumph borne And onward Arthur paced, with hand

The warlike arms he late had worn. On Caliburn's resistless brand.

Four of the train combined to rear

The terrors of Tintadgel's spear;
XVI.

Two, laughing at their lack of strength, * An hundred torches, flashing bright, Dragg’d Caliburn in cumbrous length; Dispell’d at once the gloomy night

One, while she aped a martial stride, That lour'd along the walls,

Placed on her brows thehelmit's pride;

Then scream'd, 'twixt laughter and And show'd the King's astonish'd sight

surprise, The inmates of the halls.

To feel its depth o'erwhelm her eyes. Yor wizard stern, nor goblin grim,

With revel-shout, and triumph-song, Nor giant huge of form and limb,

Thus gaily march'd the giddy throng. Nor heathen knight, was there; But thc cressets, which odours flung Through many a gallery and hall aloft,

They led, I ween, their royal thrall; Show'd by their yellow light and soft, At length, beneath a fair arcade A band of damsels fair.

Their march and song at once they Onward they came, like summer wave

staid. That dances to the shore;

The eldest maiden of the band An hundred voices welcome gave,

(The lovely maid was And welcome o'er and o'er!

eighteen) An hundred lovely hands assail Raised, with imposing air, her hand, The bucklers of the Monarch's mail, And reverent silence did command, And busy labour'd to unhasp

On entrance of their Queen, Rivet of steel and iron clasp.

And they were mute.—But as a glance One wrapp'd him in a mantle fair, They steal on Arthur's countenance And one flung odours on his hair ; Bewilder'd with surprise,

XVIII.

scarce

Theirsmother'd mirth again'gan speak, In archly dimpled chin and cheek, And laughter-lighted eyes.

xix.

. • The attributes of those high days Now only live in minstrel lays; For Nature, now exhausted, still Was then profuse of good and ill. Strength was gigantic, valour high, And wisdom soar'd beyond the sky, And beauty had such matchless beam As lights not now a lover's dream. Yet e'en in that romantic age,

Ne'er were such charms by mortal

seen, As Arthur's dazzled eyes engage, When forth on that enchanted stage, With glittering train of maid and page,

Advanced the castle's Queen! While up the hall she slowly pass'd Her dark eye on the King she cast,

That flash'd expression strong; The longer dwelt that lingering look, Her cheek the livelier colour took, And scarce the shame-faced King

could brook

The gaze that lasted long. A sage, who had that look espied, Where kindling passion strove with

pride,

Had whisper'd, “Prince, beware! From the chafed tiger rend the prey, Rush on the lion when at bay, Bar the fell dragon's blighted way,

But shun that lovely snare!"

Of her light maidens' idle mirth,
Who drew from lonely glens their

birth, Nor knew to pay to stranger worth

And dignity their due; And then she pray'd that he would rest That night her castle's honour'd guest. The Monarch meetly thanks express'd; The banquet rose at her behest; With lay and tale, and laugh and jest, Apace the evening flew.

XXI. * The Lady sate the Monarch by, Now in her turn abash'd and shy, And with indifference seem'd to hear The toys he whisperd in her ear. Her bearing modest was and fair, Yet shadows of constraint were there, That show'd an over-cautious care

Some inward thought to hide; Oft did she pause in full reply, And oft cast down her large dark eye, Oft check'd the soft voluptuous sigh

That heav'd her bosom's pride. Slight symptoms these, but shepherds

know How hot the mid-day sun shall glow

From the mist of morning sky; And so the wily Monarch guess'd That this assumed restraint express'd More ardent passions in the breast

Than ventured to the eye. Closer he press'd, while beakers rang, While maidens laugh'd and minstrels

sang,

Still closer to her earBut why pursue the common tale ? Or wherefore show how knights

prevail

When ladies dare to hear ? Or wherefore trace, from what slight

cause Its source one tyrant passion draws,

Till, mastering all within, Where lives the man that has not tried How mirth can into folly glide,

And folly into sin ?'

XX.

* At once, thatinwardstrife suppress’d, The dame approach'd her warlike

guest, With greeting in that fair degree, Where female pride and courtesy Are blended with such passing art As awes at once and charms the heart. A courtly welcome first she gave, Then of his goodness 'gan to crave

Construction fair and true

I.

II.

IV.

By youths and virgins worshipp'd Canto Second.

long With festive dance and choral song,

Till, when the cross to Britain came, LYULPHI'S TALE, CONTINUED. On heathen altars died the flame. Another day, another day,

Now, deep in Wastdale solitude, And yet another, glides away! The downfall of his rights he rued, The Saxon stern, the pagan Dane, And, born of his resentment heir, Maraud on Britain's shores again. He train'd to guile that lady fair, Arthur, of Christendom the flower, To sink in slothful sin and shame Lies loitering in a lady's bower; The champions of the Christian name. The horn, that foemen wont to fear, Well skill'd to keep vain thoughts alive, Sounds but to wake the Cumbrian deer, And all to promise, nought to give; And Caliburn, the British pride, The timid youth had hope in store, Hangs useless by a lover's side. The bold and pressing gain'd no more.

As wilder'd children leave their home

After the rainbow's arch to roam, "Another day, another day,

Her lovers barter'd fair esteem, And yet another, glides away! Faith, fame, and honour, for a dream. Heroic plans in pleasure drown'd, He thinks not of the Table Round; In lawless love dissolved his life, "Her sire's soft arts the soul to tame He thinks not of his beauteous wife : She practised thus, till Arthur came; Better he loves to snatch a flower Then frail humanity had part, From bosom of his paramour,

And all the inother claim'd her heart. Than from a Saxon knight to wrest Forgot each rule her father gave, The honours of his heathen crest! Sunk from a princess to a slave, Better to wreathe, 'mid tresses brown, Too late must Guendolen deplore; The heron's plume her hawk struck | He, that has all, can hope no more! down,

Now must she see her lover strain, Than o'er the altar give to flow At every turn, her feeble chain ; The banners of a Paynim foe.

!

Watch, to new-bind each knot, and Thus, week by week, and day by day, : shrink His life inglorious glides away: To view cach fast-decaying link. But she, that soothes his dream, with | Art she invokes to Nature's aid, fear

Her vest to zone, her locks to braid; Beholds his hour of waking near! Each varied pleasure heard her call,

The feast, the tourney, and the ball :

Her storied lore she next applies, “Much force have mortal charms to stay | Taxing her mind to aid her eyes ; Our peace in Virtue's toilsome way; Now more than mortal wise, and then But Guendolen's might far outshine In female softness sunk again; Each maid of merely mortal line, Now, raptured, with each wish com. Her mother was of human birth,

plying, Her sire a Genie of the earth, With feign'd reluctance now denying; In days of old deem'd to preside Each charm she varied, to retain O’er lovers' wiles and beauty's pride, | A varying heart, and all in vain!

[ocr errors]

III.

« AnteriorContinuar »