Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Across the road a fiery glare
Doth blacksmith's open forge declare,
Where furnace blast, and measured din
Of hammers twain, and all within,-
The brawny mates their labour plying,
From heated bar the red sparks flying,
And idle neighbours standing by
With open mouth and dazzled eye,
The rough and sooty walls with store
Of chains and horseshoes studded o'er,-
An armory of sullied sheen,-
All momently are heard and seen.
Nor does he often fail to meet,
In market town's dark narrow street
(E’en when the night on pitchy wings
The sober hour of bed-time brings,)
Amusement. From the alehouse door,
Having full bravely paid his score,
Issues the tipsy artizan,
With tipsier brother of the can,
And oft to wile him homeward tries
With coaxing words, so wondrous wise!
The dame demure, from visit late,
Her lantern borne before in state
By sloven footboy, paces slow,
With pattend feet and hooded brow.
Where the seam'd window-board betrays
Interior light, full closely lays
The eavesdropper his curious ear,
Some neighbour's fireside talk to hear;
While, from an upper casement bending,
A household maid, belike, is sending
From jug or ewer a slopy shower,
That makes him homeward fleetly scour.
From lower rooms few gleams are sent,
From blazing hearth, through chink or rent;
But from the loftier chambers peer,
(Where damsels doff their gentle geer,
For rest preparing,) tapers bright,
Which give a momentary sight
Of some fair form with visage glowing,
With loosen'd braids and tresses flowing,
Who, busied, by the mirror stands,
With bending head and upraised hands,
Whose moving shadow strangely falls
With size enlarged on roof and walls.
Ah! lovely are the things, I ween,
By arrowy speed's light glam’rie seen!
Fancy, so touch'd, will long retain
That quickly seen, nor seen again.

But now he spies the flaring door
Of bridled Swan or gilded Boar,
At which the bowing waiter stands
To know th’alighting guest's commands.
A place of bustle, dirt, and din,
Cursing without, scolding within ;
Of narrow means and ample boast,
The traveller's stated halting post,
Where trunks are missing or deranged,
And parcels lost and horses changed.

Yet this short scene of noisy coil
But serves our traveller as a foil,
Euhancing what succeeds, and lending
A charm to pensive quiet, sending
To home and friends, left far behind,
The kindliest musings of his mind;

Or, should they stray to thoughts of pain,
A dimness o'er the haggard train,
A mood and hour like this will throw,
As vex'd and burden'd spirits know.

Night, loneliness, and motion are
Agents of power to distance care ;
To distance, not discard; for then,
Withdrawn from busy haunts of men,
Necessity to act suspended,
The present, past, and future blended,
Like figures of a mazy dance,
Weave round the soul a dreamy trance,
Till jolting stone, or turnpike gate
Arouse him from the soothing state.

And when the midnight hour is past,
If through the night his journey last,
When still and lonely is the road,
Nor living creature moves abroad,
Then most of all, like fabled wizard,
Night slily dons her cloak and vizard,
His eyes at every corner greeting,
With some new slight of dexterous cheating,
And cunningly his sight betrays,
E'en with his own lamps' partial rays.

The road, that in fair simple day
Through pasture land or corn-fields lay,
A broken hedge-row's ragged screen
Skirting its weedy margin green,
With boughs projecting, interlaced
With thorn and brier, distinctly traced
On the deep shadows at their back,
That deeper sink to pitchy black,
Appearing oft to fancy's eye,
Like woven boughs of tapestrie,
Seems now to wind through tangled wood,
Or forest wild, where Robin Hood,
With all his outlaws, stout and bold,
In olden days his reign might hold,
Where vagrant school-boy fears to roam,
The gipsy's haunt, the woodman's home.
Yea, roofless barn, and ruin'd wall,
As passing lights upon them fall,
When favour'd by surrounding gloom,
The castle's ruin'd state assume.

The steamy vapour that proceeds
From moisten'd hide of weary steeds,
And high on either hand doth rise,
Like clouds, storm-drifted, past him flies;
While liquid mire, by their hoof'd feet
Cast up, adds magic to the cheat,
Glancing presumptuously before him,
Like yellow diamonds of Cairngorum.
How many are the subtle ways,

sly night the eye betrays,
When in her wild fantastic mood,
By lone and wakeful traveller wooed!
Shall I proceed? O no! for now
Upon the black horizon's brow
Appears a line of tawny light;
Thy reign is ended, witching night!
And soon thy place a wizard elf,
(But only second to thyself
In glam’rie's art) will quickly take,
Spreading o'er meadow, vale, and brake,
Her misty shroud of pearly white :-
A modest, though deceitful wight,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

By wh

[ocr errors][merged small]

Who in a softer, gentler way,

“ Nay, good my lord ! for had his life Will with the wakeful fancy play,

Been lost on battle-ground, When knolls of woods, their bases losing,

When ceased that fell and fatal strife, Are islands on a lake reposing,

His body had been found. And streeted town, of high pretence,

« No faith to such delusions give; As rolls away the vapour dense,

His mortal term is past.”— With all its wavy, curling billows,

“ Not so ! not so ! he is alive, Is but a row of pollard willows.

And will be found at last!”
O no! my traveller, still and lone,
A far, fatiguing way hath gone ;

These latter words right eagerly
His eyes are dim, he stoops his crest,

From a slender stripling broke, And folds his arms, and goes to rest.

Who stood the ancient warrior by,

And trembled as he spoke.
Sir Maurice started at the sound,

And all from top to toe
SIR MAURICE.

The stripling scann'd, who to the ground
A BALLAD.

His blushing face bent low. SIR MAURICE was a wealthy lord,

“ Is this thy kinsman, seneschal ? He lived in the north countrie,

Thine own or thy sister's son ? Well would he cope with foeman's sword,

A gentler page, in tent or hall, Or the glance of a lady's eye.

Mine eyes ne'er look'd upon.Now all his armed vassals wait,

« To thine own home return, fair youth, A stanch and burly band,

To thine own home return; Before his stately castle's gate,

Give ear to likely, sober truth, Bound for the Holy Land.

Nor prudent counsel spurn. Above the spearmen's lengthen'd file,

“War suits thee not, if boy thou art; Are figured ensigns flying;

And if a sweeter name Stroked by their keeper's hand the while,

Befit thee, do not lightly part Are harness'd chargers neighing.

With maiden's honour'd fame." And looks of wo, and looks of cheer,

He turn'd him from his liegemen all, And looks the two between,

Who round their chieftain press'd ; On many a warlike face appear,

His very shadow on the wall Where tears have lately been.

His troubled mind express'd. For all they love is left behind;

As sometimes slow and sometimes fast Hope beckons them before:

He paced to and fro, Their parting sails spread to the wind,

His plumy crest now upward cast Blown from their native shore.

In air, now drooping low. Then through the crowded portal pass'd

Sometimes like one in frantic mood, Six goodly knights and tall;

Short words of sound he utter'd, Sir Maurice himself, who came the last,

And sometimes, stopping short, he stood, Was goodliest of them all.

As to himself he mutter'd. And proudly roved with hasty eye

“A daughter's love, a maiden's pride! O’er all the warlike train ;

And may they not agree? “Save ye, brave comrades ! prosperously,

Could man desire a lovelier bride, Heaven send us o'er the main !

A truer friend than she ? “ But see I right? an armed band

“ Down, cursed thought! a boy's garb From Moorham's lordless hall;

Betrays not wanton will, And he who bears the high command,

Yet, sharper than an arrow's barb, Its ancient seneschal!

That fear might haunt me still.” “ Return; your stately keep defend ;

He mutter'd long, then to the gate, Defend your lady's bower,

Return'd and look'd around, Lest rude and lawless hands should rend

But the seneschal and his stripling mate That lone and lovely flower.”

Were nowhere to be found. “God will defend our lady dear,

With outward cheer and inward smart, And we will cross the sea,

In warlike fair array, From slavery's chain, his lot severe,

Did Maurice with his bands depart, Our noble lord to free.”

And shoreward bent his way. “ Nay, nay! some wandering minstrel's tongue, Their stately ship rode near the port, Hath framed a story vain;

The warriors to receive; Thy lord, his liegemen brave among,

And there, with blessings kind, but short, Near Acre's wall was slain.”_

Did friends of friends take leave.

And soon they saw the crowded strand

“ And thou hast wedded an English dame !" Wear dimly from their view;

Sir Maurice said no more, And soon they saw the distant land,

For o'er his heart soft weakness came, A line of hazy blue.

He sigh'd and wept full sore. The white-sail'd ship with favouring breeze, And many a dreary day and night In all her gallant pride,

With the Moslem chief stay'd he, Moved like the mistress of the seas,

But ne'er could catch, to bless his sight, That rippled far and wide.

One glimpse of the fair lady. Sometimes with steady course she went,

Oft gazed he on her lattice high O'er wave and surge careering;

As he paced the court below, Sometimes with sidelong mast she bent,

And turn’d his listening ear to try Her wings the sea-foam sheering.

If word or accent low Sometimes, with poles and rigging bare,

Might haply reach him there; and oft She scudded before the blast;

Traversed the garden green, But safely by the Syrian shore,

Wotting her footsteps small and soft Her anchor dropt at last.

Might on the turf be seen. What martial honours Maurice won,

And oft to Moorham's lord he gave Join'd with the brave and great,

His listening ear, who told, From the fierce, faithless Saracen,

How he became a wretched slave I may not here relate.

Within that Syrian hold; With boldest band on bridge or moat,

What time from liegemen parted far, With champion on the plain,

Upon the battle field, ľ th' breach with clustering foes he fought,

By stern and adverse fate of war Choked up with grisly slain.

He was obliged to yield: Most valiant by the valiant styled,

And how his daughter did by stealth Their praise his deeds proclaim'd,

So boldly cross the sea And oft his liegemen proudly smiled

With secret store of gather'd wealth, To hear their leader named.

To set her father free: But fate will quell the hero's strength,

And how into the foeman's hands And dim the loftiest brow;

She and her people fell ; And this, our noble chief, at length

And how (herself in captive bands) Was in the dust laid low.

She sought him in his cell; He lay the heaps of dead beneath,

And but a captive boy appear’d, As sunk life's flickering flame,

Till grief her sex betray'd, And thought it was the trace of death,

And the fierce Saracen, so fear's ! That o'er his senses came.

Spoke gently to the maid: And when again day's blessed light

How for her plighted hand sued he, Did on his vision fall,

And solemn promise gave, There stood by his side,-a wondrous sight! Her noble father should be free The ancient seneschal.

With every Christian slave; He strove, but could not utter word,

(For many there, in bondage kept, His misty senses fled;

Felt the stern rule of vice;) Again he woke, and Moorham's lord

How, long she ponder'd, sorely wept, Was bending o'er his bed.

Then paid the fearful price.A third time sank he, as if dead,

A tale which made his bosom thrill, And then, his eyelids raising,

His faded eyes to weep; He saw a chief with turban'd head,

He, waking, thought upon it still, Intently on him gazing.

And saw it in his sleep. “ The prophet's zealous servant I;

But harness rings, and the trumpet's bray His battles I've fought and won ;

Again to battle calls; Christians I scorn, their creeds deny,

And Christian powers, in grand array, But honour Mary's Son.

Are near those Moslem walls. « And I have wedded an English dame,

Sir Maurice heard; un toward fate! And set her parent free ;

Sad to be thought upon : And none, who wears an English name,

But the castle's lord unlock'd its gate, Shall e'er be thrall’d by me.

And bade his guest be gone. « For her dear sake I can endure

“ Fight thou for faith by thee adored All wrong, all hatred smother ;

By thee so well maintain'd! Whate'er I feel, thou art secure,

But never may this trusty sword As though thou wert my brother."

With blood of thine be stain'd!"

L

Sir Maurice took him by the hand,

“God bless thee, too,”-he cried ; Then to the nearest Christian band

With mingled feelings hied.
The battle join'd, with dauntless pride

'Gainst foemen, foemen stood; And soon the fatal field was dyed

With many a brave man's blood.
At length gave way the Moslem force;

Their valiant chief was slain;
Maurice protected his lifeless corse,

And bore it from the plain.
There's mourning in the Moslem halls,

A dull and dismal sound :
The lady left its 'leaguer'd walls,

And safe protection found.
When months were past, the widow'd dame

Look'd calm and cheerfully ;
Then Maurice to her presence came,

And bent him on his knee.
What words of penitence or suit

He utter'd, pass we by ;
The lady wept, awhile was mute,

Then gave this firm reply:
“ That thou didst doubt my maiden pride

(A thought that rose and vanish'd So fleetingly) I will not chide ;

'Tis from remembrance banish'd.
“But thy fair fame, earn’d by thy sword,

Still spotless shall it be :
I was the bride of a Moslem lord,

And will never be bride to thee.”
So firm, though gentle, was her look,

Hope i' the instant fied:
A solemn, dear farewell he took,

And from her presence sped.
And she a plighted nun hecame,

God serving day and night; And he of blest Jerusalem

A brave and zealous knight.
But that their lot was one of wo,

Wot ye, because of this
Their seperate single state? if so,

In sooth ye judge amiss.
She tends the helpless stranger's bed,

For alms her wealth is stored ;
On her meek worth God's grace is shed,

Man's grateful blessings pour’d.
He still in warlike mail doth stalk,

In arms his prowess prove; And oft of siege or battle talk,

And sometimes of his love.
She was the fairest of the fair,

The gentlest of the kind;
Search ye the wide world everywhere,

Her like ye shall not find.
She was the fairest, is the best,

Too good for a monarch's bride'; I would not give her in her nun's coif dress'd

For all her sex beside.

ADDRESS TO A STEAM-VESSEL. FREIGHTED with passengers of every sort, A motley throng, thou leavest the busy port. Thy long and ample deck, where scatter'd lie Baskets, and cloaks, and shawls of scarlet dye; Where dogs and children through the crowd are

straying, And, on his bench apart, the fiddler playing, While matron dames to tressellid seats repair, Seems, on the gleamy waves a floating fair. Its dark form on the sky's pale azure cast, Towers from this clustering group thy pillar'd mast. The dense smoke issuing from its narrow vent Is to the air in curly volumes sent, Which, coiling and uncoiling on the wind, Trails like a writhing serpent far behind. Beneath, as each merged wheel its motion plies, On either side the white-churn'd waters rise, And, newly parted from the noisy fray, Track with light ridgy foam thy recent way, Then far diverged, in many a welted line Of lustre, on the distant surface shine.

Thou hold'st thy course in independent pride; No leave ask'st thou of either wind or tide. To whate'er point the breeze, inconstant, veer, Still doth thy careless helmsman onward steer; As if the stroke of some magician's wand Had lent thee power the ocean to command. What is this power which thus within thee lurks, And, all unseen, like a mask'd giant works? E’en that which gentle dames, at morning's tea, From silver urn ascending, daily see With tressy wreathings playing in the air, Like the loosed ringlets of a lady's hair ; Or rising from th' enamellid cup beneath, With the soft fragrance of an infant's breath: That which within the peasant's humble cot Comes from th’uncover'd mouth of savoury pot, As his kind mate prepares his noonday fare, Which cur, and cat, and rosy urchins share: That which, all silver'd with the moon's pale beann, Precedes the mighty Geyser's upcast stream, What time, with bellowing din exploded forth, It decks the midnight of the frozen north, Whilst travellers from their skin-spread couches

rise To gaze upon the sight with wondering eyes.

Thou hast to those “ in populous city pent," Glimpses of wild and beauteous nature lent; A bright remembrance ne'er to be destroy'd, Which proves to them a treasure, long enjoy'd, And for this scope to beings erst confined, I fain would hail thee with a grateful mind. They who had naught of verdant freshness seen But suburb orchards choked with colworts green Now, seated at their ease may glide along, Lochlomond's fair and fairy isles among; Where bushy promontories fondly peep At their own beauty in the nether deep, O’er drooping birch and berried row'n that lave Their vagrant branches in the glassy wave; They, who on higher objects scarce have counted Than church's spire with gilded vane surmounted, May view, within their near, distinctive ken, The rocky summits of the lofty Ben ;

2

Or see his purpled shoulders darkly lower

To whose free robes the graceful right is given Through the din drapery of a summer shower. To play and dally with the winds of heaven. Where, spread in broad and fair expanse, the Beholding thee, the great of other days Clyde

And modern men with all their alter'd ways, Mingles his waters with the briny tide,

Across my mind with hasty transit gleam, Along the lesser Cumra's rocky shore,

Like fleeting shadows of a feverish dream:
With moss and crusted lichens flecker'd o'er, Fitful I gaze with adverse humours teased,
E’en he, who hath but warr'd with thieving cat, Half sad, half proud, half angry, and half pleased.
Or from his cupboard chased a hungry rat,
The city cobbler,-scares the wild seamew
In its mid-fight with loud and shrill halloo ;
Or valiantly with fearful threatening shakes

TO MRS. SIDDONS.
His lank and greasy head at Kittywakes,*
The eyes that hath no fairer outline seen

GIFTED of Heaven ! who hast, in days gone by, Than chimney'd walls with slated roofs between,

Moved every heart, delighted every eye, Which hard and harshly edge the smoky sky,

While age and youth, of high and low degree, May Aron's softly-vision'd peaks descry,

In sympathy were join'd, beholding thee, Cooping with graceful state her steepy sides,

As in the drama's ever changing scene O’er which the cloud's broad shadow swiftly glides, Thou heldst thy splendid state, our tragic queen! And interlacing slopes that gently merge

No barriers there thy fair domain confined, Into the pearly mist of ocean's verge.

Thy sovereign sway was o'er the human mind; Eyes which admired that work of sordid skill, And, in the triumph of that witching hour, The storied structure of a cotton mill,

Thy lofty bearing well became thy power. May, wondering, now behold the unnumber'd host Th' impassion'd changes of thy beauteous face, Of marshall’d pillars on fair Ireland's coast,

Thy stately form and high imperial grace ; Phalanx on phalanx ranged with sidelong bend,

Thine arms impetuous tost, thy robe's wide flow, Or broken ranks that to the main descend,

And the dark tempest gather'd on thy brow, Like Pharaoh's army, on the Red Sea shore,

What time thy flashing eye and lip of scorn Which deep and deeper went to risc no more.

Down to the dust thy mimic foes have borne ; Yet ne'ertheless, whate'er we owe to thee,

Remorseful musings, sunk to deep dejection, Rover at will on river, lake, and sea,

The fix'd and yearning looks of strong affection ; As profit's bait or pleasure's lure engage,

The action'd turmoil of a bosom rending, Thou offspring of that philosophic sage,

When pity, love, and honour are contending :Watt, who in heraldry of science ranks,

Who have beheld all this, right well I ween! With those to whom men owe high meed of thanks, A lovely, grand, and wondrous sight have seen. And shall not be forgotten, e'en when fame

Thy varied accents, rapid, fitful, slow, Graves on her annals Davy's splendid name!

Loud rage, and fear's snatch'd whisper, quick and Dearer to fancy, to the eye more fair,

low, Are the light skiffs, that to the breezy air

The burst of stifled love, the wail of grief, Unfurl their swelling sails of snowy hue

And tones of high command, full, solemn, brief; Upon the moving lap of ocean blue:

The change of voice and emphasis that threw As the proud swan on summer lake displays, Light on obscurity, and brought to view With plumage brightening in the morning rays,

Distinctions nice, when grave or comic mood, Her fair pavilion of erected wings,

Or mingled humours, terse and new, elude They change, and veer, and turn like living things. Common perception, as earth's smallest things So fairly rigg'd, with shrouding, sails and mast,

To size and form the vesting hoarfrost brings, To brave with manly skill the winter blast

Which seem'd as if some secret voice, to clear Of every clime,-in vessels rigg'd like these

The ravelld meaning, whisper'd in thine ear, Did great Columbus cross the western seas,

And thou had'st even with him communion kept, And to the stinted thoughts of man reveal'd

Who hath so long in Stratford's chancel slopt, i What yet the course of ages had conceal'd.

Whose lines, where Nature's brightest traces shine, In such as these, on high adventure bent

Alone were worthy deem'd of powers like thine ; Round the vast world Magellan's comrades went.

They, who have heard all this, have proved full

well
To such as these are hardy seamen found
As with the ties of kindred feeling bound,

Of soul-exciting sound the mightiest spell.
Boasting, as cans of cheering grog they sip,

But though time's lengthen'd shadows o'er thee
The varied fortunes of " our gallant ship.”

glide,
The offspring these of bold sagacious man

And pomp of regal state is cast aside,
Ere yet the reign of letter'd lore began.

Think not the glory of thy course is spent;
In very truth, compared to these thou art There's moonlight radiance to thy evening lent,
A daily labourer, a mechanic swart,

Which from the mental world can never fade,
In working weeds array'd of homely gray,

Till all who've seen thee in the grave are laid. Opposed to gentle nymph or lady gay,

Thy graceful form still moves in nightly dreams,

And what thou wert to the wrapt sleeper seems : • The common or vulgar name of a water-bird frequent. While feverish fancy oft doth fondly trace ing that coast.

Within her curtain'd couch thy wondrous face.

« AnteriorContinuar »