Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

THE

LAY

OF

THE LAST MINSTREL.

CANTO FIRST.

1

[ocr errors][merged small]

The way was long, the wind was cold, The Minstrel was infirm and old;

His withered cheek, and tresses gray,

Seemed to have known a better day;

Who sung

The harp, his sole remaining joy,
Was carried by an orphan boy.
The last of all the bards was he,

of Border chivalry;
For, well-a-day! their date was fled,
His tuneful brethren all were dead;
And he, neglected and oppressed,
Wished to be with them, and at rest.
No more, on prancing palfrey borne,
He carolled, light as lark at morn;

No longer courted and caressed,
High placed in hall, a welcome guest,
He poured, to lord and lady gay,
The unpremeditated lay:
Old times were changed, old manners gone;
A stranger filled the Stuart's throne;
The bigots of the iron time

Had called his harmless art a crime.

A wandering harper, scorned and poor,
'He begged his bread from door to door;
And tuned, to please a peasant's ear,
The harp, a king had loved to hear.

He passed where Newark's stately tower Looks out from Yarrow's birchen bower:

The Minstrel gazed with wishful eye-
No humbler resting place was nigh.
With hesitating step, at last,
The embattled portal-arch he passed,

[ocr errors]

Whose ponderous grate and massy bar,
Had oft rolled back the tide of war,

But never closed the iron door

Agaiņst the desolate and poor.
The Duchess * marked his weary pace,
His timid mien, and reverend face,

And bade her page the menials tell,
That they should tend the old man well :
For she had known adversity,
Though born in such a high degree;
In pride of power, in beauty's bloom,
Had wept o'er Monmouth's bloody tomb!

When kindness had his wants supplied,
And the old man was gratified,

Began to rise his minstrel pride :

* Anne, Duchess of Buccleuch and Monmouth, representative of the ancient Lords of Buccleuch, and widow of the unfortunate James, Duke of Monmouth, who was beheaded in 1685.

« ZurückWeiter »