And, as they listened, there came to their ear
The grating of the portcullis gear,
And a cry of fear from the ballion green,
As if the retainers a ghost had seen:
Tramp and tramp on the scaliere,
And along the corridor leading there;
The door is opened, and lo! comes in
The leal and the living Sir Peregrine.
“Holy Maria!” the Countess cried,
“Holy Maria!” the Yerl replied;
The maid looked up, then sank her head,
As an Ave Marie again she said:
“Ave Marie! my sweet ladye,
Ave Marie! I come to thee.
Ah, soft and clear those eyes of thine,
That look so kindly into mine;
Oh Ladye sweet! stretch forth thy hand
To welcome me to yon happy land;
Oh Virgin! open thy bosom fair,
That thy poor child may nestle there;”
Then she laid her arms across her breast,
And gently, softly, sank to rest.
The throstle-cock’s voice rang out more clear
On the linden tree there growing near,
And the sun burst forth with brighter ray
On the couch where her spirit had passed away.
Over hollow, and over height,
Sir Peregrine sought that caitiff knight
Who had wrought such woe to Eaglestein—
To him and the Lady Etheline.
The time has come and the wish made good,
The villain he met in the Calder Wood.
“Hold, hold, thou basest dastard Theou,
For Ceorl’s a name thou’rt far below;
Ten lives like thine would not suffice
To be to my soul a sacrifice;
There is the glaive, it is thine to try.
Or with it or without it thou must die.”
But the caitiff laughed a laugh of scorn:
“Come on, thou bastard of bastards born.”
Their falchions are gleaming in bright mid-day:
They rushed like tigers upon their prey;
Sir Peregrine’s eyes flashed liquid fire,
The caitiff’s shone out with unholy ire;
But victory goes not aye with right,
Nor the race to those the quickest in flight.
Sir Peregrine’s fury o’ershot his aim:
His sword breaks through—his arm is maim!
With nothing to wield, with nothing to ward.
No word of mercy or quarter heard;
With a breast-wound deep as his heart he lies,
A look of scorn—Sir Peregrine dies.
Behind the crumbling walls of Eaglestein,
The tomb of the old Yerls may still be seen,
And there long mouldering lay close side by side,
Sir Peregrine the bold and his fair bride;
Their ashes scattered now and blown away,
As thine and mine will be some coming day.
This world is surely an enchanted theme,
A thing of seims and shows—a wild fantastic dream.
THE LEGEND OF ALLERLEY HALL.
The tower-bell has sounded the midnight hour,
Old Night has unfolded her sable pall,
Darkness o’er hamlet, darkness o’er hall,
Loud screams the raven on Allerley Tower;[A]
A glimmering gleam from yon casement high
Is all that is seen by the passer-by.