Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Being immensely fond of dancing,
And somewhat given to romancing,
He roamed about through towers and towns,
Apostrophizing smiles and frowns,
Singing sweet staves to beads and bonnets,
And dying, day-by-day, in sonnets.
Flippant and fair, and fool enough,
And careless where he met rebuff,
Poco-curante in all cases
Of furious foes, or pretty faces,
With laughing lip, and jocund eye,
And studied tear, and practised sigh,
And ready sword, and ready verse,
And store of ducats in his purse,
He sinned few crimes, loved many times,
And wrote a hundred thousand rhymes !

Summers twice eight had passed away,
Since in his nurse's arms he lay,

A rosy, roaring child,
While all around was noisy mirth,
And logs blazed up upon the hearth,

And bonfires on the wild ;
And vassals drank the brown bowl dry,
And cousins knew “the mother's eye,”
And wrinkled crones spoke prophecy,

And his brave father smiled.
Summers twice eight had passed away;
His sire's thin locks grew very gray ;
He lost his song, and then his shout,
And seldom saw his bottle out.
Then all the menials straight began
To sorrow for “ the

poor
old

man,”
Took thought about his shirts and shoe-ties,
And pestered him with loves and duties.
Young Roger laced a crimson row
Of cushions on his saddle-bow;

Red Wyke at Christmas mingled up
More sugar in the wassail-cup;
Fair Margaret laid finer sheets;
Fat Catherine served richer sweets;
And all, from scullion up to squire,
Who stirred his cup, or kitchen fire,
Seemed by their doings to determine
The knight should ne'er be food for vermin.
All would not do; the knight grew thinner,
And loved his bed, and loathed his dinner;
And when he muttered—“Becket,-beast,
Bring me the posset-and a priest,”
Becket looked grave, and said “good lack !"
And went to ask the price of black.

Masses and medicines both were bought,
Masses and medicines both were nought;

Sir Hubert's race was run ;
As best beseemed a warrior tall,
He died within his ancient hall;
And he was blest by Father Paul,

And buried by his son. 'Twere long to tell the motley gear, That waited on Sir Hubert's bier ;

For twenty good miles round,
Maiden and matron, knave and knight,
All rode or ran to see the sight;

Yeomen with horse and hound,
Gossips in grief and grogram clad,
Young warriors galloping like mad,
Priors and pedlars, pigs and pyxes,
Cooks, choristers, and crucifixes,
Wild urchins cutting jokes and capers,
And taper shapes, and shapely tapers.
The mighty barons of the land
Brought pain in heart, and four-in-hand;
And village maids, with looks of woe,
Turned out their mourning, and their toe.

The bell was rung, the hymn was sung,
On the oak chest the dust was flung ;
And then, beneath the chapel-stones,
With a gilt scutcheon o'er his bones,
Escaped from feather-beds and fidget,
Sir Hubert slept with Lady Bridget.

The mob departed : cold and cloud
Shed on the vault their icy shroud,

And night came dark and dreary ;
But there young Vidal lingered still,
And kept his fast, and wept his fill,
Though the wind in the chapel was very chill,

And Vidal very weary.
Low moaned the bell; the torch-light fell

In fitful and faint flashes ;
And he lay on the stones, where his father's bones

Were mouldering now to ashes, And vowed to be, on earth and sea,

Whatever stars shone o'er him,
A trusty knight, in love and fight,

As his father had been before him.
Then in the silence of the night
Passionate grief was his delight;
He thought of all the brave and fair
Who slept their shadowy slumber there;
And that sweet dotage held him long,
Ere sorrow found her voice in song.

in other years,

It was an ancient thing; a song
His heart had

sung
When boyhood had its idle throng

Of guiltless smiles, and guileless tears ;
But never had its music seemed

So sweet to him, as when to-night
All lorn and lone he kneeled and dreamed,

Before the taper's holy light,

Of many and mysterious things,
His cradle's early visitings,
The melancholy tones, that blest
The pillow of his sinless rest,
The melody, whose magic numbers
Broke in by snatches on his slumbers,
When earth appeared so brightly dim,
And all was bliss, and all for him,
And every sight and every sound
Had heaven's own day-light flowing round.

“ My mother's grave, my mother's grave!

Oh ! dreamless is her slumber there,
And drowsily the banners wave

O'er her that was so chaste and fair ;
Yea! love is dead, and memory faded !
But when the dew is on the brake,

And silence sleeps on earth and sea,
And mourners weep, and ghosts awake,

Oh! then she cometh back to me,
In her cold beauty darkly shaded !

I cannot guess her face or form;

But what to me is form or face?
I do not ask the weary worm

To give me back each buried grace
Of glistening eyes, or trailing tresses !
I only feel that she is here,

And that we meet, and that we part;
And that I drink within mine ear,

And that I clasp around my heart, Her sweet still voice, and soft caresses !

“ Not in the waking thought by day,

Not in the sightless dream by night,
Do the mild tones and glances play

Of her who was my cradle's light!
VOL. I. Part II.

S

But in some twilight of calm weather,
She glides, by fancy dimly wrought,

A glittering cloud, a darkling beam,
With all the quiet of a thought,

And all the passion of a dream, Linked in a golden spell together !"

[blocks in formation]

And Vidal rose at break of day,

And found his heart unbroken ; And told his beads, and went away,

On a steed he had bespoken; His bonnet he drew his eyelids o'er,

For tears were like to blind him ; And he spurred Sir Guy o'er mount and moor, With a long dull journey all before,

And a short gay squire behind him.
And the neighbourhood much marvel had ;

And all who saw did say,
The weather and the roads were bad,
And either Vidal had run mad,

Or Guy had run away!
Oh! when a cheek is to be dried,

All pharmacy is folly ;
And Vidal knew, for he had tried,
There's nothing like a rattling ride

For curing melancholy !

« AnteriorContinuar »