A chivalric tale in 65 Spenserian stanzas. John Abraham Heraud composed Tottenham as a local poem, connecting events in the early life of Robert the Bruce with places near the village of Tottenham, where the future Scottish monarch once lived as a retainer of King Edward. The poem is modeled on James Beattie's The Minstrel, the first canto relating the hero's contemplations in a sublime landscape, and the second his conversations with a monk, and the visions they inspired. Together these experiences lead Bruce to assume his destined role in history. The subject matter suggests an earlier imitation of Beattie's poem, John Finlay's Wallace, or the Vale of Ellerslie (1802) which Heraud's poem resembles enough that one suspects that it too was a source.
Heraud composed Tottenham as a companion piece to his Legend of St. Loy (1820) which, like several of Walter Scott's narratives, is framed by an introduction and conclusion in Spenserian stanzas.
Preface: "The following attempt originated in a conversation with Mr. Robinson, the Historian of Tottenham, on another production of the Author, founded on the same Localities. Mr. Robinson then desired to see a Poem, more historical in its subject, than the one then in question, which was wholly a fiction, and more general in its description of Tottenham, and its Antiquities: — and at his request the present work was undertaken. Whatever praise it may merit, the gratitude of the Author willingly surrenders to his Friend; — the defects of the execution are his own, and to him their consequent reprehension must be confined. He intends soon to submit the other Poem to the public ordeal, when he will have more motive for hope and fear than on the present occasion" i.
Gentleman's Magazine: "This Poem is pleasing and harmonious. The hero of it is Bruce, founder of the Castle which bears his name" 90 (April 1820) 339.
Monthly Magazine: "The poem entitled Tottenham, recently published, is the production of no ordinary pen. Some of its stanzas especially, bear the stamp of real poetry. It is written in illustration of some of the local circumstances referred to by Mr. Robinson, in his History and Antiquities of Tottenham; a work which, it will be recollected, we some time since noticed. We can only find room for the following stanzas descriptive of Morning, which, although the subject be hackneyed beyond all measure, is treated by our present poet with a good deal of energy and beauty" 49 (March 1820) 166-67.
The poem begins, after an Ossianic invocation, with a description of Brus's Towers, which suggest to the poet the narrative that follows. Robert the Bruce, a young man, is seen pacing the neighborhood of Tottenham, meditating by moonlight his political aspirations: "Who doth not know in such a scene of peace, | Over such liquid murmurs half reclin'd, | How all that is without appears to cease, | And the soul mingles with itself — and mind | Forms its own visions variously combin'd, | Darkling or bright" p.10. Day breaks, and the sight of the glorious landscapes inspires the hero with thoughts of still-more-glorious Scotland: "My own lov'd land — my home! — my crown! and my domain!" p. 16.
The second canto opens with a local legend associated with a group of elm trees, once the site of a hermitage. There the poet imagines a conversation taking place between Robert the Bruce and his aged father. The father hears a voice calling him to the grave, and faints away. At this moment a monk approaches Robert and informs the youth of the miraculous powers of the well of St. Loy. The father is revived, and the sight of the well inspires Robert with a spirit of courage and humility, recalling the heroism of William Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk. Old Bruce enjoins his son to liberate Scotland, when, as a series of visions appear in the waters of the well, he expires. The poem concludes with a salute to Scotland and the spirit of Freedom that now joins the two kingdoms.
W. Davenport Adams: "John Abraham Heraud, poet and miscellaneous writer (b. 1799), is the author of Tottenham (1820); The Legend of St. Loy (1821); The Descent into Hell (1830); The Judgment of the Flood (1834); Videna: a tragedy (1854); Life of Girolamo Savonarola; and more recently, Shakespere: His Inner Life (1865); The Wreck of the London (1870); In-gathering; and The War of Ideas (1871). He has contributed largely to periodical literature" Dictionary of English Literature (1878) 277.
CANTO THE FIRST.
Who that upon the hill of snow and blast
Seated by Time, — the tyrant of the brow—
Looks on the play-place where his youth was past,
The Vale of Mem'ry, and th' eternal glow
Of still new Spring; — Elysian sweets, and flow
Of ever gushing waters — Hope and Bliss,—
Feels not his torpid bosom's secret throe
Kindle with long forgotten extacies?
And dreams — the hunter's dream were not so blest as his!
The hunter, who in days of old, repos'd
On Morven's high heath, in the sun's mild beam,
Ere the wild winds and tempest were disclos'd,
Rousing him from his calm and summer dream,
To the red flashing lightning's lurid gleam—
Lo! he surveys the pine, and blasted oak,
Shaking their grey heads, in the leven-stream,
To the rude storm-gale and the thunder-stroke,
And for the vision sighs whence he had just awoke—
Spirit of song! so shall thy beam arise,
Like morning in thy minstrel's soul, when he
Shall turn him to thine early memories,
And feel the joy of other times in thee!
Then, pleasant to his thought that eve shall be.
When, fancy-led, along the western dale,
He look'd on the pavillion'd broidery
Of the broad sunset, till with its own gale
The muse breath'd through his soul, the Hermit's embryo Tale.—
Then, with that vision of his sunny day,
Will the rememb'rance mingle, that as thou
Triumph'd in thy creation — the young ray
Of thine aetherial essence, when thy brow
Brighten'd with love upon thy vot'ry's vow—
HE, whom the bard would honor, not in vain,
Bids him, like his own renovate genius, now
Aspire to waken with another strain
The echoes of his lyre, and Toteham's fields again!
Lovely is moonlight to the poet's eye,
That in a tide of beauty bathes the skies,
Filling the balmy air with purity,
Silent and lone, and on the greensward dies—
But when on ye her heavenly slumber lies,
TOWERS OF BRUS! 'tis more than lovely then.—
For such sublime associations rise,
That to young fancy's visionary ken,
'Tis like a maniac's dream — fitful and still again.
Now brightly pale, and now so wildly dark,
As there were witch'ry in her wayward reign,
That might upon your time-worn turrets mark
The tooth of passion, and the spirit's pain,
The conflict that toils on through heart and brain,
And struggles in the lineaments — known too well
Within — as ye may guess who heed the strain—
As though that wand'ring lustre were a spell,
Lovely and, bright as 'tis, of influence dark and fell!
What boots it from oblivion to recall,
As with the Muse of Amphion, every stone,
Shield, bulwark, vantage-coign, and battled wall?
Down Time's dark chaos long have they been gone—
And what would they avail the bard alone?
The name of BRUS! — that consecrates the spot,
Renders its story deathless as his own,
And round the Castle shapes of burning thought
Hover to hallow it — to be, when that is not!
The war in Palestine had ceased — that field
Of ruthless cruelty, and scorpion strife,
Where on the dead and dying armies kneel'd,
Before the sepulchre with slaughter rife,
And rais'd their stain'd hands to the Lord of Life—
Yea, were so madden'd, in religious spasm,
They bade the tear drop on the murd'ring knife,
From vict'ry's eye, and wild enthusiasm
Sang hymns to Him who lay within that holy chasm!
But that was past — they triumph'd and they wept—
And they are gone— and others made as they
Their deeds repeated, and in darkness slept—
'Till very children armed them for the fray,
And rent them from their parent's hearths away,
Sweet hecatombs to the grim fiend of war!
But he in Palestine had seen his day—
And ev'ry warrior turn'd him to his star,
But BRUS to England's — here — from his own mountains far!
His sire was of the twelve who for the crown
Of Caledon, with Edward's wile competed,
But scorn'd to hold the right of England's throne,
He freely heir'd, and but with freedom greeted.—
And here the EARL OF ANNANDALE retreated,
And saw his son, like the keen eaglet rise,
Worthy his monarch fathers, and conceited
His ROBERT was predestined by the skies,
To win their long lost seat, and lineal royalties!
And is this he, who from the Castle moves
Now looking up to heaven, and to the moon,
Which there in all her virgin silence roves,
And vows a vow that she may hear alone?—
Wand'ring the night like her — save that she shone,
But he was darkling, suff'ring — so is she!
A cloud hath shorn her glory — like his own—
But, lo! she peers above it — so will he!
Toiling and suff'ring, but for Immortality!
At ALL SAINT'S ivied and embattled tow'r,
Devote to prayer, and consecrate to praise,
He paus'd — because the monks at stated hour
Were chanting to the Cross their sacred lays,
And on his spirit rush'd his happier days,
His days of childhood, when he joined the strain,
And lov'd upon the gorgeous rite to gaze,
As down the choral aisle the priestly train,
Paced forth in solemn slate, or worshipped at the fane.
But now! — such thoughts throng'd o'er him, that he wept;—
His heart was from its heavenly treasure gone—
And o'er his soul the service stilly crept—
Gone — to the isles of streamy Caledon!
And now it came, like a forgotten tone,
But to reproach him, who with God had striv'n;
And to the Cross round which the moonlight shone,
Vesting it like an halo in mid-heav'n,
He rais'd his phrensied eye, and pray'd to be forgiv'n!
The tear he shed was that of wounded pride,
Which for a moment was but thus subdu'd,
For soon the passion to the pang allied,
Storm'd o'er his soul, — and he, in mightier mood,
Sware by his Sires, his Saviour, and his God,
To assert his own immediate energies,
The strength of his own spirit-through the flood
Of violence and fraud, t' avenge the cries
Of his own bleeding land, still echoing to the skies!
Such of the aspiring is the secret strife,
When mighty things are brooding in the breast,
And ev'ry function rushes into life,
In all their contrarieties confest;
And the fierce world within the man comprest
In one wild insurrection rises! — Such
Was his — the Son of BRUS — who scorn'd the rest
That fetter'd him to earth. — Behold him touch
His fancy-circled brow — he wakes — it is too much!
Glorious conception — yet, how full of grief!
The dream was dear — but, oh! the waking wild!
A diadem of fire had been relief
To the dark truth — his brow was but beguil'd
With a vain semblance, like a fretful child—
And, as a steed by snake from slumber stung,
He rush'd through night — then turn'd around — and smil'd—
Lo! on her hill the Church in moonlight hung,
And fainter on his ear the distant vigils rung.
Hark — from yon ivied and embattled tow'r,
With momentary intermitting shriek,
The bird of hate profanes this silent hour,
Of bitter omens with the moon to speak—
'Tis hush'd! — again! — peace! harsh and dissonant beak!—
Up, Nightingale! up to thy light belov'd—
Pour thy full tide of rapture, which we seek
To name, or Joy, or Grief, by both approv'd,
So thrilling and so wild, with ev'ry passion mov'd!
There is a winding streamlet skirts the hill,
That boasts its source from MUSWELL, and its name;
There stood the BRUS, and in its mirror still
Discern'd another heav'n, and yet the same,
With all its azure and its orbs of flame—
Heard the brook's music ever as the breeze
Of this calm night in spring tide went and came,
And mark'd, amus'd, the regent of the seas!
Beneath the waters glass'd she sways in their increase.
Who doth not know in such a scene of peace,
Over such liquid murmurs half reclin'd,
How all that is without appears to cease,
And the soul mingles with itself — and mind
Forms its own visions variously combin'd,
Darkling or bright — pleasing or painful? — His
Rose in one rush of ev'ry shade and kind,
A wild confusion of all extacies,
Blending and opposite — hope, terror, sorrow, bliss!—
Yet he was silent, and had seem'd serene,
Had ye observ'd him in that raptur'd hour—
All too intense his visions to be seen
In their extern effect — but like a flow'r,
That, while it blossoms sweetest of the bow'r,
Conceals and nourishes the canker — he
Shew not the thought he cherish'd in his core,
His heart of heart, though there it revell'd free,
Fed on his vital blood, in its own secrecy!
DAYSPRING! lo, the grey east Aurora's blushes
Vermeil with beauty; and the spreading sky
With one broad glory o'er the horizon flushes,
Till the hills lift theft gradual heads on high,
And all the prospect opens on the eye,
Stream, pasture, forest, hamlet — one by one—
Developing its own variety,
And all the heav'n is conquer'd by the sun,
Dethroning every star — unminish'd and alone!
So deep his musings, that he did not mark
Nature reviving thus from stated death,
Till in the heav'n he heard the herald lark,
And on his cheek felt the gale's morning breath
Curling his locks, and eke, his mantle wreathe,
With its skirts sporting o'er the pleasant MOSE,
That dimpled with a livelier tide beneath—
And an invisible spirit of fragrance rose
From all things — and the birds with music chas'd repose!
Tis beauty — harmony — around, above—
A world of balm at this sweet hour of prime!
All beings wooing or returning love,
The breeze — the flow'r — the azure arch sublime—
And, redolent of songs, the woodland clime—
Precious to fancy, and to minstrel dear,
A fruitful theme for many a raptur'd rhime!
But yet, the pensive BRUS was lonely there,
Felt the scene melt his soul, and drop'd the tender tear,—
Then into his own spirit turn'd, and found
Nature herself for him had no delight,
Till he embrac'd her, where she sat renown'd,
In fell and cave, on rock and cloud-capp'd height,
And cataract — all majesty and might—
In his own mountain land of many isles,
Proud Caledon! — her monarch in his right—
"More glorious on her peaks the morning smiles,
Much more to be desir'd, and worth a thousand toils!"
Thus cried young Brus, and then his arms expanded,
As from his heart its strange oppression heaving,
And clos'd them on a form — whose grace demanded
Fancy's best powers, in her most high conceiving,
Faintly to shadow such — withall bereaving
Her entire essence from all stain of earth—
It was so heavenly! — yet the BRUS was leaving
That ONE, so sweet she seem'd of angel birth,
To sink in her own tears, as void and nothing worth!
Oh, there are hours — and this was such — when Love
Comes on the heart, made stern by musings lone,
But like the lightning's beauteous flash above
A barren waste, dread desolation's throne,
To make its perils and its horrors known,
Cheerless, and wild: — or like the heav'nly dew
That on the blasted heath drops idly down,
Or but its dark aridity to shew—
As nothing to that heart its softness may renew!
He turn'd him from that form of purity,
Mute, and with fearful gesture; but not so
Was she to be discouraged — "This to me?
It was not thus appear'd thy dawning brow,
When first on thee and heaven, around, below—
My raptur'd vision glanced, astonish'd, wild!
Think on yon FREEZELESS FOUNTAIN, and bid flow
Thy bosom as 'twas wont — and be as mild,
As then thou wert!" — and there, she led him like a child.
"Oh, I was dark — and Nature such to me!
The sun, the moon, the stars were not! — but you
Gaz'd on my rayless beauty piteously,
Guided me to this spring, and o'er me threw
The hallow'd water's blest and blessing dew,
Laving my eyes, till on their dazzled sight
Rush'd the creation, beautiful as new!
But thou to me wast as a form of light
For which all things were made — more glorious and more bright!
"And holy this moss-border'd fount to me,
And I have deck'd it with fresh flowerets ever,
And holy ever shall its hillock be,
Till thou and I — but that can be, oh, never!—
Whom death can not, shall pain or peril sever?
But ah — why dost thou quit thy father's home,
Thus in the dead of night, and by you river
Commune with things so dread, that when I come,
Thou start'st as at some foe, or spectre of the gloom?
"Because 'tis not my Father's home! its wall
Is but a prison to this spirit — here—
Which scarcely brooks its frail and fleshly thrall,
Availing but the worm — that banqueter
Alike on prince and peasant — and their peer!
Cowards, and weak — ignoble, slavish, base!
Why rise they not like souls resolv'd, and dare?
And from their story the deep stains erase
That tyranny hath stamp'd on their own dwelling place?
"Rise, SIRE of BRUS! oh, gloriously rise!
Ah, would thou mightst — but thou art old and weak!
In the vile fetters bound that I despise!
Bound in the fetters that I vow to break!
Scatter in air! — and on each mountain peak;—
Whereon they deem thy freeborn sons to chain,
While the fierce vulture flesh on them his beak,—
Despotic violence — but shall deem in vain—
My own lov'd land — my home! — my crown! and my domain!"
Here pause we — and the WOOD of TOTEHAM hail,
Ere we resume the song — Seated on high,
Crown of the hill, an omen to the vale!
Fear is the peasant's when he sees the sky
Lour o'er thy top with vapour fiery—
Already he beholds the delug'd plain,
The corn-field, pasture, in their ruins lie,
Which hope had blest — but, oh! had blest in vain!—
This elsewhere have I writ, nor here must write again.
Vain Wood of the vain PROVERB! — what art thou?
Immortal! — so vain man misdeem'd thee — why,
The sun, moon, stars shall fail — and thou art now,
Nought, and a laughter — what can Man reply?
Poor son of Error! — he must likewise die!—
But not his spirit! — why should he repine?—
Matter may perish — ocean, earth and sky—
But that, the breath of Deity, shall shine
Safe in the wreck of worlds — ethereal and divine!
And Spirit e'en in this dim world of strife,
Under the stars, oft leaves memorial long,
That hath, anew, existence after life,
Hallowing some mighty name — a spot — a song—
Heir of renown — the praise of heart and tongue—
And so the sons of soul, smit by the levin
Of her reflected glory, have forth sprung,
Electric! — Happy they to whom is given
The Immortality, at once, of earth and heaven!
CANTO THE SECOND.
Descend, my Muse, from hill and woodland clime!
And ponder 'mid the SISTERS SEVEN awhile—
Come! with the spirit of departed time,
Talk o'er their tale, and sterner mood beguile—
Who laugh sin not, and sin they who but smile?
Then learn, these elms, three hundred years ago,
Guerdon'd as many sister's several toil,
Of whom one was diminutive, and so
The elm she planted grew — irregular and low.
Nay, I have err'd. — Of elms and sisters eight
Runs the old tale; — and in the centre stood
The eighth young sapling, blossoming, till fate
Smote the fair planter, in his ruthless mood,
Blighted her beauty, chill'd her vital blood—
And lo! her kindred and peculiar tree,
With wild and strange intelligence endued,
Wither'd, and droop'd, and died — and so did she!—
Say, why had not the rest like marvellous sympathy?
And in its place, long stood a walnut-tree,
Still bearing leaves, but nor in bulk or height
Increasing, and tradition vague and free
Tells — on the spot one who believ'd the light
Suff'er'd, a martyr, from the world's despite—
And thence a horror of great darkness fell
Full on each blasted branch, a withering blight;
And still the ban was on it, like a spell,
Memorial and a sign — a warning miracle!
Now, hie thee to the HERMITAGE, my Muse!—
Here with thee hath thy Bard delighted long—
Thou, plastic virgin, who of many hues
Weavest the robe of fancy; and the song
Makest of many numbers, wildly strung
But ever sad — and we have deck'd this cell
With the bright rainbow; and these haunts among
Waken'd angelic harmony as well—
But hail, ye banks of Lea! — my HERMITAGE, farewell!
Fair is the scene beside the banks of LEA:—
And note ye, the broad barge make tardy way
Through the bright waves, that, in their majesty,
Break into dimples, and laugh in the day:
Vocal the deck with mirth and roundelay,
Busy all hands, and manifold the freight—
High is thy source, and far thy waters stray,
Mingling with streams, dividing shires — till late,
In the far Thames, O LEE, thou'rt lost, like time in fate!
Here, as I ween, in other times, DE BRUS,
Infirm and old, on his high-fated Heir,
Leant, as on thee their spirits did but muse,
River of many waters, deep and clear—
But other thoughts, more stern, and more severe,
Caused that mute mood, whose dark intensity
Fix'd their unconscious eyes they knew not where—
But such aye most engages stream or sky,
To count the passing clouds, — or spring-wave rippling by.
Then thus the sire, and rais'd his hoary head—
"Speak to me O my son! — nor stand we so,
As though our spirits commun'd with the dead—
All Nature gladness — why should Man be wo?
Why for the future let the present go?
Look round you — see the field, the forest, hill;
Heaven — and the waters that beneath us flow,
Rejoice in the high sun — expanding, till
The infinite breathing world a flood of glory fill!
"Still let me look upon it — and on you,
Ye pleasant waves — ye glorious skies — on all—
As with a gaze I never may renew!—
Conscious of death, yet struggling while I fall,
As yet enamour'd of this splendid thrall!—
Farewell! a long farewell! — for in death's gloom,
This precious moment I can not recall—
Nor see thee more, O Nature, thus in bloom,
But wreck'd with waning worlds — a ruin, and a tomb!"
Answer'd the filial virtue — "O my sire!
Live and be happy! — talk not of the grave!
Hence! hence! my country! from my heart retire!
Let me be all the son — although a slave,
An exile from the portion of the brave,
Which was my fathers'! — Oh my father! thou
Com'st on my spirit like the wind and wave,
Waking and kindling ev'ry passion now,
In all their elements! — and terror's on my brow!
"Oh, wild are all the pulses of my breast!
Father, thou tremblest — and thy touch is chill
Yet, cheer thee — all will yet be well — and rest
"I am faint, my son, and ill!—
But be it, heaven, according to thy will!—
My long and earthly pilgrimage is done—
There is a voice that warns me — 'Lingering still?
Thy fathers wait for thee, and claim their son!'
Behold me — lo! I come!" — he paused — and is he gone?—
No — he but swoons from faintness — 'tis a trance
Serene and heav'nly! — o'er him stood his Heir,
Anxious for aid — when lo! he saw advance
A musing Monk — he hail'd him — he is there,
Breathing the balm of solace to despair—
"I worship at the ALTAR of ST. LOY—
And need not tell thee of his waters rare,
Nor of their many miracles of joy;
Thou know'st them well — then well do we the boon employ!"
"Lo — he revives! — my LORD of ANNANDALE,
Give thanks to God and to his saints! — and lean
On our good arms, to breathe the fresh'ning gale—
ST. LOY will aid thee!" — quoth the sire, "Amen."
Nor more — but suffer'd them to bear him then,
Trembling from weakness, but absorb'd in thought—
Nor heard the Monk as he with words again,
To cheer their slow and mournful progress sought—
"High praise to LOY is due, and well on earth on wrought!—
"Long slept he in obscurity's dim vale,
Till Clothaire found his worth and bade him shine,
And then the air of Courts he did inhale,
And minister devoutly at the shrine,
That he, no less than heav'n, had made divine;
And now his soul is sainted where he reigns,
Worship'd by earth — and I, O LOY, am thine!—
And much from thee the HAM of TOTTEN gains,
Thine ALTAR and thy WELL the glory of her plains!"
Faint are the steps of age, and sick the heart—
Here rest ye him awhile, before the CROSS,
Whose lofty column, edified with art,
Looks o'er the field, and the surrounding foss—
There did DE BRUS recline him on the moss,
While the good monk, with words of gentle cheer,
Sought to relieve him — but his words were loss—
Their import met not his abstracted ear,
And other thoughts employ'd his highly-fated Heir!
—"And do ye not remember the long train
Of mourners, tending on their shrouded queen?
Here did they rest, and thence this spot obtain
Honor and yon memorial!"
—From the green
Upsprung the younger Brus with wilder mien—
"Memorial of his fate! — It was the time
When he the twelve competitors between
Journey'd, a judge, to visit Celtic clime,
And on her innocent head heav'n 'veng'd his secret crime!—
"Royal memorial! monument of death,
'Built to himself', like Egypt's king of old
His 'desolate place,' where might repose beneath
The pompous pyramid his crumbling mold!—
Thou speak'st not to a heart to freedom cold—
The oppressor hath no charm to cheat the grave!
His dearest in the common tale is told—
And he must mingle with the meanest slave!
He is but mortal man! — Hope animates the brave!
"And were he demon — I could exorcise
Nobler and mightier spirits from the tomb,
Attended with the vengeance of the skies,—
Their own, — their country's; — and the tyrant's doom!
Oft I behold them in the wrathful gloom,
Each on his cloud, or in his tempest tost,
Like many meteors or the lightning's bloom,
Mingled of mist and moonlight — lov'd but lost!
WALLACE, and Falkirk's field — a visionary host!"
ST. LOY! here is thy fountain — Emblem pure
Of chaste unostentatious charity,—
Never in vain intreated, ever sure;
Yet o'er the marge thy waters fair and free
Ascend not, overflowing vauntingly,
But in thy bounty humble as unfailing!
In grief, disease and sickness visit thee,
But part in joy, changed by thy holy healing
To manhood, strength and life, thy far renown revealing!
There is thy OFFERTORY, and thy shrine,
Simple, inartificial; nor of fame,
Nor any honor save that it is thine,
And all its glory centres in thy name!—
Now with the Monk before that altar-frame,
Kneels either BRUS, and now the suffering sire
Waked to his son, and o'er his spirit came
A moment's renovation, to expire,—
He press'd his ROBERT'S hand, and blest him: — "Beam of fire!
"I see thee struggling to reveal thy soul,
Redeem thy country, and restore her fame,
And free her children from the vile control,
That curb'd their spirit, and abas'd my name,—
Yea, warp'd my judgment to the tyrant's claim,
Till, like the Genius of his country's cries,
From Carron's banks, the voice of WALLACE came,
And, like a glory bursting from the skies,
He pierced the veil of prejudice, and kindled on her eyes!
"Then seem'd I one suspended o'er a chasm,
So awful deep, that it the heart dismay'd,
Harrowing the spirit with one convulsive spasm!
The heaven's own glittering canopy o'erhead,
Azure, serene — but in its beauty dread—
The thunder-cloud beneath — still sending out
Lightnings, with mote than earthly blue and red,
But to display the yawning gulph, without
Centre or hope, and leave the soul in darker doubt!"
Thus spake the Father, but the Son is mute—
Too many feelings are in force for speech,
And for the sway and mastery dispute—
Grief for his sire — and triumph nought may reach,
And nothing but the love of peril teach,
That joys above the abyss of gloom and fear,
To take its stand, so, o'er the flashing breach,
He may on th' utter heaven's unclouded sphere,
In all its glory, gaze — and mingle with it there!—
Thus, kneeling at the shrine, as in a swell,
A tide of thought suffused, he seem'd to pray,
While extacy most inexpressible,
Wing'd from this scene of things his soul away,
Charm'd by mysterious hymns that o'er his clay
Seem'd in melodious silence to descend—
And on his mental eye another day
Arose, with visions manifold to blend
Forms of all shades and hues, that mingle and contend.
And there, wrought on the aether deep and blue,
Did spirits tournay in the strife of spears;
And buckler, brand and helm he seems to view,
And their apparent conflict feebly hears—
Now feels himself among them — nobly dares
Above the mightiest in the loud alarm,
And like the angel of the gale appears,
To ride the whirlwind, and control the storm!
But lo, — again 'tis gloom — and other visions form—
Behold! another vision! — the white cliff
Over the ocean beetles awfully,
And there the prostrate lion stark and stiff
Groans to the loud winds and the roaring sea,
The heav'ns are dark and thunder their decree!—
O'er other rocks gigantic, wild and rude,
The northern eagle rises fair and free,
Her wings expanding o'er her mighty brood,—
Claps them in upper heav'n, and drinks the golden flood.
Now walks a Goddess o'er the mountain-land,
Bloom on her cheek; and freshness in her lips,
Scattering the valley's treasures from her hand;—
Light-heralds her, dispelling the eclipse
That reign'd before, and o'er the lofty ships
In darkness sets, where the broad-rounded sun
In the pavilion of the ocean dips—
And lo! behind her, and about her, run
Glory's far length'ning beams, — and Freedom's work is done!
Then struggling cloud and sun-beams he beheld
Arise o'er heaven, and from their wild collision,
Storms went abroad-but neither yet prevail'd—
When list! a still small voice, sweet and Elysian,
Whispering the abstracted ear, dispell'd the vision—
"No further we futurity unfold—
Enough — we cherish Hope but not ambition—
Look on thy Sire" — He turn'd him, and behold!
In the Monk's arms he lay — pale, breathless, pulseless, cold!
Such were the honors of thine ancient day—
Would that a Zeuxis had pourtray'd thy charms!
But since an humbler hand hath made assay,
The shade that chastens, and the light that warms,
Blending in the sweet strife which ne'er alarms,
O TOTTENHAM, the fair! indulgent smile!
So will he deem his day-dream's sunny forms,
And those of moonlight, to the tuneful toil
Were summon'd not in vain — fair Daughter of our Isle!
Wed to the noble and the consecrate—
Tenure of kings, of princes, and of peers—
Valley of recollections passing sweet,—
The play-place of the poet's tender years—
But more than all — this, this the spot endears,
Field of renown, wherein the royal Brus,
Endur'd the conflict of first hopes and fears
That in the free-born heart and mind effuse
The elective seeds, but seen by heaven and by the Muse!
What though he were thy foe; and on thy page
The tale of Bannockbourne be dark and drear,
Yet, Land of Fame! in this thy brighter age,
Thou mournest not, that Freedom's celtic Heir,—
Who is herself thine essence, — over fear
Sublime in hope sang victor, and secur'd
The glory due to those who nobly dare—
But in a foe canst feel the wrongs endur'd,
And well the virtue prize that bared 'gainst thee the sword!
Isle of the Fair, the Valiant, and the Free,
The Glory of the Patriot, Poet, Sage—
Pleasant to attune the heavenly harp to thee,
And 'tis itself its guerden! — With the age,
Fain would I in the strife of song engage,
Send forth a solemn spirit, rapture-roll'd
O'er cloud, stream, gale, rock, cataract, — ocean's rage—
And with the shadows of thy days of old
Commune in airy gloom — or passion-peopled wold!—