Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub
[graphic]

which resembled perfectly the spinster, ses, now blooming in all the brightness in whose honour they moved the nightly) of youth and health : and who should bridal-dance. Next day the whole they be but the brides, whose sudden town was filled with mourning; for all death had filled the whole town with the damsels whose shadows were seen mourning, and who, now recovered dancing with the spectres, had died from their enchanted slumber, had been suddenly. The same thing happened led by Master Willibald with his magic again the following night. The dancing pipe, out of their graves to the merry skeletons turned before the houses, and wedding-feast. The wonderful old wherever they had been, there was, man blew a last and cheerful farewell next morning, a dead bride lying on tune, and disappeared. He was never the bier.

seen again. The citizens were determined no Wido was of opinion, the bag-piper longer to expose their daughters and

was no other than the famous Spirit of mistresses to such an imminent danger. the Silesian Mountains.* The young They threatened the mayor to carry painter met him once when he travelled Emma away by force and to lead her to through the hills, and acquired (he Wido, unless the mayor would permit never knew how) his favour. He protheir union to be celebrated before the mised the youth to assist him in bis beginning of the night. The choice love-suit, and he kept his word, although was a difficult one, for the mayor dis- after his own jesting fashion. liked the one just as much as the other ; Wido remained all his life-time a but as he found himself in the uncom- favourite with the Spirit of the Mounmon situation, where a man may choose tains. He grew rich, and became cewith perfect freedom, he, as a free lebrate 1. His dear Emma brought being, declared freely his Emma to be him every year a handsome child, his Wido's bride.

pictures were sought after even in Italy Long before the spectre-hour the and England; and the “Dance of the guests sat at the wedding-table. The Dead,”

Dead," of which Basil, Antwerp, first stroke of the bell sounded, and Dresden, Lubeck, and many other immediately the favourite tune of the places boast, are only copies or imiwell-known bridal-dance was heard. tations of Wido's original painting, The guests, frightened to death, and which he had executed in memory of fearing the spell might still continue to the real “ Dance of the Dead at Neisse!" work, hastened to the windows, and But, alas ! this picture is lost, and no: beheld the bag-piper, followed by a long collector of paintings has yet been able row of figures in white shrouds, moving to discover it, for the gratification of to the wedding-house. He remained the cognoscenti, and the benefit of the at the door and played ; but the pro- history of the art. cession went on slowly, and proceeded

The above entertuininn tale we have extracted even to the festive hall. Here the from a very clever periodical work, alled" The

Literary Magnet." strange pale guests rubbed their eyes, and looked about them full of astonishment, like sleep walkers just awa- * The Spirit of the Silesian Mountains, kened. The wedding guests fled behind plays a great part in the German Popular the chairs and tables ; but soon the

Tales. He always appears full of mirth cheeks of the phantoms began to colour,

and whims. The people know bim best

by his nickname Rubezahl, the turnip their white lips became blooming like counter. The accident which gave rise young rose-buds; they gazed at each to this nickpame, has been related in a other full of wonder and joy, and well- masterly manner in “ Musäus's German known voices called friendly names.

Popular Tales," which will be given in the They were soon known as revived corp

ensuing pages of our work.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

On a rising eminence, east of the river Clwyd, in Flintshire, about two miles from its

influx into the sea, are the majestic ruins of Rhuddlan castle; which derives its name from the colour of the soil on which it is situated, according to Leland, who thus deduces its etymology in his Itinerary : “ Rethlan, communely called Rudelan, cummeth of Rethe, that ys to saye, color, or pale, redde, and glan, that ys shore ; but g, when glan ys set with a word preceding x, ys exploded.”. Camden reports it to have been built by Llewellyn ap Sitshilt, a brave and amiable prince, who, after a reign of great glory, in which he had gained the love of his subjects, was assassinated by Howel and Meredydh, the sous of Edwyn by regular descent, of Howel Dha, in hopes of gaining the crown of South Wales; but their schemes were defeated by the odium which the people manifested towards them, and they were obliged to fly to Ireland. He left only one son, by name Gryffydh, who sncceeded him, and during his life time made Rhuddlan his chief residence. Of the ruin, there are many legen dary tales related ; but this, though not the most popular, is perhaps the most extravagant, and is equally credited with the rest by the superstitious peasantry, who tremble to pass the ruin in the dusk of evening, when it is believed that witches and ghosts are ihere holding their revels.

“_STAY, pilgrim; whither wendst —still bleaker blows the blast, cutting, thou?"

keen, and freezing, as the grey mist of -“Cold is the north wind that plays evening falls upon the vales ; — frozen around the mountains-heart-chilling is the path that winds through yon fothe snow that's wasted across the moor rest; upon the leafless trees hangs the

my heart.

winter's hoary frost--and cheerless the flew; and the expiring embers of my bosom of him doom'd to wander along fire casting a faint light, guided me the lone path in such a night as this." along the courts, through which I dart

“ –Turn thee, pilgrim! and bend ed with the rapidity of lightning. Vethy step to Rhuddlan's ruined walls, nerable hermit, again I dare not trust where thou mayst, undisturbed, waste the myself in Rhuddlan's walls. I have gloomy night, and take the morning to opposed my bosom to the Saxon's sword, enjoy the road.”

and never trembled; I have braved dan* -Pious hermit! knowst thou not, gers for my country, and was never from dusky eve until return of morn, known to tremble ;-but I dare not face that tortured spirits in yon castle rove? the spirits of the angry Clwyd." E'en now, the blood runs chill in my The hermit smiled. veins, while I do think on what I've “ - Thou seest yon rock, which, seen. Such groans have met my ears threatening, hangs above the river -such sights my eyes—and screams and which, slowly rippling along, now laves riotous laughs mingled with the winds against its broken sides. In the bosom that whistled through the broken arches of that rock, I dwell. Peace is its inof the courts-e'en now, the sweat of mate. My cell is humble, but hospiterror dews my brow, and languid beats table; and in its lap the weaty pilgrim

has often found repose. Rest thou with -Say, didst thou penetrate the me this night to share it, friend, and hall ?"

eke my frugal meal.” “ -I did ; and, on the hearth, light “ –Holy father with joy I follow you; some dried leaves to warm my shrivering hunger and fatigue sore oppress me; and frame. I spread my wallet's fare upon my wearied limbs almost refuse their the ground--with joyful heart, began to wonted office." merry make—but angry spirits broke The venerable hermit conducted the upon my glee, and fearfiil noises hailed wearied pilgrim to his cell, which was my livid cheek. Instantly I dropped clean-his meal was wholesome. The upon my trembling knee, and told my pilgrim ate of the frugal repast ; and a beads; but the screams increased—a chrystal water, springing from the rock, ray of flame shot through the room, and was the beverage on which the man of before me stood a warrior in complete piety regaled. This was proffered in a armour cladhis casque was down, rudely carved wooden bowl to his guest, and above his brow there waved a blood- who drank, and felt relieved. He now red plume. No word he spake, but drew his stool near the hearth, on which looked upon me with earnestness; his the faggot blazed ; and the hermit, to eye was as the sloe, black-as the basi- beguile the moments, and remove the lisk's fascinating—his cheek was wan fear which occupied his companion's and deathlike. I wonld have fled, but breast, thus related of the Knight of the my feet seemed chained to the ground, Blood-red Plume and the fair Erilda. and my

heart feared to beat against my High on the walls of Rhuddlan waved bosom. At this moment I heard a female the black flag of death-loud the bell of voice, that loudly sounded in the hall. the neighbouring priory tolled the so"I come, Erilda,” cried the red- lemn knell, which every vale re-echoed plumed knight; and instantly vanished. round, and the sad response floated to Again were the screams repeated; and the ear through every passing gale.showers of blood fell upon the marble The monks, in solemn voice, sung a flooring on which I stood.—My veins mass for the everlasting repose of the were filled with icicles from

deceased--a thousand tapers illumined but, rendered desperate by fear, in the the chapel-and bounteously was the midst of the most horrible howlings, I

dole distributed to the surrounding poor.

my

heart;

1

The evening blast was keen--the grey flight, uttering a wild, discordant scream, mist circled the mountain's craggy brow The portal was opened to receive him ; -and thin Aakes of snow beat in the and Sir Rhyswick entered through a traveller's face, while cold and shiver- | long range of vassals, habited in mourning airs wafted his cloak aside. Sir ful weeds. Rhyswick the Hardy heard, as he ad- “ Is the prediction true, then ;” he vanced, the echo of the distant bell; exclaimed : and, rushing to the apartand spurring his mettled steed, with ment of Egberta, found her cold and heart harbouring many fears, pursued breathless. The colour that once adornhis course fleetly through the forest. ed her cheek was faded-her eyes were

“Use speed, Sir Knight !” cried a shrouded--and her lips became more voice in his ear. “Egberta dies !" pale, from which the last breath had so Rhyswiek turned pale.

lately issued. A serene smile mantled Egberta's bosom's cold;" conti- her countenance-her locks were carepued the voice, “and vain will be your fully bound in rose-bands-her corpse sighs."

was prepared for the earth—and two The Knight in dismay checked his monks sat on each side of her, offering horse, and inclined his head to whence up their holy prayers for her repose. Sir he thought the sound proceeded; but Rhyswick, overcome by this inexpectnothing met his eye; all was vacant be- ed sight, with a groan, fainted upon the føre him, and only the quivering bough, couch. Some servants that had attended fanned by the breeze, was heard. Ra- him from the hall, conveyed him in a ther alarmed, he set spurs to the sides state of insensibility to his chamber; of his steed-still the snow was drifted and, the next day, the virtuous Egberta in his face. Night was now ushered to was deposited in the chapel of the castle. the heavens, and it was with difficulty he Maidens strewed the path with Aowers, could maintain the path that branched along which their sainted lady was borne; through the forest. The web-winged and some monks from the neighbouring bat brushed by his ear in her circular priory sung a solemn dirge over her fight; and the ominous screech-owl, bare-headed and with their arms crossed straining her throat, proclaimed the dis- upon their bosoms. The fair Erilda with solution of the deceased.

her own hands decked the person of her Sir Rhyswick heaved a sigh; a me- mother with flowers; and those flowers lancholy thought, stole across his brain, were moist with a daughter's tears. A and, arriving at the banks of the Clwyd, requiem, chaunted by the monks, and he beheld, with trembling, the many in which the maiden joined, closed the tapers in the priory of Rhuddlan, and ceremony; and Erilda, with oppressed heard more distinctly the solemn bell. heart, returned to the castle.

“ Egberta is no more,” cried the Sir Rhyswick, whose grief would not voice that had before accosted him ; permit him to attend the funeral rites, "Egberta is in Heaven.”

pressed the affectionate girl to his boThe Knight turned round; but, be- som ; and they sought mutual consolaholding no one, and agonized by the tion in each other. prediction, again he roused his steed, Rhyswick the Hardy was the friena and few, pale and breathless to the cas- and favourite of his prince ; he had tle. He blew the loud horn suspended fought in all the wars of his country, at the gate of Twr Silod, the strong since the first moment he could hurt tower which stands upon the banks of the spear-victory had always attendthe river ; and the loud blast echoing in ed his arms;

but
now,

his beard was the courts, aroused the ominous bird that silvered with agen-peace had alighted on its battlements, who, stored to the land, and he had hoped, Alapping her heavy wings, resumed her at Rhuddlan, in the bosom of his Eg

was

re

berta, to pass away his few remaining wick indulged in grief, and the castle years. Bliddyn ap Cynvyn had united was one scene of mourning. On the in himself by conquest, the sovereignty brow of the rock, that o'erlooks the of Gwynedd, or North Wales, with angry Clwyd, which rolls beneath, the Powys : and thus had terminated a war poorer vassals and dependents of Rhuddthat had long threatened destruction lan, every evening came to receive the to either nation. With pleasure did bounty of their young mistress. It was Wales observe her implacable enemy, these excavations in the rock that echothe English, struggling to overcome a ed the soft plaintive notes of her meloforeign foe-bloody were the battles dious harp.-On this rock she sung, fought with William of Normandy, and the spirits of the murmuring river surnamed the Bastard ; and, with secret were charmed, as they lay in their satisfaction, did Bliddyn ap Cynvyn, a oozy bed, with the soft pleasing strains silent spectator, see either army redu- -the billows ceased to roll in admiraced and weakened in the sanguinary tion, and Zephyrus drew back his head, contest. Sir Rhyswick had by his be- in mute attention to the rapturous lay. loved Egberta, (from whose fond arms Once, when the return of twilight the war had often torn him, and who, was announced in the heavens, by the in his last absence, being attacked by a rich crimson streaks and blushing gold sudden and violent illness, in a few that occupied the vast expanse of sky, days expired,) one only daughter. To and Erilda accompanied with her voice Erilda he now looked forward for future the trembling harp, a warrior Knight, happiness. She was beautiful as the mounted on a barbed steed, in sable morn-roseate health sat upon her armour clad, with a Blood-red Plame smiling cheek-meekness and charity waving on his brow, approached the in her lustre-beaming eye-her teeth spot from whene the sound proceeded. were as so many snow-drops, regular- Erilda, on hearing the advance of horses' ly even—her breath, like the dewed feet, turned hastily around; and, with rose-bud, of glowing fragrance-A dim- modest courtesy, welcomed the Knight, ple revelled playfully near her mouth, who had thus obtruded on her privacy. and the rich ringlets of her yellow hair There was a something in his gait and floated carelessly on her fine curved appearance that struck her with awe: shoulders. Upon her snowy breasts and the unknown, dismounting from she wore a ruby cross, suspended by a his steed, occupied a seat beside her. gold chain-and down her taper limbs Again she struck upon the trembling the dazzling folds of her white garments chords, with fearful hand. The stranger flowed. Erilda was not more beautiful sighed, as he gazed upon her; and, in person than in mind; for, as lovely when her eye met his, she withdrew it, a bosoin as ever nature formed, encased blushing, on the ground. The shade a heart enriched with every virtue. She of night approached, and misty fogs was the subject of universal admiration;

obscured the starry sky. all tongues were lavish in her praise, “ Sir Knight,” she cried, with a and many suitors came to ask her hand : courteous smile, while an unusual palbut, though extremely sensitive, no one, pitation thrilled through her heart, of as yet, claimed an interest in her heart : admiration mingled with fear, “Rhuddthe warm shaft of love had not pierced lan's hospitable walls are ready to reher glowing veins ; and gay and affable ceive you; and no warrior passes her to all-reserved to few—she preserved warlike towers, without partaking and that freedom which the lover cannot acknowledging the munificenceof Rhysretain. The loss of her mother im- wick the Hardy." parted a melancholy to her cheek, that “ Fair lady!" replied the unknown, rendered her far more lovely. Sir Rhys- “ the hospitality of the gallant chief

« ПредишнаНапред »