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“ I'll have none of your ribbons, and none of your rings,
None of your jewells, and other fine things,
And I've got a petticoat suits my degree,
And I'll ne'er love a married man till his wife dee.”

“Oh charming Mollee lend me then your penknife,
And I will go home, and I'll kill my own wife;
I'll kill my own wife, and my bairnies three,
If you will but love me, my charming Mollee.”

" Oh noble sir Arthur, it must not be so,
Go home to your wife, and let nobody know;
For seven long years, I will wait upon thee,
But I'll ne'er love a married man till his wife dee.”

1

Now seven long years are gone and are past,
The old woman went to her long home at last;
The old woman died, and sir Arthur was free,
And he soon came a courting to charming Mollee.

Now charming Mollee in her carriage doth ride,
With her hounds at her feet, and her lord by her side : 2
“Now all ye fair maids take a warning by me,
And ne'er love a married man till his wife dee.”

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1 This line occurs in the ballad of “Lord Beichan,” from which we may infer that that ballad was popular, and well known in Northnmberland, when“ Sir Arthur and Charming Mollee” was written.

2 It should probably be “ with her dogs ” meaning Blenheim or King Charles's spaniels. In the reign of the “merry monarch " one of the distinguishing marks of aristocracy was to be attended by two or three of these beautiful little creatures which were then first introduced into this country from Spain, and fetched an immense price.

un

LEGENDS OF KING ARTHUR

AND OF

SEWINGSHIELDS.

Lone caves, yet rife
With airy images, and shapes which dwell
Still unimpaired though old.-

CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE, Canto in. St. v.

66

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HE days are gone by, when tales of enchant

ment and of dark mystery held an unbroken sway over the mind.

They live no longer in the faith of reason." The extension of a brighter knowledge has narrowed the sphere of their influence, and compelled them to forego the bondage in which they enchained the faculties of all. But their vestiges are

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not yet effaced. They still linger in those sequestered haunts, whose very loneliness and absence from human abodes, appear from the awe they impress upon rude minds, to have concurred to the production of their marvellous and wild incidents. There they still survive, and though divested of much of their ancient power over the human intellect, they impart to the desolate scenes, round which the memory of the exertion of more than mortal agency yet hangs, a darker and more solemn tone. A“gloomy presence saddens all the

scene, Shades every flower, and darkens every green, Deepens the murmur of the falling floods,

And breathes a browner horror on the woods." The same genial cause which has dispelled the darker features of those popular tales, has also contributed to extract their malignancy. No longer surrounded by the universal imbecility of an uncultivated age they brood as an incubus of terror over the minds of the abject and enslaved, or serve as powerful instruments for designing men to rivet the fetters of ignorance and superstition. They have higher purposes to fulfil in the ameliorated influence they exercise over the imaginations of those who still own their power to fascinate and gratify. Under this aspect they may be compared to the hoar-frost, that in the diminished temperature of the evening has fallen within the

I

• Pope.

recesses of the hills, which if enveloped by a rigorous atmosphere, blights and chills the plant which its elegant chrystallization seemed to ornainent and beautify, but if touched and gently dissipated by the cheering sunbeam, it “ leaves a saving moisture at the root," to quicken and refresh. In their native sites they form the stirring theme, with which the swain strives to diversify his unvaried round of labour

“ and make the destined road of life

Delightful to his feet." They are the tales “to childhood dear,” at which the youthful imagination “lights its lamp”—and by whose animating incentives, the spirit of unquenchable research is aroused, which will neither flag nor tire, till the more than magical wonders of literature and of science, unfold their “ silver lining” to the light—the high results of its ardour. From them genius has drawn some of her finest inspirations—to them poetry has owed most exquisite effusions. They have come over the mind“ like a happy breeze touching the wires of an Æolian harp, and calling forth the most ravishing melody!

At the head of the array of legends that owe their celebrity to their supernatural machinery, stands that of King Arthur. The popularity which the romantic details of his actions—the feats of his chivalrous courtiers—and the improprieties of his faithless queen, obtained in ages, in which we are apt to imagine the intercourse between different nations very unfrequent; is such as appears scarcely credible. According to Alanus de Insulis, who was born in 1109, the fame of Arthur in his time had become unbounded. “ Who does not speak of him,” “he says,” he is even more known in Asia than in Britain, as our pilgrims returning from the east assure us; both east and west talk of him ; Egypt and the Bosphorus are not silent; Antioch, Armenia, Palestine, celebrates his deeds." +

But the fame of the mighty acts of Arthur was more than equalled by the extraordinary mystery in which his death was involved. Fatally wounded, it is said, in battle, with his rebellious subjects, headed by his ungrateful nephew Modred,—the fairy Morgana, who had long cherished an attachment to him, had him conveyed into Fairy-land, there to re-infuse the fast-ebbing stream of life, and win by her attentions, his grateful affections. Thence at some indefinite period, when the whole land shall groan under oppression ;

“ And through the realm gaunt kings and chiefs shall ride,
Wading through floods of carnage bridle deep;”#

ܛ ܙܙ

* Robert Heron.

† Apud Turner's History of the Anglo Saxons, Vol. 1.

# Finlay's Wallace.

she shall again restore him at the head of the “ dark warriors" of the Cynmry, to avenge the wrongs of Britain.

This tale so well fitted to ensure the approbation of the people, to whom the vast labours his energetic mind had surmounted, had appeared more than mortal, seems to have been propagated soon after the assigned era of his life * Taliessin the chief and most learned of the British Bards, who flourished in the sixth century, warmed while he sung the captivating strain. It opened to him visions of the future glory of the country he loved so well, and unfolded retributive vengeance poured upon the ruthless Saxon invaders, the progress of whose irresistible torrents, bravery, patriotism, and military skill, strove ineffectually to withstand. Myrzin the Caledonian in his prophetic song announced “the coming again of Arthur, monarch of the warlike host.” The Welsh clung to the tale for ages, with that fond affection towards the renown derived from past events, which misfortune leads nations as well as individuals to cherish. “ If you do not believe me," says Alanus de Insulis, speaking of the popular view of the matter, “ go into Bretagne, [a colony of the ancient Britons) and mention it in the streets or villages that Arthur is really dead like other men, you will not escape with impunity; you will be either hooted with the curses of your hearers or be stoned to death.”

While such was the interest attached to Arthur's fate, it became an essential enquiry, as to the region in which he and his faithful followers lie slumbering under the protracted night of enchantment,

"a mournful company Their features full of life though motionless" and in what scene posterity shall behold his reanimation,-and the august array of the warriors of other times, issuing to conquest ard triumph. This, however, is almost as shifting as the many-coloured legend to which his renown has given birth. Giraldus Cambrensis, indeed relates, that in 1189, the bones of the hero were sought for and discovered, in the Abbey of Glastonbury. But tradition has paid little regard to a fact of which it appears the historian might say “magna

The name of Arthur had been too long a household word in the various sections of the island; he had become the actor in too many a localized tale of enchantment, to be supplanted by the

pass fui." S

• The era which Turner prefers is one not before 528. + l'ide Turner's History of the Anglo Saxons, Vol. 1. whence the preceding information is principally derived.

Rogers's Italy. § “Part of which I was." Giraldus, it seems, was present at the exhumation, and beheld the wondrous disclosures made. See Turner's Hist. Ang. Sax. and the Gentleman's Magazine for 1842.

story of a monk who lived six centuries after his reputed death, from the haunts on which his revered presence had conferred a portion of his own glory. Indeed, it would be a matter somewhat difficult, to account for the many different localities that bear witness to this hero's charmed fate. One reason of their number may be, that the fiction of enchantment was not new, as respects him. It may have formed the basis of some more ancient tale, of which his surpassing excellence usurped the fame and disinherited the actors. In this manner Thomas of Ercildoune became the representative of Merlin's prophetic skill, while in some parts of Scotland, Peden the covenanter, as yet an unpoeiic name, has cast both into the shade. The legend is too extensively diffused to be otherwise regarded, than as the fragment of some pre-existing opinion. The marked coincidence between the tale of Arthur, and those of other lands, is sufficient to testify to its remote original. We find the whole circumstances of the narrative in the marvellous account of the “ seven men who sleep, and long have slept, in a den, under a cliff of ocean, in the uttermost parts of Germany, where there is snow all the summer-time, and in the winter, though men see the light of the sun, yet the sun is not seen! All men may see them there ; they are sound in body; their colour is not changed ; neither do their garments wax old ; and therefore the people hold them in great worship and reverence. A covetous wretch once attempted to strip one of them of his clothing, and his impious arm was dried up in the attempt.” There is also a wonderful resemblance between the story of Arthur's future appearance, and an opinion prevalent among the early Christians, respecting a very different character—the detestable Nero. It is told by Lactantius. “ The Tyrant, as he was dispossessed of the Empire, so he disappeared all of the sudden, nor is there so much as the least remembrance left of the burial place of that brutal prince. But some have from hence taken up a very foolish imagination, of his being translated, and of his being preserved alive in some other region ; which they found on some words of the Sybil, that mentions a murderer of his mother that had fled away, but that should return again ; and they fancy, that as he was the first, who persecuted the Christians, so he shall be likewise the last of their persecutors ; and that he is to appear again immediately before the coming of Antichrist, and they judge likewise that Nero shall appear as the forerunner of the Devil, who must make way for him, who is to bring a strange desolation upon earth, and destruction upon all mankind.” + This being the general

"*

• Annual Review for 1804. + A Relation of the Death of the Primitive Persecutors, written originally in Latin by

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