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Yea, many overcome in spite
Harp! we have been full long beguiled By busy dreams, and fancies wild; To which, with no reluctant strings, Thou hast attuned thy murmurings; And now before this Pile we stand In solitude, and utter peace: But, harp! thy murmurs may not cease Thou hast breeze-like visitings; For a Spirit with angel-wings Hath touched thee, and a Spirit's hand: A voice is with us — a command To chant, in strains of heavenly glory, A tale of tears, a mortal story!
The Harp in lowliness obeyed;
For She it was — this Maid, who wrought Meekly, with foreboding thought, In vermeil colours and in gold An unblest work; which, standing by, Her Father did with joy behold, Exulting in the imagery; A Banner, one that did fulfil Too perfectly his headstrong will : For on this Banner had her hand Embroidered (such was the command) The Sacred Cross; and figured there The five dear wounds our Lord did bear; Full soon to be uplifted high, And float in rueful company!
It was the time when England's Queen Twelve years had reigned, a Sovereign dread; Nor yet the restless crown had been Disturbed upon her virgin head; But now the inly-working North Was ripe to send its thousands forth, A potent vassalage, to fight In Percy's and in Neville's right, Two Earls fast leagued in discontent, Who gave their wishes open vent; And boldly urged a general plea, The rites of ancient piety To be triumphantly restored, By the dread justice of the sword! And that same Banner, on whose breast The blameless Lady had exprest Memorials chosen to give life And sunshine to a dangerous strife; That Banner, waiting for the call, Stood quietly in Rylstone Hall.
It came, and Francis Norton said,
Loud noise was in the crowded hall, And scarcely could the Father hear That name — which had a dying fall, The name of his only Daughter dear, And on the banner which stood near He glanced a look of holy pride, And his moist eyes were glorified; Then seized the staff, and thus did say: “ Thou, Richard, bear'st thy father's name, Keep thou this ensign till the day When I of theé require the same: Thy place be on my better hand; — And seven as true as thou, I see, Will cleave to this good cause and me.” He spake, and eight brave sons straightway All followed him, a gallant band!
Forth when Sire and Sons appeared A gratulating shout was reared, With din of arms and minstrelsy, From all his warlike tenantry, All horsed and harnessed with him to ride; – A shout to which the hills replied!
But Francis, in the vacant hall, Stood silent under dreary weight, A phantasm, in which roof and wall Shook - tottered — swam before his sight; A phantasm like a dream of night! Thus overwhelmed, and desolate, He found his way to a postern-gate; And, when he waked at length, his eye Was on the calm and silent sky; With air about him breathing sweet, And earth's green grass beneath his feet; Nor did he fail ere loug to hear A sound of military cheer, Faint - but it reached that sheltered spot ; He heard, and it disturbed him not.
There stood he, leaning on a lance Which he had grasped unknowingly, Had blindly grasped in that strong trance, That dimness of heart agony; There stood he, cleansed from the despair And sorrow of his fruitless prayer. The past he calmly hath reviewed: But where will be the fortitude Of this brave Man, when he shall see That Form beneath the spreading tree, And know that it is Emily?
Oh! hide them from each other, hide,
He saw her where in open view She sate beneath the spreading yew, — Her head upon her lap, concealing In solitude her bitter feeling; How could he choose but shrink or sigh? He shrunk, and muttered inwardly, “ Might ever son command a sire, The act were justified to-day.” This to himself — and to the Maid, Whom now he had approached, he said, -“ Gone are they, – they have their desire; And I with thee one hour will stay, To give thee comfort if I may.”
He paused, her silence to partake, And long it was before he spake: Then, all at once, his thoughts turned round, And fervent words a passage found.
“ Gone are they, bravely, though misled; With a dear Father at their head! The Sons obey a natural lord; The Father had given solemn word To noble Percy, - and a force Still stronger, bends him to his course. This said, our tears to-day may fall As at an innocent funeral. In deep and awful channel runs This sympathy of Sire and Sons; Untried our Brothers were beloved, And now their faithfulness is proved :