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For faithful we must call them, bearing
That soul of conscientious daring.
- There were they all in circle — there
Stood Richard, Ambrose, Christopher,
John with a sword that will not fail,
And Marmaduke in fearless mail,
And those bright Twins were side by side;
And there, by fresh hopes beautified,
Stood He, whose arm yet lacks the power
Of man, our youngest, fairest flower!
I, by the right of eldest born,
And in a second father's place,
Presumed to grapple with their scorn,
And meet their pity face to face;
Yea, trusting in God's holy aid,
I to my Father knelt and prayed,
And one, the pensive Marmaduke,
Methought, was yielding inwardly,
And would have laid his purpose by,
But for a glance of his Father's eye,
Which I myself could scarcely brook.
· Then be we, each, and all, forgiven !
Thee, chiefly thee, my Sister dear,
Whose pangs are registered in heaven,
The stifled sigh, the hidden tear,
And smiles, that dared to take their place,
Meek filial smiles, upon thy face,
As that unhallowed Banner grew
Beneath a loving old man's view.
Thy part is done — thy painful part;
Be thou then satisfied in heart !
A further, though far easier, task
Than thine hath been, my duties ask;
With theirs my efforts cannot blend,
I cannot for such cause contend;
Their aims I utterly forswear;
But I in body will be there.
Unarmed and naked will I go,
Be at their side, come weal or woe:
On kind occasions I may wait,
See, hear, obstruct, or mitigate.
Bare breast I take and an empty hand.”* -
Therewith he threw away the lance,
Which he had grasped in that strong trance,
Spurned it — like something that would stand
Between him and the pure intent
Of love on which his soul was bent.
« For thee, for thee, is left the sense
Of trial past without offence
To God or Man; — such innocence,
Such consolation, and the excess
Of an unmerited distress;
In that thy very strength must lie.
- O Sister, I could prophesy!
The time is come that rings the knell
Of all we loved, and loved so well ; –
Hope nothing, if I thus may speak
To thee a woman, and thence weak;
Hope nothing, I repeat; for we
Are doomed to perish utterly :
”Tis meet that thou with me divide
The thought while I am by thy side,
Acknowledging a grace in this,
A comfort in the dark abyss :
See the Old Ballad, “The Rising of the North.”
But look not for me when I am gone,
And be no farther wrought upon.
Farewell all wishes, all debate,
All prayers for this cause, or for that!
Weep, if that aid thee; but depend
Upon no help of outward friend;
Espouse thy doom at once, and cleave
To fortitude without reprieve.
For we inust fall, both we and ours, —
This Mansion and these pleasant bowers,
Walks, pools, and arbours, homestead, hall,
Our fate is theirs, will reach them all;
The young Horse must forsake his manger,
And learn to glory in a Stranger;
The Hawk forget his perch — the Hound
Be parted from his ancient ground:
The blast will sweep us all away,
One desolation, one decay!
And even this Creature !” which words saying,
He pointed to a lovely Doe,
A few steps distant, feeding, straying ;
Fair Creature, and more white than snow !
“ Even she will to her peaceful woods
Return, and to her murmuring floods,
And be in heart and soul the same
She was before she hither came, -
Ere she had learned to love us all,
Herself beloved in Rylstone Hall.
— But thou, my Sister, doomed to be
The last leaf which by Heaven's decree
Must hang upon a blasted tree;
If not in vain we breathed the breath
Together of a purer faith -
If hand in hand we have been led,
And thou, (O happy thought this day!)
Not seldom foremost in the way -
If on one thought our minds have fed,
And we have in one meaning read
If, when at home our private weal
Hath suffered from the shock of zeal
Together we have learned to prize
Forbearance and self-sacrifice
If we like combatants have fared,
And for this issue been prepared -
If thou art beautiful, and youth
And thought endue thee with all truth -
Be strong ; — be worthy of the grace
Of God, and fill thy destined place :
A Soul, by force of sorrows high,
Uplifted to the purest sky
Of undisturbed humanity!”
He ended, - or she heard no more;
He led her from the Yew-tree shade,
And at the Mansion's silent door,
He kissed the consecrated Maid ;
And down the Valley he pursued,
Alone, the armèd Multitude.
Now joy for you and sudden cheer,
Ye Watchmen upon Brancepeth Towers ;
Looking forth in doubt and fear,
Telling melancholy hours !
Proclaim it, let your masters hear
That Norton with his Band is near!
The Watchmen from their station high
Pronounced the word, — and the Earls descry
Forthwith the armèd Company
Marching down the banks of Were.
Said fearless Norton to the Pair Gone forth to hail him on the Plain “ This meeting, noble Lords ! looks fair, I bring with me a goodly train ; Their hearts are with you :- hill and dale Have helped us :— Ure we crossed, and Swale, And Horse and Harness followed — see The best part of their Yeomanry! - Stand forth, my Sons ! — these eight are mine, Whom to this service I commend ; Which way soe'er our fate incline, These will be faithful to the end ; They are my all” — voice failed him here, “My all save one, a Daughter dear! Whom I have left, the mildest birth, The meekest Child on this blessed earth. I had - but these are by my side, These Eight, and this is a day of pride! The time is ripe — with festive din Lo! how the people are flocking in, Like hungry Fowl to the Feeder's hand When snow lies heavy upon the land.”
He spake bare truth; for far and near
From every side came noisy swarms
Of Peasants in their homely gear;
And, mixed with these, to Brancepeth came
Grave Gentry of estate and name,
And Captains known for worth in arms;