Page images
PDF
EPUB

XXXIV.

O'Donoghue came to the hermit's cell;
He climbed the ladder, he pulled the bell;
“I have ridden,” said he, “with the Saint to
dine *
On his richest meat, and his reddest wine.”

The Hermit hasted my First to fill
With water from the limpid rill;
And “Drink,” quoth he, “of the juice, brave
Rnight,
Which breeds no fever, and prompts no fight.”

The Hermit hasted my Second to spread
With stalks of lettuce and crusts of bread;
And “Taste,” quoth he, “of the cates, fair guest,
Which bring no surfeit, and break no rest.”

Hasty and hungry, the Chief explored
My Whole with the point of his ready sword,
And found, as yielded the latch and lock,
A pasty of Game and a flagon of hock.

XXXV.

THE night was dark, the night was damp :
St. Bruno read by his lonely lamp.
The Fiend dropped in to make a call,
As he posted away to a fancy ball;
And “Can't I find,” said the Father of lies,
“Some present a Saint may not despise?”

Wine he brought him, such as yet
Was ne'er on Pontiff’s table set:
Weary and faint was the holy man,
But he crossed with a cross the Tempter's can,
And saw, ere my First to his parched lip came,
That it was red with liquid flame.

Jewels he showed him—many a gem
Fit for a Sultan's diadem :
Dazzled, I trow, was the anchorite:
But he told his beads with all his might;
And instead of my Second, so rich and rare,
A pinch of worthless dust lay there.

A Lady at last he handed in,
With a bright black eye and a fair white skin:
The stern ascetic flung, 'tis said,
A ponderous missal at her head:
She vanished away; and what a smell
Of my Whole she left in the hermit's cell!

XXXVI.

Upon my First's blue stream
The moon's cold light is sleeping;
And Marion in her mournful dream
Is wandering there and weeping.
Where is my Whole?—this hour
His boat should cleave the water;
He is a Knight of pride and power,
But he loves the Huntsman's daughter.

The shroud her marriage vest—
The stone her nuptial pillow—
So, in my Second let her rest,
Beneath the grieving willow.
Where is my Whole %–go, Song,
Go, solemn Song, to chide him;
His hall lets in a revelling throng,
And a gay bride smiles beside him

(AUGUST, 1829.)

XXXVII.

HE hath seen the tempest lower:
He hath dared the foeman's spear;
He hath welcomed Death on tide and tower;
How will he greet him here?
My First was set, and in his place
You might see the dark man stand,
With a fearful vizor on his face,
And a bright axe in his hand. .

Short shrift, and hurried prayer:
Now bid the pale priest go;
And let my Second be bound and bare
To meet the fatal blow.
The dark man grinned in bitter scorn;
And you might hear him say,
“It was black as jet but yestermorn,
Whence is it white to-day ?”

“Rise ! thou art pardoned "-vain
Lift up the lifeless clay ;
On the skin no scratch, on the steel no stain, -
But the soul hath passed away.
The dark man laid his bright axe by
As he heard the tower clock chime;
And he thought that none but my Whole would
die
A minute before the time.

(JULY, 1829.)

XXXVIII.

THERE hangs a picture in an ancient hall:
A group of hunters meeting in their joy
On a green lawn; the gladdest of them all
Is old Sir Geoffrey's heir, a bright-eyed boy.
A little girl has heard the bugle call,
And she is running from her task or toy
To whisper caution: on the pony bounds,
And see, my First steals off before the hounds.

There is another picture;—that wild youth
Is grown to manhood; by the great salt lake
He clasps his new sword on ; and gentle Ruth
Smiles, smiles and sobs as if her heart would
break,
And talks right well of constancy and truth,
And bids him keep my Second for her sake, --
A precious pledge that, wander where he will,
One heart will think and dream about him still.

And yet another picture; from far lands
The truant is returned; but ah, his bride,
Sickness hath marred her beauty mute he
stands,
Mute in the darkened chamber by her side;

« PreviousContinue »