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Few think what human hearts can bear,
Before their sinews burst.
It lasted long, but not for aye;
The hour of freedom came:
In that dim niche the stranger lay,
A cold and silent frame.
What sorrows shook the strong man's soul,
What guilt was rankling there,
We know not, time may not unroll
The page of his despair.
He sleeps in yonder nameless ground,
A cross hath marked the stone:
Pray ye, his soul in death hath found
The peace to life unknown.
And if ye mourn that man of tears,
Take heed lest ye too fall;
A day may mar the rest, that years
Shall seek but not recall.
Nor think that deserts soothe despair,
Or shame in cells is screened;
For Thought, the demon, will be there,
And Memory, the fiend.
Then waft, ye winds, this tale of fear,
Breathe it in hall and bower,
Till reckless hearts grow hushed to hear
The Monk of Hartland Tower.
HART-LEAP WELL is a small spring of water, about five miles from Richmond in Yorkshire, and near the side of the road that leads from Richmond to Askrigg.
THE knight had ridden down from Wensley Moor,
slow motion of a summer's cloud; And now, as he approached a vassal's door, "Bring forth another horse!" he cried aloud.
"Another horse!" That shout the vassal heard,
And saddled his best steed, a comely gray.
Sir Walter mounted him; he was the third
Which he had mounted on that glorious day.
Joy sparkled in the prancing courser's eyes;
The horse and horseman are a happy pair;
But, though Sir Walter like a falcon flies,
There is a doleful silence in the air.
A rout this morning left Sir Walter's Hall,
That as they galloped made the echoes roar;
But horse and man are vanished, one and all
Such race, I think, was never seen before.
Sir Walter, restless as a veering wind,
Calls to the few tired dogs that yet remain ;
Blanch, Swift, and Music, noblest of their kind,
Follow, and up the weary mountain strain.
The knight hallooed, he cheered and chid them on
With suppliant gestures and upbraidings stern;
But breath and eyesight fail, and, one by one,
The dogs are stretched among the mountain fern.
Where is the throng, the tumult of the race?
The bugles that so joyfully were blown?
This chase it looks not like an earthly chase;
Sir Walter and the hart are left alone.
The poor hart toils along the mountain-side;
I will not stop to tell how far he fled,
Nor will I mention by what death he died;
But now the knight beholds him lying dead.
Dismounting, then, he leaned against a thorn;
He had no follower, dog nor man nor boy:
He neither cracked his whip nor blew his horn,
But gazed upon the spoil with silent joy.
Close to the thorn on which Sir Walter leaned
Stood his dumb partner in this glorious feat;
Weak as a lamb the hour that it is yeaned,
And white with foam as if with cleaving sleet.
Upon his side the hart was lying stretched;
His nostril touched a spring beneath a hill,
And with the last deep groan his breath had fetched
The waters of the spring were trembling still.
And now, too happy for repose or rest,
(Never had living man such joyful lot!)
Sir Walter walked all round, north, south, and west,
And gazed and gazed upon that darling spot.
And climbing up the hill (it was at least
Four roods of sheer ascent), Sir Walter found
Three several hoof-marks which the hunted beast
Had left imprinted on the grassy ground.
Sir Walter wiped his face, and cried, "Till now
Such sight was never seen by human eyes;
Three leaps have borne him from this lofty brow
Down to the very fountain where he lies.
"I'll build a pleasure-house upon this spot,
And a small arbor, made for rural joy;
"T will be the traveller's shed, the pilgrim's cot,
A place of love for damsels that are coy.
"A cunning artist will I have to frame
A basin for that fountain in the dell!
And they who do make mention of the same
From this day forth shall call it Hart-Leap Well.
MOON, that shinest on this heathy wild And light'st the hill of Hastings with thy ray, How am I with thy sad delight beguiled, How hold with fond imagination play! By thy broad taper I call up the time When Harold on the bleeding verdure lay, Though great in glory, overstained with crime, And fallen by his fate from kingly sway! On bleeding knights, and on war-broken arms, Torn banners, and the dying steeds you shone, When this fair England and her peerless charms, And all but honor, to the foe were gone! Here died the king, whom his brave subjects chose, But, dying, lay amid his Norman foes.
ON THE CAMP HILL, NEAR HASTINGS.
IN the deep blue of eve,
Ere the twinkling of stars had begun,
Or the lark took his leave
Of the skies and the sweet setting sun,
I climbed to yon heights,
Where the Norman encamped him of old,