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In vain Lord William sought the feast,
In vain he quaff’d the bowl,
The anguish of his soul;
The tempest, as its sudden swell
In gusty howlings came, With cold and death-like feelings seem'd
To thrill his shuddering frame.
Reluctant now, as night came on, “
His lonely couch he prest; . And wearied out, he sunk to sleep, ..
To sleep.. but not to rest.
Beside that couch his brother's form,
Lord Edmund seem'd to stand, Such and so pale as when in death
He grasp'd his brother's hand;
Such and so pale his face as when
With faint and faultering tongue, To William's care, a dying charge,
He left his orphan son.
“ I bade thee with a father's love
My orphan Edmund guard... Well, William, hast thou kept thy charge !
Now take thy due reward.”
He started up, each limb convulsed
With agonizing fear:
'Twas music to his ear.
When lo! the voice of loud alarm
His inmost soul appals ; " What ho! Lord William, rise in haste !
The water saps thy walls !"
He rose in haste, beneath the walls
He saw the flood appear ; It hemm’d him round, 'twas midnight now,
No human aid was near.
He heard the shout of joy, for now
A boat approach'd the wall, And eager to the welcome aid
They crowd for safety all.
“ My boat is small,” the boatman cried,
“ 'Twill bear but one away ; Come in, Lord William, and do ye
In God's protection stay.”
Strange feeling fill’d them at his voice,
Even in that hour of woe, That, save their Lord, there was not one
Who wish'd with him to go.
But William leapt into the boat,
His terror was so sore ;' “ Thou shalt have half my gold,” he cried,
“ Haste .. haste to yonder shore.”.
The boatman plied the oar, the boat,
Went light along the stream ; Sudden Lord William heard a cry
Like Edmund's drowning scream.
The boatman paused, “ Methought I heard
A child's distressful cry!" “ 'Twas but the howling wind of night,” :
Lord William made reply.
“ Haste. haste..ply swift and strong the oar !
“ Haste .. haste across the stream !" Again Lord William heard a cry
Like Edmund's drowning 'scream.
“ I heard a child's distressful voice,"
The boatman cried again. “ Nay hasten on.. the night is dark ..
And we should search in vain."
“ O God! Lord William, dost thou know
How dreadful 'tis to die ?
A child's expiring cry?
“ How horrible it is to sink
Beneath the closing stream,
In vain for help to scream!"
The shriek again was heard : It came
More deep, more piercing loud; That instant o'er the flood the moon
Shone through a broken cloud;