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Scrapings of bones, and points of spears,
And vials of authentic tears,
From a prophet's coffin a hallowed nail,
And a precious shred of our Lady's veil.
And therefore at his awful tread
The powers of darkness shrank with dread;
And Satan felt that no disguise
Could hide him from those chastened eyes.
He looked on the bridegroom, he looked on the
bride, The young Count smiled, but the old Priest sighed.
“Fields with the father I have won ;
I am come in my cowl to bless the son.
Count Otto, ere thou bend the knee,
What shall the hire of my service be ?"
“Greedy hawk must gorge his prey ;
Pious priest must grasp his pay.
Name the guerdon, and so to the task ;
Thine it is, ere thy lips can ask !'
He frowned as he answered—“Gold and gem,
Count Otto, little I reck of them;
But your bride has skill of the lute, they say ;
Let her sing me the song I shall name to-day.”
Loud laughed the Count : “ And if she refuse
The ditty, Sir Priest, thy whim shall choose,
Row back to the house of old St. Goar :
I never bid priest to a bridal more.”
Beside the maiden he took his stand ;
He gave the lute to her trembling hand ;
She gazed around with a troubled eye ;
The guests all shuddered, and knew not why;
It seemed to them as if a gloom
Had shrouded all the banquet-room,
Though over its boards and over its beams
Sunlight was glowing in merry streams.
The stern Priest throws an angry glance
On that pale creature's countenance;
Unconsciously her white hand flings
Its soft touch o'er the answering strings;
The good man starts with a sudden thrill,
And half relents from his purposed will ;
But he signs the cross on his aching brow,
And arms his soul for its warfare now.
"Mortal maid, or goblin fairy,
Sing me, I pray thee, an Ave Mary ! ”
But of song the listeners heard
Only one wild mournful word-
And when the sound in the liquid air
Of that brief hymn had faded,
Nothing was left of the nymph who there
For a year had masqueraded,
But the harp in the midst of the wide hall set
Where her last strange word was spoken ;-
The golden frame with tears was wet,
And all the strings were broken.
" Des traditions étrangeres,
En parlant sans obscurité
Mais dans ces sources mens
Necherchons point la verite.—GRESSET.
“Nous avons changé tout cela.”—MOLIERE.
Lily, I've made a sketch, to show
How all the world will alter
The tournament in Ivanhoe,
As painted by Sir Walter ;
Those jousting days have all gone by,
And heaven be praised they're over !
“When brains were out, the man would die,”
A swain may now recover !
Yet, Lily ! Love has still his darts,
And Beauty still her glances ;
Her trophies now are wounded hearts,
Instead of broken lances !
Soft tales are told, though not with flowers,
But in a simple letter,
And on the whole, this world of ours
Is altered for the better!
Your stalwart chiefs, and men of might,
Though fine poetic sketches, Contrasted with a modern knight,
Were sad, unpolished wretches;
They learned, indeed, to poise a dart,
Or breathe a bold defiance,
But "reading " was a mystic art,
And “writing" quite a science !
Our heroes still wear spur on heel,
And falchion, cap, and feather ; But for your surcoats made of steel,
And doublets made of leather,-
Good heavens ! just fancy, at a ball,
How very incommodious !
And then, they never shaved at all-
'Twas positively odious !
A warrior wasted half his life
In wild crusades to Mecca,
In previous penance for a wife,
Like Jacob for Rebecca !
Or captive, held some twenty years
At Tunis or Aleppo,
Came back, perchance, without his ears,
A yellow fright, like Beppo !
Then heads were made to carry weight,
And not to carry knowledge;
Boys were not “ brought up for the state,"
Girls were not sent to college ; Now (oh ! how this round world improves !)
We've “Essays " by mechanics, “ Courses ” of wisdom with removes,
And ladies' calisthenics !
In the olden time, when youth had fled,
A lady's life was over;
For might she not as well be dead
As live without a lover ?
But now, no foolish date we fix,
So brisk our Hymen's trade is,
Ladies are now at fifty-six
But “elderly young ladies.”
And husbands now, with bolts and springs,
Ne'er cage and frighten Cupid,
They know that if they clip his wings,
They only make him stupid ;
Their married ladies had no lutes
To sigh beneath their windows,
They treated them, those ancient brutes,
As cruelly as Hindoos!
They moped away their lives, poor souls !
By no soft vision brightened,
Perched up in castle pigeon-holes,
Expecting to be frightened !
Or hauled away through field, or fray,
To dungeon, or to tower ;
They ne'er were neat for half a day,
Or safe for half an hour.
'Twas easy too, by fraud or force,
A wife's complaints to stifle ;
To starve her was a thing of course,
To poison her a trifle !
Their wrongs remain no longer dumb,
For now the laws protect them ;
And canes “no thicker than one's thumb"
Are suffered to correct them,