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"When Michael lay on his dying bed, His conscience was awakened:

He bethought him of his sinful deed,

And he gave me a sign to come with speed:
I was in Spain when the morning rose,
But I stood by his bed ere evening close.
The words may not again be said,
That he spoke to me, on death-bed laid;
They would rend this Abbaye's massy nave,
And pile it in heaps above his grave.


"I swore to bury his Mighty Book,
That never mortal might therein look;
And never to tell where it was hid,
Save at his Chief of Branksome's need:
And when that need was past and o'er,
Again the volume to restore.

I buried him on St. Michael's night,

When the bell toll'd one, and the moon was bright,
And I dug his chamber among the dead,
When the floor of the chancel was stained red,
That his patron's cross might over him wave,
And scare the fiends from the Wizard's grave.


"It was a night of woe and dread, When Michael in the tomb I laid!

Strange sounds along the chancel pass'd,

The banners waved without a blast” –

-Still spoke the Monk, when the bell toll'd one!I tell you, that a braver man

Than William of Deloraine, good at need,
Against a foe ne'er spurr'd a steed;

Yet somewhat was he chill'd with dread,
And his hair did bristle upon his head.

66 'Lo, Warrior! now,


the Cross of Red

Points to the grave of the mighty dead;
Within it burns a wondrous light,
To chase the spirits that love the night:
That lamp shall burn unquenchably,

Until the eternal doom shall be." 1
Slow moved the Monk to the broad flag-stone,
Which the bloody Cross was traced upon:
He pointed to a secret nook;

An iron bar the Warrior took;

And the Monk made a sign with his wither'd hand, The grave's huge portal to expand.


With beating heart to the task he went;
His sinewy frame o'er the grave-stone bent;
With bar of iron heaved amain,

Till the toil-drops fell from his brows, like rain.
It was by dint of passing strength,

That he moved the massy stone at length.

I would you had been there, to see
How the light broke forth so gloriously,
Stream'd upward to the chancel roof,
And through the galleries far aloof!
No earthly flame blazed e'er so bright:
It shone like heaven's own blessed light,

1 See Appendix, Note R.

And, issuing from the tomb,

Show'd the Monk's cowl, and visage pale, Danced on the dark-brow'd Warrior's mail, And kiss'd his waving plume.


Before their eyes the Wizard lay,
As if he had not been dead a day.
His hoary beard in silver roll'd,
He seem'd some seventy winters old;
A palmer's amice wrapp'd him round,
With a wrought Spanish baldric bound,

Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea:
His left hand held his Book of Might;
A silver cross was in his right;

The lamp was placed beside his knee: High and majestic was his look,

At which the fellest fiends had shook, And all unruffled was his face:

They trusted his soul had gotten grace.


Often had William of Deloraine

Rode through the battle's bloody plain,
And trampled down the warriors slain,
And neither knew remorse nor awe;
Yet now remorse and awe he own'd;
His breath came thick, his head swam round,
When this strange scene of death he saw.
Bewilder'd and unnerved he stood,

And the priest pray'd fervently and loud:
With eyes averted prayed he;

He might not endure the sight to see,
Of the man he had loved so brotherly.


And when the priest his death-prayer had pray'd,

Thus unto Deloraine he said:

"Now, speed thee what thou hast to do,

Or, Warrior, we may dearly rue;

For those, thou may'st not look upon,

Are gathering fast round the yawning stone !"-
Then Deloraine, in terror, took

From the cold hand the Mighty Book,

With iron clasp'd, and with iron bound:

He thought, as he took it, the dead man frown'd;' But the glare of the sepulchral light,

Perchance, had dazzled the Warrior's sight.


When the huge stone sunk o'er the tomb,
The night return'd in double gloom;

For the moon had gone down, and the stars were few;
And, as the Knight and Priest withdrew,

With wavering steps and dizzy brain,

They hardly might the postern gain.

'Tis said, as through the aisles they pass'd, They heard strange noises on the blast;

1 William of Deloraine might be strengthened in this belief by the well-known story of the Cid Ruy Diaz. When the body of that famous Christian champion was sitting in state by the high altar of the cathedral church of Toledo, where it remained for ten years, a certain malicious Jew attempted to pull him by the beard; but he had no sooner touched the formidable whiskers, than the corpse started up, and half unsheathed his sword. The Israelite fled; and so permanent was the effect of his terror, that he became Christian.-HEYWOOD's Hierarchie, p. 470, quoted from Sebastian Cobarruvias Crozee.

And through the cloister-galleries small,

Which at mid-height thread the chancel wall,
Loud sobs, and laughter louder, ran,

And voices unlike the voice of man;

As if the fiends kept holiday,

Because these spells were brought to day.
I cannot tell how the truth may be;



the tale as 'twas said to me.


"Now, hie thee hence," the Father said, "And when we are on death-bed laid,

O may our dear Ladye, and sweet St. John, Forgive our souls for the deed we have done !” — The Monk return'd him to his cell,

And many a prayer and penance sped; When the convent met at the noontide bellThe Monk of St. Mary's aisle was dead! Before the cross was the body laid,

With hands clasp'd fast, as if still he pray'd.


The Knight breathed free in the morning wind, And strove his hardihood to find:

He was glad when he pass'd the tombstones grey,
Which girdle round the fair Abbaye;

For the mystic Book, to his bosom prest,
Felt like a load upon his breast;

And his joints, with nerves of iron twined,
Shook, like the aspen leaves in wind.
Full fain was he when the dawn of day
Began to brighten Cheviot grey;

He joy'd to see the cheerful light,

And he said Ave Mary, as well as he might.
Vor.. I. -7

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