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Why comes he not?-for westward fast
With conscious sight, as he swept along-
He felt and made a sudden stand.
He looked about like one betrayed: What hath he done? what promise made? Oh weak, weak moment! to what end Can such a vain oblation tend, And he the Bearer?-Can he go Carrying this instrument of woe, And find, find any where, a right To excuse him in his Country's sight? No; will not all men deem the change A downward course, perverse and strange? Here is it ;-but how? when? must she, The unoffending Emily, Again this piteous object see?
Such conflict long did he maintain, Nor liberty nor rest could gain: His own life into danger brought By this sad burden-even that thought, Exciting self-suspicion strong Swayed the brave man to his wrong. And how-unless it were the sense Of all-disposing Providence, Its will unquestionably shownHow has the Banner clung so fast To a palsied, and unconscious hand; Clung to the hand to which it passed Without impediment? And why But that Heaven's purpose might be known Doth now no hindrance meet his eye, No intervention, to withstand Fulfilment of a Father's prayer Breathed to a Son forgiven, and blest When all resentments were at rest, And life in death laid the heart bare ?Then, like a spectre sweeping by, Rushed through his mind the prophecy Of utter desolation made
To Emily in the yew-tree shade:
So forward with a steady will
His whole bold carriage (which had quelled
All censure, enterprise so bright
He should be seized, alive or dead.
The troop of horse have gained the height Where Francis stood in open sight. They hem him round-"Behold the proof," They cried, "the Ensign in his hand! He did not arm, he walked aloof! For why?-to save his Father's land ;Worst Traitor of them all is he, A Traitor dark and cowardly!"
"I am no Traitor," Francis said, "Though this unhappy freight I bear; And must not part with. But beware ;Err not, by hasty zeal misled, Nor do a suffering Spirit wrong, Whose self-reproaches are too strong!" At this he from the beaten road Retreated towards a brake of thorn, That like a place of vantage showed; And there stood bravely, though forlorn.
In self-defence with warlike brow
Proudly the Horsemen bore away The Standard; and where Francis lay There was he left alone, unwept, And for two days unnoticed slept. For at that time bewildering fear Possessed the country, far and near; But, on the third day, passing by One of the Norton Tenantry Espied the uncovered Corse; the Man Shrunk as he recognised the face, And to the nearest homesteads ran And called the people to the place. -How desolate is Rylstone-hall! This was the instant thought of all; And if the lonely Lady there Should be; to her they cannot bear This weight of anguish and despair. So, when upon sad thoughts had prest Thoughts sadder still, they deemed it best That, if the Priest should yield assent And no one hinder their intent, Then, they, for Christian pity's sake, In holy ground a grave would make; And straightway buried he should be In the Church-yard of the Priory.
Apart, some little space, was made The grave where Francis must be laid. In no confusion or neglect
This did they, but in pure respect
Bearing the body on a bier;
And psalms they sing-a holy sound That hill and vale with sadness hear.
But Emily hath raised her head,
She must behold!—so many gone,
And forth from Rylstone-hall stepped she,-
She comes, and in the vale hath heard
Powers there are
That touch each other to the quick-in modes
THOU Spirit, whose angelic hand
Is that the Sufferer's last retreat?
Or some aspiring rock, that shrouds
'Tis done ;-despoil and desolation
The Norton name hath been unknown.
Is stripped; the ravage hath spread wide
Erewhile a covert bright and green,
And where full many a brave tree stood,
And perfect sway, through many a thought
Of chance and change, that hath been brought
To the subjection of a holy,
Though stern and rigorous, melancholy!
Of awfulness, is in her face,
There hath she fixed it; yet it seems
And she hath wandered, long and far, Beneath the light of sun and star; Hath roamed in trouble and in grief, Driven forward like a withered leaf, Yea like a ship at random blown To distant places and unknown. But now she dares to seek a haven Among her native wilds of Craven; Hath seen again her Father's roof, And put her fortitude to proof; The mighty sorrow hath been borne, And she is thoroughly forlorn: Her soul doth in itself stand fast, Sustained by memory of the past And strength of Reason; held above The infirmities of mortal love; Undaunted, lofty, calm, and stable, And awfully impenetrable.
And so-beneath a mouldered tree, A self-surviving leafless oak
By unregarded age from stroke
Of ravage saved-sate Emily.
There did she rest, with head reclined,
Herself most like a stately flower,
(Such have I seen) whom chance of birth
When, with a noise like distant thunder, A troop of deer came sweeping by; And, suddenly, behold a wonder! For One, among those rushing deer,
A single One, in mid career
Hath stopped, and fixed her large full eye Upon the Lady Emily;
A Doe most beautiful, clear-white,
A radiant creature, silver-bright!
Thus checked, a little while it stayed;
A little thoughtful pause it made;
A flood of tears, that flowed apace,
Oh, moment ever blest! O Pair Beloved of Heaven, Heaven's chosen care, This was for you a precious greeting; And may it prove a fruitful meeting! Joined are they, and the sylvan Doe Can she depart? can she forego The Lady, once her playful peer, And now her sainted Mistress dear? And will not Emily receive This lovely chronicler of things Long past, delights and sorrowings? Lone Sufferer! will not she believe The promise in that speaking face; And welcome, as a gift of grace, The saddest thought the Creature brings?
That day, the first of a re-union
That nook where, on paternal ground,
A habitation she had found,
The Master of whose humble board
Once owned her Father for his Lord;
A hut, by tufted trees defended,
Where Rylstone brook with Wharf is blended.
When Emily by morning light Went forth, the Doe stood there in sight. She shrunk :--with one frail shock of pain Received and followed by a prayer, She saw the Creature once again; Shun will she not, she feels, will bear;But, wheresoever she looked round, All now was trouble-haunted ground; And therefore now she deems it good Once more this restless neighbourhood To leave. Unwooed, yet unforbidden, The White Doe followed up the vale, Up to another cottage, hidden In the deep fork of Amerdale; And there may Emily restore Herself, in spots unseen before. -Why tell of mossy rock, or tree, By lurking Dernbrook's pathless side, Haunts of a strengthening amity That calmed her, cheered, and fortified? For she hath ventured now to read
Of time, and place, and thought, and deedEndless history that lies
In her silent Follower's eyes;
Who with a power like human reason
Discerns the favourable season,
From look, deportment, voice, or mien,
Or in the meadow wandered wide!
How soothed, when in thick bower enclosed,
With her Companion, in such frame Of mind, to Rylstone back she came ; And, ranging through the wasted groves, Received the memory of old loves, Undisturbed and undistrest,
Into a soul which now was blest
When the bells of Rylstone played
May on those holy bells be seen,
And oftentimes the Lady meek
Had in her childhood read the same;
Nor lacked she Reason's firmest power; But with the White Doe at her side Up would she climb to Norton Tower, And thence look round her far and wide, Her fate there measuring ;-all is stilled,The weak One hath subdued her heart; Behold the prophecy fulfilled,
Fulfilled, and she sustains her part!
But here her Brother's words have failed;
His words, remains for her, and loves.
Bless, tender Hearts, their mutual lot, And bless for both this savage spot; Which Emily doth sacred hold For reasons dear and manifoldHere hath she, here before her sight, Close to the summit of this height, The grassy rock-encircled Pound In which the Creature first was found. So beautiful the timid Thrall (A spotless Youngling white as foam) Her youngest Brother brought it home; The youngest, then a lusty boy, Bore it, or led, to Rylstone-hall With heart brimful of pride and joy!
But most to Bolton's sacred Pile,
And, when she from the abyss returned
Her mute Companion as it lay
In love and pity at her feet;
How happy in its turn to meet
Of a new morning, to the nature
A mortal Song we sing, by dower Encouraged of celestial power;
Power which the viewless Spirit shed
Whose voice we heard, whose hand and wings
We stood before this ruined Pile,
And, quitting unsubstantial dreams,
Through human hearts, and pleasure dead,—
Of undisturbed mortality.
Her own thoughts loved she; and could bend
A dear look to her lowly Friend;
Maid of the blasted family,
Rose to the God from whom it came !
Most glorious sunset! and a ray Survives-the twilight of this dayIn that fair Creature whom the fields Support, and whom the forest shields; Who, having filled a holy place, Partakes, in her degree, Heaven's grace; And bears a memory and a mind Raised far above the law of kind; Haunting the spots with lonely cheer Which her dear Mistress once held dear: Loves most what Emily loved most— The enclosure of this church-yard ground; Here wanders like a gliding ghost, And every sabbath here is found; Comes with the people when the bells Are heard among the moorland dells,