Page images
PDF
EPUB

But, by the conflagration's light,
Upon the lawn renew the fight.
Each straggling felon down was hew'd,
Not one could gain the shelt'ring wood;
But forth th' affrighted harper sprung,
And to Matilda's robe he clung.
Her shriek, entreaty, and command,
Stopp'd the pursuer's lifted hand.
Denzil and he alive were ta'en;
The rest, save Bertram, all are slain.

And where is Bertram?-Soaring high,
The general flame ascends the sky;
In gather'd group the soldiers gaze
Upon the broad and roaring blaze,
When, like infernal demon, sent
Red from his penal element,
To plague and to pollute the air-
His face all gore, on fire his hair-
Forth from the central mass of smoke
The giant form of Bertram broke!
His brandish'd sword on high he rears,
Then plung'd among opposing spears;
Round his left arm his mantle truss'd,
Receiv'd and foil'd three lances' thrust;
Nor these his headlong course withstood,
Like reeds he snapp'd the tough ash-wood.
In vain his foes around him clung;
With matchless force aside he flung
Their boldest, as the bull at bay
Tosses the ban-dogs from his way,
Through forty foes his path he made,
And safely gain'd the forest glade.

Scarce was this final conflict o'er,
When from the postern Redmond bore
Wilfrid, who, as of life bereft,

Had in the fatal Hall been left,
Deserted there by all his train ;-
But Redmond saw, and turn'd again.
Beneath an oak he laid him down,
That in the blaze gleam'd ruddy brown,
And then his mantle's clasp undid;
Matilda held his drooping head,
Till, given to breathe the freer air,
Returning life repaid their care.
He gazed on them with heavy sigh,-
"I could have wish'd even thus to die!"
No more he said-for now with speed
Each trooper had regain'd his steed;
The ready palfreys stood array'd,
For Redmond and for Rokeby's Maid;
Two Wilfrid on his horse sustain,
One leads his charger by the rein.
But oft Matilda look'd behind,
As up the Vale of Tees they wind,
Where far the mansion of her sires
Beacon'd the dale with midnight fires.
In gloomy arch above them spread,
The clouded heaven lower'd bloody red;
Beneath, in sombre light, the flood
Appear'd to roll in waves of blood.
Then, one by one, was heard to fall
The tower, the donjon-keep, the hall.
Each rushing down with thunder sound,
A space the conflagration drown'd;
Till, gathering strength, again it rose,
Announc'd its triumph in its close,
Shook wide its light the landscape o'er,
Then sunk and Rokeby was no more!

CAMPBELL.

THE SOLDIER'S DREAM.

OUR bugles sang truce-for the night-cloud had lower'd. And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky; And thousands had sunk on the ground overpower'd, The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.

When reposing that night on my pallet of straw,

By the wolf-scaring fagot that guarded the slain, At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw;

And thrice ere the morning I dreamt it again.

Methought from the battle-field's dreadful array,
Far, far I had roam'd on a desolate track,
Till Autumn-and sunshine arose on the way

To the house of my fathers, that welcomed me back.

I flew to the pleasant fields, travers'd so oft

In life's morning march, when my bosom was young; I heard my own mountain-goats bleating aloft,

And knew the sweet strain that the corn-reapers sung.

Then pledged we the wine-cup, and fondly I swore

From my home and my weeping friends never to part; My little ones kiss'd me a thousand times o'er,

And my wife sobb'd aloud in her fulness of heart.

"Stay-stay with us!-rest! thou art weary and worn!”— (And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay ;) But sorrow return'd with the dawning of morn,

And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away!

THE EXILE OF ERIN.

THERE came to the beach a poor Exile of Erin,

The dew on his thin robe was heavy and chill;
For his country he sigh'd, when at twilight repairing
To wander alone by the wind-beaten hill.
But the day-star attracted his eye's sad devotion;
For it rose o'er his own native isle of the ocean,
Where once, in the fire of his youthful emotion,

He sang the bold anthem of Erin-go-bragh.

"Sad is my fate!" said the heart-broken stranger:
"The wild deer and wolf to a covert can flee,
But I have no refuge from famine and danger,-
A home and a country remain not to me.
Never again, in the green sunny bowers

Where my forefathers lived, shall I spend the sweet hours
Or cover my harp with the wild-woven flowers,

And strike to the numbers of Erin-go-bragh.

[ocr errors]

Erin, my country! though sad and forsaken,
In dreams I revisit thy sea-beaten shore;

But, alas! in a far foreign land I awaken,

And sigh for the friends who can meet me no more! Oh cruel fate! wilt thou never replace me

In a mansion of peace, where no perils can chase me? Never again shall my brothers embrace me!

They died to defend me, or live to deplore!

"Where is my cabin-door, fast by the wild wood?
Sisters and sire! did ye weep for its fall?
Where is the mother that look'd on my childhood?
And where is the bosom-friend, dearer than all?

[graphic]

Ah! my sad heart! long abandon'd by pleasure!
Why did it dote on a fast-fading treasure?
Tears, like the rain-drop, may fall without measure,
But rapture and beauty they cannot recall.

"Yet all its sad recollections suppressing,

One dying wish my lone bosom can draw: Erin! an exile bequeaths thee his blessing,

Land of my forefathers! Erin-go-bragh! Buried and cold, when my heart stills her motion, Green be thy fields, sweetest isle of the ocean! And thy harp-striking bards sing aloud with devotion,Erin mavournin,-Erin-go-bragh!'"

« PreviousContinue »