Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

There was feasting and joy in Count Aymerique's bower,

When he with triumph, and pomp, and pride,
Brought home the adultress like a bride ;
His daughter only sate in her tower,

She sate in her lonely tower alone,
And for her dead mother she made her moan;
Methinks, said she, my father for me

Might have brought a bridegroom home.
A stepmother he brings hither instead,
Count Aymerique will not his daughter should wed,
But he brings home a Leman for his own bed.

So thoughts of good and thoughts of ill
Were working thus in Abba's will,
And Argentine with evil intent

Ever to work her woe was bent,
That still she sate in her tower alone,

And in that melancholy gloom,
When for her mother she made her moan,

She wished her father too in the tomb.

She watches the pilgrims and poor who wait

For daily food at her father's gate.
would some knight were there, thought she,

Disguised in pilgrim-weeds for me!
For Aymerique's blessing I would not stay,
Nor he nor his Leman should say me nay,

But I with him would wend away.
She watches her handmaid the pittance deal,

They took their dole and went away.
But yonder is one who lingers still
As though he had something in his will,

Some secret which he fain would say ;
And close to the portal she sees him go,
He talks with her handmaid in accents low;
Oh then she thought that time went slow,

And long were the minutes that she must wait
Till her handmaid came from the castle gate.
From the castle gate her handmaid came,
And told her that a Knight was there,

Who sought to speak with Abba the fair,
Count Aymerique's beautiful daughter and heir.

She bade the stranger to her bower.
His stature was tall, his features bold;

A goodlier form might never maid
At tilt or tourney hope to see,
And though in pilgrim weeds arrayed,
Yet noble in his wecds was he,

And did his arms in them enfold
As they were robes of royalty.

He told his name to the damsel fair,
He said that vengeance led him there;
Now aid me, lady dear, quoth he,
To smite the adultress in her pride;
Your wrongs and mine avenged shall be,
And I will take you for my bride.
He pledged the word of a true knight,
From out the weeds his hand he drew.
She took the hand that Garci gave,
And then she knew the tale was true,

For she saw the warrior's hand so white, And she knew the fame of the beautiful Knight.

2.

*Tis the hour of noon, The bell of the convent hath done,

And the Sexts are begun;
The Count and his Leman are gone to their meat.

They look to their pages, and lo they see
Where Abba, a stranger so long before,
The ewer, and bason, and napkin bore;
She came and knelt on her bended knee,
And first to her father ministred she.
Count Aymerique looked on his daughter down,
He looked on her then without a frown.
And next to the Lady Argentine

Humbly she went and knelt;
The Lady Argentine the while

A haughty wonder felt.
Her face put on an evil smile ;

I little thought that I should see
The Lady Abba kneel to me
In service of love and courtesy !
Count Aymerique, the Leman cried,
Is she weary of her solitude,

Qr hath she quell'a her pride?

Abba no angry word replied,
She only raised her eyes and cried,
Let not the Lady Argentine
Be wroth at ministry of mine!
She looked at Aymerique and sighed.

My father will not frown, I ween,
That Abba again at his board should be seen!
Then Aymerique raised her from her knee,

And kissed her eyes, and bade her be

The daughter she was wont to be.
The wine hath warm'd Count Aymerique,

That mood his crafty daughter knew;
She came and kiss'd her father's cheek,
And stroked his beard with gentle hand,
And winning eye and action bland,
As she in childhood used to do.
A boon! Count Aymerique, quoth she;

If I have found favour in thy sight,
Let me sleep at my father's feet to-night.

Grant this, quoth she, and so I shall see
That
you
will let

your

Abba be
The daughter she was wont to be.
With asking eye did Abba speak,

Her voice was soft and sweet;
The wine had warm'd Count Aymerique,
And when the hour of rest was come,

She lay at her father's feet.
In Aymerique's arms the Leman lay,
Their talk was of the distant day,
How they from Garci fled away

In the silent hour of night;
And then amid their wanton play
They mock'd the beautiful Knight.
Far, far away his castle lay,
The weary soad of many a day,
And travel long, they said, to him

It seemed was small delight,
And he belike was loth with blood

To stain his hands so white.
They little thought that Garci then

Heard every scornful word,
They little thought the avenging hand

Was on the avenging sword.
Fearless, unpenitent, unblest,
Without a prayer, they sunk to rest,
The adulterer on the Leman's breast.

Then Abba, listening still in fear,
To hear the breathing long and slow,
At length the appointed signal gave,
And Garci rose and struck the blow.
One blow sufficed for Aymerique, .

He made no moan, he gave no groan,
But his death-start wakened Argentine,
And by the chamber-lamp she saw

The bloody falchion shine.

She raised for help her in-drawn breath,
But her shriek of fear was her shriek of death.

In an evil day and an hour of woe

Did Garci Ferrandez wed !
One wicked wife has he sent to her

grave,
He has taken a worse to his bed.

VERSES

SPOKEN IN THE THEATRE AT OXFORD UPON THE INSTALLATION

OF LORD GRENVILLE.R. SOUTHEY.

GRENVILLE, few years have had their course, since last
Exulting Oxford view'd a spectacle
Like this day's pomp ; and yet to those who throng'd
These walls, which echoed then with Portland's praise,
What change hath interven'd! The bloom of spring
Is fled from many a cheek, where roseate joy
And beauty bloom'd; the inexorable grave
Hath claim'd its portion, and the band of youths,
Who then, collected here as in the port
From whence to launch on life's adventurous sea,
Stood on the beach, ere this have found their lots
Of good or evil. Thus the lapse of years,
Evolving all things in its quiet course,
Hath wrought for them; and though those years have seen
Fearful vicissitudes, of wilder change
Than history yet had learnt, or old romance
In wildest mood imagined, yet these, too,
Portentous as they seem, not less have risen,
Each of its natural cause the sure effect,
All righteously ordain'd. Lo, kingdoms wreck's,

Thrones overturn'd, built up, then swept away
VOL. 11. PART II.

2 s

Like fabrics in the summer clouds, dispersed
By the same breath that heap'd them; rightful kings,
Who, from a line of long-drawn ancestry
Held the transmitted sceptre, to the axe
Bowing the anointed head, or dragg'd away
To eat the bread of bondage, or escaped
Beneath the shadow of Britannia's shield,
There only safe. Such fate have vicious courts,
Statesmen corrupt, and fear-struck policy,
Upon themselves drawn down; till Europe, bound
In iron chains, her wounds still bleeding, groans
Beneath the yoke of upstart tyranny,
Save where the heroic Spaniard, he alone
Yet unsubdu'd in these degenerate days,
Recalls Saguntum and Numantia's deeds.
So may the Almighty bless the noble race,
And crown with happy end their holiest cause !

Deem not these dread events the monstrous birth
Of chance! And thou, O England, who dost ride
Serene amid the waters of the flood,
Preserving, even like the ark of old,
Amid the general wreck, thy purer faith,
Domestic loves, and ancient liberty,
Look to thyself, O England ! for be sure,
Even to the measure of thine own desert,
The cup

of retribution to thy lips
Shall soon or late be dealt !-a thought that wel
Might fill the stoutest heart of all thy sons
With awful doubt! And, therefore, they who fear
The justice of the Eternal, bless thy name,
Grenville, because the wrongs of Africa
Cry out no more to draw a curse from heaven
Upon us ;—for if still the trooping sharks
Track by the scent of death the accursed ship
Freighted with human anguish, in her wake
Pursue the chace, crowd round her keel, and dart
Toward the sound contending, when they hear
The frequent carcase from her guilty deck
Dash in the opening deep, not thine the guilt,
My country : and if some of them, even yet,
Mocking thy late repentance, set at nought
Thy laws and God's own word, upon themselves
Their sin be visited the Red-cross flag,
Redeem'd from stain so foul, no longer now
Covereth the abomination.

This thy praise,
O Grenville, and while ages roll away
This shall be thy remembrance. Yes, when all

« ForrigeFortsett »