Baron's Yule Feast II.
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THE

BARON'S YULE FEAST.

A

CHRISTMAS RHYME.


__________

CANTO III.

__________
 

MIRTH-VERSE from thee, rude leveller!
Of late, thy dungeon-harpings were
        Of discontent and wrong;
And we, the Privileged, were banned
For cumber-grounds of fatherland,
        In thy drear prison-song.

What fellowship hast thou with times
When love-thralled minstrels chaunted rhymes
        At feast, in feudal hall, ―
And peasant churls, a saucy crew,
Fantastic o'er their wassail grew,
        Forgetful of their thrall? ―

Lordlings, your scorn awhile forbear, ―
And with the homely Past compare
        Your tinselled show and state!
Mark, if your selfish grandeurs cold
On human hearts so firm a hold
        For ye, and yours, create
As they possessed, whose breasts though rude
Glowed with the warmth of brotherhood
For all who toiled, through youth and age,
T' enrich their force-won heritage!

Mark, if ye feel your swollen pride
Secure, ere ye begin to chide!
Then, lordlings, though ye may discard
        The measures I rehearse,
Slight not the lessons of the bard ―
        The moral of his verse. ―

But we will dare thy verse to chide!
Wouldst re-enact the Barmecide,
        And taunt our wretchedness
With visioned feast, and song, and dance, ―
While, daily, our grim heritance
        Is famine and distress?

Hast thou forgot thy pledges stern,
Never from Suffering's cause to turn,
        But ― to the end of life ―
Against Oppression's ruthless band
Still unsubduable to stand,
        A champion in the strife?

Think'st thou we suffer less, or feel
To-day's soul-piercing wounds do heal
        The wounds of months and years?
Or that our eyes so long have been
Familiar with the hunger keen
Our babes endure, we gaze serene ―
        Strangers to scalding tears? ―

Ah no! my brothers, not from me
Hath faded solemn memory
        Of all your bitter grief:
This heart its pledges doth renew ―
To its last pulse it will be true
        To beat for your relief.

My rhymes are trivial, but my aim
        Deem ye not purposeless:
I would the homely truth proclaim ―
That times which knaves full loudly blame
        For feudal haughtiness
Would put the grinding crew to shame
Who prey on your distress.

O that my simple lay might tend
        To kindle some remorse
In your oppressors' souls, and bend
Their wills a cheerful help to lend
        And lighten Labour's curse!

_________________

 


A night of snow the earth hath clad
        With virgin mantle chill;
But in the sky the sun looks glad, ―
        And blythely o'er the hill,
From fen and wold, troops many a guest
To sing and smile at Thorold's feast.

And oft they bless the bounteous sun
        That smileth on the snow;
And oft they bless the generous one
        Their homes that bids them fro
To glad their hearts with merry cheer,
When Yule returns, in winter drear.

How joyously the lady bells
        Shout ― though the bluff north-breeze
Loudly his boisterous bugle swells!
        And though the brooklets freeze,
How fair the leafless hawthorn-tree
Waves with its hoar-frost tracery!
While sun-smiles throw o'er stalks and stems
Sparkles so far transcending gems ―
The bard would gloze who said their sheen
        Did not out-diamond
All brightest gauds that man hath seen
Worn by earth's proudest king or queen,
        In pomp and grandeur throned!

Saint Leonard's monks have chaunted mass,
And clown's and gossip's laughing face
        Is turned unto the porch, ―
For now comes mime and motley fool,
Guarding the dizened Lord Misrule
        With mimic pomp and march;
And the burly Abbot of Unreason
Forgets not that the blythe Yule season
        Demands his paunch at church;
                And he useth his staff
                While the rustics laugh, ―
And, still, as he layeth his crosier about,
Laugheth aloud each clownish lowt, ―
And the lowt, as he laugheth, from corbels grim,
Sees carven apes ever laughing at him!

Louder and wilder the merriment grows,
For the hobby-horse comes, and his rider he
                        throws!
                And the dragon's roar,
                As he paweth the floor,
                And belcheth fire
                In his demon ire,
When the Abbot the monster takes by the nose,
Stirreth a tempest of uproar and din ―
Yet none surmiseth the joke is a sin ―
For the saints, from the windows, in purple and
                        gold,
With smiles, say the gossips, Yule games behold;
And, at Christmas, the Virgin all divine
Smileth on sport, from her silver shrine!
"Come forth, come forth! it is high noon,"
        Cries Hugh the seneschal;
"My masters, will ye ne'er have done?
        "Come forth unto the hall!" ―

'Tis high Yule-tide in Torksey hall:
Full many a trophy bedecks the wall
        Of prowess in field and wood;
Blent with the buckler and grouped with the spear
Hang tusks of the boar, and horns of the deer ―
But De Thorold's guests beheld nought there
        That scented of human blood.
The mighty wassail horn suspended
From the tough yew-bow, at Hastings bended,
With wreaths of bright holly and ivy bound,
Were perches for falcons that shrilly screamed,
While their look with the lightning of anger
                        gleamed,
As they chided the fawning of mastiff and hound,
That crouched at the feet of each peasant guest,
And asked, with their eyes, to share the feast.

Sir Wilfrid's carven chair of state
'Neath the dais is gently elevate, ―
But his smile bespeaks no lordly pride:
Sweet Edith sits by her loved sire's side,
And five hundred guests, some free, some thrall,
Sit by the tables along the wide hall,
Each with his platter, and stout drink-horn, ―
They count on good cheer this Christmas morn!

Not long they wait, not long they wish ―
The trumpet peals, ― and the kingly dish, ―
        The head of the brawny boar,
Decked with rosemary and laurels gay, ―
Upstarting, they welcome, with loud huzza,
        As their fathers did, of yore!
And they point to the costard he bears in his
                        mouth,
                And vow the huge pig,
                So luscious a fig,
Would not gather to grunch in the daintiful South!

Strike up, strike up, a louder chime,
Ye minstrels in the loft!
Strike up! it is no fitting time
For drowsy strains and soft, ―
                When sewers threescore
                Have passed the hall door,
And the tables are laden with roast and boiled,
And carvers are hasting, lest all should be spoiled ;
                And gossips' tongues clatter
                More loudly than platter,
And tell of their marvel to reckon the sorts: ―

Ham by fat capon, and beef by green worts;
Ven'son from forest, and mutton from fold;
Brawn from the oak-wood, and hare from the
                        wold;
Wild-goose from fen, and tame from the lea;
And plumëd dish from the heronry ―
With choicest apples 'twas featly rimmed,
And stood next the flagons with malmsey
                        brimmed, ―
Near the knightly swan, begirt with quinces,
Which the gossips said was a dish for princes, ―
Though his place was never to stand before
The garnished head of the royal boar!

Puddings of plumbs and mince-pies, placed
In plenty along the board, met taste
Of gossip and maiden, ― nor did they fail
To sip, now and then, of the double brown ale ―
That ploughman and shepherd vowed and sware
Was each drop so racy, and sparkling, and rare ―
No outlandish Rhenish could with it compare!

Trow ye they stayed till the meal was done
To pledge a health?   Degenerate son
Of friendly sires! a health thrice-told
Each guest had pledged to fellowships old, ―
Untarrying eager mouth to wipe,
And across the board with hearty gripe
Joining rough hands, ― ere the meal was o'er: ―
Hearts and hands went with "healths" in the days
                        of yore!

The meal is o'er, ― though the time of mirth,
Each brother feels, is but yet in its birth: ―
"Wassail, wassail!" the seneschal cries;
And the spicy bowl rejoiceth all eyes,
When before the baron beloved 'tis set,
And he dippeth horn, and thus doth greet
The honest hearts around him met: ―

"Health to ye all, my brothers good!
        "All health and happiness!
"Health to the absent of our blood!
        "May Heaven the suffering bless, ―
"And cheer their hearts who lie at home
"In pain, now merry Yule hath come!
        "My jolly freres, all health!"

The shout is loud and long, ― but tears
Glide quickly from some eyes, while ears
        List whispering sounds of stealth
That tell how the noble Thorold hath sent,
To palsied widow and age-stricken hind,
Clothing and food, and brother-words kind, ―
Cheering their aching languishment!

"Wassail, wassail!" Sir Wilfrid saith, ―
        "Push round the brimming bowl! ―
"Art thou there, minstrel? ― By my faith,
        "All list to hear thee troll,
"Again, some goodly love-lorn verse! ―
"Begin thy ditty to rehearse, ―
"And take, for guerdon, wishes blythe ―
"'Less thou wilt take red gold therewith!"

Red gold the minstrel saith he scorneth, ―
But, now the merry Yule returneth,
For love of Him whom angels sung,
And love of one his burning tongue
Is fain to name, but may not tell, ―
Once more, unto the harp's sweet swell,
A knightly chanson he will sing, ―
And, straight, he struck the throbbing string.

 

 
SIR RAYMOND AND THE FALSE PALMER


SIR Raymond de Clifford, a gallant band
Hath gathered to fight in the Holy Land; ―
And his lady's heart is sinking in sorrow,
For the knight and his lances depart on the morrow!

"Oh, wherefore, noble Raymond, tell," ―
    His lovely ladye weeping said, ―
"With lonely sorrow must I dwell,
    "When but three bridal moons have fled?"

Sir Raymond kissed her pale, pale cheek,
    And strove, with a warrior's pride,
While an answer of love he essayed to speak,
    His flooding tears to hide.

But an image rose in his heated brain,
That shook his heart with vengeful pain,
And anger flashed in his rolling eye,
While his ladye looked on him tremblingly.

Yet, he answered not in wrathful haste, ―
But clasped his bride to his manly breast;
And with words of tender yet stately dress,
Thus strove to banish her heart's distress: ―

"De Burgh hath enrolled him with Philip of
            France, ―
"Baron Hubert, ― who challenged De Clifford's
            lance,
"And made him the scoff of the burgher swine,
"When he paid his vows at the Virgin's shrine.

"Oh, ask me not, love, to tarry in shame, ―
"Lest 'craven' be added to Raymond's name!
"To Palestine hastens my mortal foe, ―
"And I with our Lion's Heart will go!

"Nay, Gertrude, repeat not thy sorrowing tale!
"Behold in my casque the scallop-shell, ―
"And see on my shoulder the Holy Rood
"The pledge of my emprize ― bedyed in blood!

"Thou wouldst not, love, I should be forsworn,
"Nor the stain on my honour be tamely borne:
"Do thou to the saints, each passing day,
" For Raymond and royal Richard pray, ―

"While they rush to the rescue, for God's dear Son;
    "And soon, for thy Raymond, the conqu'ror's
            meed, ―
    "By the skill of this arm, and the strength of
            my steed,
"From the Paynim swart shall be nobly won.

"Thou shalt not long for De Clifford mourn,
"Ere he to thy bosom of love return;
"When blind to the lure of the red-cross bright,
"He will bask, for life, in thy beauty's light!"

The morn in the radiant east arose: ―
    The Red-cross Knight hath spurred his steed
    That courseth as swift as a falcon's speed: ―
To the salt-sea shore Sir Raymond goes.

Soon, the sea he hath crossed, to Palestine;
And there his heart doth chafe and pine, ―
For Hubert de Burgh is not in that land:
He loitereth in France, with Philip's band.

But De Clifford will never a recreant turn,
"While the knightly badge on his arm is borne;
And long, beneath the Syrian sun,
He fasted and fought, and glory won.

His Gertrude, alas! like a widow pines;
And though on her castle the bright sun shines,
She sees not its beams, ― but in loneliness prays,
Through the live-long hours of her weeping days. ―

Twelve moons have waned, and the morn is come
"When, a year before, from his meed-won home
Sir Raymond went: ― At the castle gate
A reverend Palmer now doth wait.

He saith he hath words for the ladye's ear;
And he telleth, in accents dread and drear,
Of De Clifford's death in the Holy Land,
At Richard's side, by a Saracen's hand.

And he gave to the ladye, when thus he had
            spoken, ―
Of Sir Raymond's fall a deathly token:
'Twas a lock of his hair all stained with blood,
Entwined on a splinter of Holy Rood. ―

Then the Palmer in haste from the castle sped;
    And from gloomy morn to weary night,
    Lorn Gertrude, in her widowed plight,
Weepeth and waileth the knightly dead. ―

Three moons have waned, and the Palmer, again,
By Gertrude stands, and smileth fain;
Nor of haste, nor of death, speaks the Palmer, now;
Nor doth sadness or sorrow bedim his brow.

He softly sits by the ladye's side,
And vaunteth his deeds of chivalrous pride;
Then lisps, in her secret ear, of things
Which deeply endanger the thrones of kings:

From Philip of France, he saith, he came,
To treat with Prince John, whom she must not
            name;
And he, in fair France, hath goodly lands, ―
And a thousand vassals there wait his
            commands. ―

The ladye liked her gallant guest, ―
For he kenned the themes that pleased her best;
And his tongue, in silken measures skilled,
With goodly ditties her memory filled.

Thus the Palmer the ladye's ear beguiles, ―
Till Gertrude her sorrow exchangeth for smiles;
And when from the castle the Palmer went,
She watched his return, from the battlement. ―

Another moon doth swell and wane: ―
    But how slowly it waneth!
    How her heart now paineth
For sight of the Palmer again!

But the Palmer comes, and her healed heart
    Derideth pain and sorrow:
She pledgeth the Palmer, and smirketh smart,
    And saith, "we'll wed to-morrow!" ―

The morrow is come, and at break of day,
'Fore the altar, the abbot, in holy array,
Is joining the Palmer's and Gertrude's hands, ―
But, in sudden amazement the holy man stands!

For, before the castle, a trumpet's blast
Rings so loud that the Palmer starts aghast;
And, at Gertrude's side, he sinks dismayed, ―
Is't with dread of the living, or fear of the dead?

The doors of the chapel were open thrown,
And the beams through the pictured windows
            shone
On the face of De Clifford, with fury flushed, ―
And forth on the Palmer he wildly rushed! ―

"False Hubert!" he cried; and his knightly sword
Was sheathed in the heart of the fiend-sold lord! ―
With a scream of terror, Gertrude fell ―
For she knew the pride of Sir Raymond well!

He flew to raise her but 'twas in vain:
Her spirit its flight in fear had ta'en! ―
And Sir Raymond kneels that his soul be shriven,
And the stain of this deed be by grace forgiven: ―

But ere the Abbot his grace can dole,
    De Clifford's truthful heart is breaking, ―
    And his soul, also, its flight is taking! ―
Christ, speed it to a heavenly goal! ―
Oh, pray for the peace of Sir Raymond's soul!



 
THE

BARON'S YULE FEAST.

A

CHRISTMAS RHYME.

__________

CANTO IV.

__________

 

WHAT power can stay the burst of song
        When throats with ale are mellow?
What wight with nieve so stout and strong
Dares lift it, jolly freres among,
        And cry, "Knaves, cease to bellow?"

" 'Twas doleful drear," ― the gossips vowed, ―
To hear the minstrel's piteous tale!
But, when the swineherd tuned his crowd, [14]
And the gosherd began to grumble loud,
The gossips smiled, and sipped their ale!

"A boon, bold Thorold!" boldly cried
        The gosherd from Cropland fen;
"I crave to sing of the fen so wide,
        "And of geese and goosish men!"

Loud loffe they all; and the baron, with glee,
Cried "begin, good Swithin! for men may see
"Thou look'st so like a knowing fowl,
"Of geese thou art skilled right well to troll!"

Stout Swithin sware the baron spake well, ―
And his halting ditty began to tell:
The rhyme was lame, and dull the joke, ―
But it tickled the ears of clownish folk.


 

THE GOSHERD'S SONG


'Tis a tale of merry Lincolnshire
    I've heard my grannam tell;
And I'll tell it to you, my masters, here,
    An' it likes you all, full well.

A Gosherd on Croyland fen, one day,
    Awoke, in haste, from slumber;
And on counting his geese, to his sad dismay,
    He found there lacked one of the number.

O the Gosherd looked west, and he looked east,
    And he looked before and behind him;
And his eye from north to south he cast
    For the gander ― but couldn't find him!

So the Gosherd he drave his geese to the cote,
    And began, forthwith, to wander
Over the marshy wild remote,
    In search of the old stray gander.

O the Gosherd he wandered till twilight gray
    Was throwing its mists around him;
But the gander seemed farther and farther astray ―
    For the Gosherd had not yet found him.

So the Gosherd, foredeeming his search in vain,
    Resolved no farther to wander;
But to Croyland he turned him, in dudgeon, again,
    Sore fretting at heart for the gander.

Thus he footed the fens so dreary and dern,
    While his brain, like the sky, was dark'ning;
And with dread to the scream o' the startled hern
    And the bittern's boom he was heark'ning.

But when the Gosherd the church-yard reached, ―
    Forefearing the dead would be waking, ―
Like a craven upon the sward he stretched,
    And could travel no farther for quaking!

And there the Gosherd lay through the night,
    Not daring to rise and go further:
For, in sooth, the Gosherd beheld a sight
    That frighted him more than murther!

From the old church clock the midnight hour
    In hollow tones was pealing,
When a slim white ghost to the church porch door
    Seemed up the footpath stealing!

Stark staring upon the sward lay the clown,
    And his heart went "pitter patter," ―
Till the ghost in the clay-cold grave sunk down, ―
    When he felt in a twitter-twatter!

Soon ― stretching aloft its long white arms ―
    From the grave the ghost was peeping! ―
Cried the Gosherd, "Our Lady defend me from
            harms,
    "And Saint Guthlacke [15] have me in his
            keeping!"

The white ghost hissed! ― the Gosherd swooned!
    In the morn, ― on the truth 'tis no slander, ―
Near the church porch door a new grave he found,
    And, therein, the white ghost ― his stray gander!


____________________



The Gosherd, scarce, his mirthful meed
    Had won, ere Tibbald of Stow, ―
With look as pert as the pouncing glede
    When he eyeth the chick below, ―
        Scraped his crowd,
        And clear and loud,
        As the merle-cock shrill,
        Or the bell from the hill,
Thus tuned his throat to his rough sire's praise ―
His sire the swineherd of olden days: ―


 

THE SWINEHERD'S SONG.


I SING of a swineherd, in Lindsey, so bold,
Who tendeth his flock in the wide forest-fold:
He sheareth no wool from his snouted sheep:
He soweth no corn, and none he doth reap:
Yet the swineherd no lack of good living doth know:
                Come jollily trowl
                The brown round bowl,
Like the jovial swineherd of Stow!

He hedgeth no meadows to fatten his swine:
He renteth no joist for his snorting kine:
They rove through the forest, and browse on the
        mast, ―
Yet, he lifteth his horn, and bloweth a blast,
And they come at his call, blow he high, blow he
        low! ―
                Come, jollily trowl
                The brown round bowl,
And drink to the swineherd of Stow!

He shunneth the heat 'mong the fern-stalks green, ―
Or dreameth of elves 'neath the forest treen:
He wrappeth him up when the oak leaves sere
And the ripe acorns fall, at the wane o' the year;
And he tippleth at Yule, by the log's cheery glow. ―
                Come, jollily trowl
                The brown round bowl,
And pledge the bold swineherd of Stow!

The bishop he passeth the swineherd in scorn, ―
Yet, to mass wends the swineherd at Candlemas
        morn;
And he offereth his horn, at our Lady's hymn,
With bright silver pennies filled up to the brim: ―
Saith the bishop, "A very good fellow, I trow!" ―
                Come, jollily trowl
                The brown round bowl,
And honour the swineherd of Stow!

And now the brave swineherd, in stone, ye may
        spy,
Holding his horn, on the Minster so high!
But the swineherd he laugheth, and cracketh his
        joke,
With his pig-boys that vittle beneath the old oak,
Saying, "Had I no pennies, they'd make me no
        show!" ―
                Come, jollily trowl
                The brown round bowl,
And laugh with the swineherd of Stow! [16]


____________________



So merrily the chorus rose, ―
    For every guest chimed in, ―
That, had the dead been there to doze,
    They had surely waked with the din! ―
So the rustics said while their brains were mellow;
And all called the swineherd "a jolly good fellow!"

"Come, hearty Snell!" said the Baron good;
"What sayest thou more of the merry greenwood?"

"I remember no lay of the forest, now," ―
Said Snell, with a glance at three maids in a row;
"Belike, I could whimper a love-lorn ditty, ―
"If Tib, Doll, and Bell, would listen with pity!"

"Then chaunt us thy love-song!" cried Baron and
        guests;
And Snell, looking shrewd, obeyed their behests.


 

THE WOODMAN'S LOVE SONG.


ALONG the meads a simple maid
One summer's day a musing strayed,
And, as the cowslips sweet she pressed,
This burthen to the breeze confessed ―
                    I fear that I'm in love!

For, ever since so playfully
Young Robin trod this path with me,
I always feel more happy here
Than ever I have felt elsewhere: ―
                    I fear that I'm in love!

And, ever since young Robin talked
So sweetly, while alone we walked,
Of truth, and faith, and constancy,
I've wished he always walked with me: ―
                    I fear that I'm in love!

And, ever since that pleasing night
When, 'neath the lady moon's fair light,
He asked my hand, but asked in vain,
I've wished he'd walk, and ask again: ―
                    I fear that I'm in love!

And yet, I greatly fear, alas!
That wish will ne'er be brought to pass! ―
"What else to fear I cannot tell: ―
I hope that all will yet be well ―
                    But, surely, I'm in love!


____________________



Coy was their look, but true their pleasure,
While the maidens listed the woodman's measure;
Nor shrunk they at laughter of herdsman or hind,
But mixed with the mirth, and still looked kind.

One maid there was who faintly smiled,
    But never joined their laughter:
And why, by Yule-mirth unbeguiled,
    Sits the Baron's beauteous daughter?
Why looks she downcast, yet so sweet,
And seeketh no eyes with mirth to greet?

"My darling Edith, hast no song?"
    Saith Thorold, tenderly;
"Our guests have tarried to hear thee, long,
    "And looked with wistful eye!"

Soft words the peerless damosel
    Breathes of imperfect skill:
"Sweet birds," smiles the Baron, "all know ―
            right well,
    "Can sweetly sing an' they will."

And the stranger minstrel, on his knee,
Offers his harp, with courtesy
So rare and gentle, that the hall
Rings with applause which one and all
Render who share the festival.

De Thorold smiled; and the maiden took
The harp, with grace in act and look, ―
But waked its echoes tremulously, ―
Singing no noisy jubilee, ―
But a chanson of sweetly stifled pain ―
So sweet when ended all were fain
To hear her chaunt it o'er again.


 

THE BARON'S DAUGHTER'S SONG.


I OWN the gay lark is the blythest bird
    That welcomes the purple dawn;
But a sweeter chorister far is heard
    When the veil of eve is drawn:

When the last lone traveller homeward wends
    O'er the moorland, drowsily;
And the pale bright moon her crescent bends,
    And silvers the soft gray sky;

And in silence the wakeful starry crowd
    Their vigil begin to keep;
And the hovering mists the flowerets shroud,
    And their buds in dew-drops weep;

Oh, then the nightingale's warbling wild,
    In the depth of the forest dark,
Is sweeter, by far, to Sorrow's child,
    Than the song of the cheerful lark!


____________________



" 'Twas sweet, but somewhat sad," said some;
    And the Baron sought his daughter's eye, ―
But, now, there fell a shade of gloom
    On the cheek of Edith; ― and tearfully,
He thought she turned to shun his look.

    He would have asked his darling's woe, ―
But the harp, again, the minstrel took;
And with such prelude as awoke
    Regretful thoughts of an ancient foe
In Thorold's soul, ― the minstrel stranger ―
In spite of fear, in spite of danger, ―
In measures sweet and soft, but quaint, ―
Responded thus to Edith's plaint: ―


 

THE MINSTREL'S RESPONSE.


WHAT meant that glancing of thine eye,
That softly hushed, yet struggling sigh?
    Hast thou a thought of woe or weal,
    Which, breathed, my bosom would not feel?
    Why should'st thou, then, that thought conceal,
Or hide it from my mind, Love?

Did'st thou e'er breathe a sigh to me,
And I not breathe as deep to thee?
    Or hast thou whispered in mine ear
    A word of sorrow or of fear, ―
    Or have I seen thee shed a tear, ―
And looked a thought unkind, Love?

Did e'er a gleam of Love's sweet ray
Across thy beaming countenance play, ―
    Or joy its seriousness beguile,
    And o'er it cast a radiant smile, ―
    And mine with kindred joy, the while,
Not glow as bright as thine, Love?

Why would'st thou, then, that something seek
To hide within thy breast, ― nor speak,
    Its load of doubt, of grief, or fear,
    Of joy, or sorrow, to mine ear, ―
    Assured this heart would gladly bear
A burthen borne by thine, Love?


____________________



Sir Wilfrid sat in thoughtful mood,
    When the youthful minstrel's song was ended;
While Edith by her loved sire stood,
    And o'er his chair in sadness bended.
The guests were silent; ― for the chaunt,
Where all, of late, were jubilant,
Had kindled quick imagining
Who he might be that thus dared sing ―
Breathing of deep and fervent feeling ―
His tender passion half-revealing.

Soon, sportive sounds the silence broke:
        Saint Leonard's lay-brother,
        Who seldom could smother
Conception of mischief, or thought of a joke,
Drew forth his old rebeck from under his cloak, ―
        And touching the chords
        To brain-sick words, ―
While he mimicked a lover's phantasy,
Upward rolling his lustrous eye, ―
        With warblings wild
        He flourished and trilled, ―
Till mother and maiden aloud 'gan to laugh,
And clown challenged clown more good liquor to
            quaff.

These freakish rhymes, in freakish measure,
He chaunted, for his wayward pleasure.


 

THE LAY-BROTHER'S LOVE SONG.


THE lilies are fair, down by the green grove,
    Where the brooklet glides through the dell;
But I view not a lily so fair, while I rove,
    As the maid whose name I could tell.

The roses are sweet that blush in the vale,
    Where the thorn-bush grows by the well;
But they breathe not a perfume so sweet on the gale
    As the maid whose name I could tell.

The lark singeth sweetly up in the sky, ―
    Over song-birds bearing the bell;
But one bird may for music the skylark defy, ―
    Tis the maid whose name I could tell.

The angels all brightly glitter and glow,
    In the regions high where they dwell;
But they beam not so bright as one angel below, ―
    'Tis the maid whose name I could tell.


____________________



Sport may, a while, defy heart-cares,
    And woo faint smiles from pain;
Jesting, a while, may keep down tears ―
    But they will rise, again!

And saddening thoughts of others' care,
Unwelcome, though they be, to share, ―
And though self-love would coldly say
"Let me laugh on, while others bear
"Their own grief-fardels as they may!" ―
Yet, while in sadness droops a brother,
No brother-heart can sadness smother:
The tear of fellowship will start ―
The tongue seek comfort to impart.

And English hearts, of old, were dull
To quell their yearnings pitiful: ―
The guests forgot the jester's strain,
To think upon the harp again,
And of the youth who, to its swell,
So late, his sighs did syllable.

Natheless, no guest was skilled to find,
At once, fit words that might proclaim, ―
For one who seemed without a name, ―
Their sympathy; ― and so, with kind
Intent, they urged some roundelay
The stranger minstrel would essay.

He struck the harp, forthwith, but sung
Of passion still, ― and still it clung
To Love ― his full, melodious tongue!


 

THE MINSTREL'S AVOWEL.


O YES! I hold thee in my heart;
Nor shall thy cherished form depart
From its loved home: though sad I be, ―
My heart, my Love, still cleaves to thee!

My dawn of life is dimmed and dark;
Hope's flame is dwindled to a spark;
But, though I live thus dyingly, ―
My heart, my Love, still cleaves to thee!

Though short my summer's day hath been,
And now the winter's eve is keen, ―
Yet, while the storm descends on me, ―
My heart, my Love, still cleaves to thee!

No look of love upon me beams, ―
No tear of pity for me streams: ―
A thing forlorn ― despairingly ―
My heart, my Love, still cleaves to thee!

Thine eye would pity wert thou free
To soothe my woe; and though I be
Condemned to helpless misery,
My heart, my Love, still cleaves to thee!


____________________



The maidens wept ― the clowns looked
            glum ―
Each rustic reveller was dumb:
Sir Wilfrid struggled hard to hide
Revengeful throes and ireful pride,
That, now, his wounded bosom swelled, ―
For in that youth he had beheld
An image which had overcast
His life with sorrow in the Past: ―
He struggled, and besought the youth
To leave his strains of woe and ruth
For some light lay, or merry rhyme,
More fitting Yule's rejoicing time. ―
And, though it cost him dear, the while,
He eyed the minstrel with a smile.

The stranger waited not to note
The Baron's speech: like one distraught
He struck the harp ― a wild farewell
Thus breathing to its deepest swell: ―


 

THE MINSTREL'S FAREWELL.


OH! smile not upon me ― my heart is not smiling:
Too long it hath mourned, 'neath reproach and
            reviling:
Thy smile is a false one: it never can bless me:
It doth not relieve, ― but more deeply distress me!

I care not for beauty; I care not for riches:
I am not the slave whom their tinsel bewitches:
    A bosom I seek
        That is true, like mine own, ―
    Though pale be the cheek,
        And its roses all flown, ―
And the wearer be desolate, wretched, forlorn, ―
And alike from each soul-soothing solace be torn.

That heart I would choose, which is stricken and
            slighted;
Whose joys are all fled, and whose hopes are all
            blighted;
    For that heart alone
        Would in sympathy thrill
    With one like my own
        That sorrow doth fill; ―
With a heart whose fond breathings have ever been
            spurned, ―
And hath long their rejection in solitude mourned.

The harp of my heart is unstrung; and to gladness
Respond not its chords ― but to sorrow and sad-
            ness: ―
Then speak not of mirth which my soul hath for-
            saken!
Why would ye my heart-breaking sorrows awaken?


____________________



It is the shriek of deathful danger!
None heed the heart-plaint of the stranger!
All start aghast, with deadly fear,
While they, again, that wild shriek hear!

"He drowns ― Sir Wilfrid!" cries a hind:
    "The ferryman is weak:
"He cannot stem the stream and wind:
    "Help, help! for Jesu's sake!"

"Help one, ― help all!" the Baron cries;
    "Whatever boon he craves,
"I swear, by Christ, that man shall win,
    "My ferryman who saves!" ―

Out rush the guests: but one was forth
    Who heard no word of boon:
His manly heart to deeds of worth
    Needed no clarion.

He dashed into the surging Trent ―
    Nor feared the hurricane;
And, ere the breath of life was spent,
    He seized the drowning man. ―

"What is thy boon?" said Torksey's lord, ―
    But his cheek was deadly pale;
"Tell forth thy heart, ― and to keep his word
    "De Thorold will not fail." ―

"I rushed to save my brother-man,
    "And not to win thy boon:
"My just desert had been Heaven's ban ―
    "If thus I had not done!" ―

Thus spake the minstrel, when the hall
    The Baron's guests had gained:
And, now, De Thorold's noble soul
    Spoke out, all unrestrained.

"Then for thy own heart's nobleness
    "Tell forth thy boon," he said;
"Before thou tell'st thy thought, I guess
    "What wish doth it pervade." ―

"Sweet Edith, his true, plighted love,
    "Romara asks of thee!
"What though my kindred with thee strove,
    "And wrought thee misery?

"Our Lord, for whom we keep this day,
    "When nailed upon the tree;
"Did he foredoom his foes, or pray
    "That they might pardoned be?" ―

"Son of my ancient foe!" replied
    The Baron to the youth, ―
"I glad me that my ireful pride
    "Already bows to truth:

"Deep zeal to save our brother-man ―
    "Generous self-sacrifice
"For other's weal ― is nobler than
    "All blood-stained victories!

"Take thy fair boon! ― for thou hast spoiled
    "Death, ― greedy Death ― of prey ―
"This poor man who for me hath toiled
    "Full many a stormy day!

"I feel ― to quell the heart's bad flame,
    "And bless an enemy,
"Is richer than all earthly fame ―
    "Though the world should be its fee!

"My sire was by thy kinsman slain; ―
    "Yet, as thy tale hath told,
"Thy kinsman's usurping act was vain ―
    "He died in the dungeon cold.

"Perish the memory of feud,
    "And deeds of savage strife!
"Blood still hath led to deeds of blood,
    "And life hath paid for life!

"My darling Edith shall be thine ―
    "My blood with thine shall blend ―
"The Saxon with the Norman line ―
    "In love our feuds shall end.

"In age I'll watch ye bless the poor,
    "And smile upon your love;
"And, when my pilgrimage is o'er,
    "I hope to meet above

"Him who on earth a Babe was born
"In lowliness, as on this morn, ―
"And tabernacled here below,
"Lessons of brotherhood to show!"


____________________



High was the feast, and rich the song,
For many a day, that did prolong
    The wedding-revelry:

But more it needeth not to sing
Of our fathers' festive revelling: ―
    How will the dream agree
"With waking hours of famished throngs,
Brooding on daily deepening wrongs ―
    A stern reality! ―

With pictures, that exist in life,
Of thousands waging direful strife
With gaunt Starvation, in the holds
Where Mammon vauntingly unfolds
His boasted banner of success?

Oh, that bruised hearts, in their distress,
May meet with hearts whose bounteousness
Helps them to keep their courage up, ―
"Bating no jot of heart or hope!" [17]

My suffering brothers! still your hope
Hold fast, though hunger make ye droop!
Right ― glorious Right ― shall yet be done!
The Toilers' boon shall yet be won!
Wrong from its fastness shall be hurled ―
The World shall be a happy world! ―
It shall be filled with brother-men, ―
And merry Yule oft come again!


――――♦――――

 

 
NOTES.

 
I.

TORKSEY'S HALL.


THE remains of this ancient erection (of which a representation is given in the accompanying vignette) form an interesting antiquarian object beside the Trent, twelve miles from Lincoln, and seven from Gainsborough.  The entire absence of any authentic record, as to the date of the foundation, or its former possessors, leaves the imagination at full liberty to clothe it with poetic legend.  Visits made to it, in my childhood, and the hearing of wild narratives respecting the treasures buried beneath its ruins, and the power of its lords in the times of chivalry, fixed it, very early, in my mind, as the fit site for a tale of romance.  In addition to the beautiful fragment of a front on the Trent bank, massive and extensive foundations in the back-ground show that it must have been an important building in by-gone times.

    Torksey was, undoubtedly, one of the first towns in Lincolnshire, in the Saxon period.  Only three of the towns in the county are classed in Domesday Book, and it is one of them: "Lincoln mans. 982; Stamford 317: Terchesey 102." (Turner's Hist. of the Anglo-Saxons, 1836, vol. iii. page 251.)  Writers of parts of the county history, ― (for a complete history of Lincolnshire has not yet been written,) ― affirm that Torksey is the Tiovulfingacester of Venerable Bede; but Smith, the learned editor of the Cambridge edition of Bede, inclines to the opinion that Southwell is the town indicated by the pious and industrious monastic.  The passage in Bede leaves every thing to conjecture: he simply relates that a truth-speaking presbyter and abbot of Pearteneu, (most likely, Partney, near Horncastle, in Lincolnshire,) named Deda, said that an old man had told him, that he, with a great multitude, was baptized by Paulinus, in the presence of King Edwin, "in fluvio Treenta juxta civitatem quĉ lingua Anglorum Tiovulfingacaestir vocatur" ― in the river Trent, near the city which in the language of the Angles is called Tiovulfingacaestir (Smith's Bede: Cambr. 1722, page 97.) ― This passage occurs immediately after the relation of the Christian mission of Paulinus into Lindsey, and his conversion of Blecca, governor of Lincoln, and his family, while the good King Edwin reigned over East Anglia, to which petty kingdom Lincolnshire seems sometimes to have belonged, though it was generally comprehended in the kingdom of Mercia, during the period of the Heptarchy.

    If Stukeley be correct in his supposition that the "Foss-dyke," or canal which connects the Trent here with the Witham at Lincoln, be the work of the Romans, ― and I know no reason for doubting it, ― Torksey, standing at the junction of the artificial river with the Trent, must have been an important station even before the Saxon times.  These are Stukeley's words relative to the commercial use of the Foss-Dyke: "By this means the corn of Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Northamptonshire, Rutland, and Lincolnshire, came in; ― from the Trent, that of Nottinghamshire; all easily conveyed northward to the utmost limits of the Roman power there, by the river Ouse, which is navigable to the imperial city of York.  This city (York) was built and placed there, in that spot, on the very account of the corn-boats coming thither, and the emperors there resided, on that account; and the great morass on the river Foss was the haven, or bason, where these corn-boats unladed.  The very name of the Foss at York, and Foss-dyke between Lincoln and the Trent, are memorials of its being an artificial work, even as the great Foss road, equally the work of the spade, though in a different manner." (Stukeley's Palĉographia Britannica: Stamford, 1746: No. 2. page 39.)

    In the superb edition of Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum, edited by Sir Henry Ellis and others (1825), occurs the following note, also evidencing the extent of ancient Torksey:― "Mr. T. Sympson, who collected for a history of Lincoln, in a letter preserved in one of Cole's manuscript volumes in the British Museum, dated January 20, 1741, says, 'Yesterday, in Atwater's Memorandums, I met with a composition between the prior of St. Leonard's in Torksey and the nuns of the Fosse, by which it appears there were then three parishes in Torksey: viz. All Saints, St. Mary's, and St Peter's." (Vol. iv. page 292.)

    At what date this "composition" took place between the prior and nuns, we are not told: of course, it must have been before the dissolution of the religious houses.  Leland's account of Torksey, which is as follows, applies to a period immediately succeeding that event.

    "The olde buildinges of Torkesey wer on the south of the new tonne, [that is, at the junction of the Trent with the Fosse] but ther now is litle seene of olde buildinges, more than a chapelle, wher men say was the paroch chireh of olde Torkesey; and on Trent side the Yerth so balkith up that it shewith that there be likelihod hath beene sum waulle, and by it is a hill of yerth cast up: they caulle it the Wynde Mille Hille, but I thinke the dungeon of sum olde castelle was there.  By olde Torkesey standith southely the ruines of Fosse Nunnery, hard by the stone-bridge over Fosse Dik; and there Fosse Dike hath his entering ynto Trente.  There be 2 smaul paroche chirches in new Torkesey and the Priory of S. Leonard standith on theste [the East] side of it.  The ripe [bank] that Torkesey standith on is sumwhat higher ground than is by the west ripe of Trent.  Trent there devidith, and a good deale upward, Lincolnshire from Nottinghamshire." (Itinerary: Oxon, 1745 : vol. i. page 33.)

____________________
 
II.

THOROLD.


    The high character for generousness and hospitality assigned to this most ancient of Lincolnshire families, by history and tradition, was my only reason for giving its name to an imaginary lord of Torksey.  Ingulphus, the Croyland chronicler, in a passage full of grateful eloquence, ― (commencing, "Tune inter familiares nostri monasterii, et benevolos amicos, erat prĉcipuus consiliarius quidam.  Vicecomes Lincolniĉ, dictus Thoroldus," but too long to quote entire,) ― relates, that in a dreadful famine, which occurred in the reign of Edward the Confessor, Thorold, sheriff of Lincolnshire, gave his manor of Bokenhale to the abbey of Croyland, and afterwards bestowed upon it his manor of Spalding, with all its rents and profits. (Gale's Rer. Ang. Script. Vet. Tom. i. page 65. Oxon, 1684.)

    Tanner thus briefly notices the latter circumstance: "Spalding.  Thorold de Bukenale, brother to the charitable countess Godiva, gave a place here, A.D. 1052, for the habitation, and lands for the maintenance of a prior and five monks from Croiland." (Notitia, page 251. fol. 1744.)  The generosity of the female Thorold, Godiva, is matter of notoriety in the traditionary history of Coventry; and her name, and that of her husband, are found in connection with the history of the very ancient town of Stow, in Lincolnshire, as benefactors to its church.  "Leofricus, comes Merciĉ, et Godiva ejus uxor ecclesiam de S. Marie Stow, quam Eadnotus, episcopus Lincolniĉ, construxit, pluribus ornamentis ditavit" ― Leofric, earl of Mercia, and Godiva his wife, enriched with many adornments the church of St. Mary at Stow, which Eadnoth, bishop of Lincoln, built.  (Leland's Collectanea, vol. i. page 158. London, 1770.)

    In Kimber and Johnson's Baronetage (vol. i. page 470.) the Thorold of the reign of Edward the Confessor is said to be descended from Thorold, sheriff of Lincolnshire in the reign of Kenelph, king of Mercia.  Betham, in his "Baronetage of England" (Ipswich, 1801, vol. i. page 476) says the pedigree of the Thorolds is a "very fine" one, and enumerates its several branches of Marston, Blankney, Harmston, Morton, and Claythorp, and of the "High Hall and Low Hall, in Hough, all within the said county of Lincoln."  Betham, and other writers of his class, enumerate Thorolds, sheriffs of Lincolnshire, in the reigns of Philip and Mary, Elizabeth, James I. and Charles I.; and Sir George Thorold of Harmston was sheriff of London and Middlesex, in 1710, ― and afterwards Lord Mayor.

    Sir John Thorold of Syston is now the chief representative of this Saxon family; but report says that he delights to live abroad ― rather than in the midst of his tenantry and dependants, to gladden the hearts of the poor, and receive happiness from diffusing it among others, after the good example of his ancestors.

____________________


 
III.

FOSSE NUNNERY.


    "The Nunnery of the Fosse was begun by the inhabitants of Torksey upon some demesne lands belonging to the Crown, pretty early in King John's time; but King Henry III. confirming it, is said to have been the founder.  The circumstance of the foundation by the men of Torksey is mentioned in King Henry's charter.  The Inspeximus of the 5th Edw. II., which contains it, also contains a charter of King John, granting to the nuns two marks of silver which they had been used to pay annually into the Exchequer for the land at Torksey.  In this charter King John calls them the Nuns of Torkesey." ― Dugdale's Monasticon, vol. iv. p. 292.

____________________

 
IV.

SAINT LEONARD'S.


    Bishop Tanner, following Speed and Leland, says, "Torkesey.  On the east side of the new town stood a priory of Black Canons, built by K. John to the honour of St. Leonard."  Notitia, p. 278.  This priory was granted to Sir Philip Hobby, after the Dissolution: the Fosse Nunnery to Edward Lord Clinton.

____________________

 
V.

THORNEY WOOD.


    In the neighbourhood of Torksey, and, traditionally, part of an extensive forest, in past times.  A branch of the Nevils, claiming descent from the great earls of Warwick and Montagu, reside at Thorney.

____________________

 
VI.

GRUNSEL.


    This old word for threshold is still common in Lincolnshire; and with Milton's meaning so plainly before his understanding (Paradise Lost, book i. line 460.), it is strange that Dr. Johnson should have given "the lower part of the building" as an explanation for grunsel.  Lemon, in his "Etymology," spells the word "ground-sill," and then derives the last syllable from "soil."  Nothing can be more stupid.  Doorsill is as common as grunsel, for threshold, in Staffordshire, as well as Lincolnshire; and, in both counties, "window-sill " is frequent.  I remember, too, in my boyhood, having heard the part of the plough to which the share is fitted ― the frame of the harrows ― and the frame of a grindstone, each called "sill" by the farmers of Lindsey.

____________________

 
VII.

ROMARA.


    In this instance I have also used a name associated with the ancient history of Lincolnshire as an imaginary Norman lord of Torksey.  "William de Romara, lord of Bolingbroke, in Lincolnshire, was the first earl of that county after the Conquest.  He was the son of Roger, son of Gerold de Romara; which Roger married Lucia, daughter of Algar, earl of Chester, and sister and heir to Morcar, the Saxon earl of Northumberland and Lincoln.  In 1142 he founded the Abbey of Revesby, in com. Linc., bearing then the title of Earl of Lincoln." ― BANKES' Extinct and Dormant Peerage.

____________________

 
VIII.

THE TRENT.


"Or Trent, who like some earth-born giant spreads
 His thirty arms along the indented meads."

MILTON.

____________________

 
IX.

THE HEYGRE.


    The tide, at the equinoxes especially, presents a magnificent spectacle on the Trent.  It comes up even to Gainsborough, which is seventy miles from the sea, in one overwhelming wave, spreading across the wide river-channel, and frequently putting the sailors into some alarm for the safety of their vessels, which are dashed to and fro, while "all hands" are engaged in holding the cables and slackening them, so as to relieve the ships.

    To be in a boat, under the guardianship of a sailor, and to hear the shouts on every hand of "'Ware Heygre!" ― as the grand wave is beheld coming on, ― and then to be tossed up and down in the boat, as the wave is met, ― form no slight excitements for a boy living by the side of Trent.

    I find no key to the derivation of the word Heygre in the Etymologists.  The Keltic verb, Éigh, signifying, to cry shout, sound, proclaim; or the noun Eigin, signifying difficulty, distress, force, violence ― may, perhaps, be the root from whence came this name for the tide ― so dissimilar to any other English word of kindred meaning.  It is scarcely probable that the word by which the earliest inhabitants of Britain would express their surprise at this striking phenomenon should ever be lost, or changed for another.

____________________

 
X.

THE PORPOISE.


    The appearance of a porpoise, at the season when his favourite prey, the salmon, comes up the river to spawn, is another high excitement to dwellers on the Trent.  I remember well the almost appalling interest with which, in childhood, I beheld some huge specimen of this marine visitor, drawn up by crane on a wharf, after an enthusiastic contest for his capture by the eager sailors.

____________________

 
XI.

AGNES PLANTAGENET.


    The very interesting relic of the Old Hall at Gainsborough is associated, in the mind of one who spent more than half his existence in the old town, with much that is chivalrous.  Mowbrays, Percys, De Burghs, and other high names of the feudal era are in the list of its possessors, as lords of the manor.  None, however, of its former tenants calls up such stirring associations as 'Old John of Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster,' who, with his earldom of Lincoln, held this castle and enlarged and beautified it.  Tradition confidently affirms that his daughter was starved to death by him, in one of the rooms of the old tower, ― in consequence of her perverse attachment to her father's foe, ― the knight of Torksey.  Often have I heard the recital, from some agèd gossip, by the fireside on a winter's night; and the rehearsal was invariably delivered with so much of solemn and serious averment ― that the lady was still seen, ― that she would point out treasure, to any one who had the courage to speak to her, ― and that some families had been enriched by her ghostly means, though they had kept the secret, ― as to awaken within me no little dread of leaving the fireside for bed in the dark!

    With indescribable feeling I wandered along the carven galleries and ruined rooms, or crept up the antique massive staircases, of this crumbling mansion of departed state, in my boyhood, ― deriving from these stolen visits to its interior, mingled with my admiring gaze at its battlemented turret, and rich octagonal window, (which tradition said had lighted the chapel erected by John of Gaunt,) a passion for chivalry and romance, that not even my Chartism can quench.  Once, and once only, I remember creeping, under the guidance of an elder boy, up to the 'dark room' in the turret; but the fear that we should really see the ghostly Lady caused us to run down the staircase, with heating hearts, as soon as we had reached the door and had had one momentary peep!

    Other traditions of high interest are connected with this ancient mansion.  One, says that Sweyn the Danish invader, (the remains of whose camp exist at the distance of a mile from the town,) was killed at a banquet, by his drunken nobles, in the field adjoining its precincts.  Another, avers that in the Saxon building believed to have stood on the same spot, as the residence of the earls of Mercia, the glorious Alfred's wedding-feast was held.  Speed gives some little aid to the imagination in its credent regard for the story: "Elswith, the wife of king Ĉlfred, was the daughter of Ethelfred, surnamed Muchel, that is, the Great, an Earle of the Mercians, who inhabited about Gainesborough, in Lincolnshire: her mother was Edburg, a lady borne of the Bloud roiall of Mercia."  (Historic of Great Britaine, 1632: page 333.)

____________________

 
XII.

ROCHE.


    A visit to the beautiful ruins of Roche Abbey, near ancient Tickhill, and to the scenery amidst which they lie, created a youthful desire to depict them in verse.  This doggrel ditty (I forestall the critics!) of the Miller of Roche is all, however, that I preserved of the imperfect piece.  The ditty is a homely versification of a homely tale which was often told by the fireside in Lincolnshire.  I never saw anything resembling it in print, until Mr. Dickens (whose kind attention I cannot help acknowledging) pointed out to me a similar story in the Decameron.

    Roche Abbey, according to the "Monasticon Anglicanum," was founded by Richard de Builli and Richard Fitz-Turgis, in 1147.  "The architecture bespeaks the time of Edward II. or III." (Edit. 1825: vol. v. p. 502.)

____________________

 
XIII.

SCROGG AND CARR.


[Ed.―'#' signifies passages in which I'm unable to provide a legible representation of the Hebrew etc. text - please see page image]

    Johnson says, "Scrog.  A stunted shrub, bush, or branch; yet used in some parts of the north."  In Lincolnshire, however, the word is used to designate wild ground on which "stunted shrub, bush, or branch" grows, and not as a synonyme with shrub or bush.

    Carr I have looked for in vain among the etymologists.  Johnson merely quotes Gibson's Camden to show that, in the names of places, Car "seems to have relation to the British caer, a city;" and Junius, Skinner, Lemon, Home Tooke, Jamieson, &c. are silent about it.  The word is applied, in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, to the low lands, or wide marsh pastures that border the Trent; and I feel little doubt that, like the word heygre, and many others that might be collected, it has been in use ever since it was given to these localities, by the primeval tribes, the Kelts, when they first saw these beautiful tracts, so much subject to inundation, like the flat borders of their own rivers in the East.  #### (car) a pasture, is found in Isaiah, xxx. 23.  Psalm lxv. 14, &c., and although #### (kicar) is simply translated "plain" in the established version, and Gesenius would, still more vaguely, render it "circuit, surrounding country," (from ####, in Arabic, to be round,) yet I suspect the words come from the same root, and have the same meaning.  Thus, Genesis xiii. 10. #### might literally be rendered "And Lot raised his eyes, and saw all the carr of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before Jehovah destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah like the garden of Jehovah; like the land of Mitzraim, as thou approachest Zoar."  How natural, that the Keltic or Kymric tribes should behold, in the Trent pastures, the resemblance of the plains on the banks of the Jordan, the Nile, the Tigris, and Euphrates (for the term ##### garden of Jehovah most probably denotes Mesopotamia, in the very ancient fragments collected by Moses to form the book of Genesis) ― and should denote them by the same name!

    ####, khawar, also signifies "low or sloping ground," in Richardson's Arabic and Persian Dictionary; and "Carr, a bog, a fen, or morass," occurs in Armstrong's Gaelic Dictionary.  The word I conceive is thus clearly traced to its Keltic or Eastern origin.

____________________

 
XIV.

CROWD.


[Ed.―'#' signifies passages in which I'm unable to provide a legible representation of the Hebrew etc. text - please see page image]

    Sir John Hawkins, in his highly curious "History of Music" (vol. ii. page 274) says "The Cruth or Crowth" was an instrument "formerly in common use in the principality of Wales," and is the "prototype of the whole fidicinal species of musical instruments."  "It has six strings, supported by a bridge, and is played on by a bow."  "The word Cruth is pronounced in English Crowth, and corruptly Crowd."  "#### is the Saxon appellation given by Leland, for the instrument (Collectanea: vol. v. )"  "A player on the cruth was called a Crowther or Crowder, and so also is a common fiddler to this day; and hence, undoubtedly, Crowther, or Crowder, a common surname.  Butler, with his usual humour, has characterised a common fiddler, and given him the name of Crowdero."


"I'th' head of all this warlike rabble
"Crowdero marched, expert and able."

____________________

 
XV.

REBECK.


    Rebeck is a word well known from Milton's exquisite "L' Allegro."  Sir John Hawkins (vol. ii. page 86) traces it to the Moorish Rebeb; and believes he finds this old three-stringed fiddle in the hands of Chaucer's Absolon, the parish-clerk, who could "plaie songs on a smale ribible."

____________________

 
XVI.

ST. GUTHLACKE.


    The patron saint of the ancient Abbey of Croyland.

____________________

 
XVII.

THE SWINEHERD OF STOW.


    St. Remigius, the Norman bishop, is placed on the pinnacle of one buttress that terminates the splendid facade, or west front of Lincoln Cathedral, and the Swineherd of Stow, with his horn in his hand, on the other.  The tradition is in the mouth of every Lincolner, that this effigied honour was conferred on the generous rudester because he gave his horn filled with silver pennies towards the rebuilding or beautifying of the Minster.

____________________

 
XVIII.


                  "Nor bate a jot of heart or hope."

                                                   Milton's Sonnet on his blindness.





THE END.

 



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