Rokeby, by Walter Scott

Canto Third.


THE hunting tribes of air and earth,

Respect the brethren of their birth;

Nature, who loves the claim of kind,

Less cruel chaise to each assigned.

The falcon, poised on soaring wing,

Watches the wild-duck by the spring;

The slow-hound wakes the fox’s lair,

The greyhound presses on the hare;

The eagle pounces on the lamb.

The wolf devours the fleecy dam;

Even tyger fell, and sullen bear,

Their likeness and their lineage spare.

Man, only, mars kind Nature’s plan.

And turns the fierce pursuit on man;

Plying war’s desultory trade.

Incursion, flight, and ambuscade.

Since Nimrod, Gush’s mighty son,

At first the bloody game begun.


The Indian, prowling for his prey.

Who hears the settlers track his way,

And knows in distant forest far

Camp his red brethren of the war;

He, when each double and disguise

To baffle the pursuit he tries,

Low crouching” now his head to hide.

Where swampy streams through rushes ghde,

Now covering with the withered leaves

The footprints that the dew receives;

He, skilled in every sylvan guile,

Knows not, nor tries such various wile.

As Risingham, when on the wind

Arose the loud pursuit behind.

In Redesdale his yovith had heard

Each art her wily dalesmen dared.

When Rookenedge, and Redswair high,

To bugle rung and bloodhound’s cry,

Announcing Jedwood-axe and spear.

And Lid’sdale riders in the rear;

And well his venturous life had proved

The lessons that his childhood loved.


Oft had he shewn, in climes afar.

Each attribute of roving war;

The sharpened ear, the piercing eye,

The quick resolve in danger nigh;

The speed, that in the flight or chase,

Outstripped the Charib’s rapid race;

The steady brain, the sinewy limb.

To leap, to climb, to dive, to swim;

The iron frame, inured to bear

Each dire inclemency of air.

Nor less confirmed to undergo

Fatigue’s faint chill, and famine’s throe.

These arts he proved, his life to save.

In peril oft by land and wave,

On Arawaca’s desart shore.

Or where La Plata’s billows roar.

When oft the sons of vengeful Spain

Tracked the marauder’s steps in vain.

These arts, in Indian warfare tried,

Must save him now by Greta’s side.



’Twas then, in hour of utmost need,

He proved his courage, art, and speed.

Now slow he stalked with stealthy pace,

Now started forth in rapid race.

Oft doubling back in mazy train.

To blind the trace the dews retain;

Now clombe the rocks projecting high,

To baffle the pursuers’ eye,

Now sought the stream, whose brawling sound

The echo of his footsteps drowned.

But if the forest verge he nears,

There trample steeds and glimmer spears;

If deeper down the copse he drew,

He heard the rangers’ loud halloo,

Beating each cover while they came,

As if to start the sylvan game.

’Twas then, — like tyger, close beset

At every pass with toil and net,

Countered, where’er he turns his glare.

By clashing arms and torches’ flare.

Who meditates, with furious bound.

To burst on hunter, horse, and hound, —

’Twas then that Bertram’s soul arose,

Prompting to rush upon his foes:

But as that crouching tyger, cow’d

By brandished steel and shouting crowd,

Retreats beneath the jungle’s shroud,

Bertram suspends his purpose stern,

And couches in the brake and fern,

Hiding his face, lest foemen spy

The sparkle of his swarthy eye.


Then Bertram might the bearing trace

Of the bold youth who led the chace.

Who paused to list for every sound,

Climbed every height to look around.

Then rushing on with naked sword,

Each dingle’s bosky depths explored.

’Twas Redmond — by the azure eye;

’Twas Redmond — by the locks that fly

Disordered from his glowing cheek;

Mien, face, and form, young Redmond speak.

A form more active, light, and strong,

Ne’er shot the ranks of war along;

The modest, yet the manly mien.

Might grace the court of maiden queen.

A face more fair you well might find.

For Redmond’s knew the sun and wind,

Nor boasted, from their tinge when free,

The charm of regularity;

But every feature had the power

To aid the expression of the hour:

Whether gay wit, and humour sly,

Danced laughing in his light-blue eye;

Or bended brow, and glance of fire,

And kindling cheek, spoke Erin’s ire;

Or soft and saddened glances show

Her ready sympathy with woe;

Or in that way wai’d mood of mind.

When various feelings are combined.

When joy and sorrow mingle near.

And hope’s bright wings are checked by fear,

And rising doubts keep transport down,

And anger lends a short-lived frown;

In that strange mood which maids approve.

Even when they dare not call it love.

With every change his features played,

As aspens shew the light and shade.


Well Risingham young Redmond knew;

And much he marvelled that the crew,

Roused to revenge bold Mortham dead.

Were by that Mortham’s foeman led;

For never felt his soul the woe,

That wails a generous foeman low.

Far less that sense of justice strong,

That wreaks a generous foeman’s wrong.

But small his leisure now to pause;

Redmond is first, whatever the cause:

And twice that Redmond came so near,

Where Bertram couched like hunted deer,

The very boughs his steps displace.

Rustled against the ruffian’s face,

Who, desperate, twice prepared to start,

And plunge his dagger in his heart!

But Redmond turned a different way,

And the bent boughs resumed their sway,

And Bertram held it wise, unseen,

Deeper to plunge in coppice green.

Thus, circled in his coil, the snake.

When roving hunters beat the brake,

Watches with red and glistening eye.

Prepared, if heedless step draw nigh,

With forked tongue and venomed fang

Instant to dart the deadly pang;

But if the intruders turn aside.

Away his coils unfolded glide.

And through the deep savannah wind.

Some undisturbed retreat to find.


But Bertram, as he backward drew,

And heard the loud pursuit renew.

And Redmond’s hollo on the wind,

Oft muttered in his savage mind —

“Redmond O’Neale! were thou and I

Alone this day’s event to try.

With not a second here to see,

But the grey cliff and oaken-tree, —

That voice of thine, that shouts so loud,

Should ne’er repeat its summons proud!

No! nor e’er try its melting power

Again in maiden’s summer bower.” —

Eluded, now behind him die.

Faint and more faint, each hostile cry;

He stands in Scargill wood alone,

Nor hears he now a harsher tone

Than the hoarse cushat’s plaintive cry.

Or Greta’s sound that murmurs by;

And on the dale, so lone and wild,

The summer sun in quiet smiled.


He listened long with anxious heart,

Ear bent to hear, and foot to start,

And, while his stretched attention glows,

Refused his weary frame repose.

’Twas silence all — he laid him down,

Where purple heath proftisely strown.

And throatwort with its azure bell.

And moss and thyme his cushion swell.

There, spent with toil, he listless eyed

The course of Greta’s playful tide.

Beneath her banks now eddying dun.

Now brightly gleaming to the sun.

As, dancing* over rock and stone,

In yellow light her currents shone.

Matching in hue the favourite gem

Of Albin’s mountain-diadem.

Then, tired to watch the current’s play,

He turned his weary eyes away,

To where the bank opposing shew’d

Its huge, square cliffs through shaggy wood.

One, prominent above the rest,

Reared to the sun its pale grey breast;

Around its broken summit grew

The hazel rude, and sable yew;

A thousand varied lichens dyed

Its waste and weather-beaten side,

And round its rvigged basis lay,

By time or thunder rent away,

Fragments, that, from its frontlet torn.

Were mantled now by verdant thorn.

Such was the scene’s wild majesty,

That filled stern Bertram’s gazing eye.


In sullen mood he lay reclined,

Revolving, in his stormy mind,

The felon deed, the fruitless guilt,

His patron’s blood by treason spilt;

A crime, it seemed, so dire and dread,

That it had power to wake the dead.

Then pondering on his life betrayed

By Oswald’s art to Redmond’s blade.

In treacherous purpose to withhold,

So seemed it, Mortham’s promised gold,

A deep and full revenge he vowed

On Redmond, forward, fierce, and proud;

Revenge on Wilfrid — on his sire

Redoubled vengeance, swift and dire! —

If, in such mood, (as legends say,

And well believed that simple day,)

The Enemy of Man has power

To profit by the evil hour,

Here stood a wretch, prepared to change

His soul’s redemption for revenge!

But, though his vows, with such a fire

Of earnest and intense desire

For vengeance dark and fell, were made,

As well might reach hell’s lowest shade,

No deeper clouds the grove embrowned,

No nether thunders shook the ground;

The daemon knew his vassal’s heart.

And spared temptation’s needless art.


Oft, mingled with the direful theme,

Came Mortham’s form — was it a dream?

Or had he seen, in vision true,

That very Mortham whom he slew?

Or had in living flesh appeared

The only man on earth he feared? —

To try the mystic cause intent,

His eyes, that on the cliff were bent,

Countered at once a dazzling glance,

Like sunbeam flashed from sword or lance.

At once he started as for fight,

But not a foeman was in sight;

He heard the cushat’s murmur hoarse,

He heard the river’s sounding course,

The solitary woodlands lay,

As slumbering in the summer ray.

He gazed, like lion roused, around,

Then sunk again upon the ground.

’Twas but, he thought, some fitful beam,

Glanced sudden from the sparkling stream;

Then plunged him in his gloomy train

Of ill-connected thoughts again,

Until a voice behind him cried,

“Bertram! well met on Greta-side.” —


Instant his sword was in his hand.

As instant sunk the ready brand;

Yet, dubious still, opposed he stood

To him that issued from the wood:—

“Guy Denzil! — is it thou?” he said;

“Do we two meet in Scargill shade? —

Stand back a space! — thy purpose show,

Whether thou comest as friend or foe.

Report hath said that DenziPs name

From Rokeby’s band was razed with shame.” —

“A shame I owe that hot O’Neale,

Who told his knight, in peevish zeal,

Of my marauding on the clowns

Of Calverley and Bradford downs. —

I reck not. In a war to strive,

Where, save the leaders, none can thrive,

Suits ill my mood; and better game

Awaits us both, if thouVt the same

Unscrupulous, bold Risingham,

Who watched with me in midnight dark,

To snatch a deer from Rokeby-park.

How think’st thou?” — “Speak thy purpose out;

I love not mystery or doubt.” —


“Then list. — Not far there lurk a crew.

Of trusty comrades staunch and true,

Gleaned from both factions — Roundheads, freed

From cant of sermon and of creed;

And Cavaliers, whose souls, like mine,

Spurn at the bonds of discipline.

Wiser we judge, by dale and wold,

A warfare of our own to hold,

Than breathe our last on battle-down.

For cloak or surplice, mace or crown.

Our schemes are laid, our purpose set,

A chief and leader lack we yet. —

Thou art a wanderer, it is said.

For Mortham’s death thy steps w aylaid,

Thy head at price — so say our spies,

Who ranged the valley in disguise —

Join then with us; though wild debate

And wrangling rends our infant state,

Each, to an equal loth to bow,

Will yield to chief renowned as thou.” —


“Even now,” thought Bertram, “passion-stirred.

I called on hell, and hell has heard!

What lack I, my revenge to quench.

But such a band of comrades staunch?

This Denzil, vowed to every evil,

Might read a lesson to the devil.

Well, be it so! each knave and fool

Shall serve as my revenge’s tool.” —

Aloud, “I take thy proffer, Guy,

But tell me where thy comrades lie?” —

“Not far from hence,” Guy Denzil said;

“Descend and cross the river’s bed.

Where rises yonder cliff so grey” —

“Do thou,” said Bertram, “lead the way.”

Then muttered, “It is best make sure;

Guy Denzil’s faith was never pure.” —

He followed down the steep descent,

Then through the Greta’s streams they went,

And, when they reached the farther shore,

They stood the lonely cliff before.


With wonder Bertram heard within

The flinty rock a murmured din;

But when Guy pulled the wilding spray,

And brambles from its base away.

He saw, appearing to the air,

A little entrance low and square,

Like opening cell of hermit lone,

Dark winding through the living stone.

Here entered Denzil, Bertram here.

And loud and louder on their ear.

As from the bowels of the earth.

Resounded shouts of boisterous mirth.

Of old, the cavern strait and rude

In slaty rock the peasant hewed;

And Brignal’s woods, and Scargill’s, wave

E’en now o’er many a sister cave,

Where, far within the darksome rift,

The wedge and lever ply their thrift.

But war had silenced rural trade.

And the deserted mine was made

The banquet-hall, and fortress too.

Of Denzil and his desperate crew.

There Guilt his anxious revel kept;

There on his sordid pallet slept

Guilt-born Excess, the goblet drained

Still in his slumbering grasp retained;

Regret was there, his eye still cast

With vain repining on the past:

Among the feasters waited near.

Sorrow, and unrepentant Fear,

And Blasphemy, to frenzy driven,

With his own crimes reproaching heaven;

While Bertram shewed, amid the crew,

The Master–Fiend that Milton drew.


Hark! the loud revel wakes again.

To greet the leader of the train.

Behold the groupe by the pale lamp,

That struggles with the earthy damp.

By what strange features Vice hath known,

To single out and mark her own!,

Yet some there are, whose brows retain

Less deeply stamped her brand and stain.

See yon pale stripling! when a boy,

A mother’s pride, a father’s joy!

Now, ‘gainst the vault’s rude walls reclined,

An early image fills his mind:

The cottage, once his sire’s, he sees,

Embowered upon the banks of Tees;

He views sweet Winston’s woodland scene,

And shares the dance on Gainsford-green.

A tear is springing — but the zest

Of some wild tale, or brutal jest,

Hath to loud laughter stirred the rest.

On him they call, the aptest mate

For jovial song and merry feat

Fast flies his dream — with dauntless air,

As one victorious o’er despair,

He bids the ruddy cup go round,

Till sense and sorrow both are drowned,

And soon in merry wassail he,

The life of all their revelry.

Peals his loud song! — The muse has found

Her blossoms on the wildest ground,

‘Mid noxious weeds at random strewed,

Themselves all profitless and rude —

With desperate merriment he sung,

The cavern to the chorus rung;

Yet mingled with his reckless glee

Remorse’s bitter agony.



O Brignal banks are wild and fair,

And Greta woods are green,

And you may gather garlands there,

Would grace a summer queen.

And as I rode by Dalton-hall,

Beneath the turret high,

A Maiden on the castle wall

Was singing merrily.


“O Brignal banks are fresh and fair,

And Greta woods are green;

I’d rather range with Edmund there,

Than reign our English queen.” —

“If, Maiden, thou wouldst wend with me,

To leave both tower and town,

Thou first must guess what life lead we,

That dwell by dale and down.

And if thou canst that riddle read,

As read full well you may,

Then to the green wood shalt thou speed,

As blithe as Queen of May.” —


Yet sung she, “Brignal banks are fair,

And Greta woods are green;

I’d rather range with Edmund there.

Than reign our English queen.


“I read you, by your bugle-horn,

And by your palfrey good,

I read you for a ranger sworn,

To keep the king’s green wood.” —

“A ranger, lady, winds his horn

And ’tis at peep of light;

His blast is heard at merry morn.

And mine at dead of night.” —


Yet sung she, “Brignal banks are fair,

And Greta woods are gay,

I would I were with Edmund there.

To reign his Queen of May!

“With burnished brand and musquetoon.

So gallantly you come,

I read you for a bold dragoon,

That lists the tuck of drum.” —

“I list no more the tuck of drum,

No more the trumpet hear;

But when the beetle sounds his hum,

My comrades take the spear.


And O! though Brignal banks be fair,

And Greta woods be gay,

Yet mickle must the maiden dare.

Would reign my Queen of May!


“Maiden! a nameless life I lead,

A nameless death I’ll die;

The fiend, whose lanthorn lights the mead.

Were better mate than I!

And when I’m with my comrades met,

Beneath the greenwood bough,

What once we were we all forget,

Nor think what we are now.


Yet Brignal banks are fresh and fair.

And Greta woods are green,

And you may gather garlands there.

Would grace a summer queen.” —

When Edmund ceased his simple song.

Was silence on the sullen throng,

Till waked some ruder mate their glee

With note of coarser minstrelsy.

But, far apart, in dark divan,

Denzil and Bertram many a plan,

Of import foul and fierce, designed.

While still on Bertram’s grasping mind

The wealth of murdered Mortham hung;

Though half he feared his daring tongue,

When it should give his wishes birth,

Might raise a spectre from the earth!


At length his wondrous tale he told,

When scornful smiled his comrade bold;

For, trained in license of a court,

Religion’s self w as Denzil’s sport,

Then judge in what contempt he held

The visionary tales of eld!

His awe for Bertram scarce repressed

The unbeliever’s sneering jest.

“’Twere hard,” he said, “for sage or seer

To spell the subject of your fear;

Nor do I boast the art renowned,

Vision and omen to expound.

Yet, faith if I must needs afford

To spectre watching treasured hoard,

As bandog keeps his master’s roof.

Bidding the plunderer stand aloof.

This doubt remains — thy goblin gaunt

Hath chosen ill his ghostly haunt;

For why his guard on Mortham hold,

When Rokeby castle hath the gold,

Thy patron won on Indian soil,

By stealth, by piracy, and spoil?”~


At this he paused — for angry shame

Lowered on the brow of Risingham.

He blushed to think that he should seem

Assertor of an airy dream,

And gave his wrath another theme.

“Denzil,” he says, “though lowly laid,

Wrons,’ not the memory of the dead;

For, while he lived, at Mortham’s look

Thy very soul, Guy Denzil, shook!

And when he taxed thy breach of word

To yon fair Rose of Allenford,

I saw thee crouch like chastened hound,

Whose back the huntsman’s lash hath found.

Nor dare to call his foreign wealth

The spoil of piracy or stealth;

He won it bravely with his brand,

When Spain waged warfare with our land.

Mark too — I brook no idle jeer.

Nor couple Bertram’s name with fear;

Mine is but half the daemon’s lot.

For I believe, but tremble not. —

Enough of this. — Say, why this hoard

Thou deem’st at Rokeby castle stored;

Or think’st that Mortham would bestow

His treasure with his faction’s foe?” —


Soon quenched was DenziPs ill-timed mirth;

Rather he would have seen the earth

Give to ten thousand spectres birth.

Than ventured to awake to flame

The deadly wrath of Risingham.

Submiss he answered, — “Mortham’s mind,

Thou knowest, to joy was ill inclined.

In youth, ’tis said, a gallant free,

A lusty reveller was he;

But since returned from over sea,

A sullen and a silent mood

Hath numbed the current of his blood.

Hence he refused each kindly call

To Rokeby’s hospitable hall,

And our stout Knight, at dawn of morn

Who loved to hear the bugle-horn,

Nor less, when eve his oaks embrowned.

To see the ruddy cup go roimd,

Took umbrage that a friend so near

Refused to share his chace and cheer;

Thus did the kindred barons jar,

Ere they divided in the w ar.

Yet trust me, friend, Matilda fair

Of Mortham’s wealth is destined heir.” —


“Destined to her! to yon slight maid!

The prize my life had well nigh paid.

When ‘gainst Laroche, by Cayo’s wave,

I fought my patron’s wealth to save! —

Denzil, I knew him long, yet ne’er

Knew him that joyous cavalier,

Whom youthful friends and early fame

Called soul of gallantry and game.

A moody man he sought our crew,

Desperate and dark, whom no one knew;

And rose, as men with us must rise,

By scorning life and all its ties.

On each adventure rash he roved,

As danger for itself he loved;

On his sad brow nor mirth nor wine

Could e’er one wrinkled knot untwine;

Ill was the omen if he smiled,

For ’twas in peril stern and wild;

But when he laughed, each luckless mate

Might hold our fortune desperate.

Foremost he fought in every broil,

Then scornful turned him from the spoil;

Nay, often strove to bar the way

Between his comrades and their prey;

Preaching, even then, to such as we.

Hot with our dear-bought victory,

Of mercy and humanity!


“I loved him well — his fearless part.

His gallant leading, won my heart.

And after each victorious fight

Twas I that wrangled for his right.

Redeemed his portion of the prey

That greedier mates had torn away,

In field and storm thrice saved his life.

And once amid our comrades’ strife. —

Yes, I have loved thee! well hath proved

My toil, my danger, how I loved!

Yet will I mourn no more thy fate,

Ingrate in life, in death ingrate.

Rise, if thou canst!” he looked around,

And sternly stamped upon the ground —

“Rise, with thy bearing proud and high,

Even as this morn it met mine eye,

And give me, if thou darest, the lie!” —

He paused — then, calm and passion-freed.

Bade Denzil with his tale proceed.


“Bertram, to thee I need not tell.

What thou hast cause to wot so well,

How superstition’s nets were twined

Around the lord of Mortham’s mind;

But since he drove thee from his tower,

A maid he found in Greta bower,

Whose speech, like David’s harp, had sway,

To charm his evil fiend away.

I know not if her features moved

Remembrance of the wife he loved;

But he would gaze upon her eye,

Till his mood softened to a sigh.

He, whom no living mortal sought

To question of his secret thought,

Now every thought and care confessed

To his fair niece’s faithful breast;

Nor was there aught of rich and rare,

In earth, in ocean, or in air.

But it must deck Matilda s hair.

Her love still bound him unto life;

But then awoke the civil strife,

And menials bore, by his commands.

Three coffers with their iron bands,

From Mortham’s vault at midnight deep,

To her lone bower in Rokeby–Keep,

Ponderous with gold and plate of pride,

His gift, if he in battle died.” —


“Then Denzil, as I guess, lays train.

These iron-banded chests to gain;

Else, wherefore should he hover here,

Where many a peril waits him near.

For all his feats of war and peace.

For plundered boors and harts of greece?1

Since through the hamlets as he fared,

What hearth has Guy’s marauding spared,

Or where the Chace that hath not rung

With Denzil’ s bow at midnight strung?” —

— “I hold my wont — my rangers go

Even now to track a milk-white doe.

By Rokeby-hall she takes her lair.

In Greta wood she harbours fair,

And when my huntsman marks her way,

What think’st thou, Bertram, of the prey?

Were Rokeby’s daughter in our power,

We rate her ransom at her dower!” —

1 Deer in season. See Note.


“’Tis well! — there’s vengeance in the thought!

Matilda is by Wilfrid sought.

And hot-brained Redmond, too, ’tis said,

Pays lover s homage to the maid.

Bertram she scorned — if met by chance.

She turned from me her shuddering glance,

Like a nice dame, that will not brook

On what she hates and loathes to look;

She told to Mortham, she could ne’er

Behold me without secret fear.

Foreboding evil:— she may rue

To find her prophecy fall true! —

The war has weeded Rokeby’s train,

Few followers in his halls remain;

If thy scheme miss, then, brief and bold,

We are enow to storm the hold,

Bear off the plunder and the dame.

And leave the castle all in flame.” —


“Still art thou Valour’s venturous son!

Yet ponder first the risque to run;

The menials of the castle, true.

And stubborn to their charge, though few;

The wall to scale — the moat to cross —

The wicket-grate — the inner fosse” —

— “Fool! if we blench for toys like these,

On what fair guerdon can we seize?

Our hardiest venture, to explore

Some wretched peasant’s fenceless door,

And the best prize we bear away,

The earnings of his sordid day.”—

— “Awhile thy hasty taunt forbear:

In sight of road more sure and fair.

Thou wouldst not chuse, in blindfold wrath.

Or wantonness, a desperate path?

List then:— for vantage or assault,

From gilded vane to dungeon-vault,

Each pass of Rokeby-house I know:

There is one postern dark and low.

That issues at a secret spot,

By most neglected or forgot.

Now, could a spial of our train

On fair pretext admittance gain,

That sally-port might be unbarr’d;

Then, vain were battlement and ward!” —


“Now speak’st thou well; — to me the same,

If force or art shall urge the game;

Indifferent if like fox I wind,

Or spring like tyger on the hind. —

But hark! our merry-men so gay

Troll forth another roundelay.


“A weary lot is thine, fair maid,

A weary lot is thine!

To pull the thorn thy brow to braid,

And press the rue for wine!

A lightsome eye, a soldier’s mien,

A feather of the blue,

A doublet of the Lincoln green, —

No more of me you knew.

My love!

No more of me you knew.

“This morn is merry June, I trow,

The rose is budding fain;

But she shall bloom in winter snow.

Ere we two meet again.” —

He turned his charger as he spake.

Upon the river shore.

He gave his bridle reins a shake,

Said, “Adieu for evermore,

My love!

And adieu for evermore.” —


“What youth is this, your band among,

The best for minstrelsy and song?

In his wild notes seem aptly met

A strain of pleasure and regret.” —

“Edmund of Winston is his name;

The hamlet sounded with the fame

Of early hopes his childhood gave, —

Now centred all in Brignal cave!

I watch him well — his wayward course

Shews oft a tincture of remorse.

Some early love-shaft grazed his heart.

And oft the scar will ache and smart.

Yet is he useful; — of the rest.

By fits the darling and the jest.

His harp, his story, and his lay.

Oft aid the idle hours away:

When unemployed, each fiery mate

Is ripe for mutinous debate.

He tuned his strings e’en now — again

He wakes them, with a blither strain.



Allen-a-Dale has no faggot for burning,

Allen-a-Dale has no furrow for turning,

Allen-a-Dale has no fleece for the spinning,

Yet Allen-a-Dale has red gold for the winning.

Come, read me my riddle! come, hearken my tale I

And tell me the craft of bold Allen-a-Dale.

The Baron of Ravens worth prances in pride,

And he views his domains upon Arkindale side.

The mere for his net, and the land for his game,

The chace for the wild, and the park for the tame;

Yet the fish of the lake, and the deer of the vale.

Are less free to Lord Dacre than Allen-a-Dale!

Allen-a-Dale was ne’er belted a knight.

Though his spur be as sharp, and his blade be as bright;

Allen-a-Dale is no baron or lord.

Yet twenty tall yeomen will draw at his word;

And the best of our nobles his bonnet will vail.

Who at Rere-cross on Stanemore meets Allen-a-Dale.

Allen-a-Dale to his wooing is come;

The mother, she asked of his house and his home:

“Though the Castle of Richmond stand fair on the hill,

My hall,” quoth bold Allen,” shews gallanter still;

’Tis the blue vault of heaven, with its crescent so pale.

And with all its bright spangles!” said Allen-a-Dale.

The father was steel, and the mother was stone;

They lifted the latch, and they bade him be gone;

But loud, on the morrow, their wail and their cry!

He had laughed on the lass with his bonny black eye,

And she fled to the forest to hear a love-tale.

And the youth it was told by was Allen-a-Dale!


“Thou see’st that, whether sad or gay,

Love mingles ever in his lay.

But when his boyish wayward fit

Is o’er, he hath address and wit;

O! ’tis a brain of fire, can ape

Each dialect, each various shape.” —

“Nay, then, to aid thy project, Guy —

Soft! who comes here?” — “My trusty spy.

Speak, Hamlin! hast thou lodged our deer?” —

“I have — but two fair stags are near;

I watched her as sh“e slowly strayed

From Eglistone up Thorsgill glade;

But Wilfrid Wyclifte sovight her side,

And then young Redmond in his pride

Shot down to meet them on their way;

Much, as it seemed, was theirs to say:

There’s time to pitch both toil and net,

Before their path be homeward set.” —

A hurried and a whispered speech

Did Bertram’s will to Denzil teach.

Who, turning to the robber band.

Bade four the bravest take the brand.


Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00