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the spot a world of architects, masons, bricklayers, carpenters, roadmakers, ornamental gardeners, &c., &c., in the full determination of making the old castle a very distingué sort of place. The building folks requested that before they began their work, he would allow them to explore the foundations of the edifice, and he willingly granted their request, as he reflected that even if they made the ancient edifice tumble down about their ears, it would be no such great loss after all, as it would not be much more expensive to build a new castle than to repair the old one. The sagacious workmen, therefore, knocked about the foundations of the building, and at last broke their way into a huge vault, where they saw a strange spectacle.

a chair in the middle of the vault sat a mighty king, who shone as if all his body had been made of diamonds; and to the right of this potentate stood a lovely maiden, who respectfully sustained the royal head. At first our industrious friends were a little alarmed at this discovery, but familiarity inspired them with confidence, and they thought that if they could take away an arm or a leg of the King of Diamonds, it would be a good prize. They, therefore, went a little nearer, when all of a sudden the maiden turned into a fiery dragon, and kindled such a flame in the vault, that they would have been reduced to cinders, if they had not retreated as speedily as possible.

Sir Strado heard them tell their tale, and stared; he peeped into the vault, saw the maiden, who had resumed her former shape, and then he smiled. The maiden saw him, and then she sighed; and presently he sighed too.

Leaving the vault, he called his work-people around him, and thus accosted them :—

"My good friends, if you had not been so confoundedly curious, you would not have placed me in the singularly unpleasant position, in which I find myself at present. It is the fate of knighthood, that if a chevalier hears of an adventure, he must set about achieving it within nine days, otherwise not only will the greatest calamities fall upon his own head, but his wife, children, brothers, sisters, and relations, down to the remotest cousin, will all be involved in one common misery. Now, if I had not heard of the state of things down-stairs, the devil and all his imps might have lived in my vaults, and it would have been no affair of mine. But you, ingenious folks, must, forsooth, be seized with a morbid desire of knowledge, and must go poking your heads into places, which it was never intended any Christian should enter, and seeing sights which it never was intended any Christian should see, and, therefore, am I doomed to give up my profitable schemes of improving my estate, and am obliged to investigate matters, which I do not want to know, at the

greatest peril of life and limb. So I have only to tell you that you need not continue your labours, and bestowing a hearty curse upon you all, I take my leave."

So saying, Sir Strado stalked out of the presence of the astonished workmen and returned to the vault, followed, it is said, by a faithful dog

Our readers will have collected from the sage speeches uttered by Sir Strado of the Fir-tree, in the days of his squireship, that he was a man of prudent character. Some dare-devil knights of the time would have dashed into the vault head-foremost, totally regardless of consequences.

Not so Sir Strado. When he had reached the entrance, he carefully put down his light and pitched his dog into the vault, to see what would happen. The instant that the lucky animal had reached the ground there came such a puff of flame towards our valiant knight that he was glad to back out, and stand at a convenient distance. He heard his faithful dog howling in all the agonies of being roasted alive, but this did not seem a sufficient reason to move him from his safe retreat until he had cause to believe that the fire was extinguished. He then returned to the vault, and was agreeably surprised to find his dog alive. The enchanted maiden had taken a fancy to the animal, and was holding him in her lap, where he had remained quite secure in the midst of the pyrotechnic exhibition, which had so greatly scared his master.

Prudence is not always the better part of valour, and if our knight had not been so greatly afraid of singeing his whiskers his lot would have been much happier. Judge of his surprise, when, while examining the curiosities of the vault, which he had now ventured to enter, he discovered a marble slab with the following inscription:

Woe to him that seeketh me,
Yet before the flames shall flee,
Bitter shall the portion be
Of himself and familie ;
He who quails not,-only he
Is the man to set me free.

Considered as a poetical composition the inscription was bad enough, but it was greatly to the purpose, and in point of clearness certainly surpassed most oracular communications. The first thing that struck the knight was, that as he had chucked the dog before him instead of venturing into the vault himself, the dog was the cause of the threatened calamity. Therefore, with that fine sense of justice which distinguished the King of Bohemia, when he decapitated his tutor, he drew his sabre, and struck off the dog's head.

No sooner had he dealt this fatal blow, than the diamond king and the maiden vanished from the vault. Their place was filled by raging fire and offensive smoke, which dazzled the eyes, and filled the nostrils of our hero. When he had reached that happy state of confusion that he did not precisely know where he was, a huge dragon issued from a corner, and after eyeing him for some time with considerable contempt, swallowed him entire, armour and all.

Having got Sir Strado of the Fir Tree into the dragon's mouth we bring this delightful story to a close, for a great deal happened before he got out again, and his deliverance fell in a later period of King Eginhard's reign, when Bohemia was invaded by giants, who-but do not let us anticipate; for the invasion of the giants furnishes the material for another story, which we trust to tell at some future time, and which is even more delectable than the present.

A very Ancient Variation of the Legend

of the

Most Holy St. Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury.


THE Archfiend determined one day to make trial
Whether Saints to their Lord could be rendered disloyal,
And their names, to choose from, while his dragon he mounted,
(Or the chief ones, at least,) on his fingers he counted.

The legend informs us the dress that he wore

Was with crosses adorned, both behind and before;
His dragon he loosed after one or two stages,
And sent back to Hades equerries and pages.

His equipage now was so saintly and meek-
His garments so flowing, his mule was so sleek,

None would ever expect to see him where hard knocks come,
But esteem him some middle-aged clerical coxcomb.

As he ambled-he pondered on how he should act,
And which of the blessed should first be attacked.
When the great name of Dunstan occurred to his mind,
And to tempt the Archbishop the Archfiend inclined.

Afar from his palace-afar from the court
Was the Primate retired, not for solace or sport,
But with twelve holy monks, in an abbey renowned,
For penance and tears was the Saint to be found.

Their vow was, each night, till their lives should be ended,
In a coffin to sleep-(by the Pope 'twas commended!)
To eat bitter herbs in the place of rich dishes-
And to drink water!-liquor created for fishes!

A most mischievous thought crossed the wicked one's pate
As he thundered his rat-tat-tat-tat at the gate,
And a lay brother porter, not dreaming of evil,
Wide opened the wicket-and in walked the Devil!
Now, in spite of the prose that philosophers chatter,
To let in the Devil is no such hard matter-
But once well intrenched, his defences are stout,
And 'tis not quite so easy the turning him out!
He told the good brothers he'd heard of their fame,
And he wished in their manner salvation to claim;
And in order to make them more swift to determine
He quoted the Fathers like Pusey-(see Sermon).
But the fiend in the abbey soon kicked up a dust,
And sneered with disdain on his cresses and crust;
And he swore that he never would lay down his bones
Through a long winter's night in a coffin of stones.

The friars found out 'twas in vain to remonstrate-
In his froward proceedings their brother went on straight.
But he so gained their hearts by his humour and wit,
That to send him away not a soul could see fit.

So he racked his invention, and puzzled his brains,
Till he found out a plan that rewarded his pains,
And the very next day-'twas the feast "Sacri Lactis”*-
He determined to put his contrivance in practice.
At the hour of refection each penitent sinner
Sat down to his radishes-(penance for dinner!)
And the holy Archbishop, pronouncing the grace,
At the head of the table had taken his place.

When the herbs, as if willing to lighten their grief,
In an instant were changed into sirloins of beef!—
And the water, to make the good fathers more merry,
Turned to Hock and Bordeaux, to Malvoisie and Sherry!
The brethren at first felt a scruple to eat,

Suspecting who 'twas had a hand in the treat;

"But, my friends," said St. Dunstan, "'twill do you no harm--I have blessed it-so fear neither cantrip nor charm."

So they took his advice, and without further thought,
Fell to feasting and drinking-as good fellows ought;
And day after day, as the chronicles tell,

The monks were all edified!-living so well!

Now one or two ladies, thought he of the sable,
Would greatly conduce to enliven the table;

And the saints of the chapel, with sober stone faces,

Became sweet living damsels, as fair as the graces!

Thus with love, wine, and wassail, with song and with kiss,
The monks found their holy life brimful of bliss;

And they made the stone coffin no longer their bed,
But each upon pillows of down laid his head.

How laughed the strange novice whose cunning had wrought
A change so complete in their deed, word, and thought!
How he watched, lest too early the secret should fly
On the broad wings of rumour, to meet the world's eye.

The fathers assembled one cold winter night,
Their wine was all sparkling, their fire was all bright,
And the Abbot remarked, with a smile and a sigh,
That in this joyous manner a year had passed by!

A glance from the Primate, calm, thoughtful, and stern,
Seemed to hint at a secret the rest had to learn,
But the Abbot declared that, unless it were wrong,
He should like something moral by way of a song.

The Sacristan placed himself close by the fire,

And with turf, furze, and log, made the flame to mount higher; While the fat father John, all inspired by the bowl,

Poured forth to his viol the strains of his soul.

See "Tracts for the Times," and other Puseyite publications, passim.

In the choice of a song for a moment he wavered,
As catches of tunes on his viol he quavered,
But at length he struck up a right jovial air
In high praise of their practice to drive away care.

Father John's Song.

Ave Maria! 'tis the bell

Is pealing forth its nightly knell,
Now welcome wine, and woman fair;
For what have we to do with care?

Come, fill the bowl and pass it round,
And touch the lute's soft breathing sound,
And, damsel! give one balmy kiss
To fill the measure of our bliss.

For gentle love and mantling wine,
Like stars, on mortal fortunes shine;
In these all men alike agree-
All love and drink-and so will we.

Ave Maria! 'tis the bell

Is pealing forth its nightly knell,
Now welcome wine and woman fair,
For what have we to do with care?

Not alone sang the father: the voice of the lute
And the lyre in their revel no longer were mute;
Now breathing the magic of passion they float,
Now rousing the heart with a glorious note.

Nor few their applauses, the tones of the lyre
In their beauty and fervour gave strength to desire;

But mightier the triumph when soft like the air

O'er the harpstrings that sweeps, rose the voice of the fair.

First Damsel's Song.

(To the Evening Star.)

There's a shadow wherever thy soft beams are falling,
Though bright be thy lustre, sweet planet of love,
And oft when the chain of my spirit is galling,
With sadness I gaze on thy glory above.

In the blue arch of heaven there are stars that shine brightly,
And planets sublime in their orbits that roll;

But shadowless all, for their rays touch us lightly

As coldly they sweep round the star-lighted pole!

And 'tis thus with love's passion, though pure as the splendour That beams from thy circlet of radiance afar,

In the bloom of our days, when the young heart is tender,
Then-then life is cloudless as thou art, O star!

But, alas, there's a shadow in love, and he blendeth
Full bitter a dash in the goblet of bliss,

And for each charm he gives there's a sorrow that rendeth
With anguish the heart he hath chosen for his.

Ha! see you the Prior? he lies at the feet

Of the damsel whose lips and whose strains are so sweet.
Ha! see you the Abbot? his eye is on fire

As he tunes to the praises of Bacchus his lyre!

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