“'Betimes my heritage was sold
To buy this heart of solid gold.
Ye all, perchance, have jewels fine,
But what are such compar'd to mine?
O! they are formal, poor, and cold,
And out of fashion when they're old;-
But this is of unchanging ore,
And every day is valued more.
Not all the eye could e'er behold
Should purchase back this heart of gold.

“'How oft its temper has been tried!
Its noble nature purified!
And still it from the furnace came
Uninjur'd by the subtil flame.
Like truth itself, pale, simple, pure,
Yielding, yet fitted to endure,-
No rust, no tarnish can arise,
To hide its lustre from our eyes;
And this world's choicest gift I hold,
While I can keep my heart of gold.

“'Whatever treasure may be lost,
Whatever project may be crost,
Whatever other boon denied,
The amulet I long have tried
Has still a sweet, attractive power
To draw the confidential hour,-
That hour for weakness and for grief,
For true condolement, full belief!
O! I can never feel bereft,
While one possession shall be left;
That which I now in triumph hold,
This dear, this cherish'd heart of gold!

“'Come, all who wish to be enroll'd!
Our order is, the heart of gold.
The vain, the artful, and the nice,
Can never pay the weighty price;
For they must selfishness abjure,
Have tongue, and hand, and conscience pure;
Suffering for friendship, never grieve,
But, with a god-like strength, believe
In the oft absent power of truth,
As they have seen it in their youth.
Ye who have grown in such a mould
Are worthy of the heart of gold!'

“Ceasing, and in the act to rise,
A voice exclaim'd, 'Receive the prize!
Earl William, let me pardon crave,
Thus yielding what thy kindness gave!
But with such strange, intense delight,
This maiden fills my ear, my sight;
I long so ardently to twine
In her renown one gift of mine;
That having but a die to cast,
Lest our first meeting prove our last,
I would ensure myself the lot
Not to be utterly forgot!
And this, my offering, here consign,
Worthy, because it once was thine!
Then, maiden, from a warrior deign
To take this golden heart and chain!
Thy order's emblem! and afar
Its light shall lead me, like a star!
If thou, its mistress, didst requite
With guerdon meet each chosen knight;
If from that gifted hand there came
A badge of such excelling fame,
The broider'd scarf might wave in vain,
Unenvied might a rival gain,
Amid assembled peers, the crown
Of tournay triumph and renown;
For me its charm would all be gone,
E'en though a princess set it on!'

“I bow'd my thanks, and quick withdrew,
Glad to escape from public view;
Laden with presents, and with praise,
Beyond the meed of former days.
But that on which I gaz'd with pride,
Which I could scarcely lay aside,
Even to close my eyes for rest;
(I wear it now upon my breast,
And there till death it shall remain!)
Was this same golden heart and chain!
The peacock crown, with all its eyes,
Its emerald, jacinth, sapphire dyes,
When first, irradiate o'er my brow,
Wav'd its rich plumes in gleaming flow,
Did not so deep a thrill impart,
So soften, so dilate my heart!
No praise had touch'd me, as it fell,
Like his, because I saw full well,
Honour and sweetness orb'd did lie
Within the circlet of his eye!
Integrity which could not swerve,
A judgment of that purer nerve,
Fearing itself, and only bound
By truth and love to all around:
Which dared not feign, and scorn'd to vaunt,
Nor interest led, nor power could daunt;
Acting as if it mov'd alone
In sight of the Almighty's throne.

“His graceful form my Fancy caught,-
It was the same she always brought,
When legends mentioned knights of old,
The courteous, eloquent, and bold.
The same dark locks his forehead grac'd,
A crown by partial Nature plac'd,
With the large hollows, and the swells,
And short, close, tendril twine of shells.
Though grave in aspect, when he smil'd,
'Twas gay and artless as a child,
With him expression seem'd a law,-
You only Nature's dictates saw;
But they in full perfection wrought
Of generous feeling, varied thought,-
All that can elevate or move,
That we admire, esteem, and love!

“Thus, when it pleas'd the youthful king,
Who wish'd yet more to hear me sing,
That I should follow o'er the main,
In good Earl William's sober train,
As slow we linger'd on the seas,
I inly blest each wayward breeze;
For still the graceful knight was near,
Prompt to discourse, relate, and hear:
The spirit had that exercise,
The fine perceptions' play,
That perish with the worldly wise,
The torpid, and the gay.

“In the strings of their lyres as the poets of old
Fresh blossoms were used to entwine;
As the shrines of their gods were enamell'd with gold,
And sparkling with gems from the mine:

“So, grac'd with delights that arise in the mind,
As through flowers, the language should flow!
While the eye, where we fancy all soul is enshrin'd,
With divine emanations should glow!

“The voice, or the look, gifted thus, has a charm
Remembrance springs onward to greet;
And thought, like an angel, flies, living and warm,
When announcing the moment to meet!

“And it was thus when Eustace spoke,
Thus brightly his ideas glanc'd,
Met mine, and smil'd as they advanc'd,
For all his fervour I partook,-
Pour'd out my spirit in each theme,
And follow'd every waking dream!
Now in Fancy's airy play,
Near at hand, and far away,
All that was sportive, wild, and gay!
Now led by Pity to deplore
Hearts that can ache and bleed no more,
We roam'd long tales of sadness o'er!
Now, prompted by achievements higher,
We caught the hero's, martyr's fire!
Who, listening to an angel choir,
Rapt and devoted, following still
Where duty or religion led,
The mind prepar'd, subdued the will,
Bent their grand purpose to fulfil:
Conquer'd, endur'd, or meekly bled!
Nor wonder'd we, for we were given,
Like them, to zeal, to truth, and heaven.

“Receding silently from view,
Freedom, unthought of, then withdrew;
We neither mark'd her as she flew,
Nor ever had her absence known
From care or question of our own.
At court, emotion or surprize
Reveal'd the truth to other eyes.
The pride of England's nobles staid
Too often near the minstrel maid;
And many in derision smil'd,
To see him pay a peasant's child,
For such they deem'd me, deep respect,
While birth and grandeur met neglect.
Soon, sway'd by duty more than wealth,
He listen'd and he look'd by stealth;
And I grew careless in my lays;
Languish'd for that exclusive praise.
Yet, conscious of an equal claim,
Above each base or sordid aim,
From wounded feeling and from pride,
My pain I coldly strove to hide:
And when, encounter'd by surprize,
Rapture rose flashing in his eyes,
My formal speech and careless air
Would call a sudden anger there.

“Reserv'd and sullen we became,
Tenacious both, and both to blame.
Yet often an upbraiding look
Controul'd the sentence as I spoke;
Prompt and direct its flight arose,
But sunk or waver'd at the close.
Often, beneath his softening eye,
I felt my resolution die;
And, half-relentingly, forgot
His splendid and my humble lot.

“Sometimes a sudden fancy came,
That he who bore my father's name,
Broken in spirit and in health,
Was weary of ill-gotten wealth.
I to the cloister saw him led,
Saw the wide cowl upon his head;
Heard him, in his last dying hour,
Warn others from the thirst of power;
Adjure the orphan of his friend
Pardon and needful aid to lend,
If heaven vouchsaf'd her yet to live;
For, could she pity and forgive,
'Twould wing his penitential prayer
With better hope of mercy there!
Then did he rank and lands resign,
With all that was in justice mine;
And I, pretending to be vain,
Return'd the world its poor disdain,
But smil'd on Eustace once again!

“Thus vision after vision flew,
Leaving again before my view
That [Errata: The] hollow scene, the scornful crowd,
To which that heart had never bow'd,
Whose tenderness I hourly fed;
While thus I to its nursling said;-

“Be silent, Love! nor from my lip
In faint or hurried language speak!
Be motionless within my eye,
And never wander to my cheek!
Retir'd and passive thou must be,
Or truly I shall banish thee!

“Thou art a restless, wayward sprite,
So young, so tender, and so fair,
I dare not trust thee from my sight,
Nor let thee breathe the common air!
Home to my heart, then, quickly flee,
It is the only place for thee!

“And hush thee, sweet one! in that cell,
For I will whisper in thine ear
Those tales that Hope and Fancy tell,
Which it may please thee best to hear!
I will not, may not, set thee free-
I die if aught discover thee!”

Where are the plaudits, warm and long,
That erst have follow'd Marie's song?
The full assenting, sudden, loud,
The buz of pleasure in the crowd!
The harp was still, but silence reign'd,
Listening as if she still complain'd:
For Pity threw her gentle yoke
Across Impatience, ere he spoke;
And Thought, in pondering o'er her strains,
Had that cold state he oft maintains.
But soon the silence seem'd to say,
“Fair mourner, reassume thy lay!”
And in the chords her fingers stray'd;
For aching Memory found relief
In mounting to the source of grief;
A tender symphony she play'd,
Then bow'd, and thus, unask'd, obey'd.