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Ere thrice the moon into her port had steered,
A cup of stone received the living well;
Three pillars of rude stone Sir Walter reared,
And built a house of pleasure in the dell.
And, near the fountain, flowers of stature tall
With trailing plants and trees were intertwined,
Which soon composed a little sylvan hall,
A leafy shelter from the sun and wind.
And thither, when the summer days were long,
Sir Walter led his wondering paramour;
And with the dancers and the minstrel's song
Made merriment within that pleasant bower.
The knight, Sir Walter, died in course of time,
And his bones lie in his paternal vale.
But there is matter for a second rhyme,
And I to this would add another tale.
The moving accident is not my trade;
To freeze the blood I have no ready arts:
'Tis my delight, alone in summer shade,
To pipe a simple song for thinking hearts.
As I from Hawes to Richmond did repair,
It chanced that I saw standing in a dell
Three aspens at three corners of a square;
And one, not four yards distant, near a well.
What this imported I could ill divine:
And, pulling now the rein my horse to stop,
I saw three pillars standing in a line,-
The last stone-pillar on a dark hill-top.
The trees were grey, with neither arms nor head;
Half wasted the square mound of tawny green;
So that you just might say, as then I said,
"Here in old time the hand of man hath been."
I looked upon the hill both far and near,
More doleful place did never eye survey;
It seemed as if the spring-time came not here,
And Nature here were willing to decay.
I stood in various thoughts and fancies lost,
When one, who was in shepherd's garb attired,
Came up the hollow: him did I accost,
And what this place might be I then enquired.
The Shepherd stopped, and that same story told
Which in my former rhyme I have rehearsed.
A jolly place," said he, "in times of old!
But something ails it now: the spot is curst.
"You see these lifeless stumps of aspen wood,
Some say that they are beeches, others elms.
These were the bower; and here a mansion stood,
The finest palace of a hundred realms !
"The arbour does its own condition tell;
You see the stones, the fountain, and the stream;
But as to the great lodge! you might as well
Hunt half a day for a forgotten dream.
"There's neither dog nor heifer, horse nor sheep,
Will wet his lips within that cup of stone;
And oftentimes, when all are fast asleep,
This water doth send forth a dolorous groan.
"Some say that here a murder has been done,
And blood cries out for blood: but, for my part,
I've guessed, when I've been sitting in the sun,
That it was all for that unhappy hart.
"What thoughts must through the creature's brain have past!
Even from the topmost stone, upon the steep,
Are but three bounds, and look, Sir, at this last,
O master! it has been a cruel leap.
"For thirteen hours he ran a desperate race;
And in my simple mind we cannot tell
What cause the hart might have to love this place, And come and make his death-bed near the well.
"Here on the grass perhaps asleep he sank,
Lulled by the fountain in the summer-tide;
This water was perhaps the first he drank
When he had wandered from his mother's side.
"In April here beneath the flowering thorn
He heard the birds their morning carols sing;
And he perhaps, for aught we know, was born
Not half a furlong from that self-same spring.
"Now, here is neither grass nor pleasant shade; The sun on drearier hollow never shone; So will it be, as I have often said,
Till trees, and stones, and fountain, all are gone."
"Grey-headed shepherd, thou hast spoken well;
Small difference lies between thy creed and mine:
This beast not unobserved by Nature fell;
His death was mourned by sympathy divine.
"The Being that is in the clouds and air,
That is in the green leaves among the groves,
Maintains a deep and reverential care
For the unoffending creatures whom he loves.
"The pleasure-house is dust: behind, before,
This is no common waste, no common gloom;
But Nature, in due course of time, once more
Shall here put on her beauty and her bloom.
"She leaves these objects to a slow decay, That what we are, and have been, may be known; But at the coming of the milder day
These monuments shall all be overgrown.
"One lesson, shepherd, let us two divide,
Taught both by what she shows, and what conceals;
Never to blend our pleasure or our pride
With sorrow of the meanest thing that feels."
SONG AT THE FEAST OF BROUGHAM
UPON THE RESTORATION OF LORD CLIFFORD, THE SHEPHERD, TO THE ESTATES AND HONOURS OF
HIGH in the breathless hall the minstrel sate,
And Emont's murmur mingled with the song.
The words of ancient time I thus translate,
A festal strain that hath been silent long:
"From town to town, from tower to tower,
The red rose is a gladsome flower.
Her thirty years of winter past,
The red rose is revived at last;
She lifts her head for endless spring,
For everlasting blossoming:
Both roses flourish, red and white :
In love and sisterly delight
The two that were at strife are blended,
And all old troubles now are ended.
Joy! joy to both! but most to her
Who is the flower of Lancaster!
Behold her how she smiles to-day
On this great throng, this bright array!
Fair greeting doth she send to all
From every corner of the hall;
But chiefly from above the board
Where sits in state our rightful Lord,
A Clifford to his own restored!
They came with banner, spear, and shield: And it was proved in Bosworth-field.
Not long the avenger was withstood
Earth helped him with the cry of blood:
St. George was for us, and the might
Of blessed angels crowned the right.
Loud voice the land has uttered forth,
We loudest in the faithful north:
Our fields rejoice, our mountains ring,
Our streams proclaim a welcoming;
Our strong-abodes and castles see
The glory of their loyalty.
"How glad is Skipton at this hour Though lonely, a deserted tower;
Knight, squire, and yeoman, page and groom:
We have them at the feast of Brough'm.
How glad Pendragon though the sleep
Of years be on her !
She shall reap
A taste of this great pleasure, viewing
As in a dream her own renewing.
Rejoiced is Brough, right glad, I deem,
Beside her little humble stream;
And she that keepeth watch and ward
Her statelier Eden's course to guard;
They both are happy at this hour,
Though each is but a lonely tower:
But here is perfect joy and pride
For one fair house by Emont's side,
This day, distinguished without peer,
To see her master and to cheer,
Him, and his lady-mother dear!
"Oh! it was a time forlorn
When the fatherless was born,
Give her wings that she may fly,
Or she sees her infant die!
Swords that are with slaughter wild
Hunt the mother and the child.
Who will take them from the light?
Yonder is a man in sight,