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In, lady, to thy bower! fast weep
The chill dews on thy cheek so pale ; Thy cherished hero lies asleep,
Asleep in distant Russendale !
The noon was sultry, long the chase,
And when the wild stag stood at bay, BURBEK reflected from its face
The purple lights of dying day.
Through many a dale must Musgrave hie,
Up many a hill his courser strain, Ere he behold, with gladsome eye,
His verdant bowers and halls again.
But twilight deepens,—o'er the wolds
The yellow moonbeam rising plays, And now the haunted forest holds
The wanderer in its bosky maze.
No ready vassal rides in sight;
He blows his bugle, but the call Roused echo mocks; farewell, to-night,
The homefelt joys of Eden-hall !
His steed he to an alder ties,
His limbs he on the green-sward flings; And, tired and languid, to his eyes
Woos sorceress-Slumber's balmy wings.
А prayer, a sigh, in murmurs faint,
He whispers to the passing air ;The Ave to his patron saint,
The sigh was to his lady fair.
'T was well that in that Elfin wood
He breathed the supplicating charm, Which binds the Guardians of the good
To shield from all unearthly harm.
Scarce had the night's pale Lady staid
Her chariot o'er the accustomed oak, Than murmurs in the mystic shade
The slumberer from his trance awoke.
Stiff stood his courser's mane with dread,
His crouching greyhound whined with fear; And quaked the wild-fern 'round his head,
As though some passing ghost were near.
Yet calmly shone the moonshine pale
On glade and hillock, flower and tree; And sweet the gurgling nightingale
Poured forth her music, wild and free.
Sudden her notes fall hushed;
and near Flutes breathe, horns warble, bridles ring And in gay cavalcade, appear
The Fairies round their Fairy King.
Twelve hundred Elfin knights and more
Were there, in silk and steel arrayed ; And each a' ruby helmet wore,
And each a diamond lance displayed.
And pursuivants with wands of gold,
And minstrels scarfed and laurelled fair, Heralds with blazoned flags unrolled,
And trumpet-tuning dwarfs were there.
Behind, twelve hundred ladies coy,
On milk-white steeds, brought up their Queen, Their kerchiefs of the crimson soy,
Their kirtles all of Lincoln-green.
Some wore, in fanciful costume,
A sapphire or a topaz crown ;
And some wore masks, and some wore hoods,
Some turbans rich, some ouches rare; And some sweet woodbine from the woods,
To bind their undulating hair.
With all gay tints the darksome shade
Grew florid as they passed along, And not a sound their bridles made
But tuned itself to Elfin song.
Their steeds they quit;— the knights advance,
And in quaint order, one by one, Each leads his lady forth to dance,
The timbrels sound - the charm's begun.
Where'er they trip, where'er they tread,
A daisy or a bluebell springs,
But falls within their charmed rings.
“ The dance lead up, the dance lead down,
The dance lead round our favourite tree; If now one lady wears a frown,
A false and froward shrew is she !
“ There's not a smile we Fays let fall
But swells the tide of human bliss; And if good luck attends our call,
'T is due on such sweet night as this:
“ The dance lead up, the dance lead down,
The dance lead round our favourite tree; If now even Oberon wears a frown,
A false and froward churl is he !"
Thus sing the Fays; -Lord Musgrave hears
Their shrill sweet song, and eager eyes The radiant show, despite the fears
That to his bounding bosom rise.
But soft! the minstrelsy declines ;
The morris ceases, sound the shaums; And quick, whilst many a taper shines,
The heralds rank their airy swarms.
Titania waves her crystal wand,
And underneath the green-wood bower, Tables, and urns, and goblets stand,
Metheglin, nectar, fruit, and flower.
“ To banquet, ho!" the seneschals
Bid the brisk tribes, that, thick as bees At sound of cymbals, to their calls
Consort beneath the leafy trees.
Titania by her king, each knight
Beside his ladye love; the page Behind his scutcheoned lord, - a bright
Equipment on a brilliant stage !
The monarch sits;—all helms are doffed,
Plumes, scarfs, and mantles cast aside, And to the sound of music soft,
They ply their cups with mickle pride.
Or sparkling mead, or spangling dew,
Or livelier hippocras they sip; And strawberries red, and mulberries blue,
Refresh each elf's luxurious lip.
With “nod, and beck, and wreathed smile,"
They heap their jewelled patines high; Nor want there mirthful airs the while
To crown the festive revelry.
A minstrel dwarf, in silk arrayed,
Lay on a mossy bank, o'er which
The violet spread its perfume rich ;
And whilst a page at Oberon's knee
Presented high the wassail-cup, This lay the little bard with glee
From harp of ivory offered up:
“ Health to our Sovereign ! fill, brave boy,
Yon glorious goblet to the brim ! There's joy — in every drop there's joy
That laughs within its charmed rim !
“ 'T was wrought within a wizard's mould,
When signs and spells had happiest power ;Health to our king by wood and wold !
Health to our queen in hall and bower!”
They rise -- the myriads rise, and shrill
The wild wood echoes to their brawl,“ Health to our king by wold and rill!
Health to our queen in bower and hall !"
A sudden thought fires Musgrave's brain,
So help him all the Powers of Light!He rushes to the festal train,
And snatches up that goblet bright!
With three brave bounds the lawn he crossed,
The fourth it seats him on his steed; “ Now, Luath! or thy lord is lost
Stretch to the stream with lightning speed!”
"T is uproar all around, behind,
Leaps to his selle each screaming Fay, “ The charmed
is fairly tined, Stretch to the strife, — away! away!”
As in a whirlwind forth they swept,
The green turf trembling as they passed; But, forward still good Musgrave kept,
The shallow stream approaching fast.