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ROKEBY;



A POEM.



IN SIX CANTOS.



H O K E B Y;



A POEM.



BY



WALTER SCOTT, Esq,



EDINBURGH :



PRINTED FOR

JOHN BALLANTYNE AND CO. EDINBURGH ;

AND

LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN, LONDON;

By James Ballantyne and Co. Edinburgh.

1813.






TO

JOHN B. S. MORRITT, Esq.

THIS POEM,

THE SCENE OF WHICH IS LAID IN HIS BEAUTIFUL DEMESNE

OF ROKEBY,

IS INSCRIBED,

IN TOKEN OF SINCERE FRIENDSHIP,

BY

WALTER SCOTT.



M588846



ADVERTISEMENT.



The Scene of this Poem is laid at RoJcebi/, near Greta-
Bridge, in Yorkshire, and shifts to the adjacent fo7^tress of
JBarnard- Castle, and to other places in that vicinity.

The Time occupied by the Action is a space of Five Days,
three of which are supposed to elapse between the end of the Fifth
and begimiing of the Sixth Canto.

The date of the supposed events is immediately subsequent to
the great Battle of Marston-Moor, 3d July, 1644. This period
of public confusion has been chosen, without any purpose of com-
bining the Fable with the Militar^y or Political Events of the
Civil War, but only as affording a degree of probability to the
Fictitious Narrative now presented to the Public.



CONTENTS.



PAGE.

CANTO 1 1

II 53

HI 99

IV 151

V 203

VI 269



Notes to Canto I i i

Canto II XXV

Canto III , xli

Canto IV „ Ivii

Canto V , Ixvii

Canto VI „..,,. cxiii



R O K E B Y.



CANTO FIRST.



R O K E B Y.



CANTO FIRST.



XHE Moon is in her summer glow,

But hoarse and high the breezes blow.

And, racking o'er her face, the cloud

Varies the tincture of her shroud ;

On Barnard's towers, and Tees's stream.

She changes as a guilty dream.

When Conscience, with remorse and fear.

Goads sleeping Fancy's wild career.



4 ROKEBY. CANTO I.

Her light seeni'd now tlie blush of shame,
Seem'd now fierce anger's darker flame,
Shifting that shade to come and go,
Like apprehension's hurried glow ;
Then sorrow's livery dims the air.
And dies in darkness, like despair.
Such varied hues the warder sees
Reflected from the woodland Tees,
Then from old Baliol's tower looks forth,
Sees the clouds mustering in the north,
Hears, upon turret-roof and wall,
By fits the plashing rain-drop fall,
Lists to the breeze's boding sound,
And wraps his shaggy mantle round.

n.

Those towers, which in the changeful gleam
Throw mm'ky shadows on the stream,

9



CANTO r. ROKEBY.

Those towers of Barnard hold a guest,
The emotions of whose troubled breast,
In wild and strange confusion driven.
Rival the flitting rack of heaven.
Ere sleep stern Oswald's senses tied,
Oft had he changed his weary side,
Composed his limbs, and vainly sought
By effort strong to banish thought.
Sleep came at length, but with a train
Of feelings real and fancies vain,
Mingling, in wild disorder cast.
The expected future with the past.
Conscience, anticipating time,
Already rues the unacted crime,
And calls her furies forth, to shake
The sounding scourge and hissing snake ;
While her poor victim's outward throes
Bear witness to his mental woes.



6 ROKEBY. CANTO I.

And shew what lesson may be read
Beside a sinner's restless bed,

III.

Thus Oswald's labouring feelings trace
Strange changes in his sleeping face.
Rapid and ominous as these
With which the moon-beams tinge the Tees.
There might be seen of shame the blush.
There anger's dark and fiercer flush,
While the perturbed sleeper's hand
Seem'd grasping dagger-knife, or brand.
Relax'd that grasp, the heavy sigh,
The tear in the half-opening eye.
The pallid cheek and brow, confessed
That grief was busy in his breast ;
Nor paused that mood — a sudden start
Impelled the life-blood from the heart ;



CANTO I. ROKEBY. 7

Features convulsed, and mutterings dread,
Show terror reigns in sorrow's stead ;
That pang the painful slumber broke,
And Oswald with a start awoke.

IV.

He woke, and feared again to close
His eye-lids in such dire repose ;
He woke, — to watch the lamp, and tell
From hour to hour the castle-bell,
Or listen to the owlet's cry.
Or the sad breeze that whistles by.
Or catch, by fits, the tuneless rhyme
With which the warder cheats the time.
And envying think, how, when the sun
Bids the poor soldier's watch be done,
Couch'd on his straw, and fancy-free.
He sleeps like careless infancy.



S ROKEBY. CANTO r,

V.

Far town-ward sounds a distant tread,
And Oswald, starting from his bed,
Hath caught it, though no human ear,
Unsharpen'd by revenge and fear,
Could e'er distinguish horse's clank,
Until it reached the castle-bank.
Now nigh and plain the sound appears,
The warder's challenge now he hears.
Then clanking chains and levers tell.
That o'er the moat the draw-bridge fell,
And, in the castle-court below,
Voices are heard, and torches glow,
As marshalling the stranger's way
Straight for the room where Oswald lay;
The cry was, — " Tidings from the host,
Of weight — a messenger comes post." —



CANTO I. ROKEBY.

Stifling the tumult of his breast,
His answer Oswald thus expressed —
" Bring food and wine, and trim the fire ;
Admit the stranger, and retire."—

VI.

The stranger came with heavy stride.
The morion's plumes his visage hide.
And the buff coat, in ample fold,
Mantles his form's gigantic mould.
Full slender answer deigned he
To Oswald's anxious courtesy,
But marked, by a disdainful smile.
He saw and scorned the petty wile,
When Oswald changed the torch's place,
Anxious that on the soldier's face
Its partial lustre might be thrown.
To shew his looks, yet hide his own.

B



10 KOKEBY. CANTO i»

His guest, the while, laid slow aside
The ponderous cloak of tough bull's hide,
And to the torch glanced broad and clear
The corslet of a cuirassier ;
Then from his brows the casque he drew,
And from the dank plume dashed the dew,
From gloves of mail relieved his hands.
And spread them to the kindling brands,
And, turning to the genial board,
Without a health, or pledge, or word
Of meet and social reverence said.
Deeply he drank, and fiercely fed;
As free from ceremony's sway,
As famished wolf that tears his prey.

VII.

With deep impatience, tinged with fear,
His host beheld him gorge his cheer,

6



CANTO r. ROKEBY. 11

And quaff the full carouze that lent
His brow a fiercer hardiment.
Now Oswald stood a space aside,
Now paced the room with hasty stride,
In feverish agony to learn
Tidings of deep and dread concern.
Cursing each moment that his guest
Protracted o'er his ruffian feast.
Yet, viewing with alarm, at last,
The end of that uncouth repast,
Almost he seemed their haste to rue,
As, at his sign, his train withdrew,
And left him with the stranger, free
To question of his mystery.
Then did his silence long proclaim
A struggle between fear and shame.



12 ROKEBY. CANTO I.

VIII.
Much in the stranger s mien appears.
To justify suspicious fears.
On his dark face a scorching cHme,
And toil, had done the work of time,
Roughened the brow, the temples bared.
And sable hairs with silver shared,
Yet left — what age alone could tame —
The lip of pride, the eye of flame.
The full-drawn lip that upward curled,
The eye, that seemed to scorn the world.
That lip had terror never blanched ;
Ne'er in that eye had ,, tear-drop quenched
The flash severe of swarthy glow.
That mocked at pain, and knew not woe ;
Inured to danger s direst form,
Tornade and earthquake, flood and storm,

12



CANTO I. ROKEBY. 13

Death had he seen by sudden blow,
By wasting plague, by tortures slow,
By mine or breach, by steel or ball.
Knew all his shapes, and scorned them all.

IX.

But yet, though Bertram's hardened look.

Unmoved, could blood and danger brook,

Still worse than apathy had place

On his swart brow and callous face ;

For evil passions, cherished long.

Had ploughed them with impressions strong.

All that gives gloss to sin, all gay

Light folly, past with youth away,

But rooted stood, in manhood's hour.

The weeds of vice without their flower.

And yet the soil in which they grew.

Had it been tamed when life was new,



14 ROKEBY. CANTO i.

Had depth and vigour to bring forth
The hardier fruits of virtuous worth.
Not that, e'en then, his heart had known
The gentler feehngs' kindly tone ;
But lavish waste had been refined
To bounty in his chastened mind,
And lust of gold, that waste to feed,
Been lost in love of glory's meed,
And, frantic then no more, his pride
Had ta'en fair virtue for its guide.

X.

Even now, by conscience unrestrained,
Clogged by gross vice, by slaughter stained.
Still knew his daring soul to soar,
And mastery o'er the mind he bore ;
For meaner guilt, or heart less hard,
Quailed beneath Bertram's bold regard.



CANTO I. ROKEBY. 15

And this felt Oswald, while in vain
He strove, by many a winding* train,
To Inre his snllen guest to show,
Unasked, the news he longed to know,
While on far other subject hung
His heart, than faultered from his tongue.
Yet nought for that his guest did deign
To note or spare his secret pain,
But still, in stern and stubborn sort,
Returned him answer dark and short,
Or started from the theme, to range
In loose digression wild and strange,
And forced the embarrassed host to buy.
By query close, direct reply.

XL

Awhile he glozed upon the cause
Of Commons, Covenant, and Laws>



16 ROKEBY. CANTO I.

And Church reformed — ^but fek rebuke

Beneath grim Bertram's sneering look.

Then stammered — " Has a field been fought ?

Has Bertram news of battle brought ?

For sure a soldier, famed so far

In foreimi fields for feats of war,

On eve of fight ne'er left the host,

Until the field were won or lost." —

" Here, in your towers by circling Tees,

You, Oswald Wycliff, rest at ease ;

Why deem it strange that others come

To share such safe and easy home,

From fields where danger, death, and toil,

Are the reward of civil broil ?" —

- — " Nay, mock not, friend ! — since well we know

The near advances of the foe,

To mar our northern army's work,

Encamped before beleaguered York ;



CANTO I. ROKEBY. lY

Thy horse with vahant Fairfax lay,

And must have fought — how went the day ?"

XII.
" Wouldst hear the tale ? — On Marston heath
Met, front to front, the ranks of death ;
Flourished the trumpets fierce, and now
Fired was each eye, and flushed each brow ;
On either side loud clamours ring,
" God and the Cause ! — God and the King !"
Right English all, they rushed to blows.
With nought to win, and all to lose.
I could have laughed — but lacked the time —
To see, m phrenesy sublime.
How the fierce zealots fought and bled.
For king or state, as humour led ;
Some for a dream of public good.
Some for church-tippet, gown, and hood,



j8 ROKEBY. CANTO I.

Draining their veins, in death to claim
A patriot's or a martyr s name. —
Led Bertram Risingham the hearts,
That countered there on adverse parts,
No superstitious fool had I
Sought El Dorados in the sky !
Chili had heard me through her states.
And Lima oped her silver gates,
Rich Mexico I had marched through,
And sacked the splendours of Peru,
Till svmk Pizarro's daring name,
And, Cortez, thine, in Bertram's fame."

" Still from the purpose wilt thou stray !

Good gentle friend, how went the day?"

XIIL

« Good am I deemed at trumpet-sound.

And good where goblets dance the round,



CANTO I. IIOKEBY. 19

Though gentle ne'er was joined, till now,

With rugged Bertram's breast and brow. —

But I resume. The battle's rage

Was like the strife which currents wage.

Where Orinoco, in his pride,

Rolls to the main no tribute tide,

But 'gainst broad ocean urges far

A rival sea of roaring war ;

While, in ten thousand eddies driven,

The billows fling their foam to heaven,

And the pale pilot seeks in vain,

Where rolls the river, where the main.

Even thus, upon the bloody field.

The eddying tides of conflict wheeled

Ambiguous, till that heart of flame.

Hot Rupert, on our squadrons came.

Hurling against our spears a line

Of gallants, fiery as their wine ;

12



20 ROKEBY. CANTO I.

Then ours, though stubborn in their zeal,

In zeal's despite began to reel.

What wouldst thou more ? — in tumult tost,

Our leaders fell, our ranks were lost.

A thousand men, who drew the sword

For both the Houses and the Word,

Preached forth from hamlet, grange, and down.

To curb the crosier and the crown,

Now, stark and stiff, lie stretched in gore,

And ne'er shall rail at mitre more. —

Thus fared it, when I left the fight.

With the good Cause and Commons' right." —

XIV.

" Disastrous news !" dark Wycliffe said ;
Assumed despondence bent his head.
While troubled joy was in his eye.
The well-feigned sorrow to belie.—



CANTO I. ROKEBY. 21

" Disastrous news ! — when needed most,

Told ye not that your chiefs were lost ? —

Complete the woeful tale, and say,

Who fell upon that fatal day ;

What leaders of repute and name

Bought by their death a deathless fame.

If such my direst foeman's doom.

My tears shall dew his honoured tomb. —

No answer ? — Friend, of all our host

Thou knowest whom I should hate the most ;

Whom thou too once were wont to hate.

Yet leavest me doubtful of his fate." —

With look unmoved, — " Of friend or foe.

Aught," answered Bertram, " wouldst thou know,

Demand in simple terms and plain,

A soldier's answer shalt thou gain ;

For question dark, or riddle high,

I have nor judgment nor reply."

8



22 ROKEBY. canto i.

XV.

The wrath his art and fear suppressed,
Now blazed at once in Wycliffe's breast ;
And brave from man so meanly bom.
Roused his hereditary scorn.
— " Wretch ! hast thou paid thy bloody debt ?
Philip of Mortham, lives he yet ?
False to thy patron or thine oath,
Trait'rous or perjured, one or both,
Slave ! hast thou kept thy promise plight,
To slay thy leader in the fight ?" —
Then from his seat the soldier sprung,
And Wycliffe's hand he strongly wrung ;
His grasp, as hard as glove of mail.
Forced the red blood-drop from the nail —
" A health !" he cried ; and, ere he quaffed,
Flung from him WycUffe's hand, and laughed.



CANTO I. ROKEBY. 2;

— " Now, Oswald WyclifFe, speaks thy heart !

Now playest thou well thy genuine ])art !

Worthy, but for thy craven fear,

Like me to roam a buccaneer.

What reck'st thou of the Cause divine,

If Mortham's wealth and lands be thine ?

What carest thou for beleaguered York,

If this good hand have done its work ?

Or what though Fairfax and his best

Are reddening Marston's swarthy breast,

If Philip Mortham with them lie,

Lending his life-blood to the dye ? —

Sit then ! and as mid comrades free

Carousing after victory,

When tales are told of blood and fear,

That boys and women shrink to hear.

From point to point I frankly tell

The deed of deat has it befell.



24 ROKEBY. CANTO I.

XVI.

" When purposed vengeance I forego,

Term me a wretch, nor deem me foe ;

And when an insult I forgive,

Then brand me as a slave, and live ! —

Philip of Mortham is with those

Whom Bertram Risingham calls foes;

Or whom more sure revenge attends,

If numbered with vmgrateful friends.

As was his wont, ere battle glowed,

Along the marshalled ranks he rode,

And wore his vizor up the while.

I saw his melancholy smile.

When, full opposed in front, he knew

Where Rokeby's kindred banner flew.

" And thus," he said, " will friends divide !" —

I heard, and thought how, side by side,

We two had turned the battle's tide.



CANTO I. ROKEBY. 25

In many a well-debated field,

Where Bertram's breast was Philip's shield.

I thought on Darien's desarts pale,

Where death bestrides the evening gale.

How o'er my friend my cloak I threw.

And fenceless faced the deadly dew ;

I thought on Quariana's cliff,

Where, rescued from our foimdering skiff,

Through the white breakers' wrath I bore

Exhausted Mortham to the shore ;

And when his side an arrow found,

I sucked the Indian's venomed wound.

These thoughts like torrents rushed along,

To sweep away my purpose strong.

XVIL

*^ Hearts are not flint, and flints are rent ;
Hearts are not steel, and steel is bent.

D



26 ROKEBY. CANTO T.

When Mortham bade me, as of yore,

Be near him in the battle's roar,

I scarcely saw the spears laid low,

I scarcely heard the trumpets blow ;

Lost was the war in inward strife,

Debating Mortham's death or life.

'Twas then I thought, how, lured to come

As partner of his wealth and home.

Years of piratic wandering o'er.

With him I sought our native shore.

But Mortham's lord grew far estranged

From the bold heart with whom he ranged ;

Doubts, horrors, superstitious fears.

Saddened and dimmed descending years ;

The wily priests their victim sought,

And damned each fi-ee-born deed and thought.

Then must I seek another home,

My license shook his sober dome ;

10



CANTO I. ROKEBY. 27

If gold he gave, in one wild day
I revelled thrice the sum away.
An idle outcast then I strayed,
Unfit for tillage or for trade,
Deemed, like the steel of rusted lance.
Useless and dangerous at once.
The women feared my hardy look.
At my approach the peaceful shook ;
The merchant saw my glance of flame.
And locked his hoards when Bertram came ;
Each child of coward peace kept far
From the neglected son of war.

XVIII.

" But civil discord gave the call.
And made my trade the trade of all.
By Mortham urged, I came again
His vassals to the fight to train.



28 ROKEBY. CANTO I.

What guerdon waited on my care ?
I could not cant of creed or prayer ;
Sour fanatics each trust obtained,
And I, dishonoured and disdained,
Gained but the high and happy lot,
In these poor arms to front the shot ! —
All this thou know' St, thy gestures tell ;
Yet hear it o'er, and mark it well.
'Tis honour bids me now relate
Each circumstance of Mortham's fate.

XIX.

" Thoughts, from the tongue that slowly part,
Glance quick as lightning through the heart.
As my spur pressed my courser's side,
Philip of Mortham's cause was tried.
And, ere the charging squadrons mixed,
His plea was cast, his doom was fixed,

2



CANTO I. ROKEBY. 29

I watched him through the doubtful fray,

That changed as March's moody day,

Till, like a stream that bursts its bank,

Fierce Rupert thundered on our flank.

'Twas then, midst tumult, smoke, and strife,

Where each man fought for death or life,

'Twas then I fired my petronel.

And Mortham, steed and rider, fell.

One dying look he upward cast,

Of wrath and anguish — 'twas his last.

Think not that there I stopped to view

What of the battle should ensue ;

But ere I cleared that bloody press,

Our northern horse ran masterless ,

Monckton and Mitton told the news,

How troops of Roundheads choked the Ouse,

And many a bonny Scot, aghast.

Spurring his palfrey northward, past,



30 ROKEBY. CANTO I,

Cursing the day when zeal or meed
First lured their Lesley o'er the Tweed.
Yet when I reached the banks of Swale,
Had rumour learned another tale ;
With his barbed horse, fresh tidings say
Stout Cromwell has redeemed the day :
But whether false the news, or true,
Oswald, I reck as light as you." —

XX.

Not then by Wycliffe might be shown.
How his pride startled at the tone
In which his complice, fierce and free,
Asserted guilt's equality.
In smoothest terms his speech he wove.
Of endless friendship, faith, and love ;
Promised and vowed in courteous sort.
But Bertram broke professions short.



CANTO I. ROKEBY. 31

" Wycliffe, be sure not here I stay,
No, scarcely till the rising day ;
Warned by the legends of my youth,
I trust not an associate's truth.
Do not my native dales prolong
Of Percy Rede the tragic song,
Trained forward to his bloody fall.
By Girsonfield, that treacherous Hall ?
Oft, by the Pringle's haunted side.
The shepherd sees his spectre glide.
And near the spot that gave me name,
The moated mound of Risingham,
Where Reed upon her margin sees
Sweet Woodburn's cottages and trees.
Some ancient sculptor's art has shown
An outlaw's image on the stone ;
Unmatched in strength, a giant he.
With quivered back, and kirtled knee.



32 ROKEBY. CANTO I.

Ask how he died, that hunter bold,
The tameless monarch of the wold,
And age and infancy can tell,
By brother's treachery he fell. —
Thus warned by legends of my youth,
I trust to no associate's truths

XXL

" When last we reasoned of this deed,
Nought, I bethink me, was agreed,
Or by what rule, or when, or where,
The wealth of Mortham we shovdd share ;
Then list, while I the portion name,
Our differing laws give each to claim.
Thou, vassal sworn to England's throne.
Her rules of heritage must own ;
They deal thee, as to nearest heir,
Thy kinsman's lands and livings fair,



CANTO I. ROKEBY. 33

And these I yield : — do thou revere
The statutes of the buccaneer.
Friend to the sea, and foeman sworn
To all that on her waves are borne,
When falls a mate in battle broil,
His comrade heirs his portioned spoil;
When dies in fight a daring foe,
He claims his wealth who struck the blow;
And either rule to me assigns
Those spoils of Indian seas and mines.
Hoarded in Mortham's caverns dark,
Ingot of gold and diamond spark.
Chalice and plate from churches borne,
And gems from shrieking beauty torn,
Each string of pearl, each silver bar,
And all the wealth of western war ;
I go to search, where, dark and deep.
Those trans-atlantic treasures sleep.

E



34 llOKEBY. CANTO I.

Thou must along — for, lacking thee,
The heir will scarce find entrance free ;
And then farewell. I haste to try
Each varied pleasure wealth can buy ;
When cloyed each wish, these wars afford
Fresh work for Bertram's restless sword." —

XXII.
An undecided answer hung
On Oswald's hesitating tongue.
Despite his craft, he heard with awe
This ruffian stabber fix the law ;
While his own troubled passions veer
Through hatred, joy, regret, and fear ; —
Joyed at the soul that Bertram flies,
He grudged the murderer's mighty prize,
Hated his pride's presumptuous tone,
And feared to wend with him alone.



CANTO I. ROKEBY. <

At length, that middle course to steer.

To cowardice and craft so dear,

" His charge," he said, " would ill allow

His absence from the fortress now ;

Wilfrid on Bertram should attend,

His son should journey with his friend." —

xxni.

Contempt kept Bertram's anger down,
And wreathed to savage smile his frown.
" Wilfrid, or thou — 'tis one to me,
Which ever bears the golden key.
Yet think not but I mark, and smile
To mark thy poor and selfish wile I
If injury from me you fear.
What, Oswald Wycliffe, shields thee here ?
I've spnmg from walls more high than these,
I've swam through deeper streams than Tees.



36 ROKEBY. CANTO I.

Might I not stab thee, ere one yell

Could rouse the distant eentinel ?

Start not — it is not my design,

But, if it were, weak fence were thine ;

And, trust me, that, in time of need.

This hand hath done more desperate deed. —

Go, haste and rouse thy slumbering son ;

Time calls, and I must needs be gone." —

XXIV.

Nought of his sire's ungenerous part
Polluted Wilfrid's gentle heart ;
A heart, too soft from early life
To hold with fortune needful strife.
His sire, while yet a hardier race
Of numerous sons were Wycliffe's grace,
On Wilfrid set contemptuous brand.
For feeble heart and forceless hand ;



CANTO I. ROKEBY. 37

But a fond mother's care and joy
Were centered in her sickly boy.
No touch of childhood's frolic mood
Shewed the elastic spring of blood ;
Hour after hour he loved to pore
On Shakspeare's rich and varied lore,
But turned from martial scenes and light,
From FalstafPs feast and Percy's fight,
To ponder Jaques' moral strain,
And muse with Hamlet, wise in vain ;
And weep himself to soft repose
O'er gentle Desdemona's woes.

XXV.

In youth, he sought not pleasures found
By youth in horse, and hawk, and hound.
But loved the quiet joys that wake
By lonely stream and silent lake ;



38 ROKEBV. CANTO I.

In Deepdale's solitude to lie,
Where all is cliff, and copse, and sky ;
To climb Catcastle's dizzy peak,
Or lone Pendragon's mound to seek.
Such was his wont ; and there his dream
Soared on some wild fantastic theme,
Of faithful love, or ceaseless Spring,
Till Contemplation's wearied wing
The enthusiast could no more sustain,
And sad he sunk to earth again.

XXVI.

He loved — as many a lay can tell.
Preserved in Stanmore's lonely dell ;
For his was minstrel's skill, he caught
The art unteachable, untaught ;
He loved — his soul did nature frame


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