Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Yet never from the book
She raised her head, nor did she deign

The knight a single look.

Off, traitor friend ! how darest thou fix

Thy wanton gaze on me?
And why, against my earnest suit,

Does Julian send by thee?

“Go, tell thy Lord, that slow is sure :

Fair speed his shafts to-day ! I follow here a stronger lure,

And chase a gentler prey."

She said : and with a baleful smile

The vassal knight reeld offLike a huge billow from a bark

Toil'd in the deep sea-trough,
That shouldering sideways in mid plunge,

Is traversed by a flash;
And staggering onward, leaves the ear

With dull and distant crash.

And Alice sate with troubled mien
A moment; for the scoff was keen,

And thro' her veins did shiver !
Then rose and donn'd her dress of green,

Her buskins and her quiver.

There stands the flowering may-thorn tree ! From thro' the veiling mist you see

The black and shadowy stem ;

Smit by the sun the mist in glee
Dissolves to lightsome jewelry-

Each blossom hath its gem!

With tear-drop glittering to a smile,
The gay maid on the garden-stile

Mimics the hunter's shout. “Hip! Florian, hip! To horse, to horse !

Go, bring the palfrey out.

“My Julian's out with all his clan,

And, bonny boy, you wis, Lord Julian is a hasty man,

Who comes late, comes amiss."

Now Florian was a stripling squire,

A gallant boy of Spain,
That toss'd his head in joy and pride
Behind his Lady fair to ride,

But blush'd to hold her train.

The huntress is in her dress of green,-
And forth they go; she with her bow,

Her buskins and her quiver !
The squireno younger e'er was seen-
With restless arm and laughing een,

He makes his javelin quiver.

And had not Ellen stay'd the race,
And stopp'd to see, a moment's space,

The whole great globe of light

Give the last parting kiss-like touch
To the eastern ridge, it lack'd not much,

They had o'erta’en the knight.

It chanced that up the covert lane,

Where Julian waiting stood,
A neighbour knight prick'd on to join

The huntsmen in the wood.

And with him must Lord Julian go,

Tho' with an anger'd mind : Betroth'd not wedded to his bride, In vain he sought, 'twixt shame and pride,

Excuse to stay behind.

He bit his lip, he wrung his glove,
He look'd around, he look'd above,

But pretext none could find or frame !
Alas ! alas ! and wel-a-day !
It grieves me sore to think, to say,
That names so seldom meet with Love,

Yet Love wants courage without a name !

a

Straight from the forest's skirt the trees

O'er-branching, made an aisle,
Where hermit old might pace and chaunt

As in a minster's pile.

From underneath its leafy screen,

And from the twilight shade,

[blocks in formation]

You pass at once into a green,

A green and lightsome glade.

And there Lord Julian sate on steed;

Behind him, in a round, Stood knight and squire, and menial train; Against the leash the greyhounds strain ;

The horses paw'd the ground.

When up the alley green, Sir Hugh

Spurr'd in upon the sward,
And mute, without a word, did he

Fall in behind his lord.

Lord Julian turn'd his steed half round.

“What ! doth not Alice deign To accept your loving convoy, knight? Or doth she fear our woodland sleight,

And joins us on the plain?"

With stifled tones the knight replied,
And look'd askance on either side, -

“Nay, let the hunt proceed !
The Lady's message that I bear,
I guess would scantly please your ear,

And less deserves your heed.

“You sent betimes. Not yet unbarr'd

I found the middle door ;Two stirrers only met my eyes,

Fair Alice, and one more.

“I came unlook'd for : and, it seem'd,

In an unwelcome hour;
And found the daughter of Du Clos

Within the latticed bower.

“But hush ! the rest may wait. If lost,,

No great loss, I divine;
And idle words will better suit

A fair maid's lips than mine."

“God's wrath! speak out, man,” Julian cried,

O’ermaster'd by the sudden smart ;And feigning wrath, sharp, blunt, and rude, The knight his subtle shift pursued. “ Scowl not at me ;

command To lure your hawk back, if you will,

But not a woman's heart.

my skill,

“Go!' (said she) 'tell him,-slow is sure,

Fair speed his shafts to-day! I follow here a stronger lure,

And chase a gentler prey.

“The game, pardie, was full in sight, That then did, if I saw aright,

The fair dame's eyes engage; For turning, as I took my ways, I saw them fix'd with steadfast

gaze Full on her wanton page."

The last word of the traitor knight

It had but enter'd Julian's ear,

« ForrigeFortsæt »