Page images


Some bards have sung, the Ladye high
Chapel or altar came not nigh;
Nor durst the rites of spousal grace,
So much she feared each holy place.
False slanders these :—I trust right well,
She wrought not by forbidden spell;
For mighty words and signs have power
O'er sprites in planetary hour:
Yet scarce I praise their venturous party
Who tamper with such dangerous art.

But this for faithful truth I say;
The Ladye by the altar stood,

Of sable velvet her array,

And on her head a crimson hood, With pearls embroidered and entwined, Guarded with gold, with ermine lined; A merlin sat upon her wrist, Held by a leash of silken twist.


The spousal rites were ended soon: Twas now the merry hour of noon, And in the lofty arched hall Was spread the gorgeous festival. Steward and squire, with heedful haste, Marshalled the rank of every guest; Pages, with ready blade, were there, . The mighty meal to carve and share: O'er capon, heron-shew, and crane, And princely peacock's gilded train, And o'er the boar-head, garnished grave, And cygnet from St Mary's wave; O'er ptarmigan and venison, The priest had spoke his benison. Then rose the riot and the din, Above, beneath, without, within! For, from the lofty balcony, Rung trumpet, shalm, and psaltery;

Their clanging bowls old warriors quaffed,
Loudly they spoke, and loudly laughed;
Whispered young knights, in tone more mild,
To ladies fair, and ladies smiled.
The hooded hawks, high-perched on beam,
The clamour joined with whistling scream,
And flapped their wings, and shook their bells,
In concert with the staghounds' yells.
Round go the flasks of ruddy wine,
From Bourdeaux, Orleans, or the Rhine;
Their tasks the busy sewers ply,
And all is mirth and revelry.


The Goblin Page, omitting still

No opportunity of ill,

Strove now, while blood ran hot and high,

To rouse debate and jealousy;

Till Conrad, lord of Wolfenstein,

By nature fierce, and warm with wine,

And now in humour highly crossed,

About some steeds his band had lost,

High words to words succeeding still,

Smote, with his gauntlet, stout Hunthill;

A hot and hardy Rutherford,

Wh«m men called Dickon Draw-the-Sword.

He took it on the Page's saye,

Hunthill had driven these steeds away.

Then Howard, Home, and Douglas rose,

The kindling discord to compose:

Stern Rutherford right little said,

But bit his glove, and shook his head.—

A fortnight thence, in Inglewood,

Stout Conrad, cold, and drenched in blood,

His bosom gored with many a wound,

Was by a woodman's lyme-dog found;

Unknown the manner of his death,

Gone was his brand, both sword and sheath 5

But ever from that time, 'twas Saidy
That Dickon wore a Cologne blade.


The Dwarf, who feared his master's eye
Might his foul treachery espie,
Now sought the castle buttery,
Where many a yeoman, bold and free,
Revelled as merrily and well
As those that sat in lordly selle.
Wat Tinlinn, there, did frankly raise
The pledge to Arthur Fire-the-braes;
And he, as by his breeding bound,
To Howard's merry-men sent it round.
To quit them, on the English side,
Red Roland Forster loudly cried,
"A deep carouse to yon fair bride!"
At every pledge, from vat and pail,
Foamed forth, in floods, the nut-brown ale


« PreviousContinue »