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What may it be, the heavy sound
Which moans old Branksome's turrets round ?
The ladye knew it well!
It was the Spirit of the Flood that spoke,
And he called on the Spirit of the Fell.
“Sleep’st thou, brother ?”
On my hills the moonbeams play,
From Craik-cross to Skelfhill-pen,
By every rill, in every glen,
Merry elves, their morris pacing
To aerial minstrelsy,
Emerald rings on brown heath tracing,
Trip it deft and merrily.
Up, and mark their nimble feet!
Up, and list their music sweet !”
“ Tears of an imprisoned maiden
Mix with my polluted stream: Margaret of Branksome, sorrow-laden,
Mourns beneath the moon's pale beam. Tell me, thou who view'st the stars, When shall cease these feudal jars ? What shall be the maiden's fate? Who shall be the maiden's mate ?"
" Arthur's slow wain his urse doth roll,
In utter darkness round the pole;
The Northern Bear lowers black and grim;
Orion's studded belt is dim;
Twinkling faint, and distant far,
Shimmers through mist each planet star.
Ill may I read their high decree !
But no kind influence deign they shower
On Teviot's tide and Branksome's tower
Till pride be quelled, and love be free."
Breathes there the man with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land !
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned,
From wandering on a foreign strand?
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no minstrel raptures swell ;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim :
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentered all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.
MELROSE ABBEY AS IT IS.
If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright,
Go, visit it by the pale moonlight;
For the gay beams of lightsome day
Gild but to flout the ruins gray.
When the broken arches are black in night,
And each shafted oriel glimmers white;
When the cold light's uncertain shower
Streams on the ruined central tower ;
When buttress and buttress alternately
Seem framed of ebon and ivory;
When silver edges the imagery,
And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;
When distant Tweed is heard to rave,
And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave,
Then go; but go
alone the while
Then view St. David's ruined pile :
And, home returning, soothly swear,
Was never scene so sad and fair!
Again on the knight looked the churchman old,
And again he sighed heavily;
For he had himself been a warrior bold,
And fought in Spain and Italy.
And he thought on the days that were long since by,
When his limbs were strong and his courage was high :
Now, slow and faint, he led the way,
Where, cloistered round, the garden lay;
The pillared arches were over their head,
And beneath their feet were the bones of the dead,
Spreading herbs and flowerets bright
Glistened with the dew of night!
Nor herb nor floweret glistened there
But was carved in the cloister-arches as fair,
The monk gazed long on the lovely moon,
Then into the night he looked forth;
And red and bright the streamers light
Were dancing in the glowing north.
So had he seen, in fair Castile,
The youth in glittering squadrons start;
Sudden the flying jennet wheel,
And hurl the unexpected dart.
He knew, by the streamers that shot so bright,
That spirits were riding the northern light.
By a steel-clenched postern-door
They entered now the chancel tall; The darkened roof rose high aloof
On pillars lofty, and light, and small ;
The keystone, that locked each ribbèd aisle,
Was a fleur-de-lys, or a quatre-feuille ;
The corbells were carved grotesque and grim;
And the pillars, with clustered shafts so trim,
With base and with capital flourished around,
Seemed bundles of lances which garlands had bound.
Full many a scutcheon and banner riven
Shook to the cold night-wind of heaven
Around the screenèd altar's pale !
And there the dying lamps did burn
Before thy low and lonely urn,
O gallant chief of Otterburne,
And thine, dark knight of Liddesdale !
O fading honours of the dead !
O high ambition, lowly laid !
The moon on the east oriel shone
Through slender shafts of shapely stone
By foliaged tracery combined ;
Thou wouldst have thought some fairy's hand
'Twixt poplars straight the osier wand,
In many a freakish knot, had twined ;
Then framed a spell, when the work was done,
And chang’d the willow wreaths to stone.
The silver light, so pale and faint,
Showed many a prophet and many a saint,
Whose image on the glass was dyed;
Full in the midst, his cross of red
Triumphant Michael brandished,
And trampled the apostate's pride.
The moonbeam kissed the holy pane,
And threw on the pavement a bloody stain.
[From the Lord of the Isles.]
Merrily, merrily, goes the bark,
On a breeze from the northward free;
So shoots through the morning sky the lark,
Or the swan through the summer sea ;
The shores of Mull in the eastward lay,
And Uloa dark, and Colonsay,
And all the group of islets gay,
That guard famed Staffa round.
Then all unknown its columns rose,
Where dark and undisturbed repose
The cormorant had found;
And the shy seal had quiet home,
And welter'd in that wondrous dome,
Where, as to shame the temples decked
By skill of earthly architect,
Nature herself it seemed would raise
A minster to her Maker's praise :
Not for a meaner use ascend
Her columns, or her arches bend,
Nor of a theme less solemn tells
That mighty surge that ebbs and swells,
And still between each awful pause
From the high vault an answer draws,
In varied tone, prolong'd and high,
That mocks the organ's melody;
Nor doth its entrance front in vain
To old Iona’s holy fane,
That Nature's voice might seein to say,
Well hast thou done, frail child of clay ;
Thy humble powers that stately shine,
Task'd high and hard-but witness mine.
Merrily, merrily, goes the bark,
Before the gale she bounds;
So darts the dolphin from the shark,
Or the deer before the hounds;
They left Loch Ina on their lee,
And they waken’d the men of the wild Tiree,
And the chief of the sandy Coll;
They paused not at Columba's isle,
Though pealed the bells from the holy pile
With long and measured toll;
No time for matin or for mass,
And the sounds of the holy summons pass
Away in the billow's roll ;
Lochtnies' fierce and warlike lord
Their signal saw and grasp'd his sword,
And verdant Ilay call'd her host,
And the clans of Jura’s rugged coast
Lord Ronald's call obey ;
And Scarba's isle, whose tortured shore
Still rings to Corrievreken's roar,
And lonely Colonsay ;-
Scenes sung by him who sings no more,
His bright and brief career is o’er,
And mute his tuneful strains ;
Quench'd is his lamp of varied
That loved the light of song to pour ;
A distant and a deadly shore
Has Leyden's cold remains !
Woe to the youth whom fancy gains,
Winning from Reason's hand the reins.
Pity and woe! for such a mind
Is soft, contemplative, and kind;
And woe to those who train such youth,
And spare to press the rights of truth
The mind to strengthen and anneal
While on the stithy glows the steel !
O teach him, while your lessons last,
To judge the present by the past ;
Remind him of each wish pursued,
How rich it glow'd with proinised good;
Remind him of each wish enjoy'd,
How soon his hopes possession cloyd ;
Tell him we play unequal game
Whene'er we shoot by Fancy's aim ;
And, where he strip him for her race,
Show the conditions of the chase.