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That instant as the murderer spake
There came a sudden light; Strong as the mid-day sun it shone,
Though all around was night :
It hung upon the willow tree,
It hung upon the flood,
And all the scene of blood.
The traveller who journies there,
He'surely hath espied A madman who has made his home
Upon the river's side.
His cheek is pale, his eye is wild,
His look bespeaks despair ; For Jaspar since that hour has made
His home unshelter'd there.
And fearful are his dreams at night,
And dread to him the day!
And never dares to pray.
The summer suns, the winter storms,
O'er him unheeded roll,
No eye beheld when William plunged
Young Edmund in the stream, No human ear but William's heard
Young Edmund's drowning scream.
Submissive all the vassals own'd
* The murderer for their Lord, And he as rightful heir possess'd
The house of Erlingford.
The ancient house of Erlingford
Stood in a fair domain,
Roll'd through the fertile plain.
And often the way-faring man
Would love to linger there, Forgetful of his onward road,
To gaze on scenes so fair.
But never could Lord William dare
To gaze on Severn's stream;
He heard young Edmund scream.
In vain at midnight's silent hour
Sleep closed the murderer's eyes, In every dream the murderer saw
Young Edmund's form arise.
In vain by restless conscience driven
Lord William left his home, Far from the scenes that saw his guilt, To other climes the pilgrim fled,
But could not fly despair ; He sought his home again, but peace
Was still a stranger there.
Slow were all passing hours, yet swift
The months appear'd to roll; And now the day return'd that shook
With terror William's soul.
A day that William never felt
Return without dismay,
Young Edmund's dying day.
A fearful day was that! the rains
Fell fast with tempest roar, And the swoln tide of Severn spread
Far on the level shore.