Abbildungen der Seite

Leave to the captives none. The recreant slaves
Their ship deserting, in the faithful skiff,

For once too faithful, sweep the foaming gulf,
And reach the strand. But ah! the gallant throng,
Locked in the dungeon-hold, around them hear
The roaring cataracts;—their shrieks and groans,
With threats and prayers, and mingled curses, speak
The soul's last agonies. What boots their prayers,
Their groans, or rage to madness by their wrongs
Exasperated high? Will storms grow calm,
Or warring surges hear the suppliant's voice,
When man has steeled his heart? Oh! now to die

Amid the strife of arms were ecstasy!

Ay-e'en to perish in the conflict rude

With seas and storms beneath the cope of heaven,
Where their last breath might mingle with the winds!
But thus to die inglorious! thus immured,

As in some den of hell! They chafe in vain :

So chafes the lion in the hunter's trap;

So in his coffin turns, with dire dismay,

The wretch unwittingly entombed alive.

Now torn and wrecked-deep-cradled in the sands,
The vessel lies. Through all her yawning sides
She drinks the flood. Loud o'er her roars the surge;
But all within-is still.



Rou was the name given by the French to Rollo, or Rolf-ganger, the ancestor of William the Conqueror, and the planter of the Norman settlement in France.

FROM Blois to Senlis, wave by wave, rolled on the Norman flood,

And Frank on Frank went drifting down the weltering tide

of blood;

There was not left in all the land a castle wall to fire,

And not a wife but wailed a lord, a child but mourned a sire.

To Charles the king, the mitred monks, the mailed barons flew,

While, shaking earth, behind them strode the thunder march of Rou.

"O king," then cried those barons bold, "in vain are mace and mail;

We fall before the Norman axe, as corn before the hail."


And vainly," cried the pious monks, "by Mary's shrine we kneel;

For prayers, like arrows, glance aside, against the Norman


The barons groaned, the shavelings wept, while near and nearer drew,

As death-birds round their scented feast, the raven flags of Rou.

Then said King Charles, "Where thousands fail, what king can stand alone?

The strength of kings is in the men that gather round the


When war dismays my barons bold, 'tis time for war to


When Heaven forsakes my pious monks, the will of Heaven

is peace.

Go forth, my monks, with mass and rood, the Norman camp unto,

And to the fold, with shepherd crook, entice this grisly Rou.

"I'll give him all the ocean coast, from Michael Mount to Eure,

And Gille, my child, shall be his bride, to bind him fast and sure;

Let him but kiss the Christian cross, and sheathe the heathen sword,

And hold the lands I cannot keep, a fief from Charles his lord."

Forth went the pastors of the Church, the shepherd's work

to do,

And wrap the golden fleece around the tiger loins of Rou.

Psalm-chanting came the shaven monks, within the camp of dread;

Amidst his warriors, Norman Rou stood taller by the head.

Out spoke the Frank archbishop then, a priest devout and sage,

"When peace and plenty wait thy word, what need of war and rage?

Why waste a land as fair as aught beneath the arch of blue, Which might be thine to sow and reap-Thus saith the king to Rou:

"I'll give thee all the ocean coast, from Michael Mount to Eure,

And Gille, my fairest child, as bride, to bind thee fast and


If thou but kneel to Christ our God, and sheathe thy paynim sword,

And hold thy land, the Church's son, a fief from Charles thy lord.'"

The Norman on his warriors looked-to counsel they with


The saints took pity on the Franks, and moved the soul of Rou.

So back he strode, and thus he spoke to that archbishop


"I take the land thy king bestows, from Eure to Michael


I take the maid, or foul or fair, a bargain with the coast; And for thy creed, a sea-king's gods are those that give the


So hie thee back, and tell thy chief to make his proffer


And he shall find a docile son, and ye a saint, in Rou."

So o'er the border stream of Epte came Rou the Norman,


Begirt with barons, sat the king, enthroned at green St.


He placed his hand in Charles's hand,-loud shouted all the throng;

But tears were in King Charles's eyes-the grip of Rou was


"Now kiss the foot," the bishop said, "that homage still is due ;"

Then dark the frown and stern the smile of that grim convert, Rou.

He takes the foot, as if the foot to slavish lips to bring: The Normans scowl; he tilts the throne, and backward falls the king!

Loud laugh the joyous Norman men-pale stare the Franks aghast;

And Rou lifts up his head as from the wind springs up the


"I said I would adore a God, but not a mortal too;

The foot that fled before a foe let cowards kiss !" said Rou.



AWAY ye gay landscapes, ye gardens of roses!
In you let the minions of luxury rove;

Restore me the rocks where the snow-flake reposes,
For still they are sacred to freedom and love:

Yet, Caledonia, beloved are thy mountains,

Round their white summits though elements war; Though cataracts foam, 'stead of smooth flowing fountains, I sigh for the valley of dark Loch-na-Garr.

Ah! there my young footsteps in infancy wandered:
My cap was the bonnet, my cloak was the plaid ;
On chieftains long perished my memory pondered,
As daily I strode through the pine-covered glade:
I sought not my home till the day's dying glory
Gave place to the rays of the bright polar star;
For fancy was cheered by traditional story,

Disclosed by the natives of dark Loch-na-Garr.

"Shades of the dead! have I not heard your voices Rise on the night-rolling breath of the gale?" Surely the soul of the hero rejoices,

And rides on the wind o'er his own Highland vale.
Round Loch-na-Garr, while the stormy mist gathers,
Winter presides in his cold icy car;

Clouds there encircle the forms of my fathers,-
They dwell in the tempests of dark Loch-na-Garr.

"Ill-starred, though brave, did no visions foreboding
Tell you that fate had forsaken your cause?"

« ZurückWeiter »