Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

An aged man, and a woefull man,

And a heavye moane makes hee: "Mye childe ! mye childe ! myne onjye childc!

Would God I had dyed for thee!"

An aged man, those white hairs telle,

And that bended back and knee;
Yet a stalwart knighte, at Tewkesburye fighte,

Was Sir Archibald Winstanlye.

'Tis a moving thing to see the teares

Wrung out from an aged eye;
Seldom and slowe, lyke the scantye droppes

Of a fountaine that's near a-drye.

'Tis a sorrye sighte to see graye haires

Bro't downe to the grave with sorrowe; Youth looks throwe the cloude of the present daye

For a gowden gleame to-morrowe.

But the olde white head, and the feeble knees

Berefte of earthlye stayeJ—
God help thee nowe, olde Winstanlye!

Good Christians for thee praye!

But manye a voice in that buriall trainc

Breathes gloomilye aparte, "Thou had'st not been childlesse now, olde man!

But for thine owne hard harte."

And manye a maide who streweth flowers

Afore the Lady's biere, Weepes out, " Thou had'st tiot dyed, sweete Maude!

If Alwynne had been heere."

What solemn chaunt ascendeth slowe?

What voices peale the straine?—
The Monks of St Switholm's Abbeye neare,

Have met the funcrall traine.

They hold their landes, full manye a roode,
From the Lordes of Raeburne Tower,

And ever when Deathe doth claim his preye
From within that lordlye bowere,

Then come the holye fathers forth
The shrowdedde corse to meete,

And see it laid in hallowede grave,
With requiem sadde and sweete.

And nowe they turn, and leade the waye

To that last home so nigh, Where all the race of Winstanlye

In dust and darknesse lvc.

Tlw holye altar blazethe brighte

With waxen tapers high,
Elsewhere in dimme and doubtfull lighte

Doth all the chapelle lye.

Huge, undefined shadows falle

From pillar and from tombe,
And man yc a grimme old monumentc

Lookes ghastlye throw the gloome.

And manye a rustye shirte of mail

The eye may scantlye trace,
And crestedde helmet, black and barr'd,

That grins with sterne grimace.

Banner and scutcheon from the walles

Wave in the cold night aire, Gleames out their gorgeous heraldrye

In the ent'ring torches glare.

For now the mourninge companye,

Beueathe that arched doore, Bear in the lovelye, lifeless claye,

Shall pass there-out no more.

And up the sounding aisle, ye stille

Their solemn chaunte may heare, Till, 'ncath that blazon'd catafalque,

They gentlye reste the biere.

Then ceaseth evVye sounde of life

So deepe that awfull hushe,
Ye hear from yon fresh* open'd vaulte

The hollowe death-winde rushe.

Back from the biere the mourners alle

Retire a little space,
All but that olde bereavedde manne,

Who taketh there his place

Beside the head ; but none may see

The workings of his minde,
So lowe upon the sunken breaste

Is that graye head declined.

The masse is said, they raise the dead,

The palle is flunge aside;
And soon that flower untimelye cropped,

The darksome pit shall hide.

It gapcth close at hand—deep downe

Ye may the coffins see (By the lampe's pale glare, just kindled there)

Of many a Winstanlye.

And the gilded nails on one looke briglite,

And the velvet of cramoisie;
She hath scarce lain there a full told yeare,

The last Dame Winstanlye.

"There's roome for thee here, oh daughter deare!"

Methinks I heare her saye— "There's roome for thee, Maude Winstanlye!

Come downe, make no delaye."

And from the vaultc, two grimlye armes

Upraisede, demaunde the dead— Hark ! hark! 'tis the thunder of trampling steedes;

'Tis the clank of an armed tread!

There are armed heads at the chapelle doore,

And in armour all bedighte,
In sable steele, from head to heele,

In steps a statelye knight.

And up the aisle, with echoeing tread

Alone adranceth he,
To barre his waye, dothe none essaye

Of the fun'ral companye.

And never a voice amongst them alle

Dothe ask who he mote be;
Nor why his armed steppe disturbes

That sad solemnitie.

Yet manye an eye with fixed stare

Dothe sternlye ou him frowne;
But none may trace the strangerre's face,

He weares his vizorre downe.

He speakes no worde, but waves his hande,

And straighte they alle obeye;
And cverye soule that standethe there,

Falles back to make him waye.

He passethe on—no hande dothe stirre —

His steppe the onlye sounde;
He passethe on—and signs them sette

The coffinnc on the grounde.

A momente gazinge downe thereon,
With foldedde armes dothe staye;

Then stoopinge, with one mightye wrenchc.
He teares the lidde awaye.

Tlien risethe a confused sounde,

And some half forward starte, And murmur sacriledge, and some

Beare hastilye aparte,

The agedde knighte, at that strange sighte,

Whose consciousnesse hath fledde; But signe nor sounde disturbethe him,

Who gazethe on the dead.

And seemethe, as that lovelye face

Doth alle exposed lye,
As if its holye calme o'erspreadde

The frowninge faces bye.

And nowe, beside the virginne corse,

Kneels downe the stranger knighte, And up his vizorr'd helme he throwes,

But not in open siglite.

For to the pale, colde, clammye face,

His owne he stoopethe lowe,
And kisseth first the bloodlesse cheeke,

And then the marble browe.

Then, to the dead lippes glued, so long

The livinge lippes do staye, As if in that sad, silente kisse

The soule hadde passed awaye.

But suddenne, from that mortalle trance,

As withe a desp'rate straine; Up, up, he springes! his armoure ringes!

The vizorre's downe againe.

With manye a flowerre, her weeping roaides,

The Ladye's shrowde have dressed; And one white rose is in the falde

That veiles her whiterre breaste.

One goldenne ringlette, on her browe,

(Escappede forthe) doth straye; So, on a wreathe of driftedde snowe,

The wintrye sunbeames playe.

The mailedde hande hathe ta'ene the rose

From offe that breste so fayre;
The faulchion's edge, from that pale head,

Hath shorne the goldenne hayre.

One heavy sighe! the firste and laste,

One deepe and stiflede groane;
A few long strides—a clange of hoofes—

And the armedde strangerre's gone!

PERCY MALL0RY.

Amoks the rest of those sciences, beneficial and ornamental, which have been making huge strides of progress during the last fifteen years, the advancement of the art of novel-writing (in this country) stands very eminently distinguished. "Mrs Roche" has ceased to rave; and, if she raved still, no man would mark her. "Mr Lathom" can no longer terrify the 'prentices, nor " Anne of Swansea" now delight the ladies' boarding-schools. "Mrs Bluemantle" (alas, poor " Bridget !") has washed her hands (of ink) for ever; and but a water-colour kind of reputation is Jeft to Mrs Radcliffe and Mrs Helme. Harp of Leadenhall Street, thy strings are cracked past mending !—Messrs Lane and Newroan's " occupation's gone!"

In fact, (poetry apart,) the standard of novel-writing has changed among us. That which was the " trash" (eo nomine) "of the circulating libraries," the circulating libraries now can circulate no more.

Nonsense will be printed in the year 1824, but not much that is pure, unadulterated nonsense. The dog-eared darlings of the dressmakers' workrooms have been at auction for the last time!" Miss Nimifie" and " Miss Moffat," and all the " ladies" and "gentlemen" of " fashion," have jumped up, to be " knocked down," at seven-pence-halfpenny a volume; and the cheesemonger smiles, for, at the next transfer, he knows them for his own.

For an array of new combatants have burst into the literary field, who canter, and caracole, and bear down all before them! There is the Waverley knight—he of the hundred weapons! —and his war-cry rings loudest on the plain. There is the author of Valerius, in his Roman armour ; and the Ettrick Shepherd, with his knotted club; and there is Hope, on his barb of the desart; and Gait, in his pawkie costume; and Maturin, with his frightful mask; and Washington Irving, just in his silk doublet, throwing darts into the air, and catching them again, and riding as easily as if he were on parade; and then there are

the Amazons, equipped after every fancy and fashion! Miss Porter, waving her Polish lance, and Miss Edgeworth, holding up her ferula, and the authoress of " Marriage," (in Miss Jacky's green Joseph,) tucked up upon a pillion; and Lady Morgan, astradelle, (and in French breeches,) since she has taken to be mad about politics! and poor old Mrs Thickenwell, and her friends, are no more able to stand their ground against the tramping, and jostling, and capering, of this rabble rout, than a washing-tub (with a north-west wind,) could be fit to carry sail in the Bay of Biscay, or a poney chaise hope to pass unpulverized through Bond Street, in July.

A modern novel, indeed, if it hopes ever to be cut open, must shew talent of some kind or other. Accordingly, we find, one author trusts to passion, another, to invention ; one, to an acute perception of what is; another, to a vigorous fancy for what cannot be. One brings to market wit—another, metaphysics—a third, descriptive force—a fourth, poetic feeling—a few, like the Waverley writer, bring the rare faculty of managing a long story; but very few venture to come at all, who cannot bring some faculty or other.

People commonly find out the value of any qualification best, in A, when, proceeding in their speculations, they fail to meet with it in B. The peculiar felicity of the Scottish novelist, in the business of telling a story, strikes us now perhaps from a certain want of the same power in the author before us. But it is curious to observe the manner in which that extraordinary writer contrives to maintain as perfect an arrangement through his history of four volumes, as the Italian conteur ever did in his anecdote of four pages. The Tuscan artist built pavilions—the Scottish sorcerer raises cities; Boccaccio can steer a gondola, amid the "crincum crankum" of a Venetian canal; but the author cf Waverley is "The Flying Dutchman," who doubles Cape Horn in the eye of the wind. The Italian prances along, to a hair's breadth, in his cabriolet, the prettiest Pall Mall pacing in the world! but

• Percy Mallory, a novel, in three volumes, by the author of Pen Owen, liarn Blackwood, Edinburgh ; Thomas Cadell, London. Vol. XV. D

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »