Walter Scott.

The poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet online

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Shall live the towers of Hougomont

And Field of Waterloo.

Cjje jftelo of Waterloo.


Stern tide of human time ! that know'st not rest,
But, sweeping from the cradle to the tomb,
Bear'st ever downward on thy dusky breast
Successive generations to their doom ;
While thy capacious stream has equal room
For the gay bark where Pleasure's streamers sport
And for the prison-ship of guilt and gloom,
The fisher-skiff and barge that bears a court,
Still wafting onward all to one dark silent port ; —

Stern tide of time ! through what mysterious change
Of hope and fear have our frail barks been driven !
For ne'er before vicissitude so strange
Was to one race of Adam's offspring given.
And sure such varied change of sea and heaven,
Such unexpected bursts of joy and woe,
Such fearful strife as that where we have striven,
Succeeding ages ne'er again shall know
Until the awful term when thou shalt cease to flow.

Well hast thou stood, my Country ! — the brave fight
Hast well maintained through good report and ill :
In thy just cause and in thy native might,
And m Heaven's grace and justice constant still ;
Whether the banded prowess, strength, and skill
Of half the world against thee stood arrayed,
Or when with better views and freer will
Beside thee Europe's noblest drew the blade,
Each emulous in arms the Ocean Queen to aid.

Well art thou now repaid — though slowly rose

«?i_ d .i St !?J ggl i ed long with mists th y blaze of fame,
While like the dawn that in the orient glows
On the broad wave its earlier lustre came ;

T h j n ^ a . s ! e r n E SYP t saw the growing flame,
And Maida's myrtles gleamed beneath its ray,
Sl^ * e soldier stung with generous shame,
Rivalled the heroes of the watery way,
And washed in foemen's gore unjust reproach away.



Now, Island Empress, wave thy crest on high,
And bid the banner of thy Patron flow,
Gallant Saint George, the flower of chivalry,

• For thou hast faced like him a dragon foe,
And rescued innocence from overthrow,
And trampled down like him tyrannic might,
And to the gazing world mayst proudly show
The chosen emblem of thy sainted knight,

Who quelled devouring pride and vindicated right.

Yet mid the confidence of just renown,
Renown dear-bought, but dearest thus acquired,
Write, Britain, write the moral lesson down :
'T is not alone the heart with valor fired,
The discipline so dreaded and admired,
In many a field of bloody conquest known ; —
Such may by fame be lured, by gold be hired —
'T is constancy in the good cause alone
Best justifies the meed thy valiant sons have won.

xsfya j>ma$$xi€$$

Varolii tf)e Bauntless:


J^arolti tijB ©auntlegg.


There is a mood of mind we all have known
On drowsy eve or dark and lowering day,
When the tired spirits lose their sprightly tone
And naught can chase the lingering hours away.
Dull on our soul falls Fancy's dazzling ray,
And Wisdom holds his steadier torch in vain,
Obscured the painting seems, mistuned the lay,
Nor dare we of our listless load complain,
For who for sympathy may seek that cannot tell of pain ?

The jolly sportsman knows such drearihood
When bursts in deluge the autumnal rain,
Clouding that morn which threats the heath-cock's brood
Of such in summer's drought the anglers plain,
Who hope the soft mild southern shower in vain :
But more than all the discontented fair,
Whom father stern and sterner aunt restrain
From county-ball or race occurring rare,
While all her friends around their vestments gay prepare.

Ennui ! — or, as our mothers called thee, Spleen !
To thee we owe full many a rare device ; —
Thine is the sheaf of painted cards, I ween,
The rolling billiard-ball, the rattling dice,
The turning-lathe for framing gimcrack nice ;
The amateur's blotched pallet thou mayst claim,
Retort, and air-pump, threatening frogs and mice —
Murders disguised by philosophic name —
And much of trifling grave and much of buxom game.

Then of the books to catch thy drowsy glance
Compiled, what bard the catalogue may quote !
Plays, poems, novels, never read but once ; —
But not of such the tale fair Edgeworth wrote,
That bears thy name and is thine antidote ;
And not of such the strain my Thomson sung,
Delicious dreams inspiring by his note,
What time to Indolence his harp he strung; —
O, might my lay be ranked that happier list among !



Each hath his refuge whom thy cares assail.
For me, I love my study-fire to trim,
And con right vacantly some idle tale,
Displaying on the couch each listless limb,
Till on the drowsy page the lights grow dim
And doubtful slumber half supplies the theme ;
While antique shapes of knight and giant grim,
Damsel and dwarf, in long procession gleam,
And the romancer's tale becomes the reader's dream.

'T is thus my malady I well may bear,
Albeit outstretched, like Pope's own Paridel,
Upon the rack of a too-easy chair ;
And find to cheat the time a powerful spell
In old romaunts of errantry that tell.
Or later legends of the Fairy-folk,
Or Oriental tale of Afrite fell,
Of Genii,. Talisman, and broad-winged Roc,
Though taste may blush and frown, and sober reason mock.

Oft at such season too will rhymes unsought
Arrange themselves in some romantic lay,
The which, as things unfitting graver thought,
Are burnt or blotted on some wiser day. —
These few survive — and, proudly let me say,
Court not the critic's smile nor dread his frown;
They well may serve to while an hour away,
Nor does the volume ask for more renown
Than Ennui's yawning smile, what time she drops it down.

Varolii tfje Bauntiess.


List to the valorous deeds that were done
By Harold the Dauntless, Count Witikind's

Count Witikind came of a regal strain,
And roved with his Norsemen the land and

the main.
Woe to the realms which he coasted ! for

Was shedding of blood and rending of hair,
Rape of maiden and slaughter of priest,
Gathering of ravens and wolves to the feast :
When he hoisted his standard black,

him was battle, behind him wrack,
And he burned the churches, that heathen

To light his band to their barks again.

On Erin's shores was his outrage known,
The winds of France had his banners blown

Little was there to plunder, yet still
His pirates had forayed on Scottish hill :
But upon merry England's coast
More frequent he sailed, for he won the

So wide and so far his ravage they knew,
If a sail but gleamed white 'gainst the wel-
kin blue,
Trumpet and bugle to arms did call,
Burghers hastened to man the wall,
Peasants fled inland his fury to 'scape,
Beacons were lighted on headland and cape.
Bells were tolled out, and aye as they rung
Fearful and faintly the gray brothers sung,
' Bless us, Saint Mary, from flood and from

From famine and pest, and Count Witi-
kind's ire ! '

He liked the wealth of fair England so well
That he sought in her bosom as native to

He entered the Humber in fearful hour
And disembarked with his Danish power.
Three earls came against him with all their

train, —



Two hath he taken and one hath he slain.

Count Witikind left the Humber's rich

And he wasted and warred in Northumber-

But the Saxon king was a sire in age,

Weak in battle, in council sage ;

Peace of that heathen leader he sought,

Gifts he gave and quiet he bought ;

And the count took upon him the peace-
able style

Of a vassal and liegeman of Briton's broad


Time will rust the sharpest sword,

Time will consume the strongest cord ;

That which moulders hemp and steel

Mortal arm and nerve must feel.

Of the Danish band whom Count Witikind

Many waxed aged and many were dead :

Himself found his armor full Weighty to

Wrinkled his brows grew and hoary his

He leaned on a staff when his step went

And patient his palfrey when steed he be-

As he grew feebler, his wildness ceased,

He made himself peace with prelate and

Made his peace, and stooping his head
Patiently listed the counsel they said :
Saint Cuthbert's Bishop was holy and grave,
Wise and good was the counsel he gave.

' Thou hast murdered, robbed, and spoiled,
Time it is thy poor soul were assoiled;
Priests didst thou slay and churches burn,
Time it is now to repentance to turn ;
Fiends hast thou worshipped with fiendish

Leave now the darkness and wend into

light :
O, while life and space are given,
Turn thee yet, and think of Heaven ! '
That stern old heathen his head he raised,
And on the good prelate he steadfastly

gazed ;
1 Give me broad lands on the Wear and the

My faith I will leave and I '11 cleave unto



Broad lands he gave him on Tyne and

To be held of the church by bridle and




Part of Monkwearmouth, of Tynedale part,
To better his will and to soften his heart :
Count Witikind was a joyful man,
Less for the faith than the lands that he

The high church of Durham is dressed for

the day,
The clergy are ranked in their solemn ar-
ray :
There came the count, in a bear-skin warm,
Leaning on Hilda his concubine's arm.
He kneeled before Saint Cuthbert's shrine
With patience unwonted at rites divine ;
He abjured the gods of heathen race
And he bent his head at the font of grace.
But such was the grisly old proselyte's look,
That the priest who baptized him grew pale

and shook ;
And the old monks muttered beneath their

1 Of a stem so stubborn can never spring
good ! '


Up then arose that grim convertite,
Homeward he hied him when ended the

rite ;
The prelate in honor will with him ride
And feast in his castle on Tyne's fair side.
Banners and banderols danced in the wind,
Monks rode before them and spearmen

behind ;
Onward they passed, till fairly did shine
Pennon and cross on the bosom of Tyne ;
And full in front did that fortress lour
In darksome strength with its buttress and

tower :
At the castle gate was young Harold there,
Count Witikind's only offspring and heir.


Young Harold was feared for his hardihood,

His strength of frame and his fury of mood.

Rude he was and wild to behold,

Wore neither collar nor bracelet of gold,

Cap of vair nor rich array,

Such as should grace that festal day :

His doublet of bull's hide was all unbraced,

Uncovered his head and his sandal unlaced :

His shaggy black locks on his brow hung

And his eyes glanced through them a

swarthy glow;
A Danish club in his hand he bore,
The spikes were clotted with recent gore;
At his back a she-wolf and her wolf-cubs

In the dangerous chase that morning slain.
Rude was the greeting his father he made,
None to the bishop, — while thus he said: —


'What priest-led hypocrite art thou

With thy humbled look and thy monkish

Like a shaveling who studies to cheat his

Canst thou be Witikind the Waster known.
Royal Eric's fearless son,
Haughty Gunhilda's haughtier lord,
Who won his bride by the axe and sword ;
From the shrine of Saint Peter the chalice

who tore,
And melted to bracelets for Freya and Thor ;
With one blow of his gauntlet who burst

the skull,
Before Odin's stone, of the Mountain Bull ?
Then ye worshipped with rites that to war-
gods belong,
With the deed of the brave and the blow

of the strong ;
And now, in thine age to dotage sunk,
Wilt thou patter thy crimes to a shaven

Lay down thy mail-shirt for clothing of

hair, —
Fasting and scourge, like a slave, wilt thou

Or, at best, be admitted in slothful bower
To batten with priest and with paramour?
O, out upon thine endless shame !
Each Scald's high harp shall blast thy fame,
And thy son will refuse thee a father's

name ! '

Ireful waxed old Witikind's look,
His faltering voice with fury shook : —
; Hear me, Harold of hardened heart !
Stubborn and wilful ever thou wert.
Thine outrage insane I command thee to

Fear my wrath and remain at peace : —
Just is the debt of repentance I 've paid,
Richly the church has a recompense made,
And the truth of her doctrines I prove with

my blade,
But reckoning to none of my actions I owe,
And least to my son such accounting will

Why speak I to thee of repentance or truth,
Who ne'er from thy childhood knew reason

or ruth ?
Hence ! to the wolf and the bear in her den :
These are thy mates, and not rational men.*


Grimly smiled Harold and coldly replied,
4 We must honor our sires, if we fear when
they chide.



For me, I am yet what thy lessons have

I was rocked in a buckler and fed from a

blade ;
An infant, was taught to clasp hands and

to shout
From the roofs of the tower when the flame

had broke out ;
In the blood of slain foemen my finger to dip,
And tinge with its purple my Cheek and my

lip- —

Tis thou know'st not truth, that hast bar-
tered in eld

For a price the brave faith that thine an-
cestors held.

When this wolf ' — and the carcass he flung
on the plain —

' Shall awake and give food to her nurslings

The face of his father will Harold review ;

Till then, aged heathen, young Christian,
adieu ! '


Priest, monk, and prelate stood aghast,
As through the pageant the heathen passed.
A cross-bearer out of his saddle he flung,
Laid his hand on the pommel and into it

Loud was the shriek and deep the groan
When the holy sign on the earth was

thrown !
The fierce old count unsheathed his brand,
But the calmer prelate stayed his hand.
' Let him pass free ! — Heaven knows its

hour, —
But he must own repentance's power,
Pray and weep, and penance bear,
Ere he hold land by the Tyne and the

Thus in scorn and in wrath from his father

is gone
Young Harold the Dauntless, Count Witi-

kind's son.


High was the feasting in Witikind's hall,
Revelled priests, soldiers, and pagans, and

And e'en the good bishop was fain to endure
The scandal which time and instruction

might cure :
It were dangerous, he deemed, at the first

to restrain
In his wine and his wassail a half -christened

The mead flowed around and the ale was

drained dry,
Wild was the laughter, the song, and the

cry ;

With Kyrie Eleison came clamorously in
The war-songs of Danesmen, Norweyan,

and Finn,
Till man after man the contention gave o'er,
Outstretched on the rushes that strewed

the hall floor;
And the tempest within, having ceased its

wild rout,
Gave place to the tempest that thundered


Apart from the wassail in turret alone
Lay flaxen-haired Gunnar, old Ermengarde's

son ;
In the train of Lord Harold that page was

the first,
For Harold in childhood had Ermengarde

nursed ;
And grieved was young Gunnar his master

should roam,
Unhoused and unfriended, an exile from

He heard the deep thunder, the plashing of

He saw the red lightning through shot-hole

and pane ;
1 And O ! ' said the page, ' on the shelterless

Lord Harold is wandering in darkness and

cold !
What though he was stubborn and wayward

and wild,
He endured me because I was Ermen-
garde's child,
And often from dawn till the set of the sun
In the chase by his stirrup unbidden I run ;
I would I were older, and knighthood could

I would soon quit the banks of the Tyne

and the Wear :
For my mother's command with her last

parting breath
Bade me follow her nursling in life and to



1 It pours and it thunders, it lightens amain,

As if Lok the Destroyer had burst from
his chain !

Accursed by the church and expelled by *
his sire,

Nor Christian nor Dane give him shelter
or fire,

And this tempest what mortal may house-
less endure?

Unaided, unmantled, he dies on the moor !

Whate'er comes of Gunnar, he tarries not

He leapt from his couch and he grasped to
his spear,



Sought the hall of the feast. Undisturbed

by his tread,
The wassailers slept fast as the sleep of

the dead :

• Ungrateful and bestial!' his anger broke


* To forget mid your goblets the pride of

the North !
And you, ye cowled priests who have plenty

in store,
.Must give Gunnarfor ransom a palfrey and



Then, heeding full little of ban or of curse,
He has seized on the Prior of Jorvaux's

purse :
Saint Meneholt's Abbot next morning has

His mantle, deep furred from the cape to

the wrist :
The seneschal's keys from his belt he has

ta'en —
Well drenched on that eve was old Hilde-

brand's brain —
To the stable-yard he made his way
And mounted the bishop's palfrey gay,
Castle and hamlet behind him has cast
And right on his way to the moorland has

Sore snorted the palfrey, unused to face
A weather so wild at so rash a pace ;
So long he snorted, so long he neighed,
There answered a steed that was bound

And the red flash of lightning showed there

where lay
His master, Lord Harold, outstretched on

the clay.


Up he started and thundered out, ' Stand ! '
And raised the club in his deadly hand.
The flaxen-haired Gunnar his purpose told,
Showed the palfrey and proffered the gold.
• Hack, back, and home, thou simple boy !
Thou canst not share my grief or joy :
I lave I not marked thee wail and cry
When thou hast seen a sparrow die ?
And canst thou, as my follower should,
Wade ankle-deep through foeman's blood,
Dare mortal and immortal foe,
The gods above, the fiends below,
And man on earth, more hateful still,
The very fountain-head of ill?
Desperate of life and careless of death,
Lover of bloodshed and slaughter and

Such must thou be with me to roam,
And such thou canst not be — back, and

home ! '


Young Gunnar shook like an aspen bough,
As he heard the harsh voice and beheld

the dark brow,
And half he repented his purpose and vow.
But now to draw back were bootless shame,
And he loved his master, so urged his

claim :
; Alas ! if my arm and my courage be weak,
Bear with me awhile iFor old Ermengarde's

sake ;
Nor deem so lightly of Gunnar's faith
As to fear he would break it for peril of

Have I not risked it to fetch thee this gold,
This surcoat and mantle to fence thee from

And, did I bear a baser mind,
What lot remains if I stay behind ?
The priests' revenge, thy father's wrath,
A dungeon, and a shameful death.'

With gentler look Lord Harold eyed
The page, then turned his head aside ;
And either a tear did his eyelash stain,
Or it caught a drop of the passing rain.
'Art thou an outcast, then ? ' quoth he ;
' The meeter page to follow me.'
'Twere bootless to tell what climes they

Ventures achieved, and battles fought ;
How oft with few, how oft alone,
Fierce Harold's arm the field hath won.
Men swore his eye, that flashed so red
When each other glance was quenched

with dread,
Bore oft a light of deadly flame
That ne'er from mortal courage came.
Those limbs so strong, that mood so stern,
That loved the couch of heath and fern,
Afar from hamlet, tower, and town,
More than to rest on driven down ;
That stubborn frame, that sullen mood,
Men deemed must come of aught but good ;
And they whispered the great Master Fiend

was at one
With Harold the Dauntless, Count Witi<

kind's son.


Years after years had gone and fled,

The good old prelate lies lapped in lead;

In the chapel still is shown

His sculptured form on a marble stone,

With staff and ring and scapulaire,

And folded hands in the act of prayer. a

Saint Cuthbert's mitre is resting now

On the haughty Saxon, bold Aldingar's brow :

The power of his crosier he loved to extend



O'er whatever would break or whatever

would bend ;
And now hath he clothed him in cope and

in pall,
And the Chapter of Durham has met at his

'And hear ye not, brethren,' the proud

bishop said,
; That our vassal, the Danish Count Witi-

kind 's dead ?
All his gold and his goods hath he given
To holy Church for the love of Heaven,
And hath founded a chantry with stipend

and dole
That priests and that beadsmen may pray

for his soul :
Harold his son is wandering abroad,
Dreaded by man and abhorred by God;
Meet it is not that such should heir
The lands of the Church on the Tyne and

the Wear,
And at her pleasure her hallowed hands
May now resume these wealthy lands.'


Answered good Eustace, a canon old, —
1 Harold is tameless and furious and bold ;
Ever Renown blows a note of fame
And a note of fear when she sounds his

name :
Much of bloodshed and much of scathe
Have been their lot who have waked his

Leave him these lands and lordships still,
Heaven in its hour may change his will ;
But if reft of gold and of living bare,
An evil counsellor is despair.'
More had he said, but the prelate frowned,
And murmured his brethren who sate

And with one consent have they given their

That the Church should the lands of Saint

Cuthbert resume.
So willed the prelate ; and canon and dean
Gave to his judgment their loud amen.

pfaralti tfje Dauntless.


'Tis merry in greenwood — thus runs the

old lay —
In the gladsome month of lively May,
When the wild birds' song on stem and spray

Invites to forest bower ;
Then rears the ash his airy crest,
Then shines the birch in silver vest,
And the beech in glistening leaves is drest,

And dark between shows the oak's proud
breast .
Like a chieftain's frowning tower ;
Though a thousand branches join their

'Yet the broken sunbeams glance between
And tip the leaves with lighter green,

With brighter tints the flower :
Dull is the heart that loves not then



The deep recess of the wildwood glen,
Where roe and red-deer find sheltering den
When the sun is in his power.

Less merry perchance is the fading leaf
That follows so soon on the gathered sheaf

When the greenwood loses the n?.me ;
Silent is then the forest bound,
Save the redbreast's note and the rustling

Of frost-nipt leaves that are dropping round,
Or the deep-mouthed cry of the distant hound

That opens on his game :
Yet then too I love the forest wide,
Whether the sun in splendor ride
And gild its many-colored side,
Or whether the soft and silvery haze
In vapory folds o'er the landscape strays,
And half involves the woodland maze,

Like an early widow's veil,
Where wimpling tissue from the gaze
The form half hides and half betrays

Of beauty wan and pale.

Fair Metelill was a woodland maid,
Her father a rover of greenwood shade,
By forest statutes undismayed,

Who lived by bow and quiver ;
Well known was Wulfstane's archery
By merry Tyne both on moor and lea,
Through wooded Weardale's glens so free,
Well beside Stanhope's wildwood tree,

And well on Ganlesse river.
Yet free though he trespassed on woodland

More known and more feared was the wiz-
ard fame
Of Jutta of Rookhope, the Outlaw's dame ;
Feared when she frowned was her eye of
More feared when in wrath she laughed ;
For then, 't was said, more fatal true
To its dread aim her spell-glance flew
Than when from Wulfstane's bended yew
Sprung forth the gray-goose shaft.

Yet had this fierce and dreaded pair,
So Heaven decreed, a daughter fair ;

None brighter crowned the bed,
In Britain's bounds, of peer or prince,
Nor hath perchance a lovelier since

In this fair isle been bred.
And naught of fraud or ire or ill
Wu known to gentle Metelill, —

A simple maiden she ;
The spells in dimpled smile that lie,
And a downcast blush, and the darts that fly
With the sidelong glance of a hazel eye,

Were her arms and witchery.
So young, so simple was she yet,
She scarce could childhood's joys forget,
And still she loved, in secret set

Beneath the greenwood tree,
To plait the rushy coronet
And braid with flowers her locks of jet.

As when in infancy ; —
Yet could that heart so simple prove
The early dawn of stealing love :

Ah ! gentle maid, beware !
The power who, now so mild a guest,
Gives dangerous yet delicious zest
To the calm pleasures of thy breast,
Will soon, a tyrant o'er the rest,

Let none his empire share.


One morn in kirtle green arrayed
Deep in the wood the maiden strayed,

And where a fountain sprung
She sate her down unseen to thread

Online LibraryWalter ScottThe poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet → online text (page 45 of 78)