Page images

Till lovely Isolde's lily hand
Had prob'd the rankling wound.

With gentle hand and soothing tongue,
She bore the leech's part;

And, while she o'er his sick-bed hung,
He paid her with his heart.

O fatal was the gift, I ween!
For, doom'd in evil tide,
The maid must be rude Cornwall's queen,
His cowardly uncle's bride.

Their loves, their woes, the gifted bard
In fairy tissue wove:

Where lords, and knights, and ladies bright, In gay confusion strove.

The Garde Joyeuse, amid the tale,
High rear d its glittering head;
And Avalon's enchanted vale
In all its wonders spread.

Brengwain was there, and Segramore,

And fiend-born Merlin's gramarye; Of that fam'd wizard's mighty lore,

O who could sing but he?

Through many a maze the winning song
In changeful passion led,

Till bent at length the list'ning throng
O'er Tristrem's dying bed.

His ancient wounds their scars expand;
With agony his heart is wrung:
O where is Isolde's lily hand,
And where her soothing tongue?

She comes, she comes! like flash of flame
Can lovers' footsteps fly:

She comes, she comes! she only came
To see her Tristrem die.

She saw him die her latest sigh
Join'd in a kiss his parting breath:
The gentlest pair that Britain bare
United are in death.

[ocr errors]

There paus'd the harp; its ling'ring sound,
Died slowly on the ear;

The silent guests still bent around,
For still they seem'd to hear.

Then woe broke forth in raurmurs weak
Nor ladies heav'd alone the sigh;
But, half asham'd, the rugged cheek
Did many a gauntlet dry.

On Leader's stream, and Learmont's tow'r,
The mists of evening close;
In camp, in castle, or in bow'r,

Each warrior sought repose.

Lord Douglas, in his lofty tent,

Dream'd o'er the woeful tale;
When footsteps light, across the bent,
The warrior's ears assail.

He starts, he wakes:-"What, Richard, ho
Arise, my page, arise!

What vent rous wight, at dead of night,
Dare step where Douglas lies!"

Then forth they rushed: by Leader's tide,
A selcouth sight they see-

A hart and hind pace side by side,
As white as snow on Fairnalie.

Beneath the moon, with gesture proud,
They stately move and slow;
Nor scare they at the gath'ring crowd,
Who marvel as they go.

To Learmont's tow'r a message sped,
As fast as page might run;
And Thomas started from his bed,
And soon his clothes did on.

First he woxe pale, and then woxe red

Never a word he spake but three ;"My sand is run; my thread is spun; This sign regardeth me."

The Elfin harp his neck around,
In minstrel guise, he hung;

And on the wind, in doleful sound,
Its dying accents rung.

Then forth he went; yet turn'd him oft
To view his ancient hall;

On the grey tow'r, in lustre soft,
The autumn moon-beams fall.

And Leader's waves, like silver sheen,
Danc'd shimm'ring in the ray:
In deep'ning mass, at distance seen,
Broad Soltra's mountains lay.
"Farewell, my father's ancient tow'r!
A long farewell," said he:

"The scene of pleasure, pomp, or pow'r,
Thou never more shalt be.

"To Learmont's name no foot of earth
Shall here again belong,
And on thy hospitable hearth
The hare shall leave her young.
“Adieu! Adieu !' again he cried,

All as he turn'd him roun'-
"Farewell to Leader's silver tide!
Farewell to Ercildoune !"

The hart and hind approach'd the place,
As ling'ring yet he stood;
And there, before Lord Douglas' face,
With them he cross'd the lood.

Lord Douglas leap'd on his berry-brown steed,
And spurr'd him the Leader o'er;

But, though he rode with lightning speed,
He never saw them more.

Some said to hill, and some to glen,
Their wondrous course had been;
But ne'er in haunts of living men
Again was Thomas seen.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


"The blessings of the evil Genii, which are curses, were upon Eastern Tale.


This ballad was written at the request of MR LEWIS, to be in serted in his Tales of Wonder." It is the third in a series of four balla is, on the subject of Elementary Spirits. The story is, however, partly historical; for it is recorded, that, during the struggles of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, a knizht-templar, ca led Saint Alban, dese ted to the Saracens, and defeated the Christians in many combats, till he was finally routed and slain, in a conflict with King Baldwin, under the walls of Jerusalem.]

BOLD knights and fair dames, to my harp give an ear,
Of love, and of war, and of wonder to hear;
And you haply may sigh, in the midst of your glee,
At the tale of Count Albert, and fair Rosalie.

O see you that castle, so strong and so high?
And see you that lady, the tear in her eye?
And see you that palmer, from Palestine's land,
The shell on his hat, and the staff in his hand ?—

"Now palmer, grey palmer, O tell unto me,
What news bring you home from the Holy Countrie?
And how goes the warfare by Galilee's strand?
And how fare our nobles, the flow'r of the land?
"O well goes the warfare by Galilee's wave,
For Gilead, and Nablous, and Ramah we have;
And well fare our nobles by Mount Lebanon,
For the Heathen have lost, and the Christians have

A fair chain of gold 'mie er ringlets there hung;
O'er the palmer's grey locks the fair chain has she

"Oh palmer, grey palmer, this chain be thy fee,
For the news thou hast brought from the Holy

"O palmer, good palmer, by Galilee's wave,
O saw ye Count Albert, the gentle and brave?
When the Crescent went back, and the Red-cross
rush'd on,

O saw ye him foremost on Mount Lebanon ?"—

"O lady, fair lady, the tree green it TOWS;
O lady, fair lady, the stream pure it flows;
Your castle stands strong, and your hopes soar on high
But lady, fair lady, all blossoms to die.

"The green boughs they wither, the thunderbolt falls,
It leaves of your castle but levin-scorched walls;
The pure stream runs muddy; the gay hope is gone;
Count Albert is pris'ner on Mount Lebanon."-

O she's ta'en a horse, should be fleet at her speed;
And she's ta'en a sword, should be sharp at her need;
And she has ta'en shipping for Palestine's land,
To ransom Count Albert from Soldanrie's hand.

Small thought had Count Albert on fair Rosalie,
Small thought on his faith, or his knighthood, had he;
A heathenish damsel his light heart had won,
The Soldan's fair daughter of Mount Lebanon.
"Oh Christian, brave Christian, my love would'st

thou be,

Three things must thou do ere I hearken to thee: Our laws and our worship on thee shalt thou take; And this thou shalt first do for Zulema's sake.

"And, next, in the cavern, where burns evermore The mystical flame which the Curdmans adore, Alone, and in silence, three nights shalt thou wake; And this thou shalt next do for Zulema's sake.


And, last, thou shalt aid us with council and hand, To drive the Frank robber from Palestine's land; For my lord and my love then Count Albert I'll take When all this is accomplish'd for Zulema's sake."He has thrown by his helmet and cross-handled sword, Renouncing his knighthood, denying his Lord; He has ta en the green caftan, and turban put on, For the love of the maiden of fair Lebanon.

And in the dread cavern, deep deep under ground, Which fifty steel gates and steel portals surround, He has watch'd until day-break, but sight saw he none, Save the flame burning bright on its altar of stone.

Amaz'd was the princess, the soldan amaz'd,
Sore murmur'd the priests as on Albert they gaz'd;

« PreviousContinue »