British Women Romantic Poets Project

Sir Wilibert de Waverley, or, The Bridal Eve: a Poem.

Francis, Eliza S.

Leigh Rios, -- creation of electronic text.

Electronic edition 76Kb
British Women Romantic Poets Project
Shields Library, University of California, Davis, California 95616
I.D. No. FranESirWi

Copyright (c) 2003, University of California

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Davis British Women Romantic Poets Series

I.D. No. 119
Nancy Kushigian, -- General Editor
Charlotte Payne, -- Managing Editor

Sir Wilibert de Waverley, or, The bridal eve: a poem

Francis, Eliza S

W. Clowes

[This text was scanned from its original in the Shields Library Kohler Collection, University of California, Davis. Kohler ID no. ISuppl:345. Another copy available on microfilm as Kohler ISuppl:345mf.]

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Sir Wilibert de Waverley;




"This hour we part! my heart foreboded this,
Thus ever fade my fairy dreams of bliss.
The why--the where--what boots it now to tell,
Since all must end in that wild word--farewell!"


, 18, STRAND,
By W. Clowes, Northumberland-court, Strand. 1815.
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MRS. W----.


WELL knowing your dislike to publicity, I refrain from the display of a name which I am proud to own as one of the first on my list of friends; but I cannot forbear endeavouring to convince you, that I have not forgotten the many kind attentions I received from yourself and all your amiable family during your stay in England.--On the first of May, I crowned yourself "its bright and peerless queen," and no sooner were you

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invested with regal honours, than, in return, you created me your Laureat--a distinction which SOUTHEY himself might envy me. As a trifling testimony of gratitude, therefore, dear Madam, for that, and every other gracious act, I offer to your acceptance the following Poem, only wishing it were more deserving of such a Patroness;--and, with every sentiment of respect, believe me always,
January 2d, 1815. Dearest Madam,
Your obliged, grateful, and devoted,

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THE following Tale is an amplification, in verse, of a little romantic sketch, in one of the first Chapters of the Novel, entitled 'Waverley,' with which the Author was greatly pleased when she perused that admirably-written work, which is calculated to impress, in a striking manner, the ill consequences that may result from instability of mind and conduct.

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Sir Wilibert de Waverley


YE days, when Knighthood in its glory blazed,
When Chivalry on high his standard raised,
When gallant youths, in noble daring bold,
On honour's lists a sounding name enroll'd,
To you I turn a retrospective glance:
I love the waving plume, and beaming lance,
With all that modern Wisdom calls Romance!
If 'tis romance in virtuous deeds to shine,
And add new honours to a noble line,

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If 'tis romance to shield the dame ye love,
And prize her smile, all guerdons far above,
With high-wrought fervour, every vice disdain,
Romance! return, resume thy ancient reign!


See where yon towers arise in antique pride,
While at their base: the waves of ocean glide
With tranquil current; hushed awhile their roar,
They, gently rippling, lave the neighbouring shore;
Still is each sound--no winds the turrets shake,
Groan through the hall, or rush through bower and brake;--
Night fades away--the stars more pale appear,
And misty vapours shew the dawn is near;

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'Tis morn--uprising from his orient cave
His rays of gold, dilating o'er the wave,
The sun's broad glories on the waters play,
Ascend the sky, and widen into day!--
The last faint star, that glimmered in the west,
Beheld no beaming arms, no warrior's crest,
The sun's first rays saluted many a Knight,
With steel begirt, and ready for the fight,
The war-horse thunders o'er the trembling ground,
And busy echoes through the halls resound.


        The lances glitter on the plain,
            In air th' embroidered banners wave,

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        The Knights their steeds impatient rein,
            Why comes he not?--their leader brave!
        He does but stay awhile, to dry
        The tears which flow from beauty's eye,
        And hush the sorrows of a breast
        With cares for Wilibert distrest;--
        His Lady-love was Geraldine,
        What maid so fair as her was seen,
        What maid could boast a heart so kind,
        With manners gentle, and refined!
        Her sparkling eye revealed a soul,
        Artless, and scornful of controul;
        Her cheek displayed a damask rose,
        Blooming amid surrounding snows;
        Her shining locks of flowed unbound,
        Or waved her polished brows around,

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        And hers a mind of highest mould,--
        But time its treasures must unfold;
        She seemed unto a casual eye
        The offspring of Simplicity;
        And so, in truth, was Geraldine,
        For souls like hers can ne'er be mean,
        Can ne'er descend to mental strife,
        With all the low concerns of life,
        But, truth themselves, the world believe,
        And find, too late, deep cause to grieve.


        But life, and love, and hope, were young,
        And short the course she then had run;
        For not as yet had Geraldine
        Beheld the close of years eighteen;

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        Now first the pang of grief she knew,
        For she must bid a long adieu
        To brave Sir Wilibert, her Knight,
        So true in love,--so famed in fight!
        Seldom a Chieftain could you see
        Like Wilibert de Waverley,
        So courteous, generous, and kind
        A gentle soul, a lofty mind,
        Were his, while in his flashing eye
        Was seen the warrior's spirit high;
        He loved his youthful Lady dear,
        His mother to his heart was near,
        Yet felt his martial ardour rise,
        When Edward, bold in enterprise,
        To Asia led a daring train,
        The young, the warlike, and the vain.

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        At length his fond adieu is o'er,
            He tears him from his lovely maid,
        He mounts his steed, then turns once more
            To view the Dames, who lingering staid
        Long as their tearful eyes could see
        Aught of the gallant company,
        Whose burnished shields, and glittering spears,
            Reflected many a brilliant ray;--
            When passed they from their sight away,
        Fast flowed of both the anguished tears,
        For, oh! what harrowing thoughts arise,
        Visions of woe their souls surprise;
        While yet Sir Wilibert was there
        The visions of their minds were fair,

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        But he, whose presence could impart
        Such comfort to each anxious heart,
        Was gone--to battle he was gone,
            In glory's cause, what chief so brave!
        But ere the warfare fierce was done,
            Sir Wilibert might find his grave.
        Yet tears will wash our grief away,
        The maiden grew composed, nay gay,--
        And oft her frolics could beguile
        From the grave dame, a pensive smile;
        Yet did the lady oftener sigh,
        And wish Sir Wilibert was nigh;
        She knew the Knight adored the Dame,
        His was no youthful boyish flame,
        That kindles at an eye of blue,
        Of soars to one of darker hue;

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        She was the essence of his soul,
        Her love, his hope, his joy, his goal;
        His goal of bliss beneath the sky,
        The day-star of his destiny!


        And Geraldine, whose guileless heart,
        Communion never held with art,
        Believed that when she said, I love,
        And vowed she would all-constant prove,
        She ne'er could deem another youth
        So worthy of her heart and truth:
        Ah! little did the fair-one guess,
        Of love, the woe or happiness;
        Not her's the pale of glowing cheek,
        When those we love our vision meet;

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        Not her's the conscious looks, which shew
        Affection's true and vivid glow,
        Which fain the bosom would conceal,
        Nor aught to vulgar eye reveal
        Long as her memory could review,
            To present time, from childhood's hour,
        Sir Wilibert her friend she knew;
            Companions still in hall and bower,
        With him she danced, for him she sung,
        For Wilibert the harp was strung;
        Or from his precepts, when his mind
        To graver converse was inclined,
        She formed within her heart a store
        Of virtue, pure virgin ore--
        But he was not a lover meet
            For one so young, so gaily wild,

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        His age her Father's years might greet,
            And she appear his blooming child;
        And he was grave--aye jealous too!
            Though wherefore jealous, hard to tell,
        No fear of lovers there, to woo,
        From infancy to youth she grew.
            Immured, as in a convent's cell.
        Man once deceived, no more will trust,--
        Perhaps his motive may be just--
        Yet is it very hard, to bear
        Suspicion's ever-rankling care,
        The glance--not that of fond regard--
            Whose piercing beams would search the soul,
        While of our truth the sole reward
            Is credence--distant as the pole

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        In youth's warm hour, Sir Wilibert
            Had loved--she feigned return I ween--
        The Dame was false!--his manly heart
            Withered beneath a blast so keen!--
        Her Lord was slain, the wretched fair
        Died the pale victim of despair,
        But first implored de Waverley,
        A parent to her child to be:--
        When Geraldine's bewitching grace,
        Her lovely form, and beauteous face,
        So like her faithless mother seemed,
        Upon the warrior's sight she beamed
        As a bright phantom of the past,
        Sent to convey him peace at last!

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        Three years were past in paynim land,
        But sheathed was then the warrior's brand,
        Homeward they wend their welcome way,
        Their hopes are high, their hearts are gay;
        The vessel cleaves the liquid deep,
        And swiftly o'er the waves they sweep,
        When lo! a distant sail is seen,
        Which bearing down with gallant mien,
        Gives promise of a conflict keen:
        Long was the fight--but greater force
            O'ercomes a crew where all are brave,
        And now the British vessel's course
        Far different steers unwillingly,
        No longer bold, no longer free,
            She stems a distant wave.

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        Sir Wilibert,--oh! how declare
        His anguish wild, or deep despair?--
        He who so late had hoped to view,
        Ere long, the dame still loved so true;
        When might he hope such bliss to know,--
        His lot was slavery and woe!


Weeks, months, nay years, had sadly, slowly past,
    The Knight, long sick of slavery's galling chain,
Is bold, succeeds, and he is free at last,
    Escapes from Afric--into Asia's plain!
And now, Sir Wilibert, before his eyes
Again behold the land for which he sighs,
Resolves a weary pilgrimage to tread,
    And thank kind Heaven before that holy tomb,

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Where lowly bowed full many a saintly head,
    And faith illum'd the prostrate sinner's gloom;
How could he hope his home again to see,
    How think that happiness could e'er be his,
If he, unmindful of the misery
    So late escaped, and new-raised hopes of bliss,
Could homeward bend his steps, nor duly stay
At that famed shrine, his grateful thanks to pay?
Who, then, that viewed him, kneeling at the shrine,
    With air so meek, and flowing robe of gray,
Could guess that erst that form in arms did shine,
    And rushed to war in terrible array?
Yet, though his air was lowly, cheek was pale,
    And years of suffering had worn his form,

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The glance his drooping eye-lid scarce could veil,
    Shewed him yet unsubdued by misery's storm;
Still of his hazle eye, the wonted fire
    Betrayed Sir Wilibert, in Pilgrim's gray attire!


        Before the holy shrine he knelt,
            And fervently he prayed,
        As if in Heaven his wishes dwelt,
            And long his vows he paid;
        Then, rising, marked a stranger's eye
            Deep fixed in stedfast scrutiny;
        Like him enrobed in russet weed,
        With staff, and rosary, and bead--

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        "Sure, if I may believe mine eye,
        I now behold de Waverley"--
        The stranger said,--"That name I bear,
        How didst thou know me, when and where?"
        "Thy name, Sir Knight, in many a land,
        On foreign and domestic strand,
        Stands nobly high--from age to age
        'Twill be enrolled on honour's page,
        And I have seen thee in the field,
        The foeman dare, the faulchion wield--
        For crimes by youth's warm passions wrought,
            In penance to this shrine I came,
        To quench each wild impetuous thought,
            The ardour of my soul to tame,

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        I came--I go, my penance done,
        And pardon for my errors won,
        To linger here no more I need,
        My course to England's shore I speed,
        Well pleased, if thou wilt condescend
        My homeward footsteps to attend."
        "Sir Knight!" de Waverley returned,
        "Thy penance paid, thine errors mourned,
        Return thou to thy native shore;
            For mercies high, and perils past,
        I came to praise and to adore,
        And ere I bid this land farewell,
            My steps shall tread yon plain so vast,
        And by the desert lake I'll pray--
        I think it right awhile to dwell,
        Far, far from worldly joys away:

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        But stay, Sir Knight, thy name?" he cried,
        "Ronald de Merton," then replied
        The youth, who said with laughing air,
        "But can I not, good Pilgrim, bear
        Some token to thy Lady fair?
        But no--I deem thou art too wise
        To own the sway of Ladies' eyes,
        And who can wander here afar,
        When Beauty, like a guiding star,
        To Albion points our ready way,
        And lights us with her lovely ray!"
        Upon the hero's pallid cheek,
        Some deep'ning shades emotion speak;
        Then, with a smile, he said, "Thou'rt young,
        Few griefs thy youthful heart have wrung,

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        And thou can'st not believe I love,
        Since here my lingering footsteps rove;
        Yet one is dear--and thou may'st bear
            This little pledge of truth with thee,
        Convey it to my beauteous fair,
            She soon will know it's sent by me."
        A heart of crystal, rudely formed,
            He drew from where it long reposed,
            The lock of hair it had enclosed
        He still detained, and passion warmed,
        Began with many a subtle art,
            And many a motive, fondly sage,
        To urge him quickly to depart,
            And leave untrod his Pilgrimage.

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        'Twas but a moment's ardent thought,
            The madness of a lover's brain,
        Reflection better counsels brought,
            And Reason reassumed her reign,--
        At least, de Waverley indeed,
        Believed he followed wisdom's creed,
        In wandering over many a plain,
        With prayer and penance, and with pain,
        Rather than in his native isle
        To seek, of love, the soothing smile,
        To view of love the sunny glance,
        And thus Religion's self enhance;
For oh! when hearts of purity do meet,
    Then earthly bliss has reached its highest goal,

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Love, more refined than earthly love, they meet,
    And Peace divine is monarch of the soul:
But, Superstition, many a woe was thine,
And many a heart was broken at thy shrine!


While young Sir Ronald, o'er the buoyant wave,
    Hied him with joy to England's happy shore,
His destined course pursued the warrior brave,
    Who staid those holy regions to explore;
To sad Jerusalem he bade adieu,
    And passed o'er many a extended plain,
Where all of yore was lovely to the view,
    Till Sin and Desolation held their reign;
Each scene is changed, delight has left the land,
From Rama's plain to Jordan's gloomy strand.

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Far on the East, Arabia's mountains rise,
    One dreary mass, the boundary of the sight,
No wild varieties the eye surprise,
    Nor is the view with kindly herbage bright;
O'er the wide surface of the Lake of death,
    Rocks, high and black, their darkened shadows fling,
Those waves scarce move, e'en at the roughest breath
    The blustering winds upon their pinions bring,
    And there no shrieking sea-bird dips his wing,
But there are fruits, ungrateful to the taste,
And horror breathes around that dreary waste.

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How felt Sir Wilibert--whose eye surveyed,
The scene where wrathful judgment was displayed;
All feelings, save of awe, within his mind
    Before the wond'rous thought in terror fled,
Congealed by horror, and to fear resigned,
    He viewed the waves that roll above the dead:
He turned--what saw he? a deep, sullen tide,
Whose waves reluctant, to the salt-sea glide,
While reeds and willows grow upon its side:
He knelt--he prayed--then gladly bent his way
To scenes less sterile, and to brighter day.

But Sharon! how shall mortal pen declare
The charms still lingering on thy plain so fair.

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The sweet narcissus, and the lily pale,
    With mingled roses, shed their rich perfume,
    And there are flowers of everlasting bloom,
Whose fragrant beauties scent the gentle gale;
Alas! that here a Despot's hand should wield,
    With wild unhallowed sway, the rod of power,
Make barren, spots that willing herbage yield,
    And plant the thistle, where would bloom the bower;
But Heaven--not man--directs of earth the sway,
And Heaven must guide--man worship and obey.


Now then de Waverley, his purpose wrought,
The ancient far-famed port of Jaffa* sought,

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Once more he bids to Palestine adieu,
And Carmel's brow is lessening on his view;
Farewell the land, renowned in every age,
In sacred story, and historic page;
Ill suits the subject with an idle verse,
Else might the Muse each great event rehearse,
There the first Christians hailed their heavenly Lord,
There, for the Cross, waved many a glittering sword;
Rest, rest, ye brave! nor blame her rancour, shed
O'er mouldering relics of the warlike dead,
Let Godfrey, still, his hard-earned honours wear,
Raymond and Tancred, still their glories bear,
While, not the least, must Coeur-de-Lion share.

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But as that land receded from his eye,
    Impatience grew within the warrior's breast,
And as more near his native isle drew nigh,
    His troubled bosom knew no peaceful rest;
        If Hope a moment waked delight,
        His glancing eye shone gaily bright,
        But of his cheek the fading hue
        Would oft disclose the cares he knew,
        As he more near the promised haven drew.
        Who has not felt--who does not know
        The icy chill--or feverish glow,
        That rushes through each throbbing vein,
        When expectation we sustain?
        Or when our minds that summit gain,
        That's wrought beyond a sense of pain,

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What words can e'er that thrill so wild, express?
It is nor death--nor life--nor grief--nor happiness.
But blow, ye winds--his vessel gently bear,
We leave the Knight, and seek his lovely fair.

        Three years had slowly rolled away,
        Since love beheld their parting day,
        When lo! 'twas told, upon the main
        His vessel was by Corsairs ta'en;
        His aged mother heard the tale,
        Ah! well might she his fate bewail,
        He was the staff, on which her age
        Had hoped, in life's declining stage,

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        To lean; for, guarded by his power,
        No foeman would invade her tower,
        And Wilibert's attentive eye
        Forbade one want he could supply--
        She long had mourned her absent child,
        But Hope her latent fears beguiled,
        When Geraldine, in accents gay,
        Would talk of bliss on future day;
        But now each looked for peace in vain!
        Their loved one in a captive's chain.
        The Lady drooped, but ere she died,
            To Geraldine she faintly said,
        "No one remains thy youth to guide,
            Yet hope for thee a beam may shed,
        My son, in time, may yet return;
            In foreign lands his lawful heir.

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        May not, perchance, these tidings learn,
            My child! my child! do not despair,
        Weep not for me--adieu, my love, I go
            Where care is lost--forgotten every woe."
        Poor Geraldine! but that her soul
            All buoyant rode on Hope's bright wave,
        Pale Grief had wrapped her in her stole,
            And Sorrow bent her to the grave.
        Ah! were it given us to read
        The various ills to each decreed,
        Engraven in the length'ning scroll,
        Which, day by day, the Fates unrol,
        How few could wait each pending blow,
        That wakes the heart to direr woe:
        The guileless soul would shrink, to view
            Of fraudful friends, a smiling band,

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        Who still their promised end pursue,
            With flattering lips, and clasping hand;
        Their object gained, their friendship flies,
        The heart, deceived, unheeded sighs:
        And love! oh, who would love, to be
        The victim of duplicity?
        Or doubting live, of drooping pine,
        And such, oh Love! such woes are thine!


        Now many a month had passed away,
        And dreary was each coming day,
        Not one on earth to whom her heart
        Its deep emotions could impart,
        It seemed as though the maid alone,
        Nor kindred, friends, nor joy, must own;

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        And as a Phoenix shone the Dame,
        Consumed amidst her own bright flame.
        Oh! would there were some lovely sphere,
            Whither congenial souls might fly!
        When tired of vapid mortals here,
            Of wearying woes--and vanity;
        Escaping from the mingling strife
            Of earth-born cares that wring the soul,
        In purer realms to breathe new life,
            And, bounding, reach of bliss the goal:
        Could Fate a higher boon bestow
        Than converse with what's dear to know?
        The proudest boast of earthly power,
        Vies not with Friendship's meeting hour!

Page 33


        The sun beamed bright on hall and bower,
        And bloomed around her many a flower,
        The groves with echoing music rang,
        Each bird a lively carol sang,
        The tribes of Nature all were glad,
        And Geraldine alone was sad;
        To sooth the sorrows of her soul
            She tried her harp's enchanting sound,
        And waked, with snowy hand, the wire,--
            Then while its notes entrancing stole,
        Such accents soft were heard around
            As Seraphs sing--or Sylphs inspire--
        Nor deemed she that a listening ear
        Those melting murmurs staid to hear,

Page 34

        Then, leaning on her hand, she hid
            The eyes remembrance dewed with tears,
        A sound, as of retiring feet,
            Awaked the startled fair-one's fears,
        But promptly her alarm she chid,
            Since she no danger there could meet.


        Within the portal's distant shade,
        A stranger Knight still lingering staid,
        Who then advanced with courteous air,
        And paid due homage to the fair;
        This was of Waverley the Heir,
            Should Wilibert no more return,

Page 35

        And his was every talent rare,
            And virtues, more than all discern!
        Oh! how describe his radiant eye,
        Wherein you might his soul descry,
        The brow, whereon deep thought reclined,
        Expansive as his noble mind;
        Gracefully o'er his manly brow
            His clustering curls, of ebon hue,
        Wildly luxuriant careless flow,--
            Sir Alwyn might all hearts subdue!
        Oh, if from realms of silvery light,
        Some Sylph should bend to earth his flight,
        To whisper to some troubled breast
            A rainbow-tinted dream of hope,
        To lull Distraction's cares to rest,
            And arm the soul with ills to cope--

Page 36

        Let him in Alwyn's form appear,
            And let him speak in Alwyn's voice,
        Mild Peace that throbbing heart would cheer,
            And Hope teach Misery to rejoice:
        Fair Geraldine, her timid gaze
        To Alwyn scarcely dared to raise,
        Through the long lashes of his eye
        Such dazzling beams effulgent fly,
        It was as though two kindred spheres,
            (Which erring mortals Stars might call,
                Though more like Suns they gleamed,)
        Had started from their bright compeers,
            And in his visage, since their fall,
                In place of mortal eyes had beamed!

Page 37


        With mantling blushes on her cheek,
        She strove some trembling words to speak,
        Sir Alwyn, then, with gentle air,
        Thus reassured th' astonished fair;
        "Forgive me that I thus intrude,
        Fair Lady, on thy solitude;
        But now returned from foreign land,
        I just have gained my native strand,
        And, as I passed this castle gate,
        (Unknown to me my kinsman's fate)
        I thought it would be well to see
        The noble chief of Waverley;
        Oh! weep not--sigh not--fear not harm,
        While life sustains this youthful arm,

Page 38

        Ever will I thyself defend,
        And prove thy constant, steady friend--
        Not mine these lands--de Waverley
        May yet regain his liberty;
        Do thou beneath this roof abide,
        While I in Greystone's towers reside."
        He staid awhile to take survey
        Of treasure, lands, and vassalry,
        Still hoping that the lawful Lord
        Might be to his domain restored;
        But while he yet prolonged his stay,
        With Geraldine he oft would stray;
        Well did his fair companion love
        With Alwyn in those paths to rove,

Page 39

        For he had trod where few had been,
        And many a distant land had seen,
        And she with new, unfeigned delight,
        Heard him those wonders all recite,
        Which it had been his lot to trace
        In various climes, 'mid foreign race;
        Bade him again his story tell,
        And loved upon his words to dwell.
        Oh, life! thy sunny moments are
        How few, how exquisite, how rare!
        "Like sun-beams in a winter's day;"
        And as when those withdraw their ray,
        More gloomy seems the cheerless scene,
        That lately wore a lively mien,
        So, when across Life's clouded sky,
        Bright hours, like transient sun-beams, fly,

Page 40

        The moments that bring up their rear
        More wretched seem, more dark, more drear.


        So felt the Dame, Sir Alwyn gone,
        And she now left forlorn and lone,
        Ne'er o'er her mind a cloud had hung,
        Like that his absence o'er it flung;
        "Why feel I thus?" she murmuring cried,
            "Not, when I bade that Chief adieu
        Of whom I am the promised bride,
            A pang, like this, my bosom knew!
        Oh, heart ingrate! and dost thou feel
        Such interest in a stranger's weal!
        Forgetful of thine earliest friend,
            Who now, in chains and slavery,

Page 41

        Beneath a dreadful yoke must bend,
            And mourns, perhaps, false girl! for thee."
        Oh, who that's skilled in woman's heart,
            Will not the maiden's conduct guess?
        She strove, by every gentle art,
            Sir Alwyn's image to repress,
        And acted, thus, a virtuous part.
        She called to mind events long past,
        In all, her Knight was first and last;
        Who did her infant pastime share:
        Sir Wilibert she traced e'en there.
        And who, in youth's advancing hour,
        With her would watch each opening flower--
        And as those flowers, beneath the ray
        Of Sol, gave richer sweets to day,

Page 42

        So she, instructed by the care
        Of Wilibert, grew good as fair;
        On this she pondered, till her mind
        To Wilibert was all resigned.


        How those who tread life's devious way,
        Against temptation ought to pray,
        How dread, in every thing, a lure,
        Nor ever deem themselves secure.
        The Lady, from the turret high,
        Cast o'er the waves a watchful eye,
        She marked, approaching to the shore,
        A boat, the rowers plied the oar,
        Impelled, it seemed, by one whose height
        And warlike air rose to her sight,

Page 43

        Like him whose absence long she mourned,
        And hoped, at length, was now returned;
        The warden's horn blew shrill and high,
        And swiftly did the Lady fly,
        Within the hall to take her stand,
        And give her hero greeting bland.
        Ah! how unwelcome to her view
        The form unknown, that near her drew,
        The roses on her cheek grew pale,
        To hide her tears, she lowered her veil,
        Then begged the stranger to declare
        The purport of his presence there.


        "Lady, a pledge I bring to thee,
        'Twas sent by brave de Waverley,"--

Page 44

        "De Waverley then lives! is free!"
        Exclaimed the maid in ecstacy;
        Then flinging back her flowing veil,
        She shewed a cheek no longer pale,
        Her sparkling eyes, with pleasure bright,
        Shed beams of rapturous delight;
        Her lip of coral--hand of snow--
        And locks, that all redundant flow,
        Her graceful mien, and fairy form,
        A colder heart than his might warm,
        Who first beheld the maid that hour,
        And bowed to conquering Beauty's power,
        Beauty! delightful, fatal thing,
            How many woo thee, to their cost!
        Thy sweets a poisonous odour fling,
            At best, thou art a dangerous boast,

Page 45

        And nought can e'er thy flight delay;
        Short is thy bright triumphant day,
            Soon lost by those who prized thee most.
        Yet, for this fragile, fleeting shade,
        Cities have been in ashes laid,
        Empires, kingdoms, worlds, been lost,
        And slain full many a gallant host.
        Ronald de Merton, as he gazed
        Upon the Lady, felt amazed,
        That one who loved so fair a maid
            In distant climes should choose to stray,
            But now I'll profit by his stay,
        With evil thought he said.
        "Tell me," the Dame impatient cried,
        "Oh, where does Waverley abide,

Page 46

        Why comes he not to Albion's shore,
        To view his home and friends once more?"
        "He thinks it better, far to roam,
        Than seek his all-delightful home;
        He talked of pilgrimage and prayer,
        And such a message bade me bear,
        But" ----then he paused, the Lady's eye
        On Ronald gazed, half fearfully:
        "But, " ---- "nay, Sir Knight, hide nought from me,
        What said the Chief de Waverley?
        Methinks 'tis strange, so long a time
        As he has passed in foreign clime,
        He comes not promptly--tell me why"--
        Breathless, she waited his reply;

Page 47

        That meaning "but," had waked a train
        Of fears, she bade disperse in vain.
        "Why should I to thine ears convey,"--
        He faltered in his first essay,
        But glancing at her beauty bright,
        He gathered boldness from the sight,
        And told a garbled tale--replete
        With broken truth, and vile deceit.


        She took the little crystal heart,
        The token of Sir Wilibert,
        So pure, the emblem of her own,
        And felt, within the world, alone!
        She fled the hall--her chamber's space
        Her hurried footsteps often trace;

Page 48

        Then on her couch her form reclined,
        Or, rising with distracted mind,
        Her weary round she trod again,
        While every nerve was wrung with pain--
        That mental pain, so dire and deep
        Which scarce can sigh, and does not weep--
        And though the lip a smile may wear,
        'Tis but the writhing of despair,
        That will not shew the world its care.
        "Not one!" she said, with upraised eye,
        "Not one! on whom I may rely!
        Alone within the world's wide bound;--
        Ah! truth and love, where are ye found,
        Since Wilibert can faithless prove?
        Oh man--false man! what is thy love!"

Page 49

        She clasped her hand, she bowed her head,
        Her only stay on earth was fled,
        Within, without, all, all around,
        Immersed in murky gloom profound;
        Hope's self was chill'd, whose heavenly flame
        Had hitherto sustained the Dame--
        On earth were none to sooth her grief,
        Yet did the Lady find relief,
        To Heaven she breathed a fervent prayer,
        And found her surest refuge there.


        Still staid Sir Ronald--spell-bound there
        He stood enwrapped in thoughtful care,
        When Geraldine, all pale, and meek,
        With downcast eye, and altered cheek,

Page 50

        Descended to the ancient hall,
        Where, ranged in goodly order, all
        The well-won trophies high were hung,
        And far their length'ning shadows flung.
        Sir Ronald, if awhile his heart
        Reproached him for his cruel art,
        To stifle all those feelings strove,
        Imputing all to mighty Love;
        He told her many a high-wrought tale,
        In hopes ambition might prevail,
        Or thoughts of novelty, incite
        A wish to taste of new delight;
        He talked of tournaments and halls,
        Of courtly feasts, and splendid brawls,
        But little did that maiden heed,
        And nought to Ronald's wish accede;

Page 51

        For, when he dwelt on scenes like these,
        She felt they ne'er her heart could please,
        Ill was she formed to stem the tide
        Down which the common herd may glide;
        She heard enough the world to dread,
        Nor wished its mazy wilds to tread.
        Ye idle throng, of pleasures vain,
        Oh! who would mingle in your train!
        Say, can ye sooth the bosom's woe,
        When Disappointment's pang we know?
        Say, can ye still the anguished sigh,
        Or steal the tear from Sorrow's eye?
        Oh! no! although the eye may rest
        On scenes by Taste and Fashion drest,
        And though awhile the listening ear
        May seem the whispered tale to hear,

Page 52

        The feeling heart, the ardent mind,
        Seek happiness that's more refined.
        Ah! genius! feeling! what a fate
        Attends them in this earthly state,
        Amidst a crowd to seem alone,
        Unloved, unhonoured, and unknown--
        Unloved--because of genius bright,
        Will envy taint the beamy light;
        Unhonoured--for, alas! how few
        To merit give the meed that's due;
        Unknown--for none, but those alone
        Who genius, sense, and feeling, own,
        Can trace those actions to their cause,
        Which deviate from general laws;
        And if, as life's bewildering maze
        We view, with sad and aching gaze,

Page 53

        Some mind, with kindred ardour warm,
        Enveloped in an Angel's form,
        Upon our weary path should shine,
        And gild it with a ray divine,
        One moment met--again we part,
        And pangs anew assail the heart--
        So did the maiden think, when she
        Reflected on past misery--
        Or listened to Sir Ronald's tale,
        Which could not o'er her heart prevail.


        The Knight departed, and the maid
        Wandered amidst congenial shade,
        Or, in the hall's accordant gloom,
        She plied, with ready hand, the loom,

Page 54

        And many a direful tale she wove,
        Of ruthless deed--or hapless love.
        The withering leaves were falling fast,
        And loudly sang the autumn blast,
            The vassals gay, around the fire,
        Pledged of their Lord the quick return,
        While Geraldine alone did mourn,
            And, pensive, from her loom retire,
        Why starts the maid? 'twas but the sound
        Of sullen winds, that murmur round;
        Again--was the wind's loud roar
        That rushed along the corridor?
        That whistle--but the winds high shriek,
        Whose shrilly tones distinctly speak?

Page 55

        The door is open--no, the gale
        Did not above its force prevail,
        The room is filled with armed men,
        She shrieks for aid--but shrieks in vain,--
        For then, alas! her feeble cry
        Was lost by distant revelry.
        From Waverley the maid is torn,
        An unresisting burden borne.


        She faints--when she again revives,
            With fears of woe her heart is riven,
        To learn where she is placed she strives,
            She marks the concave high, of Heaven,
        She hears the clash of mingling steel,
            The roaring of the ocean wave,

Page 56

        She can its fresh'ning breezes feel,
            And wildly round the loud winds rave.
        The towers that meet her anxious eye
        Seem still like those of Waverley;
        Bewildered with conjectures strange,
        She cannot her ideas arrange,
        When lo! a voice strikes on her ear
        That bids the maiden cease to fear,
        Supported by SIR ALWYN'S arm,
        She feels, indeed, secure from harm.
        Blest was the hour for that fair maid,
        That Alwyn then his visit paid:
        Sir Ronald's was the fraudful scheme,
            Resolved to gain her for his bride,
        When, happy for the fair I deem,
            Sir Alwyn heard his vaunting pride,

Page 57

        As Ronald, boasting of his prey,
        Around the castle wound his way;
        Enough--Sir Alwyn heard no more
        Attended by retainers four,
        His little troop sufficed--the Knight
        His base opponent put to flight,
        Then led the maid within the hall,
        Captive--though freed from captive thrall.


        Alas! for thee! de Waverley!
        Misjudging loiterer, why delay,
        Return, thy tarnished truth to clear;--
            Alas! for thee the Fates have wove
        A doom, with Sorrow in the rear,
            And thine is still a luckless love.

Page 58

        Sir Alwyn and the pensive Dame,
        Imbibed, too soon, Love's fatal flame;
        But, true to inborn Honour's laws,
        He pleaded not a lover's cause
        Till all the dreary months were past,
        And summer flowerets come at last;
            Then, and then only, he began
        To deem his rival was untrue,
            At first, he truly thought the tale
            Was Ronald's--better to prevail,
        When Geraldine he wont to sue;
            But now Sir Alwyn scorned the man,
        Who thus, in life's primeval hour,
        Abandoned Beauty's blooming flower;

Page 59

        And then with eloquence, that flowed
        Impetuous, as the love that glowed
        Within his heart; he wooed--her downcast eye
        Proclaimed Sir Alwyn's victory.


        When softly stealing on our view,
        The beams of day their course renew,
        When through the eastern portal's wide,
        Morn's rosy shadow lightly glide,
        How gaze we with delighted eye,
        On golden cloud and blushing sky,
        Till, rising full before our sight,
        We hail the orb of heat and light!
        'Tis thus, when first within our soul
        We own of Love the dear control;

Page 60

        'Tis mild, 'tis soft, 'tis sweet, to feel
        Its gentle influence slowly steal,
        The hope that's indistinctly form'd,
        The love that's scarce by passion warm'd,
        Till he, who to the throbbing heart
        Each dear sensation could impart,
        With manly pride avows his flame,
        And kindles in our soul the same--
        So shone the youth, so felt the maid,
        When each to each their love betray'd;
        Then lost was every woe in bliss,
        And irksome every theme but this.


        In air the streaming penons fly
            The minstrels wake a joyful strain,

Page 61

        Reflected from each window high,
            The lights are dancing on the main.
        "Tell me, I pray, why thus I see
        The ensigns of such revelry?
        I've heard the Lord of this domain
        Now wanders on a foreign plain,"--
        "Good Pilgrim enter, test thee here,
        Partake awhile our bridal cheer."
        The Pilgrim's hand now pressed his brow,
        And then his hat he drew more low,
        And deeply in his labouring breast
        Some vast emotion seemed represt.
        "Bridal!" he cried--"and who the Bride?"
        His kind informer then replied,

Page 62

        "She will, perhaps, this way advance,
        And then, good Pilgrim, take a glance,
        Of form and face divinely fair,
        In truth, she is a beauty rare."
        "Has she no name!" the Pilgrim said,
        Then on his hand he leaned his head,
        And seemed the next reply to dread--
        "No name! grave Pilgrim, what dost mean?
        It is, the Lady Geraldine!
        No word the stranger spoke again,
        But seemed, in silence, to remain
        Immersed in thoughts that caused him pain.
        He moved to where a deep recess
            Concealed him from the view,

Page 63

        And then, attired in bridal dress,
            The lovely Dame he saw--he knew;
        Still revelled in her youthful mien
        The roseate charms of gay eighteen.
        The Pilgrim marked the Bridegroom's pride,
        When gazing on his lovely Bride,
        And saw the ray of rapture fly
        From Geraldine's to Alwyn's eye--
        Was that the glance of ire awhile?
        What strange expression in that smile!
        'Twas but Remembrance flashing o'er
            The train of wrongs his heart had borne,
        A smile those lips might own once more,
            But 'twas the bitter smile of Scorn;
        The hectic glow that crossed his cheek
        Did aught, but health of peace, bespeak.

Page 64


Forth from his dark recess the Pilgrim came,
His cheek was pale, and sunk the ardent flame
That lately kindled in his hazle eye,
As the wild lightning in the lurid sky.
"Know ye not me!" the stranger faltering cried,
How felt the Bridegroom--and how looked the Bride!
Though now no more he wore the warrior's crest,
Nor shining cuirass glittered on his breast,
Though faded now the lustre of his eye,
Though locks of gray his auburn ones supply,
The air, the voice, proclaim DE WAVERLEY!

Page 65

"For this, did I escape the captive's chain,
And cross, with bounding heart, yon foaming main?
What cheered my soul through many a year of woe,
The hope of bliss with Geraldine to know--
Still is this heart the prey of woman's wiles,
Why did I yield to Hope's deceitful smiles?
My soul was chill'd, and all on earth was drear,
Hope dormant rested--and I knew no fear--
When, as the beacon blazing on the height
Cheers the glad Sailor with its welcome light,
So hail'd my soul, the renovated ray
Of Beauty, beaming on my darkened way!
Yes! I exclaimed, my early love still lives,
And to my heart its wonted ardour gives;

Page 66

And more than wonted rapture, for the Dame
Smiles on my passion, and approves my flame.
But, luckless hour! my native land I left,
Since then, I've been of every joy bereft;
Yet still I deemed thou would'st my woes reward
With constant faith, and ever fond regard."
Sir Alwyn, then, with mild, yet manly tone,
Sir Ronald's tale and outrage base made known.
" 'Tis false! 'tis false!" exclaimed de Waverley,
"This heart, my fair, was ever true to thee;
Oh! Geraldine!--break, break, my stubborn heart!
Nor tamely live with all that's dear, to part:
Yet stay--oh, hush th' emotions of thy mind,
ALWYN was generous--and I seemed unkind;

Page 67

I blame thee not--his youth, his valiant arm,
All, all, conspired thy grateful heart to charm:
Be, then, most blest--yet sometimes think on one
Who, though his years of youthful fire are gone,
Still feels for thee, as others ne'er have felt,--
Where'er I roved, my thoughts upon thee dwelt,
Where'er I strayed, my soul still sprung to thee,
And GERALDINE was still the world to me!"
She raised her eye--she viewed his altered form,
Which, as some ruin battered by the storm,
Still proudly stood--though there might be descried
How frail the fabric of all human pride!

Page 68

Then Alwyn's hand she clasped--some purpose deep
Shook her slight frame--and paled her fading cheek;
Sir Alwyn gazed, upon her speaking eye,
And thought some wild intent he could descry,
Some dreadful meaning--threat'ning to destroy
His air-built visions of terrestrial joy.
How vast the influence of woman's charms!
He, who unmoved had heard the din of arms,
Had boldly rushed amid the direful strife,
Reckless of danger--prodigal of life--
Now felt a thrill of dread his veins invade,
And Horror's mists his glancing eye o'ershade,
Then thus, with firmness gathering on her brow,
The fair essayed to speak a fearful vow;

Page 69

" 'Tis meet," she cried, "that I, who cause thy woe,
An equal share of misery should know;
Farewell, then, hopes of bright felicity,
Adieu, my Alwyn--yes, adieu to thee!
Hear and attest, ye powers"--"Geraldine!"
Sir Alwyn cried, fierce phrensy in his mien,
"Thou can'st not--durst not--trifle with my heart,
Thou wilt not utter words that bid us part;
Nay--if it must be so, Fate, do thy worst,
Think'st thou I'll bear a being so accurst?
No: where the battle rages I will go,
And fly, with ardour, to the kinder foe,
Kinder by far than thee, who thus could'st bear
To doom thy lover to the fiend, Despair."

Page 70

He said--and, turning, would have quickly flown,
But that de Waverley, in gentle tone,
Hushed the wild tumult of his boiling breast,
Then thus the Knight the beauteous fair addrest;
"Think'st thou, fair Dame, sweet object of my love,
A vow, like thine, could be approved above?
Or is my heart so changed, as now to find
Relief from woe, in what distracts thy mind;
Amidst yon ancient abbey's solemn gloom,
Think'st thou it would ameliorate my doom,
To know that thou wert wasting all thy years
In useless penitence, and ceaseless tears?

Page 71

No! fare thee well! to Alwyn I resign
The lovely prize, which never must be mine;
None but thyself remained, my life to cheer,
And none can now my lonely late endear;
Yet, oh! that glance of bliss does well repay,
It speaks what words can ne'er so well display--
Enough, thou'rt happy--dear and lovely fair,
To yonder holy dome will I repair;
Be yours each blessing Heaven can bestow,
Since I no earthly happiness can know,
Before the shrine my orisons I'll pay,

Page [72]

It was one stormy evening in April, 1813, that this Fragment was written, though it has never before been published; I thought it a pity that so interesting a tale as the one which suggested these Stanzas should remain unfinished and as Mr COLERIDGE would not conclude it himself, I presumed to do so for him. Had it been an idea of my own, I should rather have told a tale of Man's constancy, than of his perfidy ; but the Knight was to be perfidious, and, of course I adhered to my text.

Page [73]


THE night is dark! the wind is high!
    The rain now falls in torrents fast--
And swiftly through the clouded sky
    The Spirits ride upon the blast!

Page 74

But, though without the wild winds rage,
    I yet enjoy this stormy eve,
For thou dost all my soul engage,
    My wife! my love! my Genevieve!

Attend, attend, thou lovely fair,
    While I pursue the promised theme,
For I will now to thee declare
    The fate of the maid of Morven's stream.

Though loud the wind, yet shall my song
    High o'er the whistling gusts prevail,
For thee I will the strain prolong,
    Now listen to the rueful tale.

Page 75

Fair as the snow on Andes' height,
    Was Margaret's lovely bosom seen,
Her tresses shone like morning light,
    And Grace attended on her mien.

Oh! what with Margaret's smile could vie,
    When Joy rehearsed the tale of Mirth?
How genuine was the maiden's sigh
    For every sorrowing child of earth!

Blessing, and blest, stole on her days,
    Until there came to the maiden's bower
A Knight, who had heard the fair-one's praise,
    Sir Edwin, of the Highland Tower:

Page 76

He saw, he loved, as all had done,
    Whoe'er fair Margaret had viewed,
But none the fair-one's love had won,
    Her youthful heart had none subdued!

Alas! this Knight of the Highland Tower
    Was deeply versed in guileful art,
He wooed the maiden in her bower,
    And, oh! he won the maiden's heart.

She loved him, how she loved him! Heaven,
    Pure as thy light was Margaret's soul,
Unmixed with Guilt's destroying leaven,
    Love ruled her heart without control.

Page 77

Radiant with beauty was her face,
    Her mind of Virtue was the throne,
Nor could she think her love was base,
    Or that a vice his heart could own;

But, ah! Sir Edwin's perjured mind
    Thirsted for gold, as well as love,
To av'rice was he so inclined,
    He riches prized, all worth above.

It chanced, that near fair Margaret's bower
    There dwelt a lovely high-born dame,
She saw Sir Edwin of the Tower,
    Her bosom felt Love's potent flame:

Page 78

She lured him to her castle-hall,
    Then kindly said, with witching smile,
"Now rest thy steed within his stall,
    Sir Knight, thou'lt here abide awhile."

Before him spread was costly cheer,
    New wishes in his bosom stole,
The minstrels' music pleased his ear,
    And Beauty's glance inflamed his soul.

"Come, now, Sir Knight," the Lady cried,
    "I'll shew thee a scene if thou'lt follow me,"
(And the Lady's cheek then glowed with pride)
    "As shall delight thine eye to see!"

Page 79

She led him to a turret's height,
    "See'st thou, Sir Knight, yon waving wood,
The boundary of the aching sight,
    That may be thine, for aye and good."

"That bounds my lands, so fair and wide,--
    If thou to possess them dost incline,
But take me for thy willing bride,
    And all, without delay, are thine."

Forgot was the Maid of Morven's stream,
    Or he stifled, at least, Reflection's sigh,
Ere sunk in the main was the Sun's last beam,
     He wedded the heiress of Glenfinlie!

Page 80

Sweet Margaret heard! her cheek grew pale,
    No tear bedew'd her azure eye,
Nor told she her griefs to the passing gale,
    Yet heaved she then the heartfelt sigh:

And never the maiden smiled again,
    Her mien was clouded o'er with woe,
Her heart felt all dire Misery's pain,
    She sank beneath the cruel blow.

No more the snood, of gayest hue,
    Confined her radiant locks of gold,
The sombre robes that to Grief are due,
    Alone her graceful form infold.

Page 81

She wandered oft to the rugged rock,
    'Gainst which the streams of Morven beat,
She loved to feel the billowy shock
    That shook her craggy seat.

One eve, as in the glowing west,
    The orb of day was sinking fast,
An agile footstep near her prest,
    And, lo! Sir Edwin by her past;

She shrieked--that shriek recalled the Knight,
    He gazed on his forsaken maid,
He felt Remorse his conscience smite,
    And on his heart deep sorrow weighed.

Page 82

He clasped her to his beating heart--
    A last embrace the fair-one gave,
Then, swifter than a feathery dart,
    She flew to Morven's flowing wave;

Then, plunging in the foamy tide,
    Her mortal sorrows soon were o'er,
Thus, thus, it was the victim died,
    Of the false Knight of the Highland Tower;

And oft, upon her rocky seat,
    In her dark robes the maid they see,
And when her shadowy form they greet,
    They cry, Behold the "Dark Ladye!"

Page [83]

The Farewell,

HOW shall I frame the offering due
To Friendship, Kindness, and to you!
The Muse relines upon her lyre,
She dews with tears its golden wire,
How shall the humid chords respire

Ye hours that shed your cheering ray,
When social converse charmed away
Remembrance keen--and sad Despair,
Oh! then was hushed my bosom's care!
Ye hours so dear, so bright, so fair,
To you, Farewell!

Page 84

When Anna's praises waked the song,
How roll'd each high-themed strain along,--
But now, when I no more can hear
The praise of her, so kind and dear,
To Pleasure, Poesy, I fear
I now must bid Farewell!

And yet, if Sernia's gales impart
Health to thy frame, joy to thy heart,
Believe me, yes! believe me true,
Though I regret to part from you,
The hour my friendship will not rue,
That I must bid Farewell!

One little boon, let Anna give,
I only ask, while we may live,

Page 85

That THOU, amidst the courtly train,
O'er which a monarch thou wilt reign,
To think on me wilt sometimes deign;
Oh! freight a zephyr with a sigh,
To me the wing'd regret will fly,
Perhaps 'twill check a stealing tear,
To find I still am something dear,
            To her whom I now bid Farewell!

August, 1814

Page [86]

MRS. W----.

HASTE , little Book, to Anna tell
That absence hath not broke the spell,
Which, round the heart of her who writes,
    Her graceful kindness twined;
Oh thou, by absence more endeared,
Whose friendship oft consoled and cheered,
Still Memory pays thee willing rites,
    The homage of the mind:
Ah! would that I could fly to thee,
For thou would'st sooth my misery,
With care oppressed, no voice delights--
    I none like Anna find.

Page 87

Oh! still believe the mournful Muse,
The tear which now the line bedews,
Springs from the fountain of a heart
Disdainful of each flattering art,
    Where ANNA is enshrined.

January, 1815.

Page [88]

Printed by W. Clowes,
Northumberland-court, Strand, London.