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Too long, at clash of arms amid her bowers
And pools of blood, the earth has stood aghast,
The fair earth, that should only blush with flowers
And ruddy fruits; but not for aye can last
The storm, and sweet the sunshine when 't is past.
Lo, the clouds roll away-they break, they fly,
And like the glorious light of summer, cast
O'er the wide landscape, from the embracing sky,
On all the peaceful world the smile of heaven shall lie.
LEADING HER BLIND MOTHER THROUGH A WOOD.
The green leaves as we pass
Lay their light fingers on thee unaware,
And by thy side the hazels cluster fair,
And the low forest grass
Grows green and silken where the wood-paths wind—
Alas! for thee, sweet mother! thou art blind!
And nature is all bright;
And the faint gray and crimson of the dawn,
Like folded curtains from the day are drawn;
And evening's purple light
Quivers in tremulous softness on the sky
Alas! sweet mother! for thy clouded eye!
The moon's new silver shell
Trembles above thee, and the stars float up,
In the blue air, and the rich tulip's cup
Is pencilled passing well,
And the swift birds on glorious pinions flee—
Alas! sweet mother! that thou canst not see!
And the kind looks of friends
Peruse the sad expression in thy face,
And the child stops amid his bounding race,
And the tall stripling bends
Low to thine ear with duty unforgot—
Alas! sweet mother! that thou seest them not!
But thou canst hear! and love
May richly in a human tone be poured,
And the least cadence of a whispered word
A daughter's love may prove―
And while I speak thou knowest if I smile,
Albeit thou canst not see my face the while.
Yes, thou canst hear! and He
Who on thy sightless eye its darkness hung,
To the attentive ear, like harps, hath strung
Heaven and earth and sea!
And 't is a lesson in our hearts to know—
With but one sense the soul may overflow.
Hart-Leap Well is a small spring of water, about five miles from Richmond, in Yorkshire, and near the side of the road that leads from Richmond to Askrigg. Its name is derived from a remarkable Chase, the memory of which is preserved by the monuments spoken of in the second part of the following poem, which monuments do now exist as I have there described them.
THE Knight had ridden down from Wensley Moor
With the slow motion of a summer's cloud,
And now, as he approached a vassal's door,
'Bring forth another horse!" he cried aloud.
"Another horse!"-That shout the vassal heard
And saddled his best steed, a comely grey;
Sir Walter mounted him; he was the third
Which he had mounted on that glorious day.
Joy sparkled in the prancing courser's eyes;
The horse and horseman are a happy pair;
But, though Sir Walter like a falcon flies,
There is a doleful silence in the air.
A rout this morning left Sir Walter's hall,
That as they galloped made the echoes roar;
But horse and man are vanished, one and all;
Such race, I think, was never seen before.
Sir Walter, restless as a veering wind,
Calls to the few tired dogs that yet remain:
Blanch, Swift, and Music, noblest of their kind,
Follow, and up the weary mountain strain.
The Knight hallooed, he cheered and chid them on
With suppliant gestures and upbraidings stern;
But breath and eyesight fail; and, one by one,
The dogs are stretched among the mountain fern.
Where is the throng, the tumult of the race?
The bugles that so joyfully were blown?
-This chase it looks not like an earthly chase;
Sir Walter and the Hart are left alone.
The poor Hart toils along the mountain-side;
I will not stop to say how far he fled,
Nor will I mention by what death he died;
But now the Knight beholds him lying dead.
Dismounting, then, he leans against a thorn;
He had no follower, dog, nor man, nor boy :
He neither cracked his whip, nor blew his horn,
But gazed upon the spoil with silent joy.
Close to the thorn on which Sir Walter leaned,
Stood his dumb partner in this glorious feat;
Weak as a lamb the hour that it is yeaned,
And white with foam as if with cleaving sleet.
Upon his side the Hart was lying stretched:
His nostril touched a spring beneath a hill,
And with the last deep groan his breath had fetched
The waters of the spring were trembling still.
And now, too happy for repose or rest,
(Never had living man such joyful lot!)
Sir Walter walked all round, north, south, and west, And gazed and gazed upon that darling spot.
And climbing up the hill-(it was at least
Four roods of sheer ascent)-Sir Walter found
Three several hoof-marks which the hunted Beas.
Had left imprinted on the grassy ground.
Sir Walter wiped his face, and cried, "Till now
Such sight was never seen by human eyes:
Three leaps have borne him from this lofty brow
Down to the very fountain where he lies.
I'll build a pleasure-house upon this spot,
And a small arbour made for rural joy;
'T will be the traveller's shed, the pilgrim's cot,
A place of love for damsels that are coy.
A cunning artist will I have to frame
A basin for that fountain in the dell!
And they who do make mention of the same,
From this day forth, shall call it HART-LEAP WELL.
And gallant Stag! to make thy praises known,
Another monument shall here be raised;
Three several pillars, each a rough-hewn stone,
And planted where thy hoofs the turf have grazed.
And, in the summer-time when days are long,
I will come hither with my paramour;
And with the dancers and the minstrel's song
We will make merry in that pleasant bower.
Till the foundations of the mountains fail
My mansion with its arbour shall endure ;-
The joy of them who till the fields of Swale,
And them who dwell among the woods of Ure!"