Page images

Far sweeping to the east, he sees
Down his deep woods the course of Tees,
And tracks his wand'rings by the steam
Of summer vapours from the stream;
And ere he pace his destin'd hour
By Brackenbury's dungeon-tower,
These silver mists shall melt away,
And dew the woods with glitt'ring spray.
Then in broad lustre shall be shown
That mighty trench of living stone,
And each huge trunk that, from the side,
Reclines him o'er the darksome tide,
Where Tees, full many a fathom low,
Wears with his rage no common foe;
For pebbly bank, nor sand-bed here,
Nor clay-mound, checks his fierce career.
Condemn'd to mine a channell'd way,
O'er solid sheets of marble grey.


Nor Tees alone, in dawning bright,
Shall rush upon the ravish'd sight;
But many a tributary stream

Each from its own dark dell shall gleam
Staindrop, who, from her silvan bowers
Salutes proud Raby's battled towers;
The rural brook of Egliston,

And Balder, nam d from Odin's son;
And Greta, to whose banks ere long
We lead the lovers of the song;
And silver Lune, from Stanmore wild,
And fairy Thorsgill's murm'ring child,
And last and least, but loveliest still,
Romantic Deepdale's slender rill.
Who in that dim-wood glen hath stray'd,
Yet long'd for Roslin's magic glade ?

Who wand'ring there, hath sought to change,
Ev'n for that vale so stern and strange,

Where Cartland's Crags, fantastic rent,

Through her green copse like spires are sent?
Yet, Albin, yet the praise be thine,
Thy scenes and story to combine!

[ocr errors]

Thou bidd'st him, who by Roslin strays,
List to the deeds of other days;

'Mid Cartland's Crags thou show'st the cave,
The refuge of thy champion brave;*

Giving each rock its storied tale,

Pouring a lay for every dale,

Knitting, as with a moral band,

Thy native legends with thy land,

To lend each scene the int'rest high

Which genius beams from Beauty's eye.


Bertram awaited not the sight

Which sun-rise shows from Barnard's height,
But from the tow'rs, preventing day,

With Wilfrid took his early way,

While misty dawn, and moonbeam pale,
Still mingled in the silent dale.

By Barnard's bridge of stately stone,
The southern bank of Tees they won;
Their winding path then eastward cast,
And Egliston's grey ruins pass'd;
Each on his own deep visions bent,
Silent and sad they onward went.
Well may you think that Bertram's mood,
To Wilfrid savage seem'd and rude;
Well may you think bold Risingham
Held Wilfrid trivial, poor, and tame;
And small the intercourse, I ween,
Such uncongenial souls between.

Stern Bertram shunn'd the nearer way,
Through Rokeby's park and chase that lay,
And, skirting high the valley's ridge,
They cross'd by Greta's ancient bridge.
Descending where her waters wind
Free for a space and uncontin'd,

As, 'scap'd from Brignall's dark-wood glen,

She seeks wild Mortham's deeper den.

Cartland Crags, near Lanark, celebrated as among the faveur

ite retreats of Sir William Wallace,

[ocr errors]

There, as his eye glanc'd o'er the mound,
Rais'd by that Legion long renown'd,
Whose votive shrine asserts their claim,
Of pious, faithful, conquering fame,

"Stern sons of war!" sad Wilfrid sigh'd,
Behold the boast of Roman pride!

[ocr errors]

What now of all your toils are known?
A grassy trench, a broken stone !"—
This to himself; for moral strain
To Bertram were address'd in vain.


Of different mood, a deeper sigh
Awoke, when Rokeby's turrets high
Were northward in the dawning seen
To rear them o'er the thicket green.
O then, though Spenser's self had stray'd
Beside him through the lovely glade,
Lending his rich luxuriant glow
Of Fancy, all its charms to show
Pointing the stream rejoicing free,
As captive set at liberty,

Flashing her sparkling waves abroad,
And clam ring joyful on her road;
Pointing where, up the sunny banks,
The trees retire in scatter'd ranks,
Save where, advanc'd before the rest,
On knoll or hillock rears his crest,
Lonely and huge, the giant Oak,
As champions, when their band is broke,
Stand forth to guard the rearward post.
The bulwark of the scatter'd host-
All this, and more, might Spenser say,
Yet waste in vain his magic lay,
While Wilfrid eyed the distant tower,
Whose lattice lights Matilda's bower.


The open vale is soon pass'd o'er,
Rokeby, though nigh, is seen no more;

This ancient manor long gave name to a family by whom it is said to have been possessed from the Conquest downward, and who are at different times distinguished in history. It was the Baron of Rokeby who finally defeated the insurrection of the Earl of Northumberland during the reign of Heury IV.

Sinking mid Greta's thickets deep,
A wild and darker course they keep,
A stern and lone, yet lovely road,
As e'er the foot of Minstrel trode!
Broad shadows o'er their passage fell,
Deeper and narrower grew the dell;
It seem'd some mountain rent and riven,
A channel for the stream had given,
So high the cliffs of limestone grey
Hung beetling o'er the torrent's way,
Yielding, along their rugged base,
A flinty footpath's niggard space,

Where he, who winds 'twixt rock and wave,
May hear the headlong torrent rave,
And like a steed in frantic fit,

That flings the froth from curb and bit,
May view her chafe her waves to spray,
O'er every rock that bars her way,
Till foam-globes on her eddies ride,
Thick as the schemes of human pride
That down life's current drive amain,
As frail, as frothy, and as vain!


The cliffs that rear their haughty head
High o'er the river's darksome bed,
Were now all naked, wild, and grey
Now waving all with greenwood spray;
Here trees to ev'ry crevice clung,
And o'er the dell their branches hung;
And there, all splinter'd and uneven,
The shiver'd rocks ascend to heaven;
Oft, too, the ivy swath'd their breast,
And wreath'd its garland round their crest,
Or from the spires bade loosely flare
Its tendrils in the middle air,
As pennons wont to wave of old
O'er the high feast of Baron bold,
When revell'd loud the feudal rout,

And the arch'd halls return'd their shout;
Such and more wild is Greta's roar,

And such the echoes from her shore.

[ocr errors]

And so the ivied banners' gleam
Waved wildly o'er the brawling stream.


Now from the stream the rocks recede,
But leave between no sunny mead,
No, nor the spot of pebbly sand,
Oft found by such a mountain strand;
Forming such warm and dry retreat,
As fancy deems the lonely seat,
Where hermit, wand'ring from his cell,
His rosary might love to tell.

But here, 'twixt rock and river, grew
A dismal grove of sable yew,

With whose sad tints were mingled seen
The blighted fir's sepulchral green.
Seem'd that the trees their shadows cast
The earth that nourish'd them to blast;
For never knew that swarthy grove
The verdant hue that fairies love;
Nor wilding green, nor woodland flower,
Arose within its baleful bower;
The dank and sable earth receives
Its only carpet from the leaves,
That from the with'ring branches cast,
Bestrew'd the ground with every blast
Though now the sun was o'er the hill,
In this dark spot 'twas twilight still,
Save that on Greta's farther side

Some straggling beams through copsewood glide; And wild and savage contrast made

That dingle's deep and fun'ral shade,

With the bright tints of early day,

Which, glimm'ring through the ivy spray,

On the opposing summit lay.


The lated peasant shunn'd the dell;
For Superstition wont to tell
Of many a grisly sound and sight,
Scaring its path at dead of night.

When Christmas logs blaze high and wide,
Buch wonders speed the festal tide;

« PreviousContinue »