Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
The Troubadour
By John C. M’Call (1793–1846)
  THE MISTS 1 lay dreaming on the mountain’s breast,
The lazy winds were sinking into rest,
And softly breathing as they died away,
Sigh’d o’er the splendors of departing day.
In awful grandeur ’mid a blaze of light        5
That threw its countless hues, of colors bright,
O’er clouds and hills, o’er dells and babbling streams,
The sun of even shed his crimson beams.
The hollow murmurs of the rushing rill,
The mellow horn that sounded ’cross the hill,        10
The nightly anthem of the feather’d host,
All golden sounds and sober evening’s boast,
Mix’d their sweet discords with seraphic skill,
And held the wanderer listening at their will.
The lowing herds crept slowly ’long the vale,        15
And distant echoes bore the hunter’s hail.
The curling smoke above the foliage flew,
Fantastic wreathing as the zephyrs blew.
The merry tabor, and the pipe’s shrill sound
Made buoyant light the village-maidens’ bound,        20
As in the mazy grass they beat the ground.
The evening breeze bore fragrance on its wing,
O’er all the richest odors scattering.
In frowning grandeur, on the distant height,
An antique castle lower’d in its might;        25
Its lofty turrets blushing with the hue
That now o’er all the scene the red sun threw.
Its lord the bold Sir Brian de Valance,
The pride and boast of all chivalric France,
Here held his court amid Provenšal peers,        30
Stranger alike to pity and to fears.
  ’T was evening’s hour, when down the mountain’s road,
A stranger Minstrel solitary strode.
Fatigued he seem’d, and faint—his gait was slow,
And oft he stopp’d to listen to the flow        35
Of streams precipitate, that fell with sound
Of soothing music on the ear, and found
Their devious paths o’er all the rugged ground.
Or else he gazed on all the fairy scene
Of rocks and hills, and laughing plains between;        40
The towering mounts that in succession grew
Up to the clouds, and all their shadows threw
On richest vineyards, where the bursting grape
Blush’d ’mid the tendrils that its clusters drape;
Which, intertwined in light and meshy rings,        45
Like feathers on the bird of Eden’s wings.
Onward he came, and o’er his back was slung
A harp—and from his graceful shoulders hung
The garb that poets of the time then wore,
While nature’s richest, noblest stamp he bore        50
Of light etherous on his open brow,
Though something sad was on his features now.
His port was such as ladies love to view,
Haught and chivalric—yet besides there grew
A poet’s sadness o’er his speaking face,        55
That paled his front, but stole no single grace.
*      *      *      *
  In Bryan’s hall the revels were begun,
Many a heart had now been lost and won.
Blazing with light the rich and festive room,
With scorn shut out the coming night’s dull gloom.        60
The pride of France and chivalry had met,
And winsome pleasure wanton’d without let:
The joyous laugh from lip to lip went round,
And sense enchanted drank the thrilling sound.
*      *      *      *
  The moon held pale dominion o’er the scene,        65
While light and fleecy clouds were oft between
Her and the earth in all their beauty seen,
Alt’ring their vaporous forms and sailing on,
Their magic changes hardly seen ere gone,
Veiling the silver graces of that orb,        70
Whose modest charms all other charms absorb.
A bugle’s call then sounded from the gate.
The warder enter’d, and with feudal state,
Whisper’d his lord, who cries “throw ope the door,
And let us welcome greet the Troubadour,        75
He comes with skilful harp, and soft’ning lay:
Ne’er to such guests can courtly knights say nay.”
The doors flew open, and with graceful mien,
The Minstrel enter’d in his garb of green.
In wild luxuriance o’er his front there play’d,        80
Thick, clustering locks that even blacker made
The swarthy hue that darken’d in his face,
And lent his flashing eye a gloomier grace;
While in the lowly bow he made around,
More of the knight than peasant there was found.        85
Now ceased the lively dance, and dames drew near
The harp’s full tone and melody to hear.
Then lowly bending o’er the strings he rung
A wild and mournful prelude ere he sung.
*      *      *      *
  With wilder’d eye the lady Ella stood,        90
Watching the Troubadour as though she would
Recall some well-known air, or former tone,
Shadow or light that o’er his face had flown.
“It is—and yet it cannot be—that air!
And yet his brow was wont to be so fair.        95
That voice and I should sure be well acquaint.”
*      *      *      *
  The Minstrel watch’d the changes of her thought,
And when the warm and well-known glance he caught,
Like Egypt’s statue kiss’d by golden beams
Of mantling morn new-waking from her dreams,        100
A full, harmonious peal of music threw
From chords melodious—soft as summer dew.
He ceased—and bowing lowly once again,
The melting echoes of his wondrous strain,
Borne on the bosom of the evening breeze        105
Died ’mid the shadows of the distant trees.
Then came a burst of rich and noble praise,
The poet’s choicest meed for all his lays,
From pleasure-beaming eyes and lips where smiles,
With wildest sporting, flung around their wiles.        110
O’er one fair face the hue of joy was thrown;
With lustrous gladness every feature shone.
She look’d her thanks, but trusted not her voice,
Content in blissful silence to rejoice.
With courteous grace his thanks the Baron made,        115
And turning to his glittering menials, bade
Them bear the gold-embossed beaker near,
Then pledged his guest and every high-born peer
But as he quaff’d the sparkling liquor down,
His searching eye was lower’d with a frown;        120
A sudden thought seem’d crossing o’er his mind,
And with his falcon-glance he seem’d to find,
As every lineament he sternly scann’d,
With look so long accustom’d to command,
Some well-known feature in the Minstrel’s face,        125
Whose dusky forehead gave of change no trace.
*      *      *      *
While through the hall loud peals of rapture rung
And pleasure’s accents dwelt on every tongue,
A happy moment then the Minstrel caught,
Whispering, to tell the tidings that he brought.        130
“Oft, my loved Ella, since that hated morn,
When fierce—and more—when unrequited scorn,
Fell withering from thy father’s lip, to blast
My fair and knightly fame—but that is past,
I will not strike upon a chord that rings        135
No mellow music—but that wildly flings
Its piercing discord on the shuddering air.
Oft with various guise and subtle care
I watched thy casement—under which I sung
Some air of kinder days past by, and hung        140
On quivering lights, and gliding forms that past
With breathless hope, still praying that at last,
Thy form would glad my sight, and once again
Thy melting accents chase acutest pain.
Alas! you came not—then with desperate hand,        145
I caught the harp of Minstrels of our land;
Threw o’er my face the nut-brown olive hue,
And from the knight a wandering poet grew,
Hoping amid the revels of the time,
An entrance for the Trouvere and his rhyme;        150
Then won with melody, like him of old,
A prize denied to conquering love of gold.”
Here glancing on a stern and martial form
Whose features bore the impress of the storm;
Like some fierce figure by Salvator drawn,        155
Darkling and towering in his strength of brawn;
’Mid rocks and gloomy woods and savage men
Waiting at th’ entrance of some banditt’s den;
The fire’s dull embers pouring their red light
On stern, wild features, and on armor bright:        160
The brow of Guiscard darken’d, and his eye
Threw out a light, as though he would defy,
In th’ hour of gasping death, the warrior dark,
Who took of song and dance but slender mark.
*      *      *      *
  While old age lives on mem’ry of the past,        165
Youth feeds on hope delusive to the last;
A cheating phantom follows as it flies,
Deck’d with gay promise though embalm’d in lies.
In rapt and burning syllables he told
His lover’s tale—while smooth and swiftly roll’d        170
In course untired and same the heedless hour.
The morning-moon, half hid amid the bower,
In streams of silver light descending, shed
Her rays soft melting on the flow’ring bed,
That seem’d with dewy fragrance to repay        175
The wand’ring kisses of each smiling ray.
The fleeting wind too bore upon its breast
The grateful essence—and with odors dress’d,
Lavish’d its perfumed riches all around,
On dames—knights—marble—and the verdant ground.        180
And now not mark’d, the lovers stood beside
A lofty, narrow casement—opening wide
Its painted leaves (whose glowing colors told
Some tale chivalric, where a Baron bold
For love had died—struck by a rival’s hand,        185
Who smiled and waved aloft his bloody brand.)
Ella look’d up into her lover’s face—
And round her mouth with melancholy grace,
A faint smile languish’d, as she earnest pray’d
No fate of theirs should be like that portray’d        190
With cunning skill, upon the polish’d glass.
Laughing, her lover bade the boding pass.
Yet still the gentle girl in silence sigh’d,
O’er her wild fancies brooding, strove to hide
Even from her timid self her chilling fear,        195
Her soft eye glistening with the heavy tear.
*      *      *      *
The lady listen’d to his ardent theme
Like one entranced in a rapturous dream.
“My arms and horse,” then said the youthful knight,
Those that must serve me in the morrow’s fight,        200
Conceal’d, I left amid the forest’s gloom,
Hard by the rough-wrought cross and ruin’d tomb.
Thou must remember, love, ’t was there I first,
In fond, but low and broken accents durst
Tell thee I loved—amid the awful scene        205
Of towering trees—wild streams and rude rocks green
With antique moss—and ’neath that sacred sign,
All holy men have ever deem’d divine,
Our faith we mutual pledged. Now I retread
That path, and at the dwelling of the dead        210
The coming morn must bide.—If in the just
Yon haughty Julian and thy Guiscard thrust,
Thy lovely image still will brace my arm,
Still lend new vigor, and preserve from harm.
Then should he fall, thy father may relent        215
And pitying yield his oft withheld consent.
*      *      *      *
  At once to shun remark or curious glance,
Aside each turn’d, to watch the entangling dance,
Where floating lightly through its endless maze
Young beauties sought and won th’ admiring gaze.        220
From rich-gemm’d ringlets spicy odors flew,
From streaming curls of every sunny hue.
In Grecian folds the snowy draperies hung,
While wreaths of velvet flowers were o’er them strung.
Love-darting eyes in melting softness shone,        225
And vermeil lips dropt words of mellowest tone.
Their white, impearled arms, thrown light in air,
Strew’d rose, and hyacinths, and blossoms rare.
The dewy freshness of the leafy showers
Rain’d essence o’er the hall, now strewn with flowers.        230
Soft voices sang with air and tone as sweet
As those of sea-maids when they haply meet
Some blooming boy, who rides the foamy wave,
Drinks the rich music, and forgets the grave
That yawns—and gazes on the syren’s hairs        235
That stream unearthly beautiful, and dares,
Of billows’ wrath unmindful, still to feed
Enrapt upon their smiles—and seems, indeed,
To deem it bliss t’ obey th’ enticing sign,
And plunge in awful depths for love divine.        240
His billowy tomb then quickly rears
Its foam-topp’d pyramid—and disappears.
*      *      *      *
  With fragrant breath the morning now arose,
On joy gay smiling, and on keenest woes:
The stars, sown o’er the jetty head of night,        245
In brilliance paled before the orb of light;
Dark seas of mist roll’d back their murky wave
Before the bright, young beams that richly lave,
In tints prismatic all his vaporous throne,
In glittering splendor, awful and—alone.        250
The cool breeze, rambling, woke the sleeping leaves,
With that soft breathing that alternate heaves
The yellow harvest and the quiet lake,
And balmy freshness showers o’er the brake.
Ella arose, and from the casement hung        255
Enchanted, on the quiet scene that flung
Its still and fragrant spell on all around.
Far up the sloping hills the merry sound
Was heard of early shepherd’s pipe, and bell
Of grazing flocks, re-echoed from the dell.
*      *      *      *
  The hours flew onward, and in crowds the dames
And low-born serfs and knights of haughty names,
Gay in the rich array of gaudy dress,
In expectation, to the lists now press.
A lovely mead, romantically wild,        265
Stretch’d at the feet of rocks and cliffs uppiled
In forms grotesque—inclined its verdant breast,
Just swelling from the hills, in quiet rest.
The hoary forest cast its sombre shade,
In darkling masses thrown athwart the glade;        270
While, here and there, an aged, branching oak
The lengthen’d sameness of the green plain broke.
De Valance’ lofty towers on the left,
Of beauty now and chivalry bereft,
With splendor glowing of the morning beam,        275
With richest tints of brightest purple gleam.
’T was here the lists enclosed with palisade,
Ran far across the smooth and grassy glade.
At each extremity was placed a gate,
Where heralds—pursuivants—and trumpets wait,        280
And men at arms to guard the portal’s way,
Watch o’er the order of the gay tournay,
Decide the quality of knight, and fame
Of those who peril’d in the warlike game.
Pavilions, rich with gold and every dye,        285
At measured distance regularly lie;
Squires beside them, in grotesque array,
Guard the bright war-worn shields that near them lay,
Caress the foaming steed that rears from joy,
His gold bit champs or bites some martial toy.        290
To rich and lofty seats with velvet spread,
The lady guests, with Ella, now were led,
Soft eyes shone brightly, and some hearts beat high.
From one there came a deep, though smother’d sigh.
As queen of love and beauty on that day,        295
Peerless in rank young Ella led the way.
She passed like Luna on her azure sea,
In beauty sailing—yet reluctantly;
Like visions seen by Castaly’s pure stream,
In the rapt poet’s airy, radiant dream.        300
For her the acclaim of rapture bore no charm;
To one so gentle it echoed alarm;
And on her snowy lid and long eye-lash
Black care with laughing pleasure seem’d to clash.
Up to her sparkling throne she trembling pass’d,        305
Gazing on knights and plunging steeds—aghast.
Pallid she sat, and on the entrance-gate
Her deep gaze planted—as if fix’d by fate.
As yet, through all the waving plumes in sight,
Her anxious eye still sought the nodding white.        310
It came—and trumpets sounding, wildly threw
Their warlike clamors all the barriers through.
Clarions and cymbals cast their echoes round,
Fair women smiled, and chargers paw’d the ground.
The Heralds “Largess” cried, while golden showers        315
Fell plenteous o’er their heads, like falling flowers,
From hands of gallant peers and lovely dames,
Of martial line and far-famed, ancient names.
The Marshals too, arm’d cap-a-pie now stand,
Prepared at once to judge and to command.        320
With shouts and wild huzzas the lists resound,
To this knight first—and then to that redound.
Full twenty knights now ranged on either side,
Sternly impatient, for the signal bide.
Firm in the stirrup—and the spear in rest,        325
Each pants to put his armor to the test,
O’er one fierce party dark-brow’d Julian sways,
His polish’d armor glistening in the rays.
While through the steel-clad ranks he quickly glides,
And keenly eyes each warrior as he rides;        330
With careful glance he views each barbed steed,
And knight impatient for the warlike deed.
In firm array the adverse squadron stands,
With rich-dyed streamers, and with well-tried brands.
And from the martial column Guiscard brooks        335
With burning ardor all his rival’s looks.
Unknown, he asks a knightly rank and post,
Claims a front station in the armed host.
*      *      *      *
  Now blew the loud shrill trump its warrior cry:
The breathless audience waited silently;        340
While, circled in a cloud of blacken’d dust,
Each party clash’d and mingled in the just.
The sounds of clarions and of clanging arms
Falling with horrid jar—the wild alarms
Of martial outcries and the trampling steed,        345
Fled howling to the mountain from the mead.
A mist of darkling dust enwrapt the field;
The lance now shatter’d, fell before the shield;
Horses and men now roll’d along the plain,
Bleeding—struck down—and writhing in their pain.        350
Cries of fierce agony with shouts were heard,
Dreadful commingling—as the coursers spurr’d,
With hoofs ensanguined tore the fallen knight,
Who helpless, shriek’d amidst the furious fight.
Gay, streaming plumage drifted on the gale,        355
As leaves autumnal with the loud breeze sail.
The piteous cries and groans of those who fell
Stole tremulously fearful o’er the dell.
Still o’er the scene spectators shouted loud,
And kerchiefs waved from out the beauteous crowd.        360
With skill and gallant guise young Guiscard fought,
Sternly impatient for his rival sought.
Willing they met, and ’mid the horrid din,
With fury strove the mastery to win.
  How fared that maid who madly gazed intent,        365
With eye distended and her fair neck bent?
With throbbing heart she gazed and madden’d brain,
On bright swords gleaming—and the bloody stain.
The pale and panting girl beheld the steel
On high bright beam and then beneath it reel,        370
Her lover prostrate—and she saw no more
Than that he fell, ensanguined with his gore;
A cry in deep, but still half-stifled wo,
(Like moan of loud winds baffled as they go.
Through dreary caverns speeding or some vault,        375
Angry or frighted at th’ unlook’d-for halt,)
In plaintive agony she gave, and sunk,
A pale and lovely—yet a breathless trunk.
Sir Brian saw his beauteous daughter fall,
And sternly motion’d for the trumpet-call,        380
That rolls its peaceful clamors all around,
And drowns of mimic war the harsher sound.
With wildest uproar teem’d the tournay scene,
As borne off, lifeless, disappear’d its queen.
Whilst squires attending on each suffering Knight,        385
The deep wound stanch’d—unclasp’d the helmet bright;
Thirsting and faint the hapless Guiscard lay,
Wailing the fortune of th’ unhappy day,
Till o’er the lists the Baron’s rambling eye
With anger lighten’d—then fix’d instantly.        390
The fallen Knight he knows, and unquench’d hate
With rapid vehemence decides his fate;
That wakeful hate that burning, never dies
Till in the silent tomb its victim lies;
That canc’rous rots the heart where it has sway,        395
And night’s dull hue spreads o’er each smiling day.
He turn’d with quick decision and command,
And scornful pointing with his unsheath’d brand,
Bade his arm’d menials to a dungeon bear,
And guard with fetters and their studied care,        400
The stubborn fool whose obstinacy led
Where meet reward should shower on his head.
*      *      *      *
  Full oft the sun had bathed his glorious ray,
Crimsoning the waters of the distant bay;
Dyed golden masses of the evening’s cloud        405
With streaks of blushes, and with purple proud;
Dropt on the leaning bark’s white-swelling sail
Those tints that brighten e’en the canvas pale:
And lapt the glowing landscape in rich hues,
Whose dazzling’s mellow’d by the falling dews.        410
Long months had pass’d since Guiscard hapless lay,
Shut from the genial smiling of the day:
But now flew on the happy hour, when
Young Hope and Love might shed their joys again.
With passion’s eloquence and conquering gold,        415
Rich in the latter—with the former bold;
With tears and melting words, the lady brought
That tearful meeting she so fondly sought,
Entranced she sunk upon her lover’s breast,
Content t’ enjoy that happy—breathless rest,        420
Till by the trembling jailor roused in fear,
Th’ escape she plans and dries the fruitful tear.
Long-told adieus—and frequent, then were past,
More mournful each and tenderer than the last,
Till pale with dread, the trembling soldier bore        425
His lingering mistress from the dungeon’s door.
Noiseless as one of Autumn’s stilly days,
When sluggish winds ne’er rouse the veiling haze
Which wraps in deep’ning mist the distant height,
Soft’ning the radiance of too brilliant light,        430
With stealthy pace they trod the vaulted way,
(Ne’er seen nor brighten’d by the cheering day,)
Nor dream’t suspicion’s glance, with subtle art,
Divined the secret of the maiden’s heart.
*      *      *      *
  Turn we to that fierce father once again,        435
The storm of passion raging in his brain.
With hurried pace he treads the princely hall,
While two dark menials summon’d at his call,
Their stern lord’s mandate in the distance wait.
Sudden he turns and checks his rapid gait,        440
Beckons the ruffians to a nearer stand,
With haughty air delivers his command.
“Ye know the prisoner in the western tower?
’T is well—then ere the coming morning’s hour,
See that he dies; and when the deed is done,        445
Pluck out his heart—I ’ve use for such a one.”
Turning he marshals them their murderous way:
Wildly impatient chides the tardy day.
The breezy morn sped o’er its orient path,
Nor frown’d indignant on th’ assassin’s wrath:        450
Too well and swiftly done, the bloody deed
Nor darks its rising, nor controls its speed;
Heaven’s pure rays with equal bounty shed
Their balmy kiss on Crime and Virtue’s head.
With smile malignant and with fiendish sneers,        455
The villains’ full recital Brian hears;
Lists the whole history of his victim’s death,
The last deep sighing of his fleeting breath:
His wild hate gluts with long and gloomy gaze
On the dread relic that before him lays:        460
Now bids a servant, with ferocious air,
A deep gold goblet to his presence bear.
Throws in the bleeding object of his ire;
Then as a gift from fond and doting sire,
Commands they bear it to his darling child,        465
“Fair as obedient—as sincere as mild.”—
  O’er that sad daughter’s brow the night-breeze flew,
Her fever’s heat unbated by the dew.
The fresh’ning moisture of the morning air
Threw no soft coolness on that forehead fair:        470
Each snowy eye-lid swoln and drooping hung,
Told of a heart with speechless misery wrung.
Her tearless, mournful glance, towards heaven now led,
Spoke the dead calm of soul when hope is dead:
That cold, undying agony of mind,        475
Too keenly poignant e’er to be defined;
That sinks but rarely to its short-lived rest,
And waking burns still fiercer in the breast.
A young and weeping page now slowly bore
That gorgeous beaker, chased with clotted gore,        480
Laid the dread offering at the lady’s feet,
Trembling essay’d his message to repeat.
With sobs and faltering then he told his tale,
Deeply intent upon his mistress pale.
“My noble lord has sent,” ’t was thus it ran,        485
“That which he says will pleasure ye to scan,
’T was kind, he says, such precious gift to send,
’T was what ye prized e’en more than sire or friend.
I cannot tell, dear lady, what is meant,
But his eye burnt fiercely and his brow was bent,        490
And round his mouth there lurk’d a laughing scorn,
That seem’d of fiercest Hatred to be born.”
With mien unchanging and with steadfast look,
The blood-stain’d goblet hapless Ella took.
The page’s words now made its meaning plain,        495
All prayer or piteous plaint were now but vain:
Despair too, lent a calmness to her tone,
Nor fell one tear—nor solitary groan.
“My father hath done wisely,” then she said,
“In such rich sepulchre should e’er be laid        500
A heart whose feeblest pulse to honor beat,
The home of Courage—sacred Virtue’s seat!
The richest tribute of my thanks then bear
That doting parent for his fostering care:
This precious gift is all I ever sought,        505
’T is far too costly e’er to have been bought.”
The heavy, scalding tear o’erflowing then,
Her slumb’ring maiden-softness woke again.
With deep, unsated look of love intense,
That fix’d, unwandering gazing of the sense,        510
Her glance now fasten’d on the blood-stain’d urn,
While her pale cheek still paler ’gan to turn.
From the wild gipsy’s casket then she took,
With mild and pensive but determined look,
A dark thick liquid, and with upturn’d eye,        515
She faintly smiled—and drank it instantly.
The deadly poison coursed its lightning way;
Death’s hue now wandered o’er her, as she lay.
The young and faithful page had gazed with air
Of love respectful—tender brother’s care:        520
But when he saw that ghastly shadow creep
O’er his fair mistress’ face, he ceased to weep:
Swift flew to summon to her couch’s side
Her weeping maidens ere the lady died.
And when they came, they found that goblet prest        525
Closely and tightly on her panting breast.
*      *      *      *
  Now all grew silent—and pale Ella’s eye,
Languid and glassy, sought the azure sky:
A gentle motion o’er her lips then ran,
As if she pray’d for that dark-hearted man;        530
And then they closed—and with convulsive throe,
The spirit fled this scene of earthly wo.
On her fair face a holy calm was spread,
As if she slept—but not among the dead:
Her fallen lid, with blue, meandering vein,        535
Seem’d Parian marble with its wandering stain.
*      *      *      *
  Sad wore that day in Brian’s gilded halls,
And long its memory in those stately walls.
The silver tones of revelry had fled,
While grief’s dull notes were wandering in their stead.        540
The piercing trumpet and the martial drum
Slept silent, ’mid the low and deepen’d hum
Of sorrowing vassals, on vain grief intent,
On mournful duties silently now bent.
The hour had come, for that sad requiem said        545
By weeping friendship o’er the festering dead:
That harrowing—tearful moment, when the grave
Sullenly closes o’er the young and brave;
When the dread sound of fast descending mould
Strikes on the wounded heart so fearful cold.        550
Many that requiem heard, and told the tale
To those who listen’d, e’en when it was stale.
*      *      *      *
  ’T was a dark, chilly morn in bleak November,
Such as old, gray-bearded men remember:
The clouds were heavy—dull—and scattering,        555
Large drops of rain, at times, fell pattering
On red and purple leaves that strow’d the ground,
While the blast blew with melancholy sound:
And falling foliage darken’d all the air,
Rich in autumnal dyes, of tints most fair.
*      *      *      *
  And ever and anon a lulling note
Of sadful music, air-borne, seem’d to float
Through all the windings of the brown hued grove,
And with the harsher sounds rich sweetness wove.
Then the full, solemn hymning for the dead        565
Fell, sullen on the listening ear and spread,
While bursting on the sight a moving train
Crept slowly onward down the shelving plain.
Knights and fair women—holy priests—were seen,
In robes—fair flowing plumes—and costliest sheen.        570
Then the sad bier, with dim and black array,
In awful slowness pass’d upon its way.
Within its dark funereal bosom laid
The brave young knight beside the beauteous maid.
From those who gazed (a crowd of young and old,)        575
In unaffected grief, the big tears roll’d.
Of their sad passion many a tale went round,
Told with the low and fearful, smother’d sound.
Some said lord Brian, when his daughter died,
Wept madly, even in his hour of pride:        580
Raved o’er the lovely relics of that child,
In all the tempest of his passions wild.
’T was even lightly whisper’d he had sworn,
That the bright helm and glaive should ne’er be born,
But that the pilgrim’s staff or monkish beads        585
Best fitted one of such foul, bloody deeds.
Onward the long procession sadly pass’d,
Till to a lonely dell it came at last,
Where moody cypress and the clambering vine,
In close and loving meshes intertwine.        590
There in one grave lie maid and cavalier,
Their cold tomb bathed with many a sad tear:
And on its sculpture village damsels hung
Fresh flowers, and frequent in the evening sung.
Among the rustics too a lay went round,        595
That notes aerial wander’d o’er that ground,
On moonless nights, and when the wind was high,
And black clouds sailed heavily in the sky.
In that lone spot—beside a quiet stream
And mouldering ruin, those two lovers dream.        600
Note 1. M’Call is a native of Philadelphia, and received an education for the bar, but we understand is not at present engaged in practice. He is known as the author of The Troubadour, The Condottier, Fleurette, and other small poems. The first named of these is the only one we have had an opportunity of seeing. It has many passages of rich and graceful description, which dispose us to think highly of the author’s poetical talent. We must add, that this poem is marked by some of the strangest metrical anomalies that have ever come in our way. Mr M’Call we are informed, writes only for amusement, and does not seem to bestow the necessary attention upon the more mechanical department of poetry. We should be gratified to see him put forth his strength upon a work of higher character, with a studied and persevering effort. [back]

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