« PreviousContinue »
While, blithe as lark on summer-morn,
When green and yellow waves the corn,
When harebells blow in every grove,
And thrushes sing "I love ! I love !"*
Within (so soon the early rain
Scatters, and 't is fair again;
Though many a drop may yet be seen
To tell us where a cloud has been) —
Within lay Frederick, o'er and o'er,
Building castles on the floor,
And feigning, as they grew in size,
New troubles and new dangers ;
With dimpled cheeks and laughing eyes,
As he and fear were strangers.
St. Pierre sat by, nor saw nor smiled.
His eyes were on his loved Montaigne ;
But every leaf was turned in vain.
For in that hour remorse he felt,
And his heart told him he had dealt
Unkindly with his child.
A father may a while refuse;
But who can for another choose ?
When her young blushes had revealed
The secret from herself concealed,
Why.promise what her tears denied,
That she should be De Courcy's bride?
Wouldst thou, presumptuous as thou art,
O’er Nature play the tyrant's part,
And with the hand compel the heart?
O rather, rather hope to bind
The ocean-wave, the mountain-wind;
Or, fix thy foot upon the ground
To stop the planet rolling round.
The light was on his face; and there
You might have seen the passions driven -
Resentment, Pity, Hope, Despair -
Like clouds across the face of Heaven.
Now he sighed heavily ; and now,
His hand withdrawing from his brow,
He shut the volume with a frown,
To walk his troubled spirit down:
- When (faithful as that dog of yore
Who wagged his tail and could no more)
Manchon, who long had snuffed the ground,
And sought and sought, but never found,
and to the casement flew,
And looked and barked, and vanished through.
“'Tis Jacqueline ! 'Tis Jacqueline !”
Her little brother laughing cried.
" I know her by her kirtle green,
She comes along the mountain-side ;
Now turning by the traveller's seat,-
Now resting in the hermit's cave,-
Now kneeling, where the pathways meet,
To the cross on the stranger's grave.
And, by the soldier's cloak, I know
(There, there along the ridge they go)
D'Arcy, so gentle and so brave !
Look up — why will you not ?” he cries,
His rosy hands before his eyes;
For on that incense-breathing eve
The sun shone out, as loth to leave.
“See — to the rugged rock she clings !
She calls, she faints, and D'Arcy springs;
D'Arcy, so dear to us, to all;
Who, for you told me on your knee,
When in the fight he saw you fall,
Saved you for Jacqueline and me!”
And true it was ! And true the tale!
When did she sue and not prevail ?
Five years before -- it was the night
That on the village-green they parted,
The lilied banners streaming bright
O'er maids and mothers broken-hearted;
The drum – it drowned the last adieu,
When D'Arcy from the crowd she drew.
"One charge I have, and one alone,
Nor that refuse to take,
My father — if not for his own,
0, for his daughter's sake!”
Inly he vowed —'t was all he could ;
And went and sealed it with his blood.
Nor can ye wonder. When a child,
And in her playfulness she smiled,
Up many a ladder-path * he guided
Where meteor-like the chamois glided,
Through many a misty grove.
They loved — but under Friendship's name;
And Reason, Virtue fanned the flame,
Till in their houses Discord came,
And 't was a crime to love.
Then what was Jacqueline to do?
Her father's angry hours she knew,
And when to soothe, and when persuade;
But now her path De Courcy crossed,
Led by his falcon through the glade –
He turned, beheld, admired the maid ;
And all her little arts were lost!
De Courcy, Lord of Argentiere !
Thy poverty, thy pride, St. Pierre,
Thy thirst for vengeance, sought the snare.
The day was named, the guests invited ;
The bridegroom, at the gate, alighted;
When up the windings of the dell
A pastoral pipe was heard to swell,
And, lo ! an humble Piedmontese,
Whose music might a lady please,
This message through the lattice bore
(She listened, and her trembling frame
Told her at once from whom it came),
“O, let us fly- to part no more !”
That morn ('t was in Ste. Julienne’s cell,
As at Ste. Julienne's sacred well
Their dream of love began)-
That morn, ere many a star was set,
Their hands had on the altar met
Before the holy man.
- And now, her strength, her courage spent,
And more than half a penitent,
She comes along the path she went.
And now the village gleams at last;
The woods, the golden meadows passed,
Where, when, Toulouse, thy splendor shone,
The Troubadour, from grove to grove,
Chanting some roundelay of love,
Would wander till the day was gone.
"All will be well, my Jacqueline !
O, tremble not — but trust in me.
The good are better made by ill,
As odors crushed are sweeter still ;
And, gloomy as thy past has been,
Bright shall thy future be!”
So saying, through the fragrant shade
Gently along he led the maid,
While Manchon round and round her played :
And, as that silent glen they leave,
Where by the spring the pitchers stand,
Where glow-worms light their little lamps at eve,
And fairies revel as in fairy-land
(When Lubin calls, and Blanche steals round,
Her finger on her lip, to see ;
And many an acorn-cup is found
Under the greenwood tree),
From every cot above, below,
They gather as they go —
Sabot, and coif, and collerette,
The housewife's prayer, the grandame's blessing !
Girls that adjust their locks of jet,
And look and look and linger yet,
The lovely bride caressing;