Page images
PDF
EPUB

And he thought on the days that were long sinceHy,
When his limbs were strong, and his courage $as
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.

i

VIII. \

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,
Tria^'spirits were riding the northern light.

IX.

By a steel-clenched postern door,
They entered now the chancel tall;

A 3

.The darkened roof rose high aloof On pillars, lofty, and light, and small; * The key-stone, that locked each ribbed 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.

X.

Full many a scutcheon and banner, riven,
Shook to the cold night-wind of heaven,

* Corbells, the projections from which the arches spring, usually cut in a fantastic face, or mask.

Around the screeaed 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! .

XI.

The moon on the east oriel shone
Through slender shafts of shapely stone,

By fohaged tracery combined;
Thou would'st have thought some fairy's hand
'Twixt poplars straight the ozier wand,

In many a freakish knot, had twined; Then framed a spell, when the work was done, And changed the willow-wreaths to stone.

The silver light, so pale and faint, Shewed many a prophet, and many a saint, 12

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 moon-beam kissed the holy pane,
And threw on the pavement a bloody stain.

XII.

They sate them down on a marble stone,

A Scottish monarch slept below;
Thus spoke the Monk, in solemn tone:—

"I was not always a man of woe;
For Paynim countries I have trod,
And fought beneath the Cross of God:
Now, strange to my eyes thine arms appear,
And their iron clang sounds strange to my ear.

XIII.

"In these far climes, it was my lot
To meet the wonderous Michael Scott;

A wizard of such dreaded fame.
Thai when, in Salamanca's cave,
Him listed his magic wand to wave, The bells would ring in Notre Dame!
Some of his skill he taught to me;
And, Warrior, I could say to thee
The words that cleft Eildon hills in three,

And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone:
But to speak them were a deadly sin;
And for having but thought them my heart within, A treble penance must be done.

XIV.

"When Michael lay on his dying bed,
His conscience was awakened;He bethought him of his sinful deed,
And he gave me a sign to come with speed:I was in Spain when the morning rose,
But I stood by his bed ere evening close.

« PreviousContinue »