« AnteriorContinuar »
While the pealing organ rung,
Thus the holy fathers sung :
“That Day of Wrath, that dreadful day
When heaven and earth shall pass away,
What power shall be the sinner's stay?
How shall he meet that dreadful day?
When shrivelling like a parched scroll,
The flaming heavens together roll;
And louder yet, and yet more dread,
Swells the high trump that wakes the dead :
Oh! on that day, that dreadful day,
When man to judgment wakes from clay,
Be thou the trembling sinner's stay,
Though heaven and earth shall pass away.”
— The Lay of the Last Minstrel.
THE PARTING OF MARMION AND DOUGLAS.
Not far advanced was morning day,
When Marmion did his troop array
To Surrey's camp to ride ;
He had safe conduct for his band
Beneath the royal seal and hand,
And Douglas gave a guide :
The ancient Earl, with stately grace,
Would Clara on her palfrey place,
And whispered, in an undertone,
“Let the hawk stoop, his prey has flown.”
The train from out the castle drew,
But Marmion stopped to bid adieu.
“Though something I might 'plain," he said,
“Of cold respect to stranger guest, Sent hither by your king's behest,
While in Tantallon's towers I stayed ;
Part we in friendship from your land,
And, noble Earl, receive my hand."
But Douglas round him drew his cloak,
Folded his arms, and thus he spoke :
“My manors, halls, and bowers shall still
Be open at my sovereign's will,
To each one whom he lists, howe'er
Unmeet to be the owner's peer.
My castles are my king's alone,
From turret to foundation stone-
The hand of Douglas is his own;
And never shall in friendly grasp
The hand of such as Marmion clasp.”
Burned Marmion's swarthy cheek like fire
And shook his very frame for ire,
And_“This to me!” he said-
"An' 'twere not for thy hoary beard,
Such hand as Marmion's had not spared
To cleave the Douglas' head !
And, first, I tell thee, haughty peer,
He who does England's message here,
Although the meanest in her state,
May well, proud Angus, be thy mate.
And, Douglas, more I tell thee here,
E'en in thy pitch of pride,
Here in thy hold, thy vassals near,
(Nay, never look upon your lord,
And lay your hands upon your sword!)
I tell thee, thou’rt defied !
And if thou said'st I am not peer
To any lord of Scotland here,
Lowland or Highland, far or near,
Lord Angus, thou lied !”
On the Earl's cheek the flush of rage O'ercame the ashen hue of age : Fierce he broke forth, “And dar'st thou then To beard the lion in his den,
The Douglas in his hall ?
And hop'st thou hence unscathed to go ?
No, by St. Bride of Bothwell, no !
Up drawbridge, grooms !What, warder; ho!
Let the portcullis fall."
Lord Marmion turned-well was his need,
And dashed the rowels in his steed,
Like arrow through the archway sprung,
The ponderous gate behind him rung:
To pass there was such scanty room,
The bars, descending, grazed his plume.
The steed along the drawbridge flies,
Just as it trembled on the rise ;
Nor lighter does the swallow skim
Along the smooth lake's level brim :
And when Lord Marmion reached his band
He halts, and turns with clinched hand,
And shouts of loud defiance pours,
And shook his gauntlet at the towers,
“Horse ! horse!” the Douglas cried, “and chase!”
But soon he reined his fury's pace.
“A royal messenger he came,
Though most unworthy of the name.
St. Mary mend my fiery mood!
Old age ne'er cools the Douglas' blood,
I thought to slay him where he stood.
'Tis pity of him, too," he cried :
“Bold can he speak, and fairly ride.
I warrant him a warrior tried.”
With this his mandate he recalls,
And slowly seeks his castle halls.
FITZ-JAMES AND RODERICK DHU.
The shades of eve come slowly down,
The woods are wrapped in deeper brown,
The owl awakens from her dell,
The fox is heard upon the fell ;
Enough remains of glimmering light
To guide the wanderer's steps aright,
Yet not enough from far to show
His figure to the watchful foe.
With cautious step, and ear awake,
He climbs the craig and threads the brake;
And not the summer solstice there
Tempered the midnight mountain-air ;
But every breeze that swept the wold
Benumbed his drenched limbs with cold.
In dread, in danger, and alone,
Famished, and chilled, through ways unknown,
Tangled and steep, he journeyed on;
Till, as a rock's huge point he turned,
A watch-fire close before him burned.
Beside its embers red and clear,
Basked, in his plaid, a mountaineer ;
And up he sprang, with sword in hand :
“Thy name and purpose ? Saxon, stand!
“ A stranger." “What dost thou require ?”
“Rest and a guide, and food and fire;
My life's beset, my path is lost,
The gale has chilled my limbs with frost."
“ Art thou a friend to Roderick ?" "No."
“ Thou dar'st not call thyself a foe ? ”
“ I dare! To him and all the band
He brings to aid his murderous hand."
“ Bold words! but though the beast of game
The privilege of chase may claim,
Though space and law the stag we lend
Ere hound we slip or bow we bend,
Who ever recked where, how, or when
The prowling fox was trapped or slain?
Thus treacherous scouts: yet sure they lie,
Who say thou camest a secret spy ?”
“ They do! By Heaven! Come Roderick Dhu
And of his clan the boldest two,
And let me but till morning rest,
I write the falsehood on their crest!”
"If by the light I mark aright,
Thou bear'st the belt and spur of Knight."
“ Then by these tokens thou may'st know
Each proud oppressor's mortal foe!"
"Enough, enough! Sit down and share
A soldier's couch, a soldier's fare.”
He gave him of his Highland cheer
The hardened flesh of mountain-deer;
Dry fuel on the fire he laid,
And bade the Saxon share his plaid;
He tended him like welcome guest,
Then thus his further speech addresst:
“Stranger, I am to Roderick Dhu
A clansman born, a kinsman true;
Each word against his honor spoke
Demands of me avenging stroke;
Yet more—upon thy fate, 'tis said,
A mighty augury is laid.
It rests with me to wind my horn,
Thou art with numbers overborne;
It rests with me, here, hand to hand,
Worn as thou art, to bid thee stand;
But not for clan nor kindred's cause
Will I depart from honor's laws;
To assail a weary man were shame,
And stranger is a holy name;
Guidance and rest, and food and fire,
In vain he never must require.
Then rest thee here till dawn of day,
Myself will guide thee on the way,
O'er stock and stone, through watch and guards
As far as Coilantogle's ford;
From thence thy warrant is thy sword.”
“I take thy courtesy, by Heaven,
As freely as 'tis nobly given!”
“Well, rest thee; for the bittern's cry
Sings us the lake's wild lullaby."
With that he shook the gathered heath,
And spread his plaid upon the wreath ;
And the brave foemen, side by side,
Lay peaceful down, like brothers tried,
And slept until the dawning beam
Purpled the mountain and the stream.
- The Lady of the Lake.
THE BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN.
Now onward, and in open view,
The countless ranks of England drew,
Dark rolling like the ocean tide
When the rough west hath chafed his pride,
And his deep roar sends challenge wide
To all that bars his way.
In front the gallant archers trode,
The men-at-arms behind them rode,
And midmost of the phalanx broad
The monarch held his sway.
Beside him many a war-horse fumes,
Around him wave a sea of plumes,
Where many a knight in battle known,