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Gilding the scope of duller days
And from afar, her wistful eye With oft-recurring retrospect,
Would first his graceful form descry. With which right happily she plays.
E'en when he hied him forth to meet E'en as a moving mirror will reflect
The open air in lawn or street, Its glancing rays on shady side
She to her casement went, Of home or glen, when school-boys guide
And after him, with smile so sweet, With skilful hands their mimic sun
Her look of blessing sent. To heaven's bright sun opposed; we see
The heart's affection,-secret thing! Its borrow'd sheen on fallow dun,
Is like the cleft rock's ceaseless spring, On meadow green, on rock and tree,
Which free and independent flows On broomy steep, on rippling spring,
Of summer rains or winter snows. On cottage thatch, and every thing.
The foxglove from its side may fall
The heathbloom fade or moss-flower white,
But still its runlet, bright though small,
Will issue sweetly to the light.
How long an honour'd and a happy pair,
They held their seemly state in mansion fair, Or tendril to the fostering stock,
I will not here in chiming verses say, Or seaweed on the briny rock,
To tire my reader with a lengthen'd lay; Or mistletoe to sacred tree,
For tranquil bliss is as a summer day Or daisy to the swarded lea,
O’er broad Savana shining; fair it lies, 80 truly to her own she clung ;
And rich the trackless scene, but soon our eyes, Nor cared for honours vain, from courtly favour In search of meaner things, turn heavily away. sprung
But no new ties of wedded life,
That bind the mother and the wife, When woo'd by one of wealth and worth,
Her tender, filial heart could change, The neighbour of her happy home,
Or from its earliest friends estrange. Though by her gentle parents press’d
The child, by strong affection led, And flattered, courted and caress'd,
Who braved her terror of the dead A splendid bride become.
To save an outlaw'd parent, still "I may not,” said her gentle heart,
In age was subject to his will. “ The very thought endure,
She then was seen with matron air, That those so kind should feel the smart
A dame of years, with countenance fair, A daughter's wants might oft impart,
Though faded, sitting by his easy chair. For Jerviswood is poor.
A sight that might the heart's best feelings move ! But yet, though poor, why should I smother
Behold her seated at her task of love! This dear regard ? he'll be my brother,
Books, papers, pencil, pen, and slate, And thus through life we'll love each other.
And column'd scrolls of ancient date, What though, as changing years fit by,
Before her lie, on which she looks Gray grow my head, and dim his eye!
With searching glance, and gladly brooks We'll meekly bear our wayward fate,
An irksome task, that else might vex And scorn their petty spite who rate,
His temper, or his brain perplex; With senseless gibes, the single state,
While, haply, on the matted floor, Till we are join'd, at last, in heavenly bliss on Close nestling at her kirtled feet, high.”
Its lap enrich'd with childish store,
Sits, hush'd and still, a grandchild sweet,
Who looks at times with eye intent, The father of the virtuous youth,
Full on its grandame's parent bent, Who died devoted for the truth,
Viewing his deeply-furrow'd brow, Was not, when better times return’d, forgot:
And sunken lip and locks of snow, To the right heir was given his father's land,
In serious wonderment. And with his lady's love, he won her hand.
Well said that graceful sire, I ween!
Still through life's many a varied scene,
Griseld our dear and helpful child hath been. Their long tried faith in honour plighted,
In its full zest the present blessing,
Of all to former happiness allied,
Nor in her fostering fancy perish'd
She would not e'en their folly chide,
But like the sun and showers of heaven,
But soon, from fear of future change,
The northern farmers, spoil'd and bare,
No more could rent or produce spare
To the soil's lords. All were distress'd, The door, the windows, every thing
And on our noble dame this evil sorely press'd. Which to her back-cast thoughts could bring
Her household numerous, her means withheld; The scenes of other days.—Then she applied Shall she her helpless servants now dismiss To knocker bright her thrilling hand,
To rob or starve, in such a time as this, And begg'd, as strangers in the land,
Or wrong to others do ? but nothing quell'd Admittance from the household dame,
Her calm and upright mind.—“Go, summon here And thus preferred her gentle claim :
Those who have served me many a year." “ This house was once my happy home,
The summons went; each lowly name Its rooms, its stair, I fain would see;
Full swiftly to her presence came, Its meanest nook is dear to me,
And thus she spoke: “ Ye've served me long, Let me and mine within its threshold come.” Pure, as I think, from fraud or wrong, But no ; this might not be !
And now, my friendly neighbours, true Their feet might soil her polish'd floor,
And simply I will deal with you. The dame held fast the hostile door,
The times are shrewd, my treasures spent, A Belgian housewife she.
My farms have ceased to yield me rent; « Fear not such harm! we'll doff our shoes : And it may chance that rent or grain Do not our earnest suit refuse !
I never shall receive again. We'll give thee thanks, we'll give thee gold;
The dainties which my table fed, Do not kind courtesy withhold !"
Will now be changed for daily bread, But still it might not be ;
Dealt sparely, and for this I must The dull, unpliant dame refused her gentle plea.
Be debtor to your patient trust,
If ye consent."-Swift through the hall,
With eager haste, spoke one and all.
No, noble dame! this must not be ! Sweet union held of mated will,
With heart as warm and hand as free,
Still thee and thine we'll serve with pride,
Shall daily smoke upon thy board;
She bent her head with courtesy,
And thank'd them all. Yet plain and spare,
She order'd still her household fare,
Till fortune's better die was cast,
And adverse times were past.
And weight of mortal cares to free,
It was a blessed sight to see, Distress to many a family came,
The parting saint her state of honour keeping Who dreaded more the approaching shame In gifted, dauntless faith, whilst round her, weeping, Of penury's ill-favour'd mien,
Her children's children mourn'd on bended knee. Than e'en the pang of hunger keen. How softly then her pity flow'd !
LVI. How freely then her hand bestow'd !
In London's fair imperial town She did not question their opinion
She laid her earthly burden down. of party, kingship, or dominion :
In Mellerstain, her northern home,
Was raised for her a graven tomb
LORD JOHN OF THE EAST.
The fire blazed bright till deep midnight, And now, ye polish'd fair of modern times,
And the guests sat in the hall, If such indeed will listen to my rhymes,
And the lord of the feast, Lord John of the East, What think ye of her simple, modest worth,
Was the merriest of them all.
Beneath his helm to scowl,
Flash'd keenly bright, like a new-waked sprite Who with superb signoras proudly vies,
As pass'd the circling bowl. Trilling before the dear admiring crowd
In laughter light, or jocund lay, With outstretch'd, straining throat, bravuras loud,
That voice was heard, whose sound, Her high-heaved breast press'd hard, as if to boast
Stern, loud, and deep, in battle-fray
Did foemen fierce astound;
To every jester near,
The gallants sang, and the goblets rang,
And they revell'd in careless state, Regard such old, forgotten, homely merit ?
Till a thundering sound, that shook the ground, Or she, whose cultured, high-strain's talents soar
Was heard at the castle gate.
“ Who knocks without, so loud and stout?
Who from afar, like a guiding star, The technic praise of all praised things outrages; Our blazing hall hath seen. Whose finger, white and small, with ink-stain tipt,
“If a stranger it be of high degree, Still scorns with vulgar thimble to be clipt; Who doth with proud pretence her claims advance step forth amaid, my pages twain,
(No churl durst make such din,) To philosophic, honour'd ignorance
And soothly ask him in.
The pages twain return'd again,
And a wild, scared look had they ;
“Why look ye so?-is it friend or foe?”
Did the angry baron say. That wooes with daily pains the public stare: Who seems almost ashamed to be a woman, “ A stately knight without doth wait, And yet the palm of parts will yield to no man But further he will not hie, But holds on battle-ground eternal wrangling, Till the baron himself shall come to the gate, The plainest case in mazy words entangling : And ask him courteously.”— Will she, I trow, or any kirtled sage, Admire the subject of my artless page ?
“By my mother's shroud, he is full proud! And yet there be of British fair, I know,
What earthly man is he?”
“ I know not, in truth,” quoth the trembling youth, Who to this legend will some favour show From kindred sympathy; whose life proceeds
“ If earthly man it be. In one unwearied course of gentle deeds,
“ In Raveller's plight, he is bedight, And pass untainted through the earthly throng,
With a vest of the crim'sy meet; Like souls that to some better world belong. But his mantle behind, that streams on the wind, Nor will I think, as sullen cynics do,
Is a corse's bloody sheet." Still libelling present times, their number few,
“Out, paltry child! thy wits are wild, Yea, leagued for good they act, a virtuous band,
Thy comrade will tell me true :
Say plainly, then, what hast thou seen?
Or dearly shalt thou rue."
Then dark, dark lower'd the baron's eye,
But his loosen'd limbs shook fast, and pour'd And his red cheek changed to wan;
The big drops from his brow, For again at the gate more furiously,
As louder still the third time roar'd The thundering din began.
The thundering gate below. “And is there ne'er of my vassals here,
“O rouse thee, baron, for manhood's worth! Of high or low degree,
Let good or ill befall, That will unto this stranger go,
Thou must to the stranger knight go forth, Will go for the love of me?"
And ask him to your hall.” Then spoke and said, fierce Donald the Red, “Rouse thy bold breast,” said each eager guest, (A fearless man was he,)
“ What boots it shrinking so ? “ Yes; I will straight to the castle gate,
Be it fiend, or sprite, or murder'd knight, Lord John, for the love of thee.”
In God's name thou must go. With heart full stout, he hied him out,
“ Why shouldst thou fear? dost thou not wear Whilst silent all remain ;
A gift from the great Glendower, Nor moved a tongue those gallants among,
Sandals blest by a holy priest, Till Donald return'd again.
O’er which naught ill hath power?” “O speak,” said his lord,“ by thy hopes of grace, All ghastly pale did the baron quail, What stranger must we hail ?”
As he turn'd him to the door, But the haggard look of Donald's face
And his sandals blest, by a holy priest, Made his faltering words to fail.
Sound feebly on the floor. “It is a knight in some foreign guise,
Then back to the hall and his merry mates all, His like did I never behold;
He cast his parting eye, For the stony look of his beamless eyes
“God send thee amain, safe back again !" Made my very life-blood cold.
He heaved a heavy sigh. “I did him greet in fashion meet,
Then listen’d they, on the lengthen'd way, And bade him your feast partake,
To his faint and lessening tread, But the voice that spoke, when he silence broke, And, when that was past, to the wailing blast, Made the earth beneath me quake.
That wail'd as for the dead. “(such a tone did tongue ne'er own
But wilder it grew, and stronger it blew,
And it rose with an elrich sound,
Fell hurling to the ground. “ I bade him to your social board.
Each fearful eye then glanced on high, But in he will not hie,
To the lofty-window'd wall, Until at the gate this castle's lord
When a fiery trace of the baron's face Shall entreat him courteously.
Through the casements shone on all. “ And he stretch'd him the while with a ghastly But the vision'd glare pass'd through the air, smile,
And the raging tempest ceased, And sternly bade me say,
And never more on sea or shore, 'Twas no depute's task your guest to ask
Was seen Lord John of the East. To the feast of the woody bay.”
The sandals, blest by a holy priest, Pale grew the baron, and faintly said,
Lay unscath'd on the swarded green, As he heaved his breath with pain,
But never again on land or main, “ From such a feast as there was spread,
Lord John of the East was seen.
Where the death's wound was his fare,
“ The seafowl screams, and the watch-tower gleams, O Go not by Duntorloch's walls And the deafening billows roar,
When the moon is in the wane, Where he unblest was put to rest,
And cross not o'er Duntorloch's bridge, On a wild and distant shore.
The farther bank to gain. “ Do the hollow grave and the whelming wave For there the Lady of the Stream Give up their dead again?
In dripping robes you'll spy, Doth the surgy waste waft o'er its broast
A-singing to her pale, wan babe, The spirits of the slain ?”
An elrich lullaby.
And stop not at the house of Merne,
On the eve of good Saint John,
With many a heavy moan.
And a wound is in his breast,
Where they say his corse doth rest.
Though the sun shine e'er so bright;
Than these in the noon of night.
And snakes coil in the wall,
And owls in the murky hall.
But the deep-red setting sun
When day's fair course is run. And fearfully in night's pale beams,
When the moon peers o'er the wood,
Lies blackening many a rood.
No herd-boy's horn doth blow;
And loud croaks the carrion crow.
Was done the deed unblest,
Of a father's murderer rest.
With deep and solemn wo,
Would not be mocked so.
By lord and by carle forgot ;
Rest hath it none, I wot!
As he turn'd him fiercely round, And closely clench'd his ireful hand,
And stamp'd upon the ground: “ Another night within your walls
I will not lay my head, Though the clouds of heaven my roof should be,
And the cold, dank earth my bed. “ Your younger son has now your love,
And my step-dame false your ear; And his are your hawks, and his are your hounds,
And his your dark-brown deer.
As fleet as the passing wind;
Like the son of a base-born hind.”
Dim was his tearful eye,
Thy spirit is all too high.
“ Yet rest this night beneath my roof,
The wind blows cold and shrill,
E’en follow thy wayward will."
And never a word did he say,
And sternly strode away.
As twilight gather'd round,
Ran Swain, his faithful hound.
With furious speed rode he,
Had closed o'er tower and tree.
Keen flash'd the lightning red,
O'er his upshelter'd head.
A Aash of sheeted light,
Glared on his dazzled sight.
Up look'd his wistful Swain,
He lighted down amain.
His listening ear he bow'd,
The paved hall echoed loud.
From arches far and grand;
He took his fearful stand.
And the fitful blast sung shrill;
Were all things hush'd and still. But in the midwatch of the night,
When hush'd was every sound, Faint, doleful music struck his ear,
As if waked from the hollow ground.
And upward still it wore,
To enter the eastern door.
Such dismal sounds contain ;
A wild, unearthly strain.
And the short, shrill shriek of fear,
Confusedly struck his ear.
And the famish'd vulture's cry,
In this horrid harmony.