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The poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet online

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To swell our nuptial song !
Come, priest, to bless our marriage feast !

Come all, come all along ! '

Ceased clang and song ; down sunk the
bier;

The shrouded corpse arose :
And hurry ! hurry ! all the train

The thundering steed pursues.

And forward ! forward ! on they go ;

High snorts the straining steed;
Thick pants the rider's laboring breath,

As headlong on they speed.

* O William, why this savage haste ?

And where thy bridal bed ?'

* 'T is distant far, low, damp, and chill,

And narrow, trustless maid.'

' No room for me ? ' — ' Enough for both ; —
Speed, speed, my barb, thy course ! '

O'er thundering bridge, through boiling
surge,
He drove the furious horse.

Tramp ! tramp ! along the land they rode,
Splash ! splash ! along the sea ;

The scourge is wight, the spur is bright,
The flashing pebbles flee.

Fled past on right and left how fast
Each forest, grove, and bower !

On right and left fled past how fast
Each city, town, and tower !

* Dost fear ? dost fear ? The moon shines

clear,
Dost fear to ride with me ? —
Hurrah ! hurrah ! the dead can ride ! ' —
' O William, let them be ! —

' See there, see there ! What yonder swings
And creaks mid whistling rain ? * —

' Gibbet and steel, the accursed wheel ;
A murderer in his chain. —

' Hollo ! thou felon, follow here :

To bridal bed we ride ;
And thou shalt france a fetter dance

Before me and my bride.'

And, hurry ! hurry ! clash, clash, clash !

The wasted form descends ;
And fleet as wind through hazel bush

The wild career attends.



Tramp ! tramp ! along the land they rode,
Splash ! splash ! along the sea ;

The scourge is red, the spur drops blood,
The flashing pebbles flee.

How fled what moonshine faintly showed !

How fled what darkness hid !
How fled the earth beneath their feet,

The heaven above their head !

' Dost fear ? dost fear ? The moon shines
clear,

And well the dead can ride ;
Dost faithful Helen fear for them ? ' —

' O leave in peace the dead ! ' —

' Barb ! Barb ! methinks I hear the cock :

The sand will soon be run :
Barb ! Barb ! I smell the morning air ;

The race is well-nigh done.'

Tramp ! tramp ! along the land they rode,
Splash ! splash ! along the sea ;

The scourge is red, the spur drops blood,
The flashing pebbles flee.

' Hurrah ! hurrah ! well ride the dead ;

The bride, the bride is come ;
And soon we reach the bridal bed,

For, Helen, here 's my home.'

Reluctant on its rusty hinge

Revolved an iron door,
And by the pale moon's setting beam

Were seen a church and tower.

With many a shriek and cry whiz round
The birds of midnight scared ;

And rustling like autumnal leaves
Unhallowed ghosts were heard.

O'er many a tomb and tombstone pale

He spurred the fiery horse,
Till sudden at an open grave

He checked the wondrous course.

The falling gauntlet quits the rein,
Down drops the casque of steel,

The cuirass leaves his shrinking side,
The spur his gory heel.

The eyes desert the naked skull,
The mouldering flesh the bone,

Till Helen's lily arms entwine
A ghastly skeleton.

The furious barb snorts fire and foam.

And with a fearful bound
Dissolves at once in empty air,

And leaves her on the ground.



4/0



SCOTT'S POETICAL WORKS.



Half seen by fits, by fits half heard,

Pale spectres flit along,
Wheel round the maid in dismal dance,

And howl the funeral song ;



E'en when the heart's with anguish cleft,



Revere the doom of Heaven,
Her soul is from her body reft ;
Her spirit be forgiven ! '



Cfje OTtlti Jifunteman.

IMITATED FROM BURGER'S " WILDE JAGER."

The Wildgrave winds his bugle-horn,
To horse, to horse ! halloo, halloo !

His fiery courser snuffs the morn,
And thronging serfs their lord pursue.

The eager pack from couples freed

Dash through the bush, the brier, the
brake ;

While answering hound and horn and steed
The mountain echoes startling wake.

The beams of God's own hallowed day
Had painted yonder spire with gold,

And, calling sinful man to pray,

Loud, long, and deep the bell had tolled ;

But still the Wildgrave onward rides ;

Halloo, halloo ! and, hark again !
When, spurring from opposing sides,

Two stranger horsemen join the train.

Who was each stranger, left and right,
Well may I guess, but dare not tell ;

I he right-hand steed was silver white,
The left the swarthy hue of hell.

right-hand horseman, voung and fair,
His smile was like the morn of May;
The left from eye of tawny glare
Shot midnight lightning's lurid ray.

He waved his huntsman's cap on high,
< Wed, • Welcome, welcome, noble lord !

\\ hat sport < an earth, or sea, or sky,
To match the princely (hase, afford ?'

e thy load bugle's changing knell,'
( ried the fair youth with silver voice-
• And for devotion's choral -well

bange tin- rude unhallowed noise.



1 To-day the ill-omened chase forbear,
Yon bell yet summons to the fane ;

To-day the Warning Spirit hear,
To-morrow thou mayst mourn in vain.'

1 Away, and sweep the glades along ! '
The sable hunter hoarse replies ;

' To muttering monks leave matin-song,
And bells and books and mysteries.'

The Wildgrave spurred his ardent steed.

And, launching forward with a bound,
' Who, for thy drowsy priestlike rede,

Would leave the jovial horn and hound ?

' Hence, if our manly sport offend !

With pious fools go chant and pray : —
Well hast thou spoke, my dark-browed
friend ;

Halloo, halloo ! and hark away ! '

The Wildgrave spurred his courser light,
O'er moss and moor, o'er holt and hill ;

And on the left and on the right,

Each stranger horseman followed still.

Up springs from yonder tangled thorn
A stag more white than mountain snow ;

And louder rung the Wildgrave 's horn,
' Hark forward, forward ! holla, ho ! '

A heedless wretch has crossed the way ;

He gasps the thundering hoofs below ; —
But live who can, or die who may,

Still, < Forward, forward ! ' on they go.

See, where yon simple fences meet,
A field with autumn's blessings crowned ;

See, prostrate at the Wildgrave's feet,
A husbandman with toil embrowned :

' O mercy, mercy, noble lord !

Spare the poor's pittance,' was his cry,
Earned by the sweat these brows have
poured
In scorching hour of fierce July.'

Ea ^? eS i t ? e ri S ht - h and stranger pleads,
I he left still cheering to the prey ;

The impetuous Earl no warning heeds,
But furious holds the onward way.

' Away, thou hound so basely born,

Or dread the scourge's echoing blow ! '
Then loudly rung his buglS-horn;
Hark forward, forward ! holla, ho ! '

So said, so done : — A single bound
Uears the poor laborer's humble pale ;

Wild follows man and horse and hound,
Like dark December's stormy gale.



BALLADS FROM THE GERMAN.



471



And man and horse, and hound and horn,
Destructive sweep the field along;

While, joying o'er the wasted corn,

Fell Famine marks the maddening throng.

Again uproused the timorous prey

Scours moss and moor, and holt and hill ;

Hard run, he feels his strength decay,
And trusts for life his simple skill.

Too dangerous solitude appeared ;

He seeks the shelter of the crowd ;
Amid the flock's domestic herd

His harmless head he hopes to shroud.

O'er moss and moor, and holt and hill,
His track the steady blood-hounds trace ;

O'er moss and moor, unwearied still,
The furious Earl pursues the chase.

Full lowly did the herdsman fall:
' O spare, thou noble baron, spare

These herds, a widow's little all ;

These flocks, an orphan's fleecy care ! '

Earnest the right-hand stranger pleads,
The left still cheering to the prey ;

The Earl nor prayer nor pity heeds,
But furious keeps the onward way.

* Unmannered dog ! To stop my sport
Vain were thy cant and beggar whine,

Though human spirits of thy sort
Were tenants of these carrion kine ! '

Again he winds his bugle-horn,

' Hark forward, forward, holla, ho ! '

And through the herd in ruthless scorn
He cheers his furious hounds to go.

In heaps the throttled victims fall;

Down sinks their mangled herdsman near ;
The murderous cries the stag appall, —

Again he starts, new-nerved by fear.

With blood besmeared and white with foam,
While big the tears of anguish pour,

He seeks amid the forest's gloom
The humble hermit's hallowed bower.

But man and horse, and horn and hound,

Fast rattling on his traces go ;
The sacred chapel rung around

With, ' Hark away ! and, holla, ho ! '

All mild, amid the rout profane,
The holy hermit poured his prayer;

1 Forbear with blood God's house to stain ;
Revere His altar and forbear !



' The meanest brute has rights to plead,
Which, wronged by cruelty or pride,

Draw vengeance on the ruthless head : —
Be warned at length and turn aside.'

Still the fair horseman anxious pleads ;

The black, wild whooping, points the
prey: —
Alas ! the Earl no warning heeds,

But frantic keeps the forward way.

' Holy or not, or right or wrong,
Thy altar and its rites I spurn ;

Not sainted martyrs' sacred song,

Not God himself shall make me turn ! '

He spurs his horse, he winds his horn,
1 Hark forward, forward, holla, ho ! '

But off, on whirlwind's pinions borne,
The stag, the hut, the hermit, go.

And horse and man, and horn and hound,
And clamor of the chase, was gone ;

For hoofs and howls and bugle-sound,
A deadly silence reigned alone.

Wild gazed the affrighted Earl around ;

He strove in vain to wake his horn,
In vain to call ; for not a sound

Could from his anxious lips be borne.

He listens for his trusty hounds,
No distant baying reached his ears ;

His courser, rooted to the ground,
The quickening spur unmindful bears.

Still dark and darker frown the shades,
Dark as the darkness of the grave ;

And not a sound the still invades,
Save what a distant torrent gave.

High o'er the sinner's humbled head
At length the solemn silence broke ;

And from a cloud of swarthy red
The awful voice of thunder spoke.

' Oppressor of creation fair !

Apostate Spirits' hardened tool !
Scorner of God ! Scourge of the poor !

The measure of thy cup is full.

1 Be chased forever through the wood,
Forever roam the affrighted wild ;

And let thy fate instruct the proud,
God's meanest creature is His child.'

'T was hushed : — One flash of sombre
glare

With yellow tinged the forests brown 5
Uprose the Wildgrave's bristling hair,

And horror chilled each nerve and bone.



4/2



SCOTT'S POETICAL WORKS.



Cold poured the sweat in freezing rill ;

A rising wind began to sing,
And louder, louder, louder still,

Brought storm and tempest on its wing.

Earth heard the^call; — her entrails rend ;

From yawning rifts, with many a yell,
Mixed with sulphureous flames, ascend

The misbegotten dogs of hell.

What ghastly huntsman next arose
Well may I guess, but dare not tell ;

His eye like midnight lightning glows,
His steed .the swarthy hue of hell.

The Wildgrave flies o'er bush and thorn
With many a shriek of helpless woe ;

Behind him hound and horse and horn,
And, ' Hark away, and holla, ho ! '

With wild despair's reverted eye,

Close, close behind, he marks the throng,

With bloody fangs and eager cry ;
In frantic fear he scours along. —

Still, still shall last the dreadful chase
Till time itself shall have an end ;

By day they scour earth's caverned space,
At midnight's witching hour ascend.

This is the horn and hound and horse
That oft the lated peasant hears ;

Appalled he signs the frequent cross,
When the wild din invades his ears.

The wakeful priest oft drops a tear
For human pride, for human woe,

When at his midnight mass he hears
The infernal cry of ' Holla, ho ! '



8H)e jFire*l£mg.



The blessings of the evil Genii, which are curses, were
upon him. —Eastern Tale.

BOLD knights and fair dames, to my harp

give an ear,
Of love and of war and of wonder to hear;
And you haply may sigh in the midst of

your glee
At the tale of Count Albert and fair Rosalie.

O, see you that castle, so strong and so

high ?
And see you that lady, the tear in her eye ?



And see you that palmer from Palestine's

land,
The shell on his hat and the staff in his

hand ? —

' Now, palmer, gray palmer, O, tell unto me,
What news bring you home from the Holy

Countrie ?
And how goes the warfare by Galilee's

strand ?
And how fare our nobles, the flower of the

land ? '

' O, well goes the warfare by Galilee's wave,
For Gilead and Nablous and Ramah we

have ;
And well fare our nobles by Mount Lebanon,
For the heathen have lost and the Christians

have won.'

A fair chain of gold mid her ringlets there

hung ;
O'er the palmer's gray locks the fair chain

has she flung:
' O palmer, gray palmer, this chain be thy

fee
For the news thou hast brought from the

Holy Countrie.

'And, palmer, good palmer, by Galilee's
wave, .

O, saw ye Count Albert, the gentle and
brave ?

When the Crescent went back and the Red-
cross rushed on,

O, saw ye him foremost on Mount Lebanon ? '

' O lady, fair lady, the tree green it grows ;
O lady, fair lady, the stream pure it flows ;
Your castle stands strong and your hopes

soar on high ;
But, lady, fair lady, all blossoms to die.

' The green boughs they wither, the thun-
derbolt falls,

It leaves of your castle but levin-scorched
walls ;

The pure stream runs muddy ; the gay hope
is gone ;

Count Albert is prisoner on Mount Leb-
anon.'

O, she 's ta'en a horse should be fleet at

her speed ;
And she 's ta'en a sword should be sharp

at her need ;
And she has ta'en shipping for Palestine's

land,
To ransom Count Albert from Soldanrie's

hand.



BALLADS FROM THE GERMAN,



473



Small thought had Count Albert on fair
Rosalie,

Small thought on his faith or his knight-
hood had he :

A heathenish damsel his light heart had
won,

The Soldan's fair daughter of Mount
Lebanon.

' O Christian, brave Christian, my love

vvouldst thou be,
Three things must thou do ere I hearken

to thee :
Our laws and our worship on thee shalt

thou take ;
And this thou shalt first do for Zulema's

sake.

1 And next, in the cavern where burns ever-
more

The mystical flame which the Curdmans
adore,

Alone and in silence three nights shalt thou
wake ;

And this thou shalt next do for Zulema's
sake.

1 And last, thou shalt aid us with counsel

and hand,
To drive the Frank robber from Palestine's

land ;
For my lord and my love then Count Albert

I '11 take, .
When all this is accomplished for Zulema's

sake.'

He has thrown by his helmet and cross-
handled sword,

Renouncing his knighthood, denying his
Lord ;

He has ta'en the green caftan, and turban
put on,

For the love of the maiden of fair Lebanon.

And in the dread cavern, deep deep under

ground,
Which fifty steel gates and steel portals

surround,
He has watched until daybreak, but sight

saw he none,
Save the flame burning bright on its altar

of stone.

Amazed was the Princess, the Soldan

amazed,
Sore murmured the priests as on Albert

they gazed;
They searched all his garments, and under

his weeds
They found and took from him his rosary

beads.



Again in the cavern, deep deep under

ground,
He watched the lone night, while the winds

whistled round ;
Far off was their murmur, it came not more

nigh,
The flame burned unmoved and naught

else did he spy.

Loud murmured the priests and amazed

was the king,
While many dark spells of their witchcraft

they sing;
They searched Albert's body, and, lo ! on

his breast
Was the sign of the Cross by his father

impressed.

The priests they erase it with care and
with pain,

And the recreant returned to the cavern
again ;

But as he descended a whisper there fell:

It was his good angel, who bade him fare-
well !

High bristled his hair, his heart fluttered

and beat,
And he turned him five steps, half resolved

to retreat ;
But his heart it was hardened, his purpose

was gone,
When he thought of the maiden of fair

Lebanon.

Scarce passed he the archway, the threshold

scarce trode,
When the winds from the fpur points of

heaven were abroad,
They made each steel portal to rattle and

ring,
And borne on the blast came the dread

Fire-King.

Full sore rocked the cavern whene'er he
drew nigh,

The fire on the altar blazed bickering and
high ;

In volcanic explosions the mountains pro-
claim

The dreadful approach of the Monarch of
Flame.

Unmeasured in height, undistinguished in

form,
His breath it was lightning, his voice it was

storm ;
I ween the stout heart of Count Albert was

tame,
When he saw in his terrors the Monarch

of Flame.



474



SCOTT'S POETICAL WORKS.



In his hand a broad falchion blue-glimmered

through smoke,
And Mount Lebanon shook as the monarch

he spoke :
1 With this brand shalt thou conquer, thus

long and no more,
Till thou bend to the Cross and the Virgin

adore.'

The cloud-shrouded arm gives the weapon ;

and see !
The recreant receives the charmed gift on

his knee :
The thunders growl distant and faint gleam

the fires,
As, borne on the whirlwind, the phantom

retires.

Count Albert has armed him the Paynim

among,
Though his heart it was false, yet his arm

it was strong ;
And the Red-cross waxed faint and the

Crescent came on,
From the day he commanded on Mount

Lebanon.

From Lebanon's forests to Galilee's wave,
The sands of Samaar drank the blood of

the brave;
Till the Knights of the Temple and Knights

of Saint John,
With Salem's King Baldwin, against him

came on.

The war-cymbals clattered, the trumpets

replied,
The lances were couched, and they closed

on each side ;
And horseman and horses Count Albert

o'erthrew,
Till he pierced the thick tumult King

Baldwin unto.

Against the charmed blade which Count

Albert did wield,
The fence had been vain of the king's

Red-cross shield;
But a page thrust him forward the monarch

before,
And cleft the proud turban the renegade

Wo i °

So fell was the dint that Count Albert
stooped low

Before the crossed shield to his steel
saddlebow j

And scarce had he bent to the Red-cross
his head, —

'Bonne Grace, Notre Dame!' he unwit-
tingly said.



Sore sighed the charmed sword, for its

virtue was o'er,
It sprung from his grasp and was never

seen more ;
But true men have said that the lightning's

red wing
Did waft back the brand to the dread

Fire-King.

He clenched his set teeth and his gaunt-
leted hand;

He stretched with one buffet that page on
the strand ;

As back from the stripling the broken
casque rolled,

You might see the blue eyes and the ring-
lets of gold.

Short time had Count Albert in horror to

stare
On those death-swimming eyeballs and

blood-clotted hair ;
For down came the Templars, like Cedron

in flood,
And dyed their long lances in Saracen

blood.

The Saracens, Curdmans, and Ishmaelites
yield

To the scallop, the saltier, and crossleted
shield ;

And the eagles were gorged with the infi-
del dead

From Bethsaida's fountains to Naphthali's
head.

The battle is over on Bethsaida's plain. —
O, who is yon Paynim lies stretched mid

the slain?
And who is yon page lying cold at his

knee? —
O, who but Count Albert and fair Rosalie?

The lady was buried in Salem's blest
bound,

The count he was left to the vulture and
hound :

Her soul to high mercv Our Lady did
bring ;

His went on the blast to the dread Fire-
King.

Yet many a minstrel in harping can tell

How the Red-cross it conquered, the Cres-
cent it fell :

And lords and gay ladies have sighed mid
their glee

At the tale of Count Albert and fair Rosalie.



BALLADS FROM THE GERMAN,



475



jFreomcfc ano &ltce.

Frederick leaves the land of France,
Homeward hastes his steps to measure,

Careless casts the parting glance
On the scene of former pleasure.

Joying in his prancing steed,

Keen to prove his untried blade,

Hope's gay dreams the soldier lead
Over mountain, moor, and glade.

Helpiess, ruined, left forlorn,

Lovely Alice wept alone,
Mourned o'er love's fond contract torn,

Hope and peace and honor flown.

Mark her breast's convulsive throbs !

See, the tear of anguish flows ! —
Mingling soon with bursting sobs,

Loud the laugh of frenzy rose.

Wild she cursed and wild she prayed ;

Seven long days and nights are o'er ;
Death in pity brought his aid,

As the village bell struck four.

Far from her and far from France, -
Faithless Frederick onward rides ;

Marking blithe the morning's glance
Mantling o'er the mountains' sides.

Heard ye not the boding sound,
As the tongue of yonder tower

Slowly to the hills around

Told the fourth, the fated hour?

Starts the steed and snuffs the air,
Yet no cause of dread appears ;

Bristles high the rider's hair,

Struck with strange mysterious fears.

Desperate, as his terrors rise,
In the steed the spur he hides ;

From himself in vain he flies ;
Anxious, restless, on he rides.

Seven long days and seven long nights,
Wild he wandered, woe the while !

Ceaseless care and causeless fright
Urge his footsteps many a mile.

Dark the seventh sad night descends ;

Rivers swell and rain-streams pour,
While the deafening thunder lends

All the terrors of its roar.

Weary, wet, and spent with toil,

Where his head shall Frederick hide ?

Where but in yon ruined aisle,
By the lightning's flash descried.



To the portal, dank and low,

Fast his steed the wanderer bound :

Down a ruined staircase slow
Next his darkling way he wound.

Long drear vaults before him lie !

Glimmering lights are seen to glide ! -
' Blessed Mary, hear my cry !

Deign a sinner's steps to guide ! '

Often lost their quivering beam,
Still the lights move slow before,

Till they rest their ghastly gleam
Right against an iron door.

Thundering voices from within,
Mixed with peals of laughter, rose ;

As they fell, a solemn strain

Lent its wild and wondrous close !

Midst the din he seemed to hear
Voice of friends by death removed ; —

Well he knew that solemn air,

'T was the lay that Alice loved. —

Hark ! for now a solemn knell

Four times on the still night broke ;

Four times at its deadened swell
Echoes from the ruins spoke.

As the lengthened clangors die,

Slowly opes the iron door !
Straight a banquet met his eye,

But a funeral's form it wore !

Coffins for the seats extend :

All with black the board was spread ;
Girt by parent, brother, friend,

Long since numbered with the dead !

Alice, in her grave-clothes bound,
Ghastly smiling, points a seat ;

All arose with thundering sound ;
All the expected stranger greet.

High their meagre arms they wave,
Wild their notes of welcome swell ; —

1 Welcome, traitor, to the grave !
Perjured, bid the light farewell ! '



&fje Battle of Sempacfj.

'T WAS when among our linden-trees
The bees had housed in swarms —

And gray-haired peasants say that these
Betoken foreign arms —



476



SCOTT'S POETICAL WORKS.



Then looked we down to Willisow,

The land was all in name ;
We knew the Archduke Leopold

With all his army came.

The Austrian nobles made their vow,
So hot their heart and bold,

• On Switzer carles we '11 trample now,

And slay both young and old.'

With clarion loud and banner proud,

From Zurich on the lake,
In martial pomp and fair array

Their onward march they make.

; Now list, ye lowland nobles all —

Ye seek the mountain-strand,
Nor wot ye what shall be your lot

In such a dangerous land.

' I rede ye, shrive ye of your sins

Before ye farther go ;
A skirmish in Helvetian hills

May send your souls to woe.'

1 But where now shall we find a priest
Our shrift that he may hear ? ' —

' The Switzer priest has ta'en the field,
He deals a penance drear.

' Right heavily upon your head

He '11 lay his hand of steel,
And with his trusty partisan

Your absolution deal.'

'Twas on a Monday morning then,

The corn was steeped in dew,
And merry maids had sickles ta'en,

When the host to Sempach drew.

The stalwart men of fair Lucerne,

Together have they joined ;
The pith and core of manhood stern,

Wis none cast looks behind.

It was the Lord of Hare-castle,

And to the Ouke he said,
Y<>n little band of brethren true
Will meet us undismayed.' —

« » Hare-castle, thou heart of hare ! '
rce i )\« nstern replied. —

• Shalt see then how the game will fare,'

The taunted knight replied.

There was lacing then of helmets bright,

And doting ranks amain;
The peaki toey hewed from their boot-
points

Might well-nigh load a wain.



And thus they to each other said,

* Yon handful down to hew



Online LibraryWalter ScottThe poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet → online text (page 49 of 78)