Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DOUGLAS'S RIDE, by EMILY JANE BRONTE



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DOUGLAS'S RIDE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Well, narrower draw the circle round
Last Line: He need not fly the dead --
Alternate Author Name(s): Bell, Ellis


Well, narrower draw the circle round
And hush that organ's solemn sound
And quench the lamp and stir the fire
To rouse its flickering radiance higher;
Loop up the window's velvet veil
That we may hear the night-wind wail --
For wild those gusts and well their chimes
Blend with a song of troubled times --

Song

What rider up Gobelrin's glen
Has spurred his straining steed,
And fast and far from living men
Has pressed with maddening speed?

I saw his hoof-prints mark the rock
When swift he left the plain
I heard deep down, the echoing shock
Re-echo back again.

From cliff to cliff, through rock and heath
That coal-black courser bounds;
Nor heeds the river pent beneath,
Nor marks how fierce it sounds.

With streaming hair and forehead bare
And mantle waving wide
His master rides; the eagles there
Soar up on every side:

The goats fly by with timid cry
Their realm so rashly won:
They pause -- he still ascends on high
They gaze, but he is gone.

O gallant horse hold on thy course!
The road is tracked behind --
Spur, rider, spur, or vain thy force
Death comes on every wind.

Roared thunder loud from that pitchy cloud?
[From] it the torrents flow?
Or woke the breeze in the swaying trees
That frown so dark below?

He breathes at last, when the valley is past;
He rests on the grey rock's brow.
What ails thee steed? At thy master's need,
Wilt thou prove faithless now?

No, hardly checked, with ears erect,
The charger champed his rein,
Ere his quivering limbs, all foam-beflecked,
Were off like light again.

Hark through the pass, with threatening crash
Comes on the increasing roar!
But what shall brave the deep, deep wave?
The deadly path before?

Their feet are dyed in a darker tide
Who dare those dangers drear --
Their breasts have burst through the battle's worst
And why should they tremble here?

Strong hearts they bear and arms as good
To conquer or to fall
They dash into the boiling flood,
They gain the rock's steep wall --

'Now my bold men this one pass more
This narrow chasm of stone
And Douglas -- for our sovereign's gore
Shall yield us back his own' --

I hear their ever nearing tread
Sound through the granite glen,
There is a tall pine overhead
Laid by the mountain men

That dizzy bridge which no horse could track
Has checked the outlaw's way;
There like a wild beast he turns back
And grimly stands at bay.

Why smiles he so when far below
He sees the toiling chase?
The ponderous tree sways heavily
And totters from its place --

They raise their eyes for the sunny skies
Are lost in sudden shade,
But Douglas neither shrinks nor flies --
He need not fly the dead --





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