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Flow of wine and flight of cork,
Stroke of knife, and thrust of fork :
But, where'er the board was spread,
Grace, I ween, was never said !
Pulling and tugging the Fisherman sat;
And the Priest was ready to vomit,
When he hauled out a gentleman, fine and fat,
With a belly as big as a brimming vat,
And a nose as red as a comet. “A capital stew,” the Fisherman said,
“With cinnamon and sherry !”. And the Abbot turned away his head, For his brother was lying before him dead
The Mayor of St. Edmund's Bury !
There was turning of keys, and creaking of locks,
As he took forth a bait from his iron box.
It was a bundle of beautiful things-
A peacock's tail, and a butterfly's wings,
A scarlet slipper, an auburn curl,
A mantle of silk, and a bracelet of pearl,
And a packet of letters, from whose sweet fold
Such a stream of delicate odours rolled,
That the Abbot fell on his face, and fainted,
And deemed his spirit was half-way sainted.
Sounds seemed dropping from the skies,
Stifled whispers, smothered sighs,
And the breath of vernal gales,
And the voice of nightingales :
But the nightingales were mute,
Envious, when an unseen lute
Shaped the music of its chords
Into passion's thrilling words:
“Smile, Lady, smile! I will not set
Upon my brow the coronet,
Till thou wilt gather roses white
To wear around its gems of light.
Smile, Lady, smile I-I will not see
Rivers and Hastings bend the knee,
Till those bewitching lips of thine
Will bid me rise in bliss from mine.
Smile, Lady, smile 1-for who would win
A loveless throne through guilt and sin ?
Or who would reign o'er vale and hill,
If woman's heart were rebel still?".
One jerk, and there a lady lay,
A lady wondrous fair ;
But the rose of her lip had faded away,
And her cheek was as white and as cold as clay,
And torn was her raven hair.
“Ah, ha !” said the Fisher, in merry guise,
“Her gallant was hooked before ;”
And the Abbot heaved some piteous sighs,
For oft he had blessed those deep blue eyes,
The eyes of Mistress Shore !
There was turning of keys and creaking of locks,
As he took forth a bait from his iron box.
Many the cunning sportsman tried,
Many he flung with a frown aside;
A minstrel's harp, and a miser's chest,
A hermit's cowl, and a baron's crest,
Jewels of lustre, robes of price,
Tomes of heresy, loaded dice,
And golden cups of the brightest wine
That ever was pressed from the Burgundy vine.
There was a perfume of sulphur and nitre,
As he came at last to a bishop's mitre !
From top to toe the Abbot shook,
As the Fisherman armed his golden hook,
And awfully were his features wrought
By some dark dream or wakened thought.
Look how the fearful felon gazes
On the scaffold his country's vengeance raises,
When the lips are cracked and the jaws are dry
With the thirst which only in death shall die :
Mark the mariner's frenzied frown
As the swirling wherry settles down,
When peril has numbed the sense and will,
Though the hand and the foot may struggle still :
Wilder far was the Abbot's glance,
Deeper far was the Abbot's trance :
Fixed as a monument, still as air,
He bent no knee, and he breathed no prayer ;
But he signed-he knew not why or how-
The sign of the Cross on his clammy brow.
There was turning of keys and creaking of locks, As he stalked away with his iron box.
The cock doth crow; It is time for the Fisher to rise and go. Fair luck to the Abbot, fair luck to the shrine ! He hath gnawed in twain my choicest line ; (south, Let him swim to the north, let him swim to the The Abbot will carry my book in his mouth!”
The Abbot had preached for many years
With as clear articulation
As ever was heard in the House of Peers
His words had made battalions quake,
Had roused the zeal of martyrs,
Had kept the Court an hour awake,
And The King himself three-quarters :
But ever since that hour, 'tis said,
He stammered and he stuttered,
As if an axe went through his head
With every word he uttered.
He stuttered o'er blessing, he stuttered o'er ban,
He stuttered, drunk or dry;
And none but he and the Fisherman
Could tell the reason why!
THE LEGEND OF THE DRACHENFELS.
“LEAD me away! I am weak and young,
Captive the fierce and proud among ;
But I will pray a humble prayer,
That the feeble to strike may be strong to bear.
“Lead me away! oh, dear to mine eyes
Are the flowery fields and the sunny skies ;
But I cannot turn from the Cross divine,
To bend my knee at an idol's shrine."
They clothe her in such rich array
As a bride prepares for her bridal day ;
Around her forehead, that shines so bright,
They wreathe a wreath of roses white,
And set on her neck a golden chain,
Spoil of her sire in combat slain,
Over her head her doom is said ;
And with folded arms and measured tread,
In long procession, dark and slow,
Up the terrible hill they go,
Hymning their hymn, and crying their cry,
To him, their Demon Deity-
Mary, Mother, sain and save!
The maiden kneels at the Dragon's cave !
Alas! 'tis frightful to behold
That thing of Nature's softest mould,
In whose slight shape and delicate hue
Life's loveliness beams, fresh and new,
Bound on the bleak hill's topmost height,
To die, and by such death, to-night!
But yester-eve, when the red sun
His race of grateful toil had run,
And over earth the moon's soft rays
Lit up the hour of prayer and praise,
She bowed within the pleasant shade
By her own fragrant jasmine made;
And while her clear and thrilling tone
Asked blessing from her Maker's throne,
Heard the notes echoed to her ear
From lips that were to her most dear.
Her sire, her kindred, round her knelt ;
And the young priestess knew and felt
That deeper love than that of men
Was in their natural temple then.
That love-is now its radiance chill ?
Oh ! fear not ! it is o'er her still !
The crowd departed; and alone
She kneeled upon the rugged stone.
Alas! it was a dismal pause,
When the wild rabble's fierce applause
Died slowly on the answering air ;
And in the still and mute profound,
She started even at the sound
Of the half-thought, half-spoken prayer