. Where are you gaang now?
. Unto my tree,
To see my maistress.
. Gang thy gait, and try
Thy turns with better luck, or hang thy sel'.
. Tak ye na' tent, gud mother; I's do well
By fair or foul means, Lorel cares na' whilk:
But I's begin as mild as new-drawn milk.
Now come ye forth once mair, coy lass, and see
Gin ye will like or scorn my gifts and me.
Gi' me yer hand, as white and soft as wool
Of lambs, or down fra 'neath swans' wings we pull:
Sae soft a hand suld ha' as soft a heart;
But yers is hard as rock–we munna' part.
Look, I ha' brought ye wildings fra' the wood,
And callow nestlings ta'en while the dam sought food.
. Ah, cruel Carle! haste with them back again;
Sure thou delight'st in giving all things pain.
. Nay, maistress mine! for tho' I pipe fu' well,
Fit for thine ear I canno' sing mysel;
But ye sall hear these sing, gif ye think meet,
Yer praise, deft lass, in chirps and carrols sweet.
And here's a gaudy girland for yer locks,
Of zellow sun flow'rs, and streak'd hollyhocks.
Nay, pu' na' sae, ye sall na' that gait gang;
Come to yon tedded grass wi' me alang:
Or, wi' this osier gyved tul a tree
I's use ye rough; then wise and kinder be.
. Who can be kind to such a frightful thing?
No longer in my ears your vile suit ding.
Your form, your face, your manners are uncouth;
You need not stare, I tell you but the truth.
Unlike the peerless swain, young Æglamour;
He is my love, my gentle paramour!
No other e'er can please Earine;
But least of all mankind, foul Lorel, thee!
. Say ye sae, maistress? then, sin' fair words fail,
I's try gif foul deeds better will prevail.
But wha comes here? blains, blisters o' their feet!
In to the tree agen!–whan next we meet
I's gar ye pay for this–in, scornfu' wretch!
. In to my grave with joy to 'scape thy clutch.
[Lorel shuts her up in the tree again, and goes out.
. Where hath this love-craz'd shepherd stray'd, I trow?
Alas, poor Æglamour! thou'rt so distraught,
I fear thou'lt plunge into the silver Trent,
Hoping to pluck up drown'd Earine;
But, 'stead thereof, lose in't thy wretched self!
Thrice happy they who know not what is love;
For where one shepherd and his true mate find,
Like Robin Hood and gentle Marian,
Felicity in love, how many pine
Like heart-struck Amie, and sad Æglamour,
And lovelorn misery for aye endure.
[Earine sings in the tree
Daughter of Jove! Diana chaste!
Unto a virgin's rescue haste;
And if I never must regain
My loving and beloved swain,
Bright Goddess of the woods and groves,
Pity a maid who purely loves;
And let me, Dian, follow in thy train!
. Whence are those thrilling sweet, and love-sick sounds?
Sure 'tis some near-hand shepherdess' soft strain;
Yet none can I espy– but hither bends
[Æglamour enters hastily
. Earine! where are thou?
From hence the voice came, but she is not here;
Or, if she is, invisible to me,
Enthrall'd in dim-eyed flesh–Earine!
I heard thy angel notes above, around;
Pleas'd echo still reverberates the sound:
Thou'rt a bright seraph, hymning thy new birth;
I a poor worm, still crawling sad on earth.
O gentle spright! late rapt to heav'n so high,
Still dost thou deign, pure essence! to come nigh
Earth's grossness thus? and, for thou see'st us dull,
And clogg'd with clay, our souls thou fain would'st pull
Forth their frail thralls, by some celestial sleight,
And waft them hence to thy own starry height.
O, that thou could'st! and my blest soul were free
To soar, and join the heav'nly choir with thee!
It shall be so.– I'll follow thee, bright maid!
And be in robes of light like thee array'd!
[Æglamour goes out
. Alas, fond Shepherd! more and more distract!
[Earine puts her hand through a breach in the tree
But soft! is it a lily that I see,
Or something whiter, waving by yon tree?
My eyes delude me, or 'tis a fair hand!
(Entranc'd with wonder motionless I stand.)
With vermeil-tinted finger-tips, it shews
Like damask buds, clustring a pallid rose;
Some gentle hamadryad dwells within;
No mortal hand had e'er so white a skin:
If to the touch thou'rt palpable, I'll kiss
And court thee in an ecstasy of bliss!
Clarion runs towards the tree a sudden darkness prevents him
'Tis lost in darkness! sure 'tis witchcraft all!
Foul Maudlin holds, I fear, some nymph in thrall;
Perchance Earine, we all thought drown'd:
O, that she yet may live! and, safely found,
Sad Æglamour's pure passion yet to be crown'd!
I'll seek him first, wise Alken next.–The guest
So miss'd and mourn'd may still make glad our feast!
Æglamour. Douce enters
. 'Tis a gay garment this, and fits me well;
When first I wore it, I scarce knew mysel.
But now I am us'd to 't, troth, I think't no more
Than what I suld ha' had lang time before.
The shepherds doff their bonnets as I pass,
And say, bright Be'voir's maids I a' surpass.
In a' the forest there in nane sae sheen
As dainty Douce; a very greenwood queen!
Compar'd wi' me how like a swine's my brother,
A' bristled o'er!–but, whist! here comes my mother.
. Still, lubber Lorel, wo't thou waste thy time
To prate and parley wi' a wench in prime?
Was't not enow I stock'd her i' the tree,
Mun I aye tend a heartless lown like thee?
But for the fog I now sae sudden sprad,
Yer maistress had bin found by yon trim lad.
Albe ye had her safely in yer grip,
Ye mak ado as ye were fear'd to clip;
'Twere right e'en o'er yer lugs yer skin to strip!
Next time ye ha' her i' yer hands, be sure
Ye waste na' time in wards, but do unto her
As I ha' tell'd ye.
. Stand ye in yon space,
I's do it now, 'fore yer and Douce's face.
. Troth I na' like't–gud mother, let me gang;
Nor 'bide to see him do the maiden wrang.
. Ye need na' budge, daft Douce! it can't be now;
My turn mun needs be serv'd ere theirs, I trow.
There's other wark in hand–be sure ye keep
Her safe locked up (without a chink to peep
Till ye come back) within the oaken tree–
Ye, and yer sister now mun gang wi' me,
To gather balefu' simples for strong charms,
To wark my safety, and my foemen harms.
. Mun I dew-dabble, mother, in these claithes?
Let me gang hame, and wrap in fitter swaithes;
Nor, like a may-queen prank'd, a simpling go,
Lest like a miry muckster I suld shew.
. How now! what wards be these? haste! ye were best,
Wi' a' yer might, to do yer mother's hest.
Sall I by sic a dowdy' as ye be crost,
Whan I the dearest thing I had ha' lost?
. I's gar her gang bilive, ye need na' fear–
But what is't, mother, ye ha' lost sae dear?
. My magic girdle, ta'en by Robin Hood,
The cursed outlaw king o' this green wood.
The spotted pestilence his bow'r surround!
Murrains and rots his antled herds confound!
His Marian, yeomen, guests, and self in turn
Pangs, agues, fevers, rack and shake and burn!
Confusion to their meeting! death and dole
Attend their feast, and harrow ilka soul!
[They go, and
. I went before you, Dame, but yet am here–
Puck can be here, and there, and every where!
Whene'er I please a light and nimble fairy;
Anon as sluggish; then I'm call'd Puck-hairy.
Those I assist, Robin Goodfellow call
Their friend; while those I scare Hobgoblin bawl.
I am wicked Maud's tame drudge, because I must;
And do her hests, altho' I wish her curst.
But when my term is ended, which draws nigh,
I'll be the beldam's bitterest enemy.
Should Douce turn proud, neglectful of the dairy,
She shall be pinch'd and hag-rid by Puck-hairy!
Unto my namesake, Robin, and his love,
Fair Marian, Robin Goodfellow I'll prove;
So will I to his guests in Sherwood bow'r,
And all his merrymen: to Lorel sour,
I'll be a Will o' the wisp, and oft mislead
His wand'ring steps, 'till in a bog he tread;
Scare him sometimes in shape of wolf or bear,
O'er thorns and briars, his brutal flesh to tear.
But now to Maud,–she hath not yet got far;
I'll overtake her like a glancing star! [Exit
SCENE changes to
Robin Hood's bower
reclining on a seat of turf
; Marian and
standing on each side of her
. No, no, you flatter me, sweet Mellifleur;
And you but mock me, Marian, by my troth:
He will not come, alas! he's gone to fish
In Trent's clear stream, where his lov'd sister lies
A prey to those he in revenge shall hook.
But do not touch the finny cannibals,
If he should bring them caught, tho' e'er so pure
And tempting they appear: 'tis with the flesh,
The gorged flesh of drown'd Earine.
. See, gentle Amie, where kind Karol comes,
With jolly Robin Hood, who blithesome looks;
Chear up, sweet maid, there's comfort yet in store.
. The courteous Lionel comes with them too.
'Would he were coming Mellifleur to woo! [Aside.
[Robin Hood, Karolin, and
. Here, my bright Marian, is the magic band,
With which the hag was girded, when, like you
As drop to drop of water, I laid hold,
And forc'd her take her own foul shape again:
Now is the mystery clear that caus'd our broil;
The only one our loves did e'er yet soil:
Which nothing short of witchcraft could have done;
Nor shall that more while our lives' currents run.
. If my lov'd Robin 's satisfied, I'm blest;
And thank each chance makes me by thee carest!
Light griefs make after-joys more bright appear,
As clouds dispers'd still shew the heav'ns more clear.
But here's a gentle maid demands our care;
Tender as buds, as new-blown lilies fair;
Drooping with love, and withering with despair.
. Kind Marian, by your leave; let me desire
But you, and gallant Robin to retire,
With courteous Lionel and Mellifleur;
I will attempt the love-sick maiden's cure.
. Come, then, my Marian, let us see all 's set
In order for our feast; I am in thy debt
A countless sum of kisses for what's past.
. I would the payment might for ever last!
. Robin and Marian kindly both withdraw,
To give my sister and young Karol law.
Each dove hath got its mate but you and I;
Shall we, sweet Mellifleur, at courtship try?
I' th' rose-and-myrtle grove let us go walk;
And, tho' we woo not, have some pleasant talk.
. Each word and look from you I hear and see,
Might serve for wooing a soft maid like me.
. What ails thee, gentle Amie? what's thy grief?
Look up, sad maid! I come to bring relief;
What I have gather'd since I have been away,
Shall haply be the means thy grief to stay;
Thou lov'st a swain term'd kind; ah! sure he ne'er
Can but be kind to one so passing fair!
One beauteous Virgin of the guests is gone,
My drowned sister! woe enough alone!
Let not another droop, whom aught can save
From a worst fate, a cold and love-lorn grave!
Wilt thou permit me, dearest! to apply
What I think meet, in hope of remedy?
No answer, Amie? silence is consent;
To press my lips to thine is what I meant.
I'll do it chastely as I were thy brother. [Kisses her
Have I not, sweet! thou'lt not refuse another? [Kisses her
The Shepherds say my kissing pleas'd you so,
That lack of more hath caus'd this loving woe:
You prais'd my voice, they say, and chaunted strain;
Will Amie hear her Karol sing again?
How sweet the breath of milky kine,
And lambkins in the fold;
How sweet the air bland gales refine
On upland heath or wold:
How sweet the scent of new-mown hay,
And early-blossom'd grove:
But sweeter than the breath of May
The balmy breath of love!
How sweet the shepherd's pipe of oat,
Which dawn of day doth hail;
How sweet the merry milk-maid's note
When seated by her pail:
How sweet the song of lark and thrush,
Or voice of cooing dove;
But sweeter 'neath a hawthorn bush,
The votive voice of love!
'Tis an old saw, 'Pity is kin to Love.'
That it is true what I now feel doth prove. [Aside
How is my gentle Amie? speak, dear maid!
Thy love to Karolin 's with love repaid! [Kisses her
. Oh, I'm in Heav'n, kind Karol! where's my pain?
'Twas in my heart but now; 'tis gone again!
Oh, magic touch! thy lips have chas'd all smart,
Warm'd my chill veins, and eas'd my love-sick heart.
Oh, Karolin! sweet Karolin! dear life!
Wilt thou accept fond Amie for thy wife?
In faith I love thee! and, tho' maids should hide
Such wishes, wish I were kind Karol's bride.
. I'll plight my troth to thee, but cannot wed
Sweet Amie, while in Trent's cold watry bed
My sister lies; poor, drown'd Earine!
Her beauteous body first I'll thence set free,
And lay beneath a holy turf to rest;
Then will we wed, and, blessing, each be blest!
SCENE changes to a wild part of the Forest
John, Scarlet, Scathlock, and
. This way she went e'n now, and like a hare,
. No, no; it can never be–
I'll not believe she so could cheat our eyes,
To make us think, while we all look'd on her,
We only saw a weak and timorous hare.
What think you, George? was it old Maud, or no?
. I know not what to think, but this I'll vouch;
Soon as we saw the witch, John blew his horn,
When sudden she betook her to that brake
Whence sprang what ye have all now run in view;
And while you three pursued the hare-like hag,
Each bush around I beat for her in vain.
. Troth ye mak mony words, fools as ye are,
To stand here splottering till ye lose yer game;
'Twas Maudlin, the curst crone, ye mar our sport.
[Alken enters to them
. Well overtaken, friends! I'm out of breath!
But I have seen from yon o'erhanging hill,
(Whither I went to get protecting herbs)
The various process of the witch's wiles,
And her familiar's pranks, the goblin Puck;
Who, tho' he still, perforce, assists the hag,
Hath done her sordid son each spiteful turn,
As with his sister, Douce, he ranged around
Through fenny flats, in search of baleful weeds.
Unto the witch's dimble all are gone;
Foul Maudlin; Douce; and Lorel, scared by Puck:
Let us too hasten to the hag's dark dell;
My life upon't our hunt shall yet end well.
Alken and the
SCENE changes to the Witch's Dimble
Maudlin is seen with her Spindle, Images, &c. &c. &c.
. Here am I safe were Douce and Lorel come,
I'd wark a charm suld strike the curst crew dumb.
For their affronts I's mak 'em pay fu' dear,
And homage me, tho' not for love, through fear.
The huntsmen canno', gif they track my way,
Be here as yet, mak a' the speed they may–
Now for my thred, pins, images of wax,
To wark them torments wairs than whips or racks.
[She spins and sings
Around, my wheel; around, around!
As fast as foot-board strikes the ground,
And keep my spindle turning;
I's quickly twine a various thred
Of black and yellow, blue and red:
Then, as their types are burning,
Prick'd through wi pins o' rusted steel,
Their lives' line running round the reel,
My foes wi' pangs be girning!
[She continues preparing her magical operations
[Alken, John, George, Scarlet, and
. See where she sits, foul hag! her shape resum'd,
In her drear fourum, chaunting some uncouth spell.
Hold fast your vervain, dill, and mistletoe;
So shall you safe and all-unseen remain,
Till we may work the wicked beldam's thrall.
. Sal I lay grip upo' the wily witch?
. No; wait with patience till her charms are done,
Which cannot hurt as i have counterwork'd;
Then will we seize her, naked of defence.
. Here come my bairns, well stor'd wi' wicked herbs;
The spurs to evil, and o' gud the curbs.
Now quick relate what ye ha' carefu' sought.
What ha' ye mist? what ha' ye heedfu' brought?
Lorel's o'er-breath'd; say what ha' ye, first, Douce?
. Wi' a canker'd herdsman soon as I made truce,
I got some wool fra' a coal-black lamb's back.
. Out, dunce! it is the blood, not wool, I lack.
What ha' ye else? produce a' in a crack.
. I ha' brought besides each harmfu' plant ye use,
Whan mankind or their beasts ye wald abuse.
False-smiling crow-foot, savin, and snake-root;
Moon-wort, and bane-wort, wolf and hen-bane both;
Either to lack methought ye wald be loth–
Hemlock, and deadly-night-shade; cypress; yew;
Which, as ye see, a' dropping poisonous dew,
O'er the dank grave of a self-murderer grew.
. These are but nosegays to my venom'd spite.
Now, Lorel, say, on what did ye alight?
. By some thwart fiend I was misled and scared,
Sae in my errand I but scantly fared;
And only here and there pick'd up a bit.
Here's fernseed, paddock-rude, and cuckow-spit;
An unbroke bag of vipers; slow-worm; newt;
An o'ergorg'd spider; rat's-tail; swan's black foot.
And see too, mother, what I (lucky) found–
A jellied star, dropt yesternight to ground–
I guess'd it might be potent in yer craft,
Sae broght it; tho' my sister at me laught.
I spied an adder sucking o' kie's teat;
I pu'd it thrice by th' tail, but' 'twound na' quit–
I cut off's head which still clung fast to suck,
And brought the body to ye; but, best luck!
Sprad in a spongy fungus' fewmand shade,
This swoll'n and speckle-bellied toad was laid,
Surcharg'd wi' venom, whilk his bowels brast,
And on his back the ranc'rous reptile cast.
A' these I ha' brought ye, mother; and had more,
But that some fiend (I tell'd ye) scared me sore.
. Ye 'are daft as Douce, what fiend I trow suld scare
My bairns, when potent Maud and Puck are near?
Now hie ye hence awhile, nor view mine art;
Nae further in my witcheries ye bear part.
. I's to my tree agen; gif stubborn still
I find the lass, I's force her to my will.
. And I's gae proyn me new, wi' mickle pains,
Then proudly prance amang the shepherd swains.
. Ho! goblin Puck! come at yer dame's desire.
. Here am I, dame! what now doth Maud require?
My service almost draweth to an end–
In what shall Puck his last assistance lend?
. This is nae time to talk– fa' to, stout drudge!
And aid yer mistress wreak the rankled grudge
She bears to Robin Out-law, and his crew–
Scathlock first anger'd me, he first sal rue!
Here are the images of a' my foes;
What's done to them sal cause their like like woes.
For taking back the venison, (come! begin!)
Into the heart of Scathlock run this pin.
. Hold, damned hell-cat! or, wi' sharpen'd knife,
I's rid the warld o' sic a sinfu' life!
. Whase voice is that? help, Puck! my spells are cross'd!
. Hence, dame! forego your purpose, or you're lost!
Your foes are here invisible; aroint!
Their scheme to trap you now I'll disappoint.
Which service ends my thraldom! vanish strait
Leaving your shade whereon to wreak their hate.
. Follow! I go.–
. Rise, shadow! substance, down!
. The witch's curse remain! hang, stab or drown!
Maudlin sink with a strange noise; a phantom like the witch
rises in her stead, grinning at the huntsmen: they strike at it, and it
disappears, leaving them in confusion.
. Where's Maud?
. She sunk!
. She 'rose again!
. She's gone!
. Oh, your impatience has my scheme o'erthrown!
If you had silent waited till each charm
She' had, harmless, practis'd, nor giv'n this alarm;
We should have ta'en her, maugre all her art,
And strait consign'd her to the pool or cart!
But o'er her goblin since she' hath no more pow'r,
I'll end her witcheries this very hour.
Come, let's about it, ere the day grow late;
Then to our friends this magic tale relate. [Exeunt
End of the
Scene, Robin's Bower.
Robin, Marian, Lionel, and
Mellifleur enter, meeting
. Welcome once more, thou gentle, love-sick maid!
Welcome, kind Karolin! most rightly nam'd
I see by Amie's love-delighted eye.
Sure such a threave of mildly-moulded swains
In blissful Arcady did never dwell!
Let us not then repine, for we are plac'd
In Albion's colder clime; not all the frost
Her icyest winters glaze our streams withal,
Hath pow'r to chill the bosom of her sons;
Wherein love's fire maintains such constant heat,
That an eternal fervid summer reigns!
. So much I feel its force, while this fair sun
Sheds her bright beams, infusing kindly warmth,
Nor age nor winter e'er can freeze my veins;
But youth and spring-time, ever fresh and new,
Shall keep my love still in its bud and bloom!
. You need no tongue t'interpret for your eyes;
Yet say, fond Amie, art thou bless'd indeed?
. So bless'd, so highly bless'd, oh Marian!
That to be queen of all the region round,
Or the whole peopled world, were bliss far short
Of the possessing kindest Karol's love!
. Fairly confess'd; may you be ever thus!
And all that visit this my greenwood bower!
Hither I came, foregoing pomp and state,
In search of happiness so rarely found.
Here in these sylvan shades (oh blissful seat!)
Unenvied and unenvying, we abide
The change of seasons, and the lapse of time;
For healthful exercise, and needful food,
Through merry Sherwood chase the noble hart:
When from his lair, beneath a brake of vert
Uhharbour'd first by Scathlock, or stout John,
Sudden he bounds, he flies; ascends the hill,
Descends the distant vale; now stops, looks back,
And lists if yet secure: the bugle sounds;
Again like wind he fleets, as fleet the hounds
Pursue; they strain, they pant; till, nearly spent,
We slip our strong relays: then what a sound,
When in full cry the treble, counter, base
O' th' tuneful pack, in perfect harmony,
Ring through the azure vault of smiling heav'n!
Whose echo with the concert keeps true time;
While the spheres listen to the envied chime!
. Renowned hunter; gallant Robin Hood!
Thy bow'r, thy sports, thy manners please so well,
A bowman with thee, I, content, could dwell!
. Ah me! is this the love I fondly dream'd
He bare to me? 'would it had not so seem'd!
. Sweet Mellifleur, why heaves that heart-fetch'd sigh?
Amie looks cheerly, thou as thou wouldst die;
Thou'rt love or planet-struck now; how's the moon;
. Ah me! I fear that I shall sudden swoon!
. Lead her forth, shepherd, into other air;
And courteous Lionel, a word i' your ear.
Apply your lips to hers, be not afraid;
So was your sister cured, so may this maid.
. 'Tis as it should be! every man his mate;
'Twill make our festival the more compleat.
Were Clarion return'd, and the sad swain,
Craz'd Æglamour, but his right self again,
We'd strive forget the shepherdess' late loss
I' th' swollen Trent, she strove in vain to cross!
. Look! look! grant heav'n my dazzled eyes see true!
Nor that her loss a second time I rue.
See where Earine, or else her ghost
Approaches, Robin! sure she was not lost.
, conducted by
Alken, John, Scarlet, Scathlock, and
It is herself!–this hand is flesh and blood–
Prais'd be the Gods for this unhop'd-for good!
Welcome our mourn'd-for-dead, but living guest.
. Welcome, most beauteous maiden, to our feast!
Now shall thy faithful Æglamour be blest.
. O my lov'd sister! do I once more clasp,
Thy living body in these folding arms!
. O joyful sight! now will kind Karol wed.
. My Karolin! my brother! and good friends!
Where is my Æglamour? my dearest love!
Does he yet think on his Earine?
. On nothing else, fair maid! and for thy loss,
Drown'd, as we fancied, in the Trent's swift stream,
He wanders up and down, all woe-begone;
Of sense, almost of life for thee bereft!
But Clarion, who doth careful 'tend his steps,
Shall strait conduct him to this blissful bow'r;
And soon restore his wits, restoring thee.
But say, Earine, where were you hid?
And to what chance owe we your presence now?
. Please you to speak, brave bowman! and inform
From what a dreary prison, and worse dread,
Thy prowess freed me.
. Pardon me, fair maid!
The tale befits not me; some other speak–
Scathlock, George, Scarlet–
. Nay, I's first be hang'd!
. It fits not us to talk.
. We were sore bang'd!
. Speak, Alken, then, of all you know hath happ'd,
. First let me briefly tell, we chas'd the witch,
Old Maudlin, in the shape of a fleet hare,
E'en to her fourm; and there had taken her,
But for our over-eagerness of sport,
Which scared her 'midst her spells and charms; whereon
She and her goblin hastily took flight,
And left us all-bewilder'd and amaz'd.
Returning hither we beheld this maid
Dragg'd forth a hollow'd tree, by that coarse carle
Lewd Lorel, bestial as the swine he feeds;
While with pure prayers the spotless virgin call'd
On Heav'n to shield that honour he assail'd.
Who, that humanity or love e'er knew,
Beauty distrest from aiding could refrain!
First Scathlock, with his stout and knotty staff,
Aiming a blow, the lubber loud 'gan laugh;
Strait from his ribs resounded Scathlock's stroke;
But, by ill luck, his staff, tho' plant of oak,
Snapp'd short: the huntsman thus soon foil'd, retired,
As lightning swift, with indignation fir'd,
Scarlet flew at him; but, tho' brave and strong,
The conflict 'twixt them lasted not o'er long;
Tripp'd by a stubbed thorn flat on his face,
Lorel exulted in th' unearn'd disgrace.
Nor better fared stout George, for on the ground
(Tho' us'd by dint of strength to pin and pound)
Hurl'd by the huge hulk, weltering was he found!
I trembled for the maiden! three were quell'd;
But one remain'd, fit match; me, feeble eld
Forbade to hope, altho' my heart were good,
To conquer him who three men's conqueror stood.
With scornful grin now Lorel John attacks;
Then what a rattling shower of thumps and thwacks!
The maiden wail'd; I pray'd; they stoutly fought;
Victory was neuter long, by both hard sought.
At length the pursy swine-herd blows for breath;
Yet meditates, by art, thy bowman's death:
Draws forth the knife with which he kills his swine,
And aims it in the grapple at John's chine–
Heav'n gave me strength to wrest it from his grip;
Now John, quoth I, let not this moment slip!
No sooner said than done; John rais'd him high,
Then downward dash'd him; wallowing he doth lie
In his own blood, with horrible outcry.
The maid deliver'd, hither soon we came–
Tho' John the praise won, let none else have blame;
To be well conquer'd is, I trow, no shame.
. Well hast thou told the tale, wise Alken! John,
May'st thou to conquer ever thus go on!
And for this victory at our feast be seen,
Deck'd with a coronal of laurel green!
Cheer up, brave fellows! nor let this dismay;
You may have better luck another day:
Bathe all your bruises in my healing well,
So shall your wounds not fester, nor limbs swell;
Then broach a cask o' th' best, and 'swage your thirst;
Fighting's hot work–drink deep–but John drink first!
. Not this time, master, I deserve no praise;
But for sage Alken ended were my days.
. I ne'er was beat before so, by the mass!
. I'm a meer jelly!
. I a cudgel'd ass!
[John, George, Scarlet, and
Scathlock go out
. How the stout woodmen grieve for their mischance!
. They are so us'd to quell all dare oppose,
They hardly brook this single vanquishment.
. Old Maud, then, clearly hath escaped?
. Not so.
Somewhat remains untold–between the tree
Confin'd the maid, and this gay greenwood-bow'r,
From an o'er-brambled gap in a rude crag,
As we were posting hither, with surprize
We saw crawl out the beldam late had sunk
I' th' earth, attended by her quondam hind;
Who spake these words, and instant disappear'd.
"My term's expir'd, my service done;
Foul dame, with joy from thee I run!"
I seiz'd the moment she was unprepar'd,
By aiding fiend, or charms, to make defence;
And round her shrivell'd neck an amulet fix'd,
(Nought but repentance and pure prayers can loose)
That by its hidden virtue will prevent
The unwitch'd hag from working future scathe.
. In all things well and wisely hast thou done.
But why comes Mellifleur in tears, I trow?
Will Lionel no kindness to her shew?
. Mourn, mourn, you gentle train! now all is done.
Forth from this festal unto dark shades run,
And wail the woful'st chance our plains e'er knew!
. What chance, sweet maid? say what, and whence it grew?
. When late young Lionel, the courteous swain,
Hence led me to repeat an amourous strain;
From Trent-ward o'er the meads at distance we
Beheld a shepherd, bearing o'er the lea
A drowned corse; when Lionel swift ran,
To help the living bear the lifeless man,
. Ha! dead!
Is't her, or is't her shade, I wond'ring see?
If her thou art, in vain he sought that death
By which he deem'd his love was reft of breath;
In vain he plung'd him in that watry bed;
In vain thou live'st, since he, alas, is dead!
. See, where the gentle shepherds, sad and slow,
Bear the cold corse! doth this a festal shew?
. My almost-brother dead!
. And mine!
. Poor youth!
Thou diest a martyr to thy love and truth.
. Ill-fated shepherd! in that moment drown'd,
When all thy wishes were so nearly crown'd;
Our festival is to funeral turn'd!
. Break, break, poor heart! soon as thy dead love's mourn'd.
Lionel enter, bearing
. Behold, lamenting friends!–and oh, sweet maid!
I almost hoped did live–by death low laid
The pride of Be'voir vale!
. And dost thou live,
Earine! thy true love's death to grieve?
. Tell briefly, either shepherd, that knows best,
How chanc'd his fate, then bear him to his rest.
. Th'unhappy youth late heard a sweet voice sing
He thought Earine's; strait to the spring
That, circling, rises in the midst of Trent,
With fleeting haste to drown with her he went;
Thinking her spirit hover'd in the air,
Waiting till his from mortal bonds was clear.
I follow'd him, and gain'd the river's brink
Just as he plung'd; these eyes beheld him sink!
Soon he arose; as soon he sank again,
Mutt'ring Earine; with stifled pain:
A second time, but further from the shore,
He 'rose; Earine! groan'd–I heard no more–
The eddying water whirl'd him once more down;
I stood the while agast–a man of stone!
As heav'n ordain'd, a third time did he rise,
Speechless and senseless! with distracted cries
I sprang so near him, that I caught him fast,
As he was sinking; and with utmost haste
Swam with my death-like load unto the shore;
Used every means I hoped might life restore;
But, failing, hither straight the body bore.
. Thy pains commend thee, shepherd, tho' in vain;
[As well i' th' water might he still have lain;]
For he is gone, ne'er to revive again!
. No, I'll not weep! I'll follow calm his bier;
Then die upon his grave without a tear!
. Within, ho! all whom life and health permit
Come forth, to bear this corse in order fit;
Bring too your bugles; and, good Friar, lend
Your pious aid, while sadly we attend,
To' inter this dust near holy Reuben's cell;
Th' immortal part is flown with saints to dwell!
So!– wind his Mort, with slow and solemn sound;
And sing his Dirge, as we pace toward the ground!
Friar, &c. having come forth, they carry off
Æglamour, singing his
. The chase is o'er, the hart is slain!
The gentlest hart that grac'd the plain;
With breath of bugles sound his knell,
Then lay him low in Death's drear dell!
Nor beauteous form, nor dappled hide,
Nor branchy head will long abide;
Nor fleetest foot that scuds the heath,
Can 'scape the fleeter huntsman, Death.
The hart is slain! his faithful deer,
In spite of hounds or huntsman near,
Despising Death, and all his train,
Laments her hart untimely slain!
The chase is o'er, the hart is slain!
The gentlest hart that grac'd the plain;
Blow soft your bugles, sound his knell,
Then lay him low in Death's drear dell!
. My penance done, my toilsome bondage past,
In which, for impure pranks, I erst was cast,
I am free as air! releas'd from Maud's curst thrall;
Who from her height of power full low doth fall–
Wounded by adders, hissing all around,
The beldam lies; with a strong amulet bound
From harming, or subduing man or beast.
Now would I frolick fain at Robin's feast;
But with the drowned shepherd's fate 'tis marr'd:
Pity such love should ever be ill-star'd!
And yet, perchance, the swain is not quite dead;
Methought a gleam of lightning hither sped!
There did! sure token heaven hath bliss in store,
And will revive again young Æglamour!
No more a witch's goblin and Puck-hairy,
But mankind's friend, a pure and gentle fairy,
The mourning throng invisible I'll join:
And, if the least remain of breath divine
Infused at first creation, unperceiv'd
By mortal senses, (I can't be deceiv'd)
I'll shoot from pole to pole, pervade the skies
For every aid that in immortals lies,
Till he to life, and his Earin rise! [Exit
SCENE, Lorel's Oak
Lorel lying on the ground
. Oh! I sal ne'er get up again! my bones
Are broken sure! and I am all o'er bruis'd,
As though ten threshers had belabour'd me
Wi' their stout flails, and beat me to mere chaff!
They have ta'en my maistress tu! (that's warst of all)
Though for my mother's help I loud 'gan bawl.
Why wald she let 'em? I remember when
A dark'ning fog she rais'd; and why not then?
And why not come to help me? by her art
I suld be heal'd bilive of my sair smart.
Oh, Douce! kind sister! see where Lorel lies,
Lend me thy help while fra' the earth I rise!
. Ah, Lorel! brother! what hath hap'd to thee?
My turn is next sure! nought but misery
Can I expect, wi' nought to shield fra' harms;
Nor Lorel's strength, nor Maudlin's potent charms.
Our mother's witchcraft arts are from her flown;
I found her helpless, making piteous moan,
A' stung wi' adders, sought to mak a spell:
For cure I led her to the healing-well
Of Robin Hood; fra' which with pain I drew
As bout the cross beam twined the hempen clue
Water for the 'nonce: then search'd for thee around,
To bear her home when she has 'swaged each wound.
. Gi' me yer hand, Douce; gently! gently! sae;
Gif I can walk I's to my mother gae,
To crave her counsel how to quell the foes,
Wha stole my maistress hence, and ga' me blows!
. Whate'er your scathe, or by whoever done,
To seek revenge may bring on future ills;
Gud canna' spring fra' evil plain is seen,
And evil, tho' compell'd, the doer harms!
I ne'er did ill but by my mother forc'd,
To aid her arts; yet was I thereby hurt.
This garment of Earine's she gave,
And bade me wear, did mak me proud o' heart;
Pride's a great sin; but pale revenge is wairs!
I ha' thrown off pride, as I will this gay garb
Soon as I find the maid escap'd yer tree;
Do ye foregae revenge: a rancrous heart
Still i' the end doth punish most itsel.
Our mother's witchcraft o'er, she can't compel
Us now to evil; let us, Lorel, strive
(Sae will yer herds, yer sel, and kindred thrive)
Which can excel in gud, as erst in ill;
Brother, I counsel ye, fra' right gud will!
. Well! lead to Maudlin, while I am in the muid,
Wairs I can't thrive suld I turn e'er sae gud! [Exeunt
SCENE, Robin Hood's Well
Maudlin, sitting by the well, bathing her wounds
. Still mun I bear this torment, wairs than death;
Which I wald willing meet to 'scape sic pangs!
Tho' I ha' shook the poisonous reptiles off
That clung around my limbs, deaf to my wails
[As heav'n or hell, (both oft in vain invok'd)]
Yet hath their venom rankled sae my veins,
That e'en this wond'rous well can nought avail
To gi' me ease, and heal the serpents' wounds:
My charms ha' pow'r nae mair, my goblin's flown;
And I can only curse, or faintly pray.
. How fare ye, mother? are ye wounded sair?
I am sair bruis'd, and ha' my maistress lost;
A' things gae cross, I think, to wark us ill;
I wanted yer help; ye meseems, lack mine.
. How now, dear mother? are yer pains yet gone?
. Oh, no! kind Douce! they harrow e'en my soul!
I am sae curst, this till-now-healing well
Doth but encrease the pangs it else wa'd cure.
. Troth, mother, I ha' oft heard say, that seld
It helps the wicked; never a foul witch!
. Out on thee, limmer! what vild wards are these?
Oh! Oh! again the poison shoots, and stings,
And bites, and gnaws, as it wald eat my heart!
What sal I do for ease, dear daughter Douce?
. Alas! gud mother! wa'd that I could tell!
Lorel is used to cope wi' a' the brood
O' snakes and taids, in tending o' his herds;
He better kens than I.
. Again they pang!
Speak ye bilive, rude Lorel, what di ye
Whan sic like reptiles harm'd yer swine and kie?
And gif ye ha' love or pity, do't to me!
. Whan cleft-tongued adders stung my bristled swine,
I still ha' used to kill the hurten beasts;
Sal we kill ye? or will ye bide in pain?
I ha' lost my knife!–gif, mother, ye will die,
Lend me yer blade or bodkin for the stroke.
. Shame on thee, lown! gi' o'er sic uncouch speech.
. Ha' ye nae greater feeling? swineherd! brute!
But wald ye slay your mother, thus oppress'd?
Bestir yer lubber limbs, less hurt than mine,
And help me to the haly hermit's cell;
Reuben is kind and skilfu'!–thanks, dear Douce.
Ha' mercy, heav'n! I'll hence forsake my craft,
My wiles, my witcheries, and turn to gud;
Sae may the ev'ning o' my life be blest,
Sae, whan I die, my soul in heav'n may rest!
SCENE, the Entrance to a Hermit's Cell
Reuben, a devout Hermit, enters
. Blest be the hour I left, for this abode,
The gaudy world! here, delicate to heaven,
I pass the evening of my well-spent days;
Free from tumultuous cares, fraud, pain, and strife.
Here, from my beechen bowl, I drink the stream
That, smooth meand'ring, circumscribes my cell;
From cleanly trencher frugal viands eat;
Fresh herbs, stor'd pulse, plants, fruit, or esculent roots.
Clad in coarse frieze I feel not winter's cold,
Which oft-time makes the silk-rob'd wordling shrink;
And in this shade, where airy zephrys dwell,
Am far more free from summer's heat, than those
Who pant beneath a proud and gilded dome.
The mat I wove of rushes, from the brink
Of the near brook, that prattling glides away,
My nightly couch; whereon, by soft content
And gentle peace embrac'd, I sweetly sleep;
And, ere the day unclose his golden eye,
Waking, pour forth my pure heart's orisons;
Then range the dewy meads for heav'n-sent herbs,
Of foodful use, or medicinal power;
For self-support, or any need my aid.
Thus do I keep my sear leaf ting'd with green;
And thus still serving God and man am seen!
But cease, my pleasance; hither bends a train
Of nymphs and shepherds, sadly o'er the plain.
[Part of the
Dirge is heard repeated at a distance
The chase is o'er, the hart is slain,
The gentlest hart that grac'd the plain;
With breath of bugles sound his knell,
Then lay him low in Death's drear dell.
[Robin Hood, Marian, Friar Tuck, the Shepherds, Shepherdesses,
and woodmen (bearing
Æglamour) enter in solemn procession
. What's here? what's here? a shepherd's drowned corse!
Young Æglamour, the virtuous! worse and worse!
He that came daily, hourly to my cell,
And by my counsel fram'd his life so well,
In goodness as in comeliness t'excell!
But vain is praise now– bear him gently in!
Æglamour into the cell
; Marian and the Shepherdesses following,
are prevented by
Let no more follow! th'air must be kept thin,
And while we try our utmost skill and pow'r
Again his respiration to restore,
Ye females to yon holy grove repair;
There kneel, and heaven implore with hymn and prayer,
If he yet live his guiltless life to spare.
[Reuben goes into the cell, the women remain
. What said the reverend man? is he not dead?
A clay-cold corse upon the bier laid!
Why have they ta'en him hence? ah, why deprive
Me of him the few moments I am alive!
My heart soon breaking, we'll together go,
Wedded in death, to our bridal bed full low!
. Peace, sad Earine! with us along;
And heaven address in prayer, and holy song.
Reuben spake comfort; heaven may yet restore
The youth who now, like thee, we all deplore!
. Come, lovely mourner! to the holy fane.
. Come, beauteous maid! nor be thy prayers vain.
. Lead on, good Marian; and, kind-hearted maids,
T'implore high heav'n all lend your pious aids;
Haste we to fervent prayer i' th' holy grove–
This veil of death, ye sacred powers, remove,
And raise the youth again to life and love!
[Earine, Marian, &c. go to the Grove
Friar Tuck and the
Woodmen return from the Cell
. Come, my good fellows all, obey the hest
Of holy Reuben; and, behind this cell
Prepare a peaceful grave, I'll consecrate,
Should life be flown past power of calling back,
For the drown'd shepherd; leaving, the mean time,
The hermit, with your master, Robin Hood,
And the kind shepherd-swains, t'assay restore
To life again the mourned Æglamour.
Which should he not effect, 'tis best (he said)
With all dispatch he in the earth be laid;
Hid from the sight of the lamenting maid.
. Why, do you think it possible, good Friar,
Reuben should bring the dead to life again?
. Ah, John, that never can be done, I fear
. An't can, the good old hermit sure will do't.
. An' gif he does, he's a gud man indeed.
. He is indeed! a good, a holy man!
No world-chas'd libertine, compell'd to fly
To unlov'd solitude for life ill spent;
No sour, unsocial, man detester, he,
Secluded in a lone austerity;
Thinking to purchase heaven by abstinence
From what heaven sent, for mankind's moderate use;
Mortification; penance; and a train
Of visionary superstition's bribes
For that, which nought but a pure heart can gain:
Reuben is none of these; devoutly vow'd
To heaven and God, he's still the friend of man:
Delighting in humanity's mild deeds,
His each humane endeavour still succeeds!
. You think, then, father Tuck, he'll raise the swain?
. Gif so, why suld we dig a needless grave?
. Grudge not that little labour; should it prove
A needless one, I think you'll not repine:
So do it for the reason Reuben gave.–
To say he certainly will raise the swain,
Because himself is holy, is not fit;
Vainly might I as well presume to say,
You still must conquer for that you are strong;
Nothing we know's impossible to God!
He, if he please, may grant the good man's prayer,
Bestow a blessing on his pains and skill,
And raise the youth again, now seeming dead;
Who without pains, and skill, and prayers to heaven,
And heaven's blessing giv'n, were dead indeed!
But that a miracle should e'er be worked
To interrupt great nature's settled course,
And give a second life to one quite dead,
(Unless t' accomplish the designs of God!)
Were childish to expect; weak to believe;
And derogates from heaven's wise providence!
. Thanks, gentle friar! you have, as you are wont,
Expounded to us all so plain and clear,
A child might understand. I have heard divines
At Wakefield, Hereford, and Nottingham,
So preach, perplex and pother with a text;
That not their hearers only, wise or learn'd,
But e'en themselves were so bewilder'd oft,
They seem'd like men lost in a labyrinth's maze;
And stray'd the more, the more they strove t'escape
(Wanting the clue of sense to guide them right)
The intricate, obscure, and puzzling path.
. Mass! John, that's true; and therefore seld went I
To church to hear what none could understand.
. Come then; now father Tuck has well explain'd
These matters, let's about the shepherd's grave.
. May heaven and Reuben's skill him from it save!
. Hold; hither come the wicked beldam, Maud;
Her son, and daughter; what brings them here trow?
. Were she but still a witch, (for Alken says
Her cursed craft is done, her goblin flown)
Suld a' means fail gud Reuben sal essay,
She might ca' back the dead man's sprite wi' charms.
. No, Scathlock, no! think not those leagued with hell
Can e'er that good atchieve, which pious prayers
And heaven's high pleasure do not bring to pass.
[Maudlin, Douce, and
. Mother, gae back! for yonder's little John,
Wha sae belabour'd me I scant can crawl;
Belike again he'll beat me gif I stay!
. See ye na' father Tuck? nae harm can hap
While he is present–On her knees, gud friar,
Behold a wretched eld, whase wicked life
Has made her th' outcast and hate o' the warld:
Forgi' me, haly friar! and ye, gud men,
Wham I ha' oft offended, oh forgi'
A helpless, harmless, and repentant wretch,
Wha ne'er will injure ye or yer's agen!
. If, as you say, you do repent your crimes,
And ne'er will practise your vile arts again,
I'll answer for these honest-hearted men,
As well as for myself, your pardon strait.
But say, what brings you here? we are busy now.
And, oh! (I grieve t' upbraid, forgiveness pass'd.)
You were the cause of what employs our cares!
Had not rude Lorel, aided by your arts,
Conceal'd Earine, young Æglamour,
Who thought her dead, had not now lain a corse,
A drowned corse, in holy Reuben's cell.
. O piteous tidings! is the shepherd drown'd!
. Ha' mercy, heaven! nor let the innocent's death
Be added to my countless, heinous crimes!
Haste me, an't be yer will, gud reverend friar!
To where he lies. Tho' I ha' left my arts,
My wicked anes, yet I possess gud skill
And knowledge in what's fitting to be done
In sic like scathes; O, let me help atone,
Gif in my power, for my ill-doing past:
Perchance the haly hermit then will try,
To gar the pangs I now endure to cease;
And I my better days may end in peace!
. If thou'rt sincere, come with me to the cell;
Meantime, good fellows, do as was desir'd:
That, if all pains, and skill, and prayers should fail
To raise the youth; according to the hest
Of holy Reuben he be laid to rest!
[Friar Tuck and
Maudlin go into the cell
. Come, Douce, wi' me, I am afeard to stay,
Bruis'd as I am, t' endure another fray;
Suld John there force me wi' him now to fight,
Like Æglamour I's bid the warld gud night!
. I's gae lest they suld wreak on me their spite
Douce go out
. The sturdy Lorel scouls, and gangs his gate;
He fears to bide, and swagger, as o' late.
. 'Tis a mere savage, and beneath our thought;
Come, now let's to our task; and, ere 'tis wrought,
Good Reuben's heaven-bless'd skill I pray make vain,
Our labour, by reviving the young swain! [Exeunt
End of the
SCENE a Grove, with an Altar
Earine, Marian, Amie, and
Mellifleur kneeling at the Altar
. Earine rises
. Thanks! thanks! good Marian! and, like me, pure maids!
Such fervent prayers sure will not be in vain.
[The rest rise.
But, to leave nought untried, as Reuben bade,
In hymns and carols pour we praises forth,
And woo with melody the heavenly throne!
O God! throughout whose works divine,
Such beauty, harmony combine!
By chiming spheres
Who metest years,
And months, and days!
O hear us praise
That wond'rous concord which in all doth shine!
May no discordance here be found!
Let nought but harmony abound!
O raise the swain
Whose loss our strain
With discord jars;
Our festal mars!
Raise him for whom the groves with grief resound!
. O haly man! blest hermit! wi' what skill
Hast thou remov'd the vip'rous pangs I felt!
Lead me, my Douce, unto the altar's foot;
That I may thank my God, as Reuben bade.
. Ha! hither bends the canker'd beldam, Maud!
From whose brute son I but erewhile escap'd–
Haste! Fly! or we shall quick be made her thralls.
. Fear naething, damsel! for my mother's chang'd;
Is hither come to praise the gracious Gods,
And crave forgi'ness for her wrangs to thee.
Mysel am alter'd tu; late Douce the proud;
But now as humble as the lowliest shrub
That bends to heav'n's least breath! this dainty dress,
Yer festal garment, I sal strait restore,
Which by my mother's hest till now I wore;
In russet gown and kirtle hence array'd,
I's prove a meek and gentle rural maid.
. Forgi' me, virgin! I ha' lang been naught;
And for my ill deeds on my knees am brought.
Forgi' me, virgin! and I's henceforth be
As gud, as I till now was ill to thee!
. And art thou alter'd, Maudlin? if thou'rt good,
By that same art enthrall'd me in the wood,
Oh, raise my love, my Æglamour from death!
Your potency can do it with a breath,
Yonder he lies, within the hermit's cell;
Restore my love, and all things shall be well.
. That is already done.
. Where, where's the maid,
Earine? to Æglamour strait fly–
He breathes; pronounc'd your name; haste! to him haste!
Convince the still-craz'd shepherd you're alive;
Or, in dispair, on self-destruction bent,
Again he'll seek you in the silver Trent.
. Does he then live? and is my love still true?
Lead, lead me, maidens! come, good Marian, too!
Now all is harmony! above, around!
My shepherd lives! our loves shall now be crown'd!
Earine, Mar. Mal. and
[Clarion, Douce, and
. Why do not I to Æglamour return?
What holds me here? with what strange fire I burn!
Sure I was blind till now, or now am so–
Yon maid has pass'd before me to and fro
Oft times to-day, and never mark'd before,
But that full proudly still herself she bore:
Sure I mistook–she seems a courteous maid–
Should I accost her, and with scorn be paid,
'Twould grieve me much; but hence with idle fear!
Her kneeling mother left intent on prayer,
She this way bends–how fares the gentle Douce?
. Ca' ye me sae in sport? gud shepherd, truce
Wi' sic keen gibes for that I erst was proud,
Nor interrupt devotion; ye're o'er loud:
See ye not, swain, my mother kneeling there,
Wi' upturn'd eyne, devoutly in her pray'r?
. I do, dear Douce! and I would kneel to thee,
Did I not fear, you'd flout my suit and me.
. What suit can Clarion ha' to lowly Douce?
Rich swains ne'er wooe poor maids, but to seduce!
. True I am rich as any shepherd round;
But let not that my honest suit confound.
'Tis true I own those fertile vallies green,
And thymy downs, where herds and flocks are seen
In countless numbers, mine; by heedful hinds
Led to the pastures proper for their kinds;
Their milk made cheese, their snowy fleeces shorn,
And to the neighb'ring market duly born,
Get me returns of all such town-made geer,
As in my farm are needful; or appear
To deck and trim my scarcely-equall'd cot;
Good store of coin besides in chest I have got:
True I were rich as any shepherd-swain,
If gentle Douce's love I might obtain.
. What are yer fields, yer flocks, yer cot, yer coin
To me, rich swain? had ye o' gold of mine,
Sae far fra tempting, it would make me fear
A simple wench might buy e'en gold o'er dear.
. But, pretty maid! did Clarion fairly woo,
Proffer to wed, and promise to be true;
Had Douce no other shepherd in her thought,
And Clarion she to like perchance were brought,
No more ought she object his plenteous store,
Than he doth Douce's state, tho' e'er so poor.
. It gars me blush to answer! but 'tis truth,
I ne'er set eyne upon a comelier youth;
Nae other shepherd i' my heart hath place;
Yet I'm na' smitten wi' yer handsome face,
Nae mair than wi' yer wealth; yer speech has most
My pleas'd attention (for 'tis sooth) engrost–
It shews ye honest, kind, and like to prove,
Where e'er ye woo, still constant i' yer love.
My mother comes–gif ye indeed mean sooth,
Tell her yer tale, her mind is turn'd to reuth.
. Thanks, gentle Douce! this unaffected leave,
(Sure sign of an ingenuous mind) believe,
Makes me the happiest shepherd o' the green!
. How am I chang'd fra what o'erlang I ha' been!
The wicked fiend possess'd my soul is fled,
And a' my thoughts are turn'd to God and gud!
I ha' scap'd the thralldom o' the prince of hell,
To whom for aye I had near sold mysel!
Nae mair a witch, but a right honest dame;
And ilka one I meet sal ken the same.
. Good Maudlin, grant a boon, nor say me nay.
Maud. Aught i' my gift, gud shepherd, ask and ha'.
But what can sic a poor and outcast wretch
Bestow on thee, stor'd swain?
. Thou are more rich!
Owning, in my mind, what o'ervalues all
That I, or wealthier swains, our own may call
Of herds, or flocks, or cot, or farm, or field;
With all the produce they their owners yield.
The charms thou canst bestow–
. Out, out, alas!
Nae mair in charms and spells do I surpass;
Nae mair will Maud engage in deeds sae dark–
Witchcraft, young shepherd, is the devil's wark!
. Gud mother, ye mistake th' well-meaning swain,
He does na' wish ye to turn witch again.
. O, no, good dame! forefend, high heaven, I shou'd!
My wishes, Maudlin, tend to nought but good;
Thine, thy fair daughter's, and in her's too mine:
She is the prize for which I throw my line!
. Speak plainer, shepherd, and wi' riddles truce.
. Then in plain terms, I love your daughter Douce.
Love reigns around! hill, dale, cot, greenwood-bower,
And their blithe tenants, own his sovereign power!
The birds all pair'd make vocal every grove,
While to his mate each cheerful chaunts his love;
The willing ewes, and wanton rams around,
In sportive buttings frolick, mount, and bound;
The heifer feels love's tire, breathes short, and pants;
And to the steer his novel wishes grants:
Each shepherd late invited round Sherwood,
To the fam'd feast of jolly Robin Hood,
Hath chose his buxom bride, hath woo'd and sped,
Except myself–let it not, dame, be said,
Clarion alone return'd from thence unwed!
. Now I come near ye, and yer meaning take;
And gif ye'll wed my Douce, and ne'er forsake
Yer low-born bride for some mair high-bred lass,
But hand-in-hand still through life's journey pass,
I gi' ye my consent and blessing baith!
And, though ye are rich, for dower some fine spun claith
Bleach'd white as chalky cliffs; some linsey stuff,
For winter coats and kirtles gud enough;
Wi' a few marks o' gold, I ha' sav'd wi' care:
This will I gi', and wish that it were mair.
. Talk not of dower, good mother, geer nor gold;
The truest love is neither bought nor sold!
I have enough for both, nor wish that she
Should bring or goods or coin for wedding fee;
Bless'd with her love, why need I covet more,
And take thy mite t'increase my boundless store?
Rather of me receive the means of life,
In gratitude for yielding Douce my wife;
With every filial duty and respect,
To shield thy age from want, and rude neglect!
SCENE changes to another part of the Grove
. How hard to keep frail life's near-fleeting breath
Within the bosom of the sad young swain;
Thinking Earine no longer lives
To crown his passion, and reward his love!
The holy hermit's prayers, and Maudlin's skill,
Assisted by the friendly shepherds' pains,
With every aid e'en I could minister,
Were scarce sufficient to re-animate
His death-like form, and cause the stream of life
Again to flow through his obstructed veins;
And, when reviv'd, all frantic for the loss
(The double loss he call'd it) of the maid
He hoped, by quitting life, to find in heaven,
How sudden his relapse to seeming death!
In which cold trance a second time he lies;
But safe from danger: for Earin's voice,
And touch, and breath, shall sweetly woo and win
His willing soul, with transport to abide,
For her dear sake, soon as he knows she lives,
In his fond breast, to life's extremest date!
When she hath tried the force, and he hath felt
Th' effects (and they are great) of pow'rful love;
I will once more administer what lies
In me, to perfect and confirm their bliss!
Meantime I will indulge my mirthful bent:
In whatsoever sportfull theme occurs–
And lo! here comes rude Lorel, still my butt
Of waggery, and whom I joy to jeer.
. The bow-men say that Æglamour 's restor'd!
And, 'stead of digging, as was bid, his grave,
Are sporting as they list around the cell–
Sma' comfort sic like news to Lorel gives!
Who hoped, his hated reuel being dead,
To ha' without control, Earine.
. What should she, trow, with such a clown as thee?
Thou have Earine! a swine-herd base
Of uncouth form, and scarcely human face!
With pent-house eye-brows, that together join;
Of sullen churlishness the certain sign:
A mouth distended e'en from ear to ear;
Eyes, 'stead of love, inspiring hate and fear!
Go, 'tend thy swine, nor think of such a maid,
Who e'en to look at thee is sore afraid.
. What fay-like elf are ye, that mock and flout!
Were ye Puck-hairy late? thus gay prank'd out.
Gif that ye were, (as by yer voice and face
Methinks it seems) and now a sprite o' grace,
Leave scorning, Robin! nor perplex me mair,
As whan my mother's simples hame I bare!
I'm sure 'twas ye that bay'd me like a wolf;
Then in my footway flamed a fiery gulph!
A night owl beat her pinions 'gainst my head,
'Till o' the ground I fell, wi' fright near dead!
Ye were that owl! and mair to gar me quake,
Ye twined around my legs like a scalded snake,
Which when I graspt and strave to loose, strait turn'd
To red hot iron, and a' my fingers burn'd!
. True, lubber Lorel; and when thou didst spy
A will-o'-the-whisp, that meteor too was I;
Which led thee in a quagmire to thy knees:
I can take any shape, thou know'st, I please.
When I was vassal to your mother, I
Could trace earth's utmost limits, now can fly
Beyond the starry sphere: whence in a thought
For the drown'd youth e'en now relief I brought;
My power is mightier than erst was Maud's!
Observe my silky wings! aërial gauds!
My coronal, compos'd of lucid beams
And flow'rets inter-twin'd! which well beseems
My Iris-robe, with stare and crescents bright
O'er-studded, darting round a silvery light!
This my garb now, 'stead of the shaggy vest,
Wherein Puck-hairy was uncouthly drest.
Thus chang'd from beldam Maudlin's slavish drudge,
Nor on vile errands longer forc'd to trudge,
A spirit pure! I now am prone to good;
The watchful guardian of this verdant wood!
Unto the virtuous a firm friend I'll be;
But, for thou'rt evill, a fear'd foe to thee!
. I prithee be not! and I's try to mend–
I'th 'stead o' harming, yer assistance lend,
I may reform; but canno' in a trice
Be chang'd a' o'er to gud fra long-lov'd vice!
. Deserve my favour, you shall favour find!
Go, shew your mother you're not far behind
Herself in reformation; glad her heart,
Which now in goodness takes an unus'd part:
Hence, and conduct her to the hermit's cell,
Whose reconcilement soon shall make all well.
. Troth, will I; wi' a score o' thanks to ye!
And for yer kindness ye sal ne'er lack fee!
Is gi' ye a plump porker, young and fat;
Or the tithe-pig, 'stead o' the priest, ye's get:
A brinded bulchin whan ye ask ye's ha';
Or a milch-kie; gif ye're a gentle fay!
For curds and cream, and sic like belly geer,
Cheese, honey, wax, to want ye need na' fear;
I's gar my sister Douce set ye ilk e'en
Sic bowls o' milk for fairies yet ne'er seen;
Wi' flaunes and custards: and, for ye're sae smert,
Ne'er sal ye find the sma'est spot o' dirt,
To 'file yer rainbow-robe, and rigol bright,
Or ony gaud wi' whilk ye are bedight!
. Your meaning's good, therefore your offers please;
But think not I, as late, want bribes like these:
When I was Maudlin's hind, my appetites
Were nearly human, seeking gross delights;
And, for thy mother grudg'd me needful food,
After my daily labours for her good,
Instead of sleeping, which my state then crav'd,
For milk and flour in neighbouring barns I slav'd
The live-long night; cut chaff, ground malt, thresh'd corn,
Till Lucifer arose, bright star of morn!
When, tir'd, upon the ember'd hearth I'd snore
Some little space, to renovate each pow'r:
Then, with cramm'd paunch, and cream-be-liquor'd throat,
Hie home, before the sluggard-rousing note
Of chanticleer bade shepherd-lads unfold
Their bleating flocks, and drive them to the wold;
Creep to my straw-pleach'd bed, thence seem to rise
Ere Maudlin quite had oped her ferret eyes.
These slaveries past, my essence pure regain'd,
(Polluting which poor Puck in grossness chain'd!)
I want nor flesh, nor flour, nor cakes, nor cream,
Nor aught whereon mistaken mortals dream
We fairies feed;–so, hence! while I attend
Invisible, and to the sad swain lend
Such help he yet may want; and quite restore
Unto Earine her Æglamour! [Exeunt
SCENE changes to the entrance to
Reuben, Robin Hood, Earine, Marian, &c. &c. attending
. So! gently! gently!–lay him on this bank
O dark-hued violets, their perfum'd scent
Will make the breath my love again respires,
Sweet as was that for me so late he lost!
Oh, holy Sir! pardon a simple maid,
For thus directing, where command is thine.
. Gentle and good! fair, and full wise withal!
Needful it is to court each vagrant sense
With those delights, will tempt them to abide
In their frail mansion. With his slow-drawn breath,
Let scent of sweetest flowers be intermix'd;
Which, adding to the natural delight
Enjoy'd in breathing, may promote the act:
Clasp his hand, maid! in thine; quick from thy heart
Love's fire will haste, as quick communicate
A vital heat to every yet-chill vein:
Then shall his eye-lids ope like dawn of day;
Which to entice still further to disclose
Their casked jewels, set thy face in view,
To gaze on which each visual nerve they'll strain,
And like twin-suns full brightly shine again.
For one sweet sense, leave crav'd of modesty,
Apply thy lips bedew'd with nectarous balm
To his, as ruddy erst as now thy own;
So shall he, tasting what might banquet gods,
Heav'n for a while forego: to sooth each sense,
In softest strains of harmony, then wooe
His dull'd ear, deaf 'ned by the waters' din;
And say, would it but once again attend,
Such notes await grim Death himself might list;
The sweetest notes of lov'd Earin's voice.
Lord of the greenwood bower! bid music sound.
. Sound, softly sound the sweet-ton'd bugle-horn!
Unharbour Harmony! and, like the deer,
Or doubling hare, hunt her through all her wiles.
[The Woodmen sound the horns, and
Think it not, dearest youth! amiss,
If maiden coyness I forsake,
And on thy lips imprint a kiss;
But as 'tis meant the boldness take:
'Tis to restore
To life and bliss,
That I thus kiss
My lovely and beloved swain;
Then be not coy
And cold, sweet boy!
Nor think amiss
That I thee kiss;
But kiss, oh kindly kiss me, love! again.
[After the song is ended, the Woodmen continue sounding till
. Cease, gentle woodmen! he's about to speak–
The notes of nightingales discordant were
Did they preclude his far more tuneful voice.
. At length I am arriv'd, and landed safe
Upon the peaceful shore where spirits dwell!
'Twas a long voyage; painful, dark, and cold!
What have I not endur'd, since first I plung'd
To seek my love i' th' suffocating stream!
Sure I have known an intermediate state
'Twixt earth and heav'n! for oft methought I saw
My sweet Earin! but no sooner strove
To press her to my wishing, aching heart,
Than she was snatch'd away! and, lost in shades,
I wander'd up and down I know not where!
. Now she is thine, never to part again!
. Ha! do I fold thee! then is my bliss compeat!
The dale of Death is fully overpast,
And on the topmost hill of heav'n I'm plac'd!
Come round, ye bless'd inhabitants, and view
A pair, whose loves when mortal were as pure
As yours, whose heavenly bowers we enter now!
. Alas, how wild he talks! collect thee, love!
This is not heaven, nor these–
. What say'st thou, sweet!
Not heav'n, thus clasp'd in my Earin's arms?
Were I in griesly Pluto's dark domain,
Embracing thee, and thus by thee embrac'd,
Thy presence would irradiate tenfold night,
And make th'infernal realms as heav'n all bright!
See! there's a gentle, bliss-enjoying pair;
And there another! yonder is a third!
Mark what elysian joy beams in their eyes!
They're heav'n's inhabitants, and so are we,
Pair'd (there's no bliss without) like turtle doves;
Permitted here t'enjoy our earth-chose loves!
. Nay, my sweet Æglamour! look round again–
These are thy well-known friends, the green-wood train;
And this most venerable, holy man–
. All's holy here! for I nor will, nor can
Think this is aught but paradise, and thee
The spirit of my lov'd Earine!
She who was drown'd in thirty-armed Trent;
Whom to rejoin, her faithful shepherd went
Like watry way; and through its oozy bed
Explor'd the path to heav'n and her that led!
. This wildness will subside–go, lead him forth
To other air; and let his eyes take note
Of the accustom'd objects all around;
Fam'd Be'voir castle; Robin Hood's gay bower;
The cots, and farms; green hills and flow'ry dales,
Where he so oft hath graz'd his fleecy flocks;
And when again he's perfect in his mind,
Conduct him to the altar near my cell:
There let him kneel, and thankfully adore
The power and mercy did his life restore.
. What says the hoary, venerable form?
His looks are awful, yet they're wond'rous mild!
Sure 'tis some patriach's spirit, which presides
In these abodes over departed souls!
. He rules all here; and wills that you retire
To view the limits round: I'll with thee, love!
And shew thee groves, and bowers, and verdant meads;
Smooth-gliding streams, and idly-babbling brooks;
Such as my Æglamour was wont to haunt.
. Come then, pure partner in elyzium! come;
Shew our celestial, ever-blooming home:
Where, with these happy pairs, we'll fondly rove;
Enjoy unfading youth, unsated love;
And perfect bliss eternally all prove!
Earine go out
. What thanks, thou holy man! are due to thee?
What gifts, what guerdon, thy right-well-earn'd fee,
For thus restoring him we all thought dead!
How shall thy goodness be by us repaid?
. Nor thanks, nor guerdon, gentle Robin Hood,
Were due to me, though I had done this good;
Neither should on our social duties wait:
But send your grateful thanks to heav'n's high gate!
Whence a bright minister, by you unseen,
Descended swift the youth and death between;
Else had all mortal means perchance prov'd vain,
And Æglamour for aye a corse had lain!
But see! the sprite, invisible before
To all but me, who did to life restore
The drowned shepherd, comes with lightsome trips,
The veil thrown off, his brightness did eclipse.
. Health and true happiness for aye betide
Each jolly bridegroom, and his plighted bride!
Unto my namesake, Robin of the wood,
And his fair Marian (not more fair than good)
Peaceful possession of their festal bower!
In which they ne'er shall know less happy hour
Than this: and unto holy Reuben's cell,
Where with Devotion pure the saint doth dwell,
Visions of spirits! far excelling me,
As doth my essence frail mortality:
Unto you all, invisible no more,
(Nay rise, nor one of my degree adore)
I come, (who late was wicked Maudlin's hind,
In the vile beldam's thrall perforce confin'd;
Now a free sprite!) the harbinger of bliss!
Your ev'ry fear, or doubt, all safe dismiss
For the entire recovery of the youth,
Pure paragon of perfect love and truth!
Into the frantic shepherd's brain a balm
I have infus'd, that with remembrance calm
Of ev'ry object round endues the swain:
When, for his near-lost life restor'd again,
His thanks are given at the holy shrine;
With grateful praises to the pow'rs divine;
Hither, with her who doth his steps attend,
(Earine) his love-light way he'll bend:
Be happy, mortals! pow'rful Puck's your friend!
. Thanks, gentle spirit! in the name of all,
For that the swain thou didst to life recall!
And for each other friendly office done,
Which e'en our hopes and wishes have outrun!
. Here come the pair! their eyes with rapture bright:
Now shall our feast be crown'd with true delight!
. O gentle friends! how shall I e'er repay
The various obligations of this day?
To life, to sense, Earine restor'd!
All bliss is center'd in that blissful word,
Earine! sure joy was ne'er like mine!
The sun with tenfold splendor seems to shine,
The face of nature ne'er was half so gay,
As on this more than festive, wond'rous day!
. Kind Marian! loving maids! embrace your friend;
Earine's sorrows now are at an end!
O holy hermit! once more on my knee–
. Rise, maiden! shepherd rise! kneel not to me;
To this bright minister your thanks are due.
. Not more, good Reuben! than they are to you.
. To both, then, we our thankful tribute give.
. To whom we owe that Æglamour doth live!
. Here comes my quondam dame, to deprecate
Your angers; and though I have the cause of hate
To the old crone, for her fell tyranny;
Yet, from my bondage being now set free,
And from foul witchcraft she at length reclaim'd,
I all entreat with scoffing she's not shamed;
Pity her age, nor let her more be blamed!
. Kind spirit! were we not to mercy prone,
Thy mildness might pervade a heart of stone.
[Maudlin, Clarion, Douce, and
. Lo! on her knees repentant Maudlin bends,
To crave yer pardons, and mak what amends
For bygone wickedness she may to a'
In guds, or person, harm'd; or kept in thra';
As, for my son, I kept Earine,
Pent in the hollow'd prison of a tree:
Himsel tu, Lorel, is reform'd; and sues
To a', his rudeness ever did abuse.
. Ey! I's offend nae mair, gif ye'll forgi',
But henceforth will a gentler swineherd be;
My sister Douce is to be Clarion's wife,
And we's a' change our crooked course o' life.
. Nae langer proud, as I ha' been a' day,
I'm sae abash'd I ha'n't a word to say!
. Is't even so, good Clarion? wilt thou wed
And take, rich swain, this poor maid to thy bed?
Well fare the generous heart!
. I'm of thy mind;
Thou, Robin, to the needy still art kind!
Those who are blest with wealth, should of their store
Be stewards, and dispensers to the poor:
The maid I'll wed; make Lorel o'er my flocks,
Herds, garners, barns, and other country stocks,
Surviewer; for in such craft he hath skill:
Repentant Maudlin, now reclaim'd from ill,
Shall in my cot find shelter for her age;
Where we'll attend her lore, and counsel sage,
Till time shall call her to the peaceful grave:
But first her pardon for past deeds I crave.
. Though erst her foe, now Clarion's suit I join;
Give all your pardons free as I give mine,
Unloosing from her neck this amulet strong:
See! of itself it falls! sure sign among
The righteous she's enroll'd: and all who groan
Under th'effects of her late charms, now flown,
(As did your cook, good Robin) in a trice
Will be as free from pain as she from vice.
. Reuben the reconciler I am call'd!
Since from the fiend her soul is disenthrall'd,
And reconcil'd to heav'n, let me intreat
Like grace and pardon she on earth may meet:
I read each visage round, and think I spy
A beam of mercy dart from ev'ry eye;
'Tis so! none e'er in sorrow went from hence!
In name of all, full pardon I dispense!
To punish crimes, is easy; to reclaim,
Forgive, and cherish, gains the nobler name!
Mercy's the darling attribute of heav'n;
And as we pardon, are our sins forgiv'n!
. All now were bless'd, would sweetest Mellifleur
The heart she has wounded kindly deign to cure.
. Freely! for troth I think thy passion pure!
. Here's work enough, I trow, for Tuck the priest!
Your marriages, young folks, would make a feast,
Were there no other toward: I'll join your hands
(Your hearts are join'd!) in wedlock's gentle bands,
And when you mutual taste love's pure delights,
Crown with a fruitful blessing Hymen's rites!
. Now then return we to our greenwood-bower;
And, holy Reuben, there unbend an hour
In harmless mirth; so reverend a guest
Shall give a sanction to our feast:
The light-foot venison, hare, and feather'd game;
Each dainty flesh of bird, beast, wild or tame;
With choicest fish, 'cates, fruits, ale, sparkling wine,
Upon our plenteous board shall mingled shine.
And would pleas'd Puck but add his song and jest,
Banquets of kings were nought to our grac'd feast!
. With thanks, blithe Robin! I delight
To pass in merriment the night;
And the sad-employed day
Now prepares to flit away:
Soon bright Hesperus will appear,
Harbinger of Dian clear,
And her starry sky-robed train;
Whose mingled beams shall o'er the plain
Silver our footsteps, as we trace
Again the path, with chearful pace,
Was hither mark'd in mournful mood,
With doleful dirge, through the greenwood.
Now as we jocund bend our way,
Let's chaunt a merry roundelay:
Sound, woodmen! sound your bugles sweet,
In sprightly notes, while Puck doth mete
Thereto some quaint and choral song,
As to the festal bower we trip along.
[The Woodmen sound their bugles
; Puck sings, and the rest join in the chorus
The chace is o'er; but, joy to tell!
Instead of sounding a mort-knell,
The hart, went cold to Death's drear-dell,
Is with his deer alive and well!
Sound, bugles, sound! the shepherd lad
No longer is ycleped "the sad."
Sound, bugles, sound! all grief is flown;
And love sits lightly on his throne!
Now to the feast, the greenwood feast,
With happy heart, each rural guest!
To which freed Puck shall add, at least,
His sportive pranks, apt song, and jest.
Sound, bugles, sound! each nymph and swain
Join in the chearful, choral strain;
And nimbly trip it through the wood,
To the famed feast of Robin Hood!