« PreviousContinue »
"SAY, what remains when Hope is fled?"
She answered," Endless weeping!"
For in the herdsman's eye she read
Who in his shroud lay sleeping.
At Embsay rung the matin-bell, The stag was roused on Barden-fell; The mingled sounds were swelling, dying, And down the Wharfe a hern was flying;
When near the cabin in the wood,
In tartan clad and forest-green,
With hound in leash and hawk in hood,
The Boy of Egremond was seen.*
Blithe was his song, a song of yore;
But where the rock is rent in two,
And the river rushes through,
His voice was heard no more!
'Twas but a step! the gulf he passed;
But that step-it was his last!
As through the mist he winged his way,
(A cloud that hovers night and day,)
The hound hung back, and back he drew
The Master and his merlin too.
That narrow place of noise and strife
Received their little all of Life!
There now the matin-bell is rung;
The Miserere!" duly sung;
And holy men in cowl and hood
Are wandering up and down the wood.
But what avail they? Ruthless Lord,
Thou didst not shudder when the sword
* In the twelfth century William Fitz-Duncan laid waste the valleys of Craven with fire and sword; and was afterwards established there by his uncle, David King of Scotland.
He was the last of the race; his son, commonly called the Boy of Egremond, dying before him in the manner here related; when a Priory was removed from Embsay to Bolton, that it might be as near as possible to the place where the accident happened. That place is still known by the name of the Strid; and the mother's answer, as given in the first stanza, is to this day often repeated in Wharfedale.-See WHITAKER'S Hist. of Craven.
Here on the young its fury spent,
The helpless and the innocent.
Sit now and answer groan for groan.
The child before thee is thy own.
And she who wildly wanders there,
The mother in her long despair,
Shall oft remind thee, waking, sleeping,
Of those who by the Wharfe were weeping;
Of those who would not be consoled
When red with blood the river rolled.
WRITTEN IN A SICK CHAMBER.
THERE, in that bed so closely curtained round,
Worn to a shade, and wan with slow decay,
A father sleeps! Oh hushed be every sound!
Soft may we breathe the midnight hours away!
He stirs yet still he sleeps. May heavenly dreams Long o'er his smoothed and settled pillow rise; Nor fly, till morning thro' the shutter streams, And on the hearth the glimmering rush-light dies.
AH! little thought she, when, with wild delight,
By many a torrent's shining track she flew,
When mountain-glens and caverns full of night
O'er her young mind divine enchantment threw,
That in her veins a secret horror slept,
That her light footsteps should be heard no more,
That she should die-nor watched, alas, nor wept
By thee, unconscious of the pangs she bore.
Yet round her couch indulgent Fancy drew
The kindred forms her closing eye required.
There didst thou stand-there, with the smile she knew;
She moved her lips to bless thee, and expired.
And now to thee she comes; still, still the same
As in the hours gone unregarded by!
To thee, how changed, comes as she ever came;
Health on her cheek, and pleasure in her eye!
Nor less, less oft, as on that day, appears,
When lingering, as prophetic of the truth,
By the way-side she shed her parting tears-
For ever lovely in the light of Youth!
*On the death of her sister.