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BY FREDERICK GOLIGHTLY, ESQ.
"A most delicate monster!"-SHAKSPEARE.
THE morn is laughing in the sky,
The sun hath risen jocundly,
Brightly the dancing beam hath shone
On the cottage of clay, and the abbey of stone,
As on the redolent air they float,
The songs of the birds have a gayer note,
And the fall of the waters hath breathed around
A purer breath, and a sweeter sound;
And why is Nature so richly dress'd
In the flowery garb she loveth best?
Peasant and Monk will tell you the tale!
There is a wedding in Nithys-dale!
With his green vest around him flung,
His bugle o'er his shoulders hung,
And roses blushing in his hair,
The Minstrel-Boy is waiting there!
O'er his young cheek and earnest brow
Pleasure hath spread a warmer glow,
And Love his fervid look hath dight
In something of etherial light:
And still the Minstrel's pale blue eye
Is looking out impatiently,
To see his glad and tender bride
Come dancing o'er the hillock's side.
In this his second Canto, Mr. Golightly has taken most unwarrantable liberties with his metres. He has the authority, he says, of all modern Poets; but I enter my protest against all such innovations.-P. C.
For look! the sun's all-cheering ray
Shines proudly on a joyous day;
And, ere his setting, young Le Fraile
Shall wed the Lily of Nithys-dale!
A moment, and he saw her come,
That maiden, from her latticed home,
With eyes all love, and lips apart,
And faltering step, and beating heart.
She came, and join'd her cheek to his,
In one prolong'd, one rapturous kiss,
And while it thrill'd through heart and limb,
The world was nought to her or him!
Fair was the boy; a woman's grace
Beam'd o'er his figure and his face;
His red lips had a maiden's pout,
And his light eyes look'd sweetly out,
Scattering a thousand vivid flashes
Beneath their long and jetty lashes ;-
And she, the still and timid bride,
That clung so fondly to his side,
Might well have seem'd, to Fancy's sight,
Some slender thing of air or light!
So white an arm, so pale a cheek,
A look so eloquently meek,
A neck of such a marble hue,
An eye of such transparent blue,
Could never, never, take their birth
From parentage of sordid earth!
He that had search'd fair England round,
A lovelier pair had never found,
Than that Minstrel-boy, the young Le Fraile,
And Alice, the Lily of Nithys-dale!
Hark! hark! a sound! it flies along, How fearfully!—a trembling throng, Come round the Bride in wild amaze, All ear and eye to hear and gaze;
Again it came, that sound of wonder,
Rolling along like distant thunder;
"That barbarous growl, that horrid noise-
Was it indeed a human voice?
The man must have a thousand tongues,
And bellows of brass, by way of lungs!"
Each to his friend, in monstrous fuss,
The staring Peasants whisper'd thus:-
"Hark! hark! another echoing shout!"
And, as the boobies stared about,
Just leaping o'er a mountain's brow,
They saw the Brute that made the row;
Two meadows and a little bog
Divided them from cruel Gog!
Maiden and matron, boy and man, You can't conceive how fast they ran! And as they scamper'd, you might hear A thousand sounds of pain and fear. "I get so tired"-" Where's my son?". "How fast the horrid beast comes on!". "What plaguy teeth!"—" You heard him roar?" "I never puff'd so much before! !"
"I can't imagine what to do!"
"Whom has he caught?"—"I've lost my shoe!" "Oh! I'm a sinful"
Do just absolve me as we go!"
66 Absolve you here? pray hold
I wouldn't do it for my mother!
A pretty time to stop and shrive,
Zounds! we shall all be broil'd alive!
I feel the spit!"-" Nay, Father, nay,
Don't talk in such a horrid way!"
"Oh! mighty Love, to thee I bow!
Oh give me wings, and save me now!"
"A fig for Love"-" Don't talk of figs!
He'll stick us all like sucking-pigs,
Or skin us like a dish of eels-"
"Run-run-he's just upon your heels!"
"I promise the Abbey a silver cup,
Holy St. Jerome, trip him up!-"
"I promise the Abbey a silver crown!
Holy St. Jerome, knock him down!-
The Monster came, and singled out
The tenderest bit in all the rout;
Spite of her weeping and her charms,
He tore her from her Lover's arms.
Woe for that hapless Minstrel-boy!
Where is his pride-his hope-his joy?
His eye is wet,-his cheek is pale;
He hath lost the Lily of Nithys-dale!
It chanced that day two travelling folk
Had spread their cloth beneath an oak,
And sat them gaily down to dine,
On good fat buck, and ruddy wine.
One was a Friar, fat and sleek,
With pimpled nose, and rosy cheek,
And belly, whose capacious paunch
Told tales of many a buried haunch.
He was no Stoic!-in his eye
Frolic fought hard with Gravity;
And though he strove, in conversation,
To talk as best beseem'd his station,
Yet did he make some little slips;
And in the corners of his lips
There were some sly officious dimples,
Which spake no love for roots and simples.
The other was a hardy Knight,
Caparison'd for instant fight;
You might have deem'd him framed of stone,
So huge he was of limb and bone:
His short black hair, unmix'd with gray,
Curl'd closely on his forehead lay;
His brow was swarthy, and a scar,
Not planted there in recent war,
Had drawn one long and blushing streak
Over the darkness of his cheek.
The Warrior's voice was full and bold;
His gorgeous arms were rich with gold;
But weaker shoulders soon would fail
Beneath that cumbrous mass of mail;
Yet from his bearing you might guess
He oft had worn a softer dress,
And laid aside that nodding crest
To lap his head on Lady's breast.
The meal of course was short and hasty,
And they had half got through the pasty,
When hark!- —a shriek rung loud and shrill,
The Churchman jump'd, and dropp'd the gill;
The Soldier started from the board,
And twined his hand around his sword;
While they stood wondering at the din,
The Minstrel-boy came running in,
With trembling frame, and rueful face,
He bent his knee, and told his case :-
"The Monster's might away hath riven
My bliss on Earth, my hope in Heaven;
And there is nothing left me now
But doubt above, and grief below!
My heart and her's together fly,
And she must live, or I must die!
Look at the Caitiff's face of pride,
Look at his long and haughty stride;
Look how he bears her o'er hill and vale,
My Beauty, the Lily of Nithys-dale!"
They gazed around them!-Monk and Knight
Were startled at that awful sight;
They never had the smallest notion
How vast twelve feet would look in motion.
Dark as the midnight's deepest gloom,
Swift as the breath of the Simoom,
That hill of flesh was moving on;
And oh! the sight of horror won
A shriek from all our three beholders;
He bore the maid upon his shoulders!