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Roll on! no clouds shall on thy waters lie
Darkling no gloomy thunder-tempest break
Over thy face: let the black night-dews fly
Thy smiles, and sweetly let thy murmurs speak
In distance and in nearness: be it thine
To bless with usefulness, with beauty shine,
Thou parent of the waterfall! proud river!
Thou northern thunderer, Suna! hurrying on
In mighty torrent from the heights, and ever
Sparkling with glory in the gladdened sun,
Now dashing from the mountain to the plain,
And scattering purple fire and sapphire rain.
'Tis momentary vehemence: thy course
Is calm and soft and silent: clear and deep
Thy stately waters roll: in the proud force
Of unpretending majesty, they sweep
The sideless marge, and brightly, tranquilly
Bear their rich tributes to the grateful sea.
Thy stream, by baser waters unalloyed,
Washes the golden banks that o'er thee smile;
Until the clear Onega drinks its tide,
And swells while welcoming the glorious spoil:
O what a sweet and soul-composing scene,
Clear as the cloudless heavens, and as serene !
Scene from Percy's Masque.-HILLHOUSE.
SCENE. A high-wood walk in a park. The towers of Warkworth castle, in Northumberland, seen over the trees.
Enter ARTHUR, in a huntsman's dress.
Arthur. HERE let me pause, and breathe while, and wipe These servile drops from off my burning brow. Amidst these venerable trees, the air
Seems hallowed by the breath of other times.——
Companions of my fathers! ye have marked
Their generations pass. Your giant arms
Shadowed their youth, and proudly canopied
Their silver hairs, when, ripe in years and glory,
These walks they trod to meditate on heaven.
What, warlike pageants have ye seen! what trains
Of captives, and what heaps of spoil! what pomp,
When the victorious chief, war's tempest o'er,
In Warkworth's bowers unbound his panoply!
What floods of splendour, bursts of joc'und din,
Startled the slumbering tenants of these shades
When night awoke the tumult of the feast,
The song of damsels, and the sweet-toned lyre!
Then, princely Percy reigned amidst his halls,
Champion, and Judge, and Father of the North.
O, days of ancient grandeur! are ye gone?
For ever gone? Do these same scenes behold
His offspring here, the hireling of a foe!
O, that I knew my fate! that I could read
The destiny that heaven has marked for me!
Enter a Forester.
For. A benison upon thee, gentle huntsman! Whose towers are these that overlook the wood? Ar. Earl Westmoreland's.
For. The Neville's towers I seek.
By dreams I learn, and prophecies most strange,
A noble youth lurks here, whose horoscope
Declares him fated to amazing deeds.
Ar. (starting back) Douglas !
Doug. Now do I clasp thee, Percy; and I swear
By my dear soul, and by the blood of Douglas,
Linked to thy side, through every chance, I go,
Till here thou rul'st, or death and night end all.
Per. Amazement! Whence ?-or how?—
Doug. And didst thou think
Thus to elude me?
Per. Answer how thou found'st me. What miracle directed here thy steps?
Doug. Where should I look for thee, but in the post Where birth, fame, fortune, wrongs, and honour call thee? Returning from the Isles, I found thee gone.
A while in doubt, each circumstance I weighed ;
Thy difficulties, wrongs, and daring spirit;
The gay delusive show, so long maintained
To lull observers; then set forth, resolved
Never to enter more my native towers
Till I had found and searched thee to the soul.
Per. Still must I wonder; for so dark a cloud
Doug. O, deeper than thou think'st, I've read thy heart.
A gilded insect to the world you seemed;
The fashion's idol; person, pen, and lyre,
The soft devoted darling of the Fair.
By slow degrees I found Herculean nerve,
Hid in thy tuneful arm;-that hunger, thirst,
The sultry chase, the bleakest mountain bed,
The dark, rough, winter torrent, were to thee
But pastime; more were courted than repose.
To others, your discourse still wild and vain,
To me, when none else heard thee, seemed the voice
Of heavenly oracles.
Per. O, partial friendship.
Doug. Yet had I never guessed your brooded purpose.Rememberest thou the Regent's masque? the birth right?
Doug. That night you glittered through the crowded halls,
Gay, and capricious as a sprite of air.
Apollo rapt us when you touched the lyre;
Cupid fanned odours from your purple wings;
Or Mercury amused with magick wand,*
Mocking our senses with your feathered heel.
In every fancy, shape, and hue, you moved,
The admiration, pity, theme of all-
One bed received us. Soon, your moaning voice
Disturbed me. Dreaming, heavily you groaned,
O, Percy! Percy! Hotspur! O, my father! Upbraid me not! hide, hide those ghastly wounds ! Usurper! Traitor! thou shalt feel me!"
Per. Heavens !
Doug. 'Tis true:—and more than I can now remember.
Per. And never speak of it?
Doug. Inly I burned;
But honour, pride, forbade.† Pilfer from dreams!
Thou knew'st the ear, arm, life of Douglas, thine—
Per. And long ago I had disclosed to thee
My troubled bosom, but my enterprise
So rife with peril seemed to hearts less touched,
So hopeless! Knowing thy impetuous soul,
How could I justify the deed to heaven,
How to thine aged sire? Armed proof I stand,
To fate: come what will come-the wide earth bears
No heart of kindred blood to mourn my fall.
*Pronounced as the first syllable in wander.
+ Pron. forbad.
Doug. The heart of Douglas beats not with thy blood, But never will I trust in mercy more,
In justice, truth, or heaven, if it forsake thee.
Per. Douglas, thy friendship is my choicest treasure ;— Has been a radiant star on my dark way; And never did I doubt thy zeal to serve me. Lend, now, a patient ear.-While with my doom Alone, I strive, no dread or doubt distracts me. No precious fate with mine involved, my heart Is fearless, firm my step. Exposing thee, The adamantine buckler falls, and leaves me, Naked, and trembling, to a double death. Doug. Thou lov'st me not.
Per. Let Heaven be witness there!-
The thought of bringing down thy father's hairs
With sorrow to the grave, would weigh like guilt,
Palsy my soul, and cripple all my powers.
Doug. Lo!-have I wandered o'er the hills for this?
Per. I would not wound thee, Douglas, well thou know'st ;
But thus to hazard on a desperate cast
Thy golden fortunes-
Doug. Cursed be the blood within me,
Plagues and the grave o'ertake me, if I leave thee;
Though gulfs yawned under thee, and roaring seas
Threatened to whelm thee!
Per. For thy father's sake
Doug. Peace! I'd not go if staying here would strew* His hoar hairs in the tomb-not stir, by heaven ! Must I toss counters? sum the odds of life,
When honour points the way ?-When was the blood
Of Douglas precious in a noble 'cause?
Per. Nay, hear me, hear me, Douglas
Doug. Talk to me
Of dangers? Death and shame! is not my race
As high, as ancient, and as proud as thine?
Per. I've done.
Doug. By heaven, it grieves me, Harry Percy,
Preaching such craven arguments to me.
Now tell me how thou stand'st; thy cause how prospered.
What has been done? What projects are afoot?
Acquaint me quickly.
Per. Gently; lest some busy ear
Be near us. Little have I yet to tell thee.
Thinking my rival's coat would best conceal me,
I won his favour by a tale scarce feigned.
Doug. A keeper of his chase thy garb bespeaks.
Per. Chief huntsman. Thus disguised, I day by day
Traverse my native hills, viewing the strength
And features of the land; its holds of safety;
And searching patriot spirits out. For, still,
Though kings and gaudy courts remember not,
Still, in the cottage and the peasant's heart,
The memory of my fathers lives. When there,
The old, the good old day is cited, tears
Roll down their reverend beards, and genuine love
Glows in their praises of my sires.
Doug. I long
To press the sons, and tell them what a lord
Lives yet to rule them.
Per. When first I mixed among them, oft I struck,
Unwittingly, a spark of this same fire.
Encouraged thus, I sought its latent seeds;
Seized opportunities to draw the chase
Into the bosom of the hills, and spent
Nights in their hospitable, happy cots.
There, to high strains, the minstrel harp I tuned,
Chanting the glories of the ancient day,
When their brave fathers, scorning to be slaves,
Rushed with their chieftain to the battle field,
Trod his bold footsteps in the ranks of death,
And shared his triumphs in the festal hall.
Doug. That lulled them, as the north wind does the sea.
Per. From man to man, from house to house, like fire,
The kindling impulse flew; till every hind,
Scarce conscious why, handles his targe and bow;
Still talks of change; starts if the banished name
By chance he hears; and supplicates his saint,
The true-born offspring may his banner rear,
With speed upon the hills.
Doug. What lack we? Spread
'The warlike ensign. On the Border side,
Two hundred veteran spears await your summons.
Per. What say'st thou!
Doug. Sinews of the house;
Ready to tread in every track of Douglas.
By stealth I drew them in from distant points,
And hid amidst a wood in Chevy-Chase.