Walter Scott.

The poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet online

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Of Mortham's wealth is destined heir.'


' Destined to her ! to yon slight maid !
The prize my life had wellnigh paid
When 'gainst Laroche by Cayo's wave
I fought my patron's wealth to save ! —
Denzil, I knew him long, yet ne'er
Knew him that joyous cavalier
Whom youthful friends and early fame
Called soul of gallantry and game.
A moody man he sought our crew,
Desperate and dark, whom no one knew,
And rose, as men with us must rise,
By scorning life and all its ties.
On each adventure rash he roved,
As danger for itself he loved ;
On his sad brow nor mirth nor wine
Could e'eV one wrinkled knot untwine ;
111 was the omen if he smiled,
For 'twas in peril stern and wild ;
But when he laughed each luckless mate
Might hold our fortune desperate.
Foremost he fought in every broil,
Then scornful turned him from the spoil,
Nay, often strove to bar the way
Between his comrades and their prey ;
Preaching even then to such as we,
Hot with our dear-bought victory,
Of mercy and humanity.

' I loved* him well — his fearless part,
His gallant leading, won my heart.
And after each victorious fight, .
'T was I that wrangled for his right.
Redeemed his portion of the prey
That greedier mates had torn away,
In field and storm thrice saved his life,
And once amid our comrades' strife. —
Yes, I have loved thee ! Well hath proved
My toil, my danger, how I loved !
Yet will I mourn no more thy fate,
Ingrate in life, in death ingrate.
Rise if thou canst ! ' he looked around
And sternly stamped upon the ground —
' Rise, with thy bearing proud and high,
Even as this morn it met mine eye,
And give me, if thou darest, the lie ! '
He paused — then, calm and passion-freed,
Bade Denzil with his tale proceed.


' Bertram, to thee I need not tell,
What thou hast cause to wot so well,
How superstition's nets were twined
Around the Lord of Mortham's mind ;
But since he drove thee from his tower,
A maid he found in Greta's bower
Whose speech, like David's harp, had sway
To charm his evil fiend away.
I know not if her features moved
Remembrance of the wife he loved,
But he would gaze upon her eye,
Till his mood softened to a sigh.
He, whom no living mortal sought
To question of his secret thought,
Now every thought and care confessed
To his fair niece's faithful breast;
Nor was there aught of rich and rare,
In earth, in ocean, or in air,
But it must deck Matilda's hair.
Her love still bound him unto life ;
But then awoke the civil strife,
And menials bore by his commands
Three coffers with their iron bands
From Mortham's vault at midnight deep
To her lone bower in Rokeby-Keep,
Ponderous with gold and plate of pride,
His gift, if he in battle died.'

' Then Denzil, as I guess, lays train
These iron-banded chests to gain,
Else wherefore should he hover here
Where many a peril waits him near
For all his feats of war and peace,
For plundered boors, and harts of greese ?
Since through the hamlets as he fared
What hearth has Guy's marauding spared,



*& 'i

-*- c y y

Or where the chase that hath not rung
With Denzil's bow at midnight strung? '
' I hold my wont — my rangers go,
Even now to track a milk-white doe.
By Rokeby-hall she takes her lair,
In Greta wood she harbors fair,
And when my huntsman marks her way,
What think'st thou, Bertram, of the prey ?
Were Rokeby's daughter in our power,
We rate her ransom at her dower.'

' 'T is well ! — there 's vengeance in the

Matilda is by Wilfrid sought ;
And hot-brained Redmond too, 't is said,
Pays lover's homage to the maid.
Bertram she scorned — if met by chance
She turned from me her shuddering glance,
Like a nice dame that will not brook
On what she hates and loathes to look ;



She told to Mortham she could ne'er
Behold me without secret fear,
Foreboding evil : — she may rue
To find her prophecy fall true ! —
The war has weeded Rokeby's train,
Few followers in his halls remain ;
If thy scheme miss, then, brief and bold,
We are enow to storm the hold,
Bear off the plunder and the dame,
And leave the castle all in flame.'


' Still art thou Valor's venturous son !

Yet ponder first the risk to run :

The menials of the castle, true

And stubborn to their charge, though few —

The wall to scale — the moat to cross —

The wicket-grate — the inner fosse ' —

1 Fool ! if we blench for toys like these,

On what fair guerdon can we seize ?

Our hardiest venture, to explore

Some wretched peasant's fenceless door,

And the best prize we bear away,

The earnings of his sordid day.'

'A while thy hasty taunt forbear:

In sight of road more sure and fair

Thou wouldst not choose, in blindfold

Or wantonness a desperate path ?
List, then ; — for vantage or assault,
From gilded vane to dungeon vault,
Each pass of Rokeby-house I know :
There is one postern dark and low
That issues at a secret spot,
By most neglected or forgot.
Now, could a spial of our train
On fair pretext admittance gain,
That sally-port might be unbarred ;
Then, vain were battlement and ward !


' Now speak'st thou well : to me the same
If force or art shall urge the game ;
Indifferent if like fox I wind,
Or spring like tiger on the hind. —
But, hark ! our merry men so gay
Troll forth another roundelay.'

1 A weary lot is thine, fair maid,

A weary lot is thine !
To pull the thorn thy brow to braid,

And press the rue for wine !
A lightsome eye, a soldier's mien,

A feather of the blue,
A doublet of the Lincoln green. —

No more of me you knew,

My love !
No more of me you knew.

' This morn is merry June, I trow,

The rose is budding fain ;
But she shall bloom in winter snow

Ere we two meet again.'
He turned his charger as he spake

Upon the river shore,
He gave his bridle-reins a shake,

Said, ' Adieu for evermore,

My love !
And adieu for evermore.'

1 What youth is this your band among
The best for minstrelsy and song ?
In his wild notes seem aptly met
A strain of pleasure and regret.' —
1 Edmund of Winston is his name ;
The hamlet sounded with the fame
Of early hopes his childhood gave, —
Now centred all in Brignall cave !
I watch him well — his wayward course
Shows oft a tincture of remorse.
Some early love-shaft grazed his heart,
And oft the scar will ache and smart.
Yet is he useful ; — of the rest
By fits the darling and the jest,
His harp, his story, and his lay,
Oft aid the idle hours away :
When unemployed, each fiery mate
Is ripe for mutinous debate.
He tuned his strings e'en now — again
He wakes them with a blither strain.'




Allen-a-Dale has no fagot for burning,
Allen-a-Dale has no furrow for turning,
Allen-a-Dale has no fleece for the spinning,
Yet Allen-a-Dale has red gold for the

Come, read me my riddle ! come, hearken

my tale !
And tell me the craft of bold Allen-a-Dale.

The Baron of Ravensworth prances in pride,

And he views his domains upon Arkindale

The mere for his net and the land for his

The chase for the wild and the park for the
tame ;

Yet the fish of the lake and the deer of the

Are less free to Lord Dacre than Allen-a-
Dale !



Allen-a-Dale was ne'er belted a knight,
Though his spur be as sharp and his blade

be as bright ;
Allen-a-Dale is no baron or lord,
Yet twenty tall yeomen will draw at his

word ;
And the best of our nobles his bonnet will

Who at Rere-cross on Stanmore meets

Allen-a-Dale !

The mother, she asked of his household
and home :

' Though the castle of Richmond stand fair
on the hill,

My hall,' quoth bold Allen, 'shows gallanter

'T is the blue vault of heaven, with its cres-
cent so pale

And with all its bright spangles ! ' said

The father was steel and the mother. was
stone ;

They lifted the latch and they bade him be
gone ;

But loud on the morrow their wail and their
cry :

He had laughed on the lass with his bonny
black eye,

And she fled to the forest to hear a love-

And the youth it was told by was Allen-a-
dale !

' Thou see'st that, whether sad or gay,

Love mingles ever in his lay.

But when his boyish wayward fit

Is o'er, he hath address and wit ;

O, 't is a brain of fire, can ape

Each dialect, each various shape ! ' —

* Nay, then, to aid thy project, Guy —

Soft ! who comes here ? ' — ' My trusty spy.

Speak, Hamlin ! hast thou lodged our

deer?' —
' I have — but two fair stags are near.
I watched her as she slowly strayed
From Egliston up Thorsgill glade,
But Wilfrid Wycliffe sought her side,
And then young Redmond in his pride
Shot down to meet them on their way ;
Much, as it seemed, was theirs to say :
There 's time to pitch both toil and net
Before their path be homeward set.'
A hurried and a whispered speech
Did Bertram's will to Denzil teach,
Who, turning to the robber band,
Bade four, the bravest, take the brand.



When Denmark's raven soared on high,
Triumphant through Northumbrian sky,
Till hovering near her fatal croak
Bade Reged's Britons dread the yoke,
And the broad shadow of her wing
Blackened each cataract and spring
Where Tees in tumult leaves his source,
Thundering o'er Caldron and High-Force ;
Beneath the shade the Northmen came,
Fixed on each vale a Runic name,
Reared high their altar's rugged stone,
And gave their gods the land they won. '
Then, Balder, one bleak garth was thine
And one sweet brooklet's silver line,
And Woden's Croft did title gain
From the stern Father of the Slain;
But to the Monarch of the Mace,
That held in fight the foremost place,
To Odin's son and Sifia's spouse,
Near Startforth high they paid their vows,
Remembered Thor's victorious fame,
And gave the dell the Thunderer's name.


Yet Scald or Kemper erred, I ween,
Who gave that soft and quiet scene,
With all its varied light and shade,
And every little sunny glade,
And the blithe brook that strolls along
Its pebbled bed with summer song,
To the grim God of blood and scar,
The grisly King of Northern War.
O, better were its banks assigned
To spirits of a gentler kind !
For where the thicket-groups recede
And the rath primrose decks the mead,
The velvet grass seems carpet meet
For the light fairies' lively feet.
Yon tufted knoll with daisies strown
Might make proud Oberon a throne,
While, hidden in the thicket nigh,
Puck should brood o'er his frolic sly;
And where profuse the wood-vetch clings
Round ash and elm in verdant rings,
Its pale and azure-pencilled flower
Should canopy Titania's bower.


Here rise no cliffs the vale to shade ;
But, skirting every sunny glade,
In fair variety of green
The woodland lends its sylvan screen.
Hoary yet haughty, frowns the oak,
Its boughs by weight of ages broke ;



And towers erect in sable spire
The pine-tree scathed by lightning-fire ;
The drooping ash and birch between
Hang their fair tresses o'er the green,
And all beneath at random grow
Each coppice dwarf of varied show,
Or, round the stems profusely twined,
Fling summer odors on the wind.
Such varied group Urbino's hand
Round Him of Tarsus nobly planned,
What time he bade proud Athens own
On Mars's Mount the God Unknown !
Then gray Philosophy stood nigh,
Though bent by age, in spirit high :
There rose the scar-seamed veteran's spear,
There Grecian Beauty bent to hear,
While Childhood at her foot was placed,
Or clung delighted to her waist.


' And rest we here,' Matilda said,
And sat her in the varying shade.
' Chance-met, we well may steal an hour,
To friendship due from fortune's power.
Thou, Wilfrid, ever kind, must lend
Thy counsel to thy sister-friend ;
And, Redmond, thou, at my behest,
No farther urge thy desperate quest.
For to my care a charge is left,
Dangerous to one of aid bereft,
Wellnigh an orphan and alone,
Captive her sire, her house o'erthrown.'
Wilfrid, with wonted kindness graced,
Beside her on the turf she placed ;
Then paused with downcast look and eye,
Nor bade young Redmond seat him nigh.
Her conscious diffidence he saw,
Drew backward as in modest awe,
And sat a little space removed,
Unmarked to gaze on her he loved.

Wreathed in its dark-brown rings, her hair
Half hid Matilda's forehead fair,
Half hid and half revealed to view
Her full dark eye of hazel hue.
The rose with faint and feeble streak
So slightly tinged the maiden's cheek
That you had said her hue was pale ;
But if she faced the summer gale,
Or spoke, or sung, or quicker moved,
Or heard the praise of those she loved,
Or when of interest was expressed
Aught that waked feeling in her breast,
The mantling blood in ready play
Rivalled the blush of rising day.
There was a soft and pensive grace,
A cast of thought upon her face,
That suited well the forehead high,
The eyelash dark and downcast eye ;

The mild expression spoke a mind

In duty firm, composed, resigned ; —

'T is that which Roman art has given,

To mark their maiden Queen of Heaven.

In hours of sport that mood gave way

To Fancy's light and frolic play ;

And when the dance, or tale, or song

In harmless mirth sped time along,

Full oft her doting sire would call

His Maud the merriest of them all.

But days of war and civil crime

Allowed but ill such festal time,

And her soft pensiveness of brow

Had deepened into sadness now.

In Marston field her father ta'en,

Her friends dispersed, brave Mortham

While every ill her soul foretold
From Oswald's thirst of power and gold,
And boding thoughts that she must part
With a soft vision of her heart, —
All lowered around the lovely maid,
To darken her dejection's shade.

Who has not heard — while Erin yet

Strove 'gainst the Saxon's iron bit —

Who has not heard how brave O'Neale

In English blood imbrued his steel,

Against Saint George's cross blazed high

The banners of his Tanistry,

To fiery Essex gave the foil,

And reigned a prince on Ulster's soil ?

But chief arose his victor pride

When that brave Marshal fought and died,

And Avon-Duff" to ocean bore

His billows red with Saxon gore.

'Twas first in that disastrous fight

Rokeby and Mortham proved their might.

There had they fallen amongst the rest,

But pity touched a chieftain's breast ;

The Tanist he to great O'Neale,

He checked his followers' bloody zeal,

To quarter took the kinsmen bold,

And bore them to his mountain-hold,

Gave them each sylvan joy to know

Slieve-Donard's cliffs and woods could

Shared with them Erin's festal cheer,
Showed them the chase of wolf and deer,
And, when a fitting time was come,
Safe and unransomed sent them home,
Loaded with many a gift to prove
A generous foe's respect and love.

Years speed away. On Rokeby's head
Some touch of early snow was shed ;
Calm he enjoyed by Greta's wave
The peace which James the Peaceful gave,



While Mortham far beyond the main
Waged his fierce wars on Indian Spain. —
It chanced upon a wintry night
That whitened Stanmore's stormy height,
The chase was o'er, the stag was killed,
In Rokeby hall the cups were filled,
And by the huge stone chimney sate
The knight in hospitable state.
Moonless the sky, the hour was late,
When a loud summons shook the gate,
And sore for entrance and for aid
A voice of foreign accent prayed.
The porter answered to the call,
And instant rushed into the hall
A man whose aspect and attire
Startled the circle by the fire.


His plaited hair in elf-locks spread

Around his bare and matted head ;

On leg and thigh, close stretched and trim,

His vesture showed the sinewy limb ;

In saffron dyed, a linen vest

Was frequent folded round his breast ;

A mantle long and loose he wore,

Shaggy with ice and stained with gore.

He clasped a burden to his heart,

And, resting on a knotted dart,

Thes now from hair and beard he shook,
And round him gazed with wildered look.
Then up the hall with staggering pace
He hastened by the blaze to place,
Half lifeless from the bitter air,
His load, a boy of beauty rare.
To Rokeby next he louted low,
Then stood erect his tale to show
With wild majestic port and tone ;
Like envoy of some barbarous throne.
1 Sir Richard, Lord of Rokeby, hear !
Turlough O'Neale salutes thee dear;
He graces thee, and to thy care
Young Redmond gives, his grandson fair.
He bids thee breed him as thy son,
For Turlough's days of joy are done,
And other lords have seized his land,
And faint and feeble is his hand,
And all the glory of Tyrone
Is like a morning vapor flown.
To bind the duty on thy soul,
He bids thee think on Erin's bowl !
If any wrong the young O'Neale,
He bids thee think of Erin's steel.
To Mortham first this charge was due,
But in his absence honors you. —
Now is my master's message by,
And Ferraught will contented die.'




His look grew fixed, his cheek grew pale,
He sunk when he had told his tale ;
For, hid beneath his mantle wide,
A mortal wound was in his side.
Vain was all aid — in terror wild
And sorrow screamed the orphan child.
Poor Ferraught raised his wistful eyes,
And faintly strove to soothe his cries ;
All reckless of his dying pain,
He blest and blest him o'er again,
And kissed the little hands outspread,
And kissed and crossed the infant head,
And in his native tongue and phrase .
Prayed to each saint to watch his days ;
Then all his strength together drew
The charge to Rokeby to renew.
When half was faltered from his breast,
And half by dying signs exDressed,
' Bless thee, O'Neale ! ' he faintly said,
And thus the faithful spirit fled.


'T was long ere soothing might prevail
Upon the child to end the tale :
And then he said that from his home
His grandsire had been forced to roam,
Which had not been if Redmond's hand
Had but had strength to draw the brand,
The brand of Lenaugh More the Red,
That hung beside the gray wolf's head. —
'T was from his broken phrase descried,
His foster father was his guide,
Who in his charge from Ulster bore
Letters and gifts a goodly store ;
But ruffians met them in the wood,
Ferraught in battle boldly stood,
Till wounded and o'erpowered at length,
And stripped of all, his failing strength
Just bore him here — and then the child
Renewed again his moaning wild.


The tear down childhood's cheek that

Is like the dewdrop on the rose ;
When next the summer breeze comes by
And waves the bush, the flower is dry.
Won by their care, the orphan child
Soon on his new protector smiled,
With dimpled cheek and eye so fair,
Through his thick curls of flaxen hair,
But blithest laughed that cheek and eye,
When Rokeby's little maid was nigh ;
'T was his with elder brother's pride
Matilda's tottering steps to guide ;
His native lays in Irish tongue
To soothe her infant ear he sung,
And primrose twined with daisy fair

To form a chaplet for her hair.
By lawn, by grove, by brooklet's strand,
The children still were hand in hand,
And good Sir Richard smiling eyed
The early knot so kindly tied.


But summer months bring wilding shoot

From bud to bloom, from bloom to fruit ;

And years draw on our human span

From child to boy, from boy to man ;

And soon in Rokeby's woods is seen

A gallant boy in hunter's green.

He loves to wake the felon boar

In his dark haunt on Greta's shore,

And loves against the deer so dun

To draw the shaft, or lift the gun :

Yet more he loves in autumn prime

The hazel's spreading boughs to climb,

And down its clustered stores to hail

Where young Matilda holds her veil.

And she whose veil receives the shower

Is altered too and knows her power,

Assumes a monitress's pride

Her Redmond's dangerous sports to chide,

Yet listens still to hear him tell

How the grim wild-boar fought and fell,

How at his fall the bugle rung,

Till rock and greenwood answer flung :

Then blesses her that man can find

A pastime of such savage kind !

But Redmond knew to weave his tale

So well with praise of wood and dale,

And knew so well each point to trace

Gives living interest to the chase,

And knew so well o'er all to throw

His spirit's wild romantic glow,

That, while she blamed and while she

She loved each venturous tale she heard.
Oft, too, when drifted snow and rain
To bower and hall their steps restrain,
Together they explored the page
Of glowing bard or gifted sage ;
Oft, placed the evening fire beside,
The minstrel art alternate tried,
While gladsome harp and lively lay
Bade winter-night flit fast away :
Thus, from their childhood blending still
Their sport, their study, and their skill,
An union of the soul they prove,
But must not think that it was love.
But though they dared not, envious Fame
Soon dared to give that union name ;
And when so often side by side
From year to year the pair she eyed,
She sometimes blamed the good old knight
As dull of ear and dim of sight,



Sometimes his purpose would declare
That young O'Neale should wed his heir.

The suit of Wilfrid rent disguise

And bandage from the lovers' eyes ;

'T was plain that Oswald for his son

Had Rokeby's favor wellnigh won.

Now must they meet with change of cheer,

With mutual looks of shame and fear :

And count the heroes of his line,
Great Nial of the Pledges Nine,
Shane-Dymas wild, and Geraldine,
And Connan-more, who vowed his race
For ever to the fight and chase,
And cursed him of his lineage born
Should sheathe the sword to reap the corn,
Or leave the mountain and the wold
To shroud himself in castled hold.
From such examples hope he drew,
And brightened as the trumpet blew.

Now must Matilda stray apart
To school her disobedient heart,.
And Redmond now alone must rue
The love he never can subdue.
But factions rose, and Rokeby sware
No rebel's son should wed his heir;
And Redmond, nurtured while a child
In many a bard's traditions wild,
Now sought the lonely wood or stream,
To cherish there a happier dream
Of maiden won by sword or lance,
As in the regions of romance ;


If brides were won by heart and blade,
Redmond had both his cause to aid,
And all beside of nurture rare
That might beseem a baron's heir.
Turlough O'Neale in Erin's strife
On Rokeby's Lord bestowed his life,
And well did Rokeby's generous knight
Young Redmond for the deed requite.
Nor was his liberal care and cost
Upon the gallant stripling lost :




Seek the North Riding broad and wide,
Like Redmond none could steed bestride ;
From Tynemouth search to Cumberland,
Like Redmond none could wield a brand ;
And then, of humor kind and free,
And bearing him to each degree
With frank and fearless courtesy,
There never youth was formed to steal
Upon the heart like brave O'Neale.


Sir Richard loved him as his son ;
And when the days of peace were done,
And to the gales of war he gave
The banner of his sires to wave,
Redmond, distinguished by his care,
He chose that honored flag to bear,
And named his page, the next degree
In that old time to chivalry.
In five pitched fields he well maintained
The honored place his worth obtained,
And high was Redmond's youthful name
Blazed in the roll of martial fame.
Had fortune smiled on Marston fight,
The eve had seen him dubbed a knight ;
Twice mid the battle's doubtful strife
Of Rokeby's Lord he saved the life,
But when he saw him prisoner made,
He kissed and then resigned his blade,
And yielded him an easy prey
To those who led the knight away,
Resolved Matilda's sire should prove
In prison, as in fight, his love.


When lovers meet in adverse hour,
'T is like a sun-glimpse through a shower,
A watery ray an instant seen
The darkly closing clouds between.
As Redmond on the turf reclined,
The past and present filled his mind :
' It was not thus,' Affection said,
1 1 dreamed of my return, dear maid !
Not thus when from thy trembling hand
I took the banner and the brand,
When round me, as the bugles blew,
Their blades three hundred warriors drew,
And, while the standard I unrolled,
Clashed their bright arms, with clamor bold.
Where is that banner now ? — its pride
Lies whelmed in Ouse's sullen tide !
Where now these warriors ? — in their gore
They cumber Marston's dismal moor !
And what avails a useless brand,
Held by a captive's shackled hand,
That only would his life retain
To aid thy sire to bear his chain ! '

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