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Summers twice eight had passed away,
A rosy roaring child,
And bonfires on the wild;
And his brave father smiled.
And when he muttered—" Becket—beast,
Masses and medicines both were bought,
Sir Hubert's race was run;
And buried by his son.
For twenty good miles round,
Yeomen with, horse and hound, Gossips in grief and grogram clad, Young warriors galloping like mad, Priors and peddlers, pigs and pyxes, Cooks, choristers, and crucifixes, Wild urchins cutting jokes and capers, And taper shapes, and shapely tapers. The mighty barons of the land Brought pain in heart, and four-in-hand; And village maids, with looks of wo, Turned out their mourning, and their toe. The bell was rung, the hymn was sung, On the oak chest the dust was flung;
And then, beneath the chapel-stonea,
The mob departed: cold and cloud
And night came dark and dreary;
And Vidal very weary.
In fitful and faint flashes;
Were mouldering now to ashes; And vowed to be, on earth and sea,
Whatever stars shone o'er him,
As his father had been before him.
It was an ancient thing; a song
When boyhood had its idle throng
Of guiltless smiles, and guileless tears;
But never had its music seemed
So sweet to him, as when to-night All lorn and lone, he kneeled and dreamed,
Before the taper's holy light, Of many and mysterious things, His cradle's early visitings, The melancholy tones, that blest The pillow of his sinless rest, The melody, whose magic numbers Broke in by snatches on his slumbers, When earth appeared so brightly dim, And all was bliss, and all for him, And every sight and every sound Had heaven's own day-light flowing round.
"My mother's grave, my mother's grave! Oh! dreamless in her slumber there, And drowsily the banners wave
O'er her that was so chaste and fair; Yea! love is dead, and memory faded! But when the dew is on the brake,
And silence sleeps on earth and sea, And mourners weep, and ghosts awake, Oh! then she cometh back to me, In her cold beauty darkly shaded!
"I cannot guess her face or form; But what to me is form or face 1 I do not ask the weary worm
To give me back each buried grace
Of glistening eyes, or trailing tresses!
And that we meet, and that we part;
"Not in the waking thought by day,
A glittering cloud, a darkling beam,
Oh! Vidal's very soul did weep
Whene'er that music, like a charm, Brought back from their unlistening sleep
The kissing lip and clasping arm. But quiet tears are worth, to some, The richest smiles in Christendom; And Vidal, though in folly's ring He seemed so weak and wild a thing, Had "yet an hour, when none were by, For reason's thought, and passion's sigh. And knew and felt, in heart and brain, The Paradise of buried pain!