Mark it, Cesario, it is old and plain;
The spinsters and the knitters in the sun,
And the free maids, that weave their thread with bones
Do use to chant it. It is silly, sooth,
And dallies with the innocence of love,
Like the old age.


Where the pure Derwent's waters glide
Along their mossy bed,
Close by the river's verdant side,
A castle rear'd its head.

The ancient pile by time is raz'd,
Where Gothic trophies frown'd;
Where once the gilded armour blaz'd,
And banners wav'd around.

There liv'd a chief, well known to fame,
A bold advent'rous knight;
Renown'd for victory; his name
In glory's annals bright.

What time in martial pomp he led
His gallant, chosen train;
The foe, who oft had conquer'd, fled,
Indignant fled, the plain.

Yet milder virtues he possest,
And gentler passions felt;
For in his calm and yielding breast
The soft affections dwelt.

No rugged toils the heart could steel,
By nature form'd to prove
Whate'er the tender mind can feel,
In friendship, or in love.

He lost the partner of his breast,
Who sooth'd each rising care;
And ever charm'd the pains to rest
She ever lov'd to share.

From solitude he hop'd relief.
And this lone mansion sought,
To cherish there his faithful grief,
To nurse the tender thought.

There, to his bosom fondly dear,
An infant daughter smil'd,
And oft the mourner's falling tear
Bedew'd his Emma's child.

The tear, as o'er the babe he hung,
Would tremble in his eye;
While blessings, falt'ring on his tongue,
Were breath'd but in a sigh.

Tho' time could never heal the wound,
It sooth'd the hopeless pain;
And in his child he thought he found
His Emma liv'd again.

Soft, as the dews of morn arise,
And on the pale flower gleam;
So soft Eltruda's melting eyes
With love and pity beam.

As drest in charms, the lonely flower
Smiles in the desert vale;
With beauty gilds the morning hour,
And scents the evening gale;

So liv'd in solitude, unseen,
This lovely, peerless maid;
So grac'd the wild, sequester'd scene,
And blossom'd in the shade.

Yet love could pierce the lone recess,
For there he likes to dwell;
To leave the noisy crowd, and bless
With happiness the cell.

To wing his sure resistless dart,
Where all its force is known;
And rule the undivided heart
Despotic, and alone.

Young Edwin charm'd her gentle breast,
Tho' scanty all his store;
No hoarded treasures he possest,
Yet he could boast of more.

For he could boast the lib'ral heart;
And honour, sense, and truth,
Unwarp'd by vanity or art,
Adorn'd the gen'rous youth.

The maxims of a servile age,
The mean, the selfish care,
The sordid views, that now engage
The mercenary pair;

Whom riches can unite, or part,
To them were still unknown;
For then the sympathetic heart
Was join'd by love alone.

They little knew, that wealth had power
To make the constant rove;
They little knew the weighty dower
Could add one bliss to love.

Her virtues every charm improv'd,
Or made those charms more dear;
For surely virtue to be lov'd
Has only to appear.

Domestic bliss, unvex'd by strife,
Beguil'd the circling hours;
She, who on every path of life
Can shed perennial flowers.

Eltruda, o'er the distant mead,
Would haste, at closing day,
And to the bleating mother lead
The lamb, that chanc'd to stray.

For the bruis'd insect on the waste,
A sigh would heave her breast;
And oft her careful hand replac'd
The linnet's falling nest.

To her, sensations calm as these
Could sweet delight impart;
These simple pleasures most can please
The uncorrupted heart.

Full oft with eager step she flies
To cheer the roofless cot,
Where the lone widow breathes her sighs,
And wails her desp'rate lot.

Their weeping mother's trembling knees,
Her lisping infants clasp;
Their meek, imploring look she sees,
She feels their tender grasp.

Wild throbs her aching bosom swell -
They mark the bursting sigh,
(Nature has form'd the soul to feel)
They weep, unknowing why.

Her hands the lib'ral boon impart,
And much her tear avails
To raise the mourner's drooping heart,
Where feeble utterance fails.

On the pale cheek, where hung the tear
Of agonizing woe,
She bids the cheerful bloom appear,
The tear of rapture flow.

Thus on soft wing the moments flew,
(Tho' love implor'd their stay)
While some new virtue rose to view,
And mark'd each fleeting day.

The youthful poet's soothing dream
Of golden ages past;
The muse's fond, ideal theme,
Was realiz'd at last.

But vainly here we hope, that bliss
Unchanging will endure;
Ah, in a world so vain as this,
What heart can rest secure!

For now arose the fatal day
For civil discord fam'd;
When York, from Lancaster's proud sway,
The regal sceptre claim'd.

Each moment now the horrors brought
Of desolating rage;
The fam'd atchievements now were wrought,
That swell th' historic page.

The good old Albert pants, again
To dare the hostile field,
The cause of Henry to maintain,
For him, the launce to wield.

But oh, a thousand gen'rous ties,
That bind the hero's soul;
A thousand tender claims arise,
And Edwin's breast controul.

Tho' passion pleads in Henry's cause,
And Edwin's heart would sway;
Yet honour's stern, imperious laws,
The brave will still obey.

Oppress'd with many an anxious care,
Full oft Eltruda sigh'd;
Complaining that relentless war
Should those she lov'd - divide.

At length the parting morn arose,
In gloomy vapours drest;
The pensive maiden's sorrow flows,
And terror heaves her breast.

A thousand pangs the father feels,
A thousand rising fears,
While clinging at his feet she kneels,
And bathes them with her tears.

A pitying tear bedew'd his cheek, -
From his lov'd child he flew;
O'erwhelm'd; the father could not speak,
He could not say - "adieu!"

Arm'd for the field, her lover
He saw her pallid look,
And trembling seize her drooping frame,
While fault'ring, thus he spoke:

"This cruel tenderness but wounds
"The heart it means to bless;
"Those falling tears, those mournful sounds
"Increase the vain distress." -

"If fate, she answer'd, has decreed
"That on the hostile plain,
"My Edwin's faithful heart must bleed,
"And swell the heap of slain;

"Trust me, my love, I'll not complain,
"I'll shed no fruitless tear;
"Not one weak drop my cheek shall stain,
"Or tell what passes here!

"Oh, let thy fate of others claim
"A tear, a mournful sigh;
"I'll only murmur thy dear name -
Call on my love - and die!"

But ah! how vain for words to tell
The pang their bosoms prov'd;
They only will conceive it well,
They only, who have lov'd.

The timid muse forbears to say
What laurels Edwin gain'd;
How Albert long renown'd, that day
His ancient fame maintain'd.

The bard, who feels congenial fire,
May sing of martial strife;
And with heroic sounds, inspire
The gen'rous scorn of life;

But ill the theme would suit her reed,
Who, wand'ring thro' the grove,
Forgets the conq'ring hero's meed,
And gives a tear to love.

Tho' long the closing day was fled,
The fight they still maintain;
While night a deeper horror shed
Along the darken'd plain.

To Albert's breast an arrow flew,
He felt a mortal wound;
The drops that warm'd his heart, bedew
The cold, and flinty ground.

The foe, who aim'd the fatal dart,
Now heard his dying sighs;
Compassion touch'd his yielding heart,
To Albert's aid he flies.

While round the chief his arms he cast,
While oft he deeply sigh'd,
And seem'd, as if he mourn'd the past,
Old Albert faintly cried;

"Tho' nature heaves these parting groans,
"Without complaint I die;
"Yet one dear care my heart still owns,
"Still feels one tender tie,

"For York, a warriour known to fame,
"Uplifts the hostile spear;
"Edwin the blooming hero's name,
"To Albert's bosom dear.

"Oh, tell him my expiring sigh,
"Say my last words implor'd
"To my despairing child to fly,
"To her he once ador'd" -

He spoke! but oh, what mournful strain,
Whose force the soul can melt,
What moving numbers shall explain
The pang that Edwin felt?

The pang that Edwin now reveal'd -
For he the warriour prest,
(Whom the dark shades of night conceal'd)
Close to his throbbing breast.

"Fly, fly he cried, my touch profane -
"Oh, how the rest impart?
"Rever'd old man! - could Edwin stain
"With Albert's blood the dart!"

His languid eyes he meekly rais'd,
Which seem'd for ever clos'd;
On the pale youth with pity gaz'd,
And then in death repos'd.

"I'll go, the hapless Edwin said,
"And breathe a last adieu!
"And with the drops despair will shed,
"My mournful love bedew.

"I'll go to her for ever dear,
"To catch her melting sigh,
"To wipe from her pale cheek the tear,
"And at her feet to die." -

And as to her for ever dear
The frantic mourner flew,
To wipe from her pale cheek the tear,
And breathe a last adieu;

Appall'd his troubled fancy sees
Eltruda's anguish flow;
And hears in every passing breeze,
The plaintive sound of woe.

Meanwhile the anxious maid, whose tears
In vain would heav'n implore;
Of Albert's fate despairing hears,
But yet had heard no more.

She saw her much-lov'd Edwin near,
She saw, and deeply sigh'd;
Her cheek was bath'd in many a tear;
At length she faintly cried;

"Unceasing grief this heart must prove,
"Its dearest ties are broke; -
"Oh, say, what ruthless arm, my love,
"Could aim the fatal stroke?

"Could not thy hand, my Edwin, thine,
"Have warded off the blow?
"For oh, he was not only mine,
"He was thy father too!"

No more the youth could pangs endure
His lips could never tell;
From death he vainly hop'd a cure,
As cold, on earth he fell.

She flew, she gave her sorrows vent,
A thousand tears she pour'd;
Her mournful voice, her moving plaint,
The youth to life restor'd.

"Why does thy bosom throb with pain
"She cried, my Edwin, speak;
"Or sure, unable to sustain
"This grief, my heart will break.

"Yes, it will break - he fault'ring cried,
"For me will life resign -
"Then trembling know thy father died -
"And know the guilt was mine!"

"It is enough," with short, quick breath,
Exclaim'd the fainting maid;
She spoke no more, but seem'd from death
To look for instant aid.

In plaintive accents, Edwin cries,
"And have I murder'd thee?
"To other worlds thy spirit flies,
"And mine this stroke shall free."

His hand the lifted weapon grasp'd,
The steel he firmly prest:
When wildly she arose, and clasp'd
Her lover to her breast.

"Methought, she cried with panting breath,
"My Edwin talk'd of peace;
"I knew 'twas only found in death,
"And fear'd that sad release.

"I clasp him still! 'twas but a dream -
"Help yon wide wound to close,
"From which a father's spirits stream,
"A father's life-blood flows.

"But see, from thee he shrinks, nor would
"Be blasted by thy touch; -
"Ah, tho' my Edwin spilt thy blood,
"Yet once he lov'd thee much.

"My father, yet in pity stay! -
"I see his white beard wave;
"A spirit beckons him away,
"And points to yonder grave.

"Alas, my love, I trembling hear
"A father's last adieu;
"I see, I see, the falling tear
"His wrinkled cheek bedew.

"He's gone, and here his ashes sleep -
"I do not heave a sigh,
"His child a father does not weep -
"For, ah, my brain is dry!

"But come, together let us rove,
"At the pale hour of night;
"When the moon wand'ring thro' the grove,
"Shall pour her faintest light.

"We'll gather from the rosy bow'r
"The fairest wreaths that bloom:
"We'll cull, my love, each op'ning flower,
"To deck his hallow'd tomb.

"We'll thither, from the distant dale,
"A weeping willow bear;
"And plant a lily of the vale,
"A drooping lily there.

"We'll shun the face of glaring day,
"Eternal silence keep;
"Thro' the dark wood together stray,
"And only live to weep.

"But hark, 'tis come - the fatal time
"When, Edwin, we must part;
"Some angel tells me 'tis a crime
"To hold thee to my heart.

"My father's spirit hovers near -
"Alas, he comes to chide;
"Is there no means, my Edwin dear,
"The fatal deed to hide?

"Yet, Edwin, if th' offence be thine,
"Too soon I can forgive;
"But, oh, the guilt would all be mine,
"Could I endure to live.

"Farewel, my love, for, oh, I faint,
"Of pale despair I die;
"And see, that hoary, murder'd saint
"Descends from yon blue sky.

"Poor, weak old man! he comes my love,
"To lead to heav'n the way;
"He knows not heaven will joyless prove,
"If Edwin here must stay!" -

"Oh, who can bear this pang!" he cry'd,
Then to his bosom prest
The dying maid, who piteous sigh'd,
And sunk to endless rest.

He saw her eyes for ever close,
He heard her latest sigh,
And yet no tear of anguish flows
From his distracted eye.

He feels within his shiv'ring veins,
A mortal chillness rise;
Her pallid corse he feebly strains -
And on her bosom dies.

* * * * *

No longer may their hapless lot
The mournful muse engage;
She wipes away the tears, that blot
The melancholy page.

For heav'n in love, dissolves the ties
That chain the spirit here;
And distant far for ever flies
The blessing held most dear;

To bid the suff'ring soul aspire
A higher bliss to prove;
To wake the pure, refin'd desire,
The hope that rests above! -