Beside that miniature lay a scroll,
As written by him forty years before:
He read every word of it o’er and o’er,
And every word of it flashed through his soul,
In a flood of that bright and awakened light
Which slumbers and sleeps through a long, long night.
“I loved my love early, the young Lady May;
I saw her bloom rarely in youth’s rosy day;
But her eye looked afar to some orb that was shining,
As if for that sphere her spirit was pining.
“Faint in the light of day seemed what was near
Visions far, far away, clearer and clearer;
Still, as flesh wears away spirits that bear it,
Eyeing yon milky way, sigh to be near it.
“Lady May, she is dying—she hears
some one whisper,
Near where she’s lying, ’Come away, sister’—
Draw down each silky lid—draw them down over
Eyes whose last light on earth shone on her lover.
“My lost Lady May in yon vault now is sleeping;
Her sisters who go to pray come away weeping;
And while I yet linger here, some one elates me,
Whispering into my ear, ‘Yonder she waits thee.’”
And thus they had waited until this last day,
But the hour of their meeting was coming apace;
And as he still gazed on that beautiful face,
His spirit so weary passed gently away;
And the nurse would unfold those fingers so cold,
Which still of that picture retained the hold.
There’s the silence of death in Allerley Tower,
The taper gone out with its murky smoke,
The raven has finished her croak-croak,
The cricket is silent at midnight hour;
The last of the Allerley lords lies there,
And Allerley goes to a distant heir.
In yon tomb where was laid his young Lady May,
Lord William sleeps now by the side of her bier;
And the Allerley lords and ladies lie near.
But nearest of neighbours they nothing can say:
No “Good morrow, my lord,” when the day is begun,
No “My lady, good night,” when the day it is done.
THE LEGEND OF THE LADY KATHARINE.
’Twas at a time now long past gone,
And well gone if ’twill stay,
When our good land seemed made alone
For lords and ladies gay;
When brown bread was the poor man’s fare,
For which he toiled and swet,
When men were used as nowt or deer.
And heads were only worth the wear
When crowned with coronet.
There was a right good noble knight,
Sir Bullstrode was his name[A]—
A name which he acquired by fight,
And with it meikle fame.
Upon his burnished shield he bore
A head of bull caboshed
(For so they speak in herald lore),
And for his crest he aptly wore
Two bones of marrow crossed.
[Footnote A: A knight called Bullstrode, as having got his name in the way set forth, is mentioned by Guillim; but whether he is the same as he who figures in the Scotch legend I do not know.]