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tain, so famed, is not unknown to me; with an assumed smile, he conducted but I must onward on my journey, nor her to the supper-hall. taste the bour ty which all admire.” Erilda vainly attempted to be gay, but
“ Sir Knight! this is not courteous.” variety of thought occupied her brain ;
“ Lady, adieu! it must not be: I the soul-inspiring song of the family live in hopes that we shall meet again." bard charmed not her ear, who, at the
Saying this, he pressed her hand to board, when the gay goblet circulated his lips, and mounting his steed, flew at the tables, raised high his tuneful with the rapidity of the winds along the voice to the sublimest pitch, in conshadowed plain that stood before her. memoration of deeds of other days, and "His horse, so fleet, seemed to skim along sung of triumph, and of glorious war. the ground : and in an instant he was Erilda, whose heart was affected by borne from her sight.
another subject, was not moved with the Erilda was astonished; there was a sweet sounds of the trembling harp, nor wildness in the jet black eye of the un- participated in that emotion which the known, that, while it fascinated, alarmed song of patriotism inspired in the breasts her- a beautiful colour tinged his cheek; of the auditors. Had the theme been but not of that nature to which she was love, the air been plaintive as the ringaccustomed. His locks were black and dove's tender tale, Erilda's soul had sleek-his figure was noble and com- wasted in the strain, and owned the manding-his voice, though harmony power of music, when in melody with itself, still conveyed a hollow sound that her feelings. Affectionately imprinting was not pleasing. In short, his whole a kiss upon the bearded cheek of Sir appearance, while it charmed to admi- Rhyswick, attended by her page, she ration, filled her with a kind of tremor ; bade adieu to the knight; and, retiring and she returned to the palace of Rbudd- to her couch, attempted to lull those lan, charmed, and at the same time wild and troubled thoughts that agitated awed, with the martial appearance of and oppressed her; but the blood-plu
med knight, in her slumbers, stood before “What majesty in his countenance !" her: his graceful form-his pensive, meexclaimed she to herself." What no- lancholy countenance, she pictured to bleness in his demeanour! And, ah! herself: and sighs of regret, when she what melancholy seems to occupy his awoke, and found the unreal image soul, that dims the sparkling lustre of vanished, stole from her heaving breast. his jet black eye, and clouds those ani- With the first dawn of morning, Erilmating features, otherwise bearning with da arose, and few to the monastery of cheerfulness. Surely such dejection is Rhuddlan, to offer up her daily prayers. not natural in him? No, no; some The holy father confessor gave her abhidden secret preys upon his heart ; solution, on a declaration of her errors ; perhaps love, which, as I have heard and again she sought the much-loved bards relate, feeds upon the roseate hue spot, where she had met the unknown. of health-gives languor to the eye- | She looked towards the path he had paleness to the cheek-and despoils the taken the preceding evening, but he no heart of its manhood-that reduce firm- longer occupied it; and, seating herself ness to trepidity—and poisons the noble upon the rock, she played an air, soft mind with weaknessess that are engen
and melodious as the strains of Philo. dered by timidity."
mel; but, dissatisfied with herexecution, Erilda sighed.-Sir Rhyswick met she turned the instrument aside; her her as she was seeking her chamber ; voice, she conceived, wanted its usual the good old man bore the resemblance sweetness—the harp was out of tuneof bis grief upon his fretted cheek; but and her fingers, lingering upon the he endeavoured to be cheerful; and, strings, damped the swelling note.
Erilda sighed, and sighed so deep, The heroic huntress fleetly pursued ; that the echo, from the excavated rocks, while the horns and hounds echoed returned them to her ear.–At length from another part of the plain. Long the tear glistened in her eye.
did the doe maintain her speed, and kept “ Why, why am I thus concerned for in sight, with the arrow in her breast, a wandering unknown, whom chance, until the pale-faced moon appeared, perhaps, conducted to this spot for a emerging from a cloud, and silvering first, and only time : Who, ere now, the glassy lake. At length, the wounded is leagues distant from my sighs, and who animal dropped, and instantly expired. does not entertain one thought of me? Erilda dismounted her steed; and Away, hope, thou delusive image, from now, she first discovered herself to be my
bosom-I never shail behold him absent from her train, and at an hour more-my heart must harbour no such when angry demons ride upon the air sighs."
and mutter mischief. Cold winds waftSaying this, with the firmness of re- ed her brown hair aside; and fast desolution, she turned her step towards scended the grey mist of evening. In the castle. Sir Rhyswick was preparing vain Erilda listened to catch the halloo for the chase; the hounds and hawks of the huntsmen. No longer the horn were abroad-all was noise and confu- sounded in the vale-all was drear and sion-and Erilda consented to make one silent, save the hollow murmuring of of the throng. Buckling on her breast the wind, forcing its passage, sighing the mantle of green, and slinging across through the trees. Almost fainting with her shoulder the bow and arrow quiver, - fear, she leaned upon her bow; she enmounted on a cream-backed palfrey, she deavoured to blow the horn that was joined them.
suspended at her breast, but it fell from The adjacent forest echoed back the her grasp, and the bow shrunk from her huntsmen's loud horns, and the affright-hand. At length, summoning more ed deer pricked up their ears to the fortitude, she remounted her steed; and well-known blast. The yell of the dogs not knowing what road to take, gave her sounded in the deep glens—the loud horse the reins, trusting herself to the halloo succeeded-and nimbly o'er the protection of her household spirit.bogs and marshes bounded the fleet ob- Away flew the impatient steed through ject of their sport. It was noon when the forest--over hill and dale : the turf Sir Rhyswick ordered his vassals to trembled beneath his hoofs, and the white strike their tents upon the plain ; and, foam frothed at his extended nostrils. after refreshing them with a rich repast, On a sudden, the bell of a neighbouring again they repaired to renew the chase; monastery sounded in the gale, and the ripe mead, in a golden goblet, was blazing torches were seen waving through presented to the fair Erilda, who, in the different parts of a wood that lay before midst of her damsels, looked like the her. “ Hilli, oh ho !" cried the hun goddess of the wood-and Sir Rhyswick tress, with hope animating her bosom drank from the hirlas horn the soul-re- “ Hilli oh ho !” but her voice returned viving cwrrw. Soon again was the responsive to her ear, and the flaming panting deer pursued up craggy cliffs- brands disappeared. Still she pursue through streams and vallies over the the path, and fleetly flew the cream heath-across the moor-and through backed palfrey on which she rodethe mazy forest. Erilda startled a speck- now again the huntsman's horn wa led doe from the bosom of a dark glen ; heard winding at a great distance, and and drawing her arrow to the head, in now the approaching clank of horses the silver bow, pierced her in the breast. hoofs convinced her that the attendants Though wounded the animal made good of the chieftain, her father, were in pur herflight, and darted away like lightning.
suit of her. Erilda, checking her steed awaited their coming up with her; but dispersed them round the country in those in pursuit took a different route ; search of her. All was bustle ; and, and the sounds dying away, as the at- no sooner did she appear among them, tendants receded, all was again hushed. than loud shouts rent the air, and they At length, weary of suspense, she pro- flew to bear the welcome tidings to Sir ceeded; and, turning the angle of a Rhyswick. The stranger Knight conjutting rock that bulged in the fertile ducted her across the courts; and the Clwyd, she observed a horseman slow- fond father, impatient to clasp her to ly parading its banks. Pensive was his his arms, hastened towards her. Erilda face his right hand rested on a battle- fell upon his bosom; and the tear of joy axe-his left held the reins of a nut- dropped from the old man's beard upon brown courser his soul seemed occu- her shoulder. The Knight, in his turn, pied by melancholy-his brain to be received the caresses of the venerable distracted by tormenting thoughts.- chieftain, who, boundless in his joy, Erilda advanced towards him, and fixing would have lavished on him empires, ber blue eyes upon his cheek, to her had he had them to command. astonishment recognized the stranger “ Tell me, Sir Knight,” cried RhysKnight of the Blood-red Plume. His wick, " to whom am I indebted for the vizor was up, and melancholy tinged restoration of Erilda to my aged arms ? his whole countenance-a sigh, half Let me fall upon my knees at his feet, suppressed, trembled on his lips-de- and bless him.” spondency seemed to depress his heart, “ Hospitable chieftain, my name is that shed a transitory gloom over every
Wertwroid, a forlorn and sutfering wanfeature, and preyed upon that energy of derer ; the world contains no home to mind, which his interesting eye betrayed shelter me-no friend to welcome me; as certainly possessing. Erilda, unable but, though sorrows oppress my heart, to curb her impetuous steed, who reared I am ever ready to give joy to others, upon his hind legs, and snorted in rage, -Erilda is once more yours," he added called to the Knight, who, wrapped in with a sigh, and bowing his head, was thought, observed her not.
about to depart. "Good stranger," cried the daughter Nay, stranger, this night you must of háughty Rhuddlan's chieftain, “I share that joy which you have imparted throw myself under your protection; | to our breast, and make Rhuddlan your conduct the strayed Erilda to Rhuddlan's residence.” hall, and the blessings of a distracted “ Your pardon," cried the Knight, parent shall be your's."
“my envious fortune denies that I should * Divine daughter of the first of taste of pleasureI must away, ere the chieftains," replied the Knight, eagerly stars fade on the horizon." grasping his horse's reins ; * I am sub- “Wertwrold," returned Erilda, “the ject to your commands--my life shall maid whom you have protected entreats be devoted to your service.”
your stay-upon her knee entreats it: Erilda, smiling, gave him her hand, do not dispirit our festivity by your which he pressed respectfully to his lips: departure. Come, let me conduct you and, proceeding, the lofty turrets of to the marble-hall.” Rhuddlan appeared in view. The pale The Knight, overpowered by their enmoon, shedding her rays on its dark treaties, at length yielded; and Erilda battlements, reflected them to the Clwyd, taking him by the hand, introduced him which in soft billows rippled beneath to the festive board, where sat the harpers, the mount on which it stood. Number- tuning their strings, awaiting the apless torches were seen glaring in the proach of the chieftain and his guests. hands of the disconsolate attendants of Wertwrold appeared struck with the the chieftain, who, in the agony of grief, dazzling splendor of the hall that had regaled princes : rich crimson tapestry | absence of him or her we love createshung down the walls in festoons fringed and now she felt the pains, was unable with gold, between pillars of the fairest to sustain them. The Red-plumed marble, disposed at equal distances, Knight was master of her heart and of supporting cornices of polished silver; her fate; violent was the passion that the carved ceiling displayed emblema- raged in her bosom, threatening to contical devices of war and of the chase ; in sume her by a slow lingering fire; for it one part, Diana was painted with her appeared impossible the passion could bow; in another, Caractacus engaging be gratified.' Seated upon an arm of the Romans.
the rock that overhangs the Clwyd, tears Erilda conducted the Knight to a flowing down her lovely cheeks, agitated cedar stool, covered with crimson, and by similar thoughts, and overcome by edged with gold, at the table, on which weight of her emotions, weary, not havwere profusely scattered carved goblets, ing tasted of repose the preceding night, sumptuously embossed, and Howing she sunk into a gentle slumber, her with ripe mead. The harpers, during head reclined upon her lily arm. the repast, raised their voices in praise Wertwrold left the castle to taste of of the ancestors of Rhyswick, and regu- the refreshing air, ere the Baron delarly traced his descent, in bardic song: scended from his chamber, or the loud describing each great feat his fathers bell summoned them to breakfast. His had performed. And now, the mid-feet, as if by instinct, led him to the night bell sounding, dissipated their spot where first Erilda had attracted his mirth-the bards were dismissed-and notice. How much was be astonished Wertwrold was led to a couch by one lo behold the lovely maiden in a sweet of the attendants, after saluting the fair sleep! He stood awhile to observe her, hand of Erilda, which she offered to and the tenderest sensation thrilled him, in token of her favour. The morn- through his whole soul; her auburn ing dawned unusually splendid—the locks played carelessly upon her temearly dew sparkled on the grass blade pies, and her blue eyes were shrowded --and the effulgent sun rising, tinted with her long dark lashes; the tint of the the horizon with his gay beams-gentle carnation was displayed upon her cheek was the air that played around the a perfect ruby colour were her lipsmountains-sweet and odoriferous was the white rose leaf, through which runs the scented gale—the river Clwyd timid- the blue enamelled vein, was not more ly flowing, fearful lest it should inter- fair than her forehead, or more sweet rupt the calmness that prevailed, was than her breath-the soft air that played scarcely seen to move and Erilda, around her, wafted the thin gauze aside whose troubled thoughts the preceding that shadowed her snowy bosom, and evening had denied her rest
, hastened revealed beauties, which monarchs, on to the delightful rock where she first beholding, would have languished beheld the stranger, Wertwrold ; there enjoy.-Wertwrold, transported in the to indulge in sighs, and those thoughts ecstasy of passion, dropped upon his that, while they pained, pleased. The knee, and imprinted a kiss upon her solitary spot afforded her an opportuni-cheek. ty to indulge in the melancholy of her Erilda, at this moment, awoke ; and mind; here she could sit and gaze with the Knight, conscious of the crime he pensive eye upon the calm waters, as had committed, drew back, abashed and they laved against the shore, and involve trembling. Erilda was alike confused, her brain in a chaos of bewildering re- and Wertwrold, seizing this opportunity, flection, unobserved by any one. Erilda clasped hold of her hand with servour, never knew till now what it was to love and pressing it between his, exclaimed, -never knew till now what sighs the “ Lovely Erilda, pardon the presumption which your beauty bas inspired | less as the mountain's dazzling snow, if 'tis a crime to adore you, then am I whose beauty shall be the theme of courts most criminal; but I bow to my fate- and palaces-whose virtue shall be the doomed to be unhappy, I willingly re
admiration of those, whom, with parent sign myself the victim of cruel fortune.” bounty she has fostered—whose hand
" Say, Sir Knight," cried the em- shall be urged by knights of rank and enbarrassed Erilda, lending her hand to terprize-who shall withstand the temp, raise him from the ground, “ why are tation of wealth and power, equipage and you thus persecuted ? Repose your
Repose your title-who shall sincerely love me for sorrows in my bosom ; indeed, you will myself alone, and brave all dangers, to find in me one much interested for you. arrive at the haven of my arms.' -Erilda, from her heart pities you." Erilda turned pale; the colour on her
“ And does Erilda pity me?" he re- cheek Aew, and her whole frame beturned, rising, and assuming a seat by came agitated. At this moment the her side. “Oh, welcome, ye sorrows ! loud bell of the castle tolled the breakfor, henceforward, mingled with your fast hour, and endeavouring to re-assume biter tears, ye convey a pleasure in the her wonted spirits, “ Come," she cried
thought, that she whom all the world gaily, “ we have wasted much time in i adores, feels for my sufferings; the idle talk."
scalding tear shall no longer flow with- Wertwrold lent her his arm, and they out its balm—the arrow of anguish, proceeded to Rhuddlan. The young while it wounds, shall on its poison-tipt Knight at their earnest solicitation, conpoint, convey a healing balsam to my sented to remain at the castle a few days, soul."
and various sports were devised to amuse " But say, Sir Knight—why is your him : nothing was spared to make him fate involved in mystery ? Lend me your forget hisgriefs
. But in the midst of spleni confidence—make me mistress of your did gaiety, Wertwrold was still himself
secret-my bosom shall be its prison-melancholy still clouded his brow, and house; and so tenacious will I be in re- stole the roseate colour of his cheek, taining it, that even to myself I will not On the second evening, as the last dare to whisper it."
rays of the sun were reflected upon the “Oh, lady, could I burst the fetters lakes, and the misty crown of twilight that chain my tongue to secresy, I should circled the mountain's peak, Erilda, enjoy a luxury in my grief; but, no, it whose bosom was tortured by the love is forbid-you behold in me a house- she bore the unhappy Wertwrold, strayless wanderer, against whom the ven- ed in the garden adjoining the castle. geance of Heaven is imprecated, dooni- | The day had been rather sultry, and, , ed, for a term, to be a solitary inhabitant attended by her little foot page, she of the earth with no settled home to made towards the fountain, with an inshelter meno friend to console me- tent to bathe. She had already unloosed no one to whom I can confide my sor- her hair, when she observed, extended rows."
upon the yellow sands, Wertwrold; he “Well!” cried Erilda, with impa- was in a sound sleep-and, approaching tience.
with tremulous step, she hung over him “ Lady, I dare reveal no more—the with an eye brimful of tears. cause must remain unknown.
Unhappy Knight!” she cried. Erilda could scarce conceal her agi- “ Where shall be found the maid who tation. “ And when," with a tremulous can assuage the anguish of thy bosom, voice, she added, “ will the term expire, and restore it to its former peace ?-that frees you of your misery."
Where shall that maid be found, speck" Then-when a virgin shall be less as thou hast described, who will found, of noble birth, and honour speck- renounce every pretension for thee?