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The first Percy, who came over with William the Conqueror, married a Saxon lady, called Emma de Port, said to have been the daughter of the last Saxon Earl of Northumberland, whose possessions had been given to him (Lord William de Percy) for his services.

I have taken the liberty of supposing this lady to had a brother.

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1 BEFORE the fair Aurora spread
2 Her azure mantle o'er the skies,
3 While sleep its pleasing influence shed,
4 On grateful mortals weary eyes.
5 Emerg'd from a surrounding wood,
6 On a bleak mountain's sullen brow,
7 A solitary outlaw stood,
8 And view'd, through mist, the world below.
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9 With deep regret his bosom fraught,
10 His arms were wreath'd in sorrow's knot;
* "Wreathing his arms in this sad knot." SHAKESPERE'S TEMPEST.
11 Nor seem'd he yet, by patience taught,
12 To bear submissively his lot.
13 Hidden was each enlivening grace;
14 Deprest by his untimely doom;
15 A hectic flush o'erspread his face,
16 Instead of nature's florid bloom.
17 Untutor'd in the school of grief,
18 His pining spirit spoke in sighs;
19 Though almost hopeless of relief,
20 He look'd around with eager eyes;
21 And fondly bent an anxious ear,
22 To the slow murmuring of the breeze,
23 Essaying oft, in vain, to hear
24 A friendly step beneath the trees.
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25 "Delusive wish!" at last he cried,
26 "Why wilt thou fill my aching breast?
27 " And thus my miseries deride,
28 "By telling how I might be blest.
29 "No kind consolers hither bend,
30 " By sympathy to ease my care;
31 "Here comes no ever-faithful friend,
32 " Who yet might shield me from despair.
33 "The abbey's well-known tow'r t seek,
34 " It fades from my impassion'd eye;
35 "The fancied outlines softly break,
36 " And melt into the distant sky.
37 "No pitying object now remains,
38 " That I may know those scenes are near,
39 "Where generous love and friendship reigns,
40 " And Alwin's name may claim a tear.
41 "And you, my lov'd paternal groves,
42 " Where I no more must shew my head;
43 "In your fair walks a stranger roves,
44 " And treacherous Normans daily tread!
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45 "E'en now their presence may prophane
46 " The halls where Herbert did reside!
47 "E'en now may joy and gladness reign,
48 " And Adelaide be Percy's bride.
49 "Yet no! her soul, the seat of truth,
50 " Would ne'er a second love receive!
51 "The sacred vows of artless youth,
52 " Her Alwin ever shall believe!
53 "They still shall comfort my sad heart,
54 " And sooth the anguish of my mind;
55 "Shall still a cheering hope impart,
56 " And make me somewhat more resign'd.
57 "Ah! yet I hear her trembling hand,
58 " Withdraw the bolt to set me free!
59 "Yet hear the hasty, kind command,
60 " My Alwin fly, and live for me!
61 "No other can obtain my love!
62 " I would for thee the world resign!
63 "Then let thy prompt obedience prove
64 " That thou art truly, wholly mine. "
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65 "And ever to her promise true,
66 " No pleasure shall her soul elate,
67 "For, yet her constant thoughts pursue
68 " A wretched Outlaw's hapless fate!
69 "In vain proud Ranulph
* Lord of Cumberland
shall upbraid,
70 "My Adelaide is still the same!
71 " And, for thy sake, dear, lovely maid,
72 "I will not curse the Norman name!
73 "Not, though my father's large domains,
74 " Are plunder'd by the murderous bands;
75 "And my Northumbria's fertile plains,
76 " Lie wasted by their cruel hands;
77 "Though, as a son, I mourn the fate
78 " Of those, to whom my life I owe;
79 "And, hate the hearts that thus create
80 " The dimness of severest woe;
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81 "Though I behold no friendly steel,
82 " To give my Emma vengeance, drawn;
83 "And though a brother's pangs I feel,
84 " To know her destitute, forlorn;
85 "Though, banish'd from the sight of day,
86 " In dreary solitude I pine;
87 "And, forc'd to feel a tyrant's sway,
88 " Each dear paternal right resign;
89 "Yet will I seal my lips; nor dare
90 " To extricate my haughty foes:
91 "The hateful, guilty root I spare,
92 " Which can produce so fair a rose.
93 "But thou, my heart, wilt thou be calm?
94 " Oh! tell me, can reflection cease;
95 "And this fond bosom, now so warm,
96 " Be ever tranquilliz'd to peace!
97 "Ah, no! a father's scornful eye
98 " Is ever present to my view;
99 "And tells me, Herbert dar'd to die,
100 " Though Normans could his son subdue.
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101 "Each feeble plea his soul disdains,
102 " They cannot for the fault atone;
103 "Though, when I left Northumbria's plains,
104 " I had not fifteen summers known.
105 "And hear me, Herbert, when I swear
106 " It was not fear that urg'd my flight;
107 "A worthless life was not my care,
108 " I thought but of a parent's right.
109 "Then pardon that my youth comply'd,
110 " To ease a mother's anxious fears
111 "That, when I rather would have died,
112 " I yielded to a sister's tears.
113 "Alas! a peasant's humble shed,
114 " Soon saw our sainted parents' death,
115 "Who, while our hearts in anguish bled,
116 " With pious hopes resign'd her breath.
117 "When mists foretel the ev'ning near,
118 " And clouds of chilling dew arise,
119 "We sought the grave of her so dear,
120 " And offer'd there our tears and sighs.
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121 "'Till mild reflection lent her aid,
122 " And bade our filial sorrows cease;
123 "The fever of our souls allay'd,
124 " We sunk into a mournful peace.
125 "My pensive bosom strove to keep
126 " A dying mother's last request;
127 "I let the thoughts of vengeance sleep,
128 " And studied to make Emma blest.
129 "No longer shunning of tile dawn,
130 " Or seeking the sequester'd shade,
131 "I call'd my sister to the lawn,
132 " And trod with her the flow'ry glade.
133 "Submitting to our wayward fate,
134 " I talk'd not of the treasures flown;
135 "But still seem'd easy and sedate,
136 " While pressing verdure not my own.
137 "Then all I wish'd, and all I fear'd,
138 " Was by fraternal love inspir'd;
139 "And one, by every tie endear'd,
140 " The only friend my soul desir'd.
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141 "Yet soon that pleasing calmness fled,
142 " A Norman beauty won my heart,
143 "Imperious love my footsteps led,
144 " And bade all secrecy depart.
145 "I own'd the splendour of my race,
146 " Altho' a peasant's form I bore;
147 "I fancied silence was disgrace,
148 " And hid my sentiments no more.
149 "Her father's tongue my fate decreed,
150 " And doom'd great Herbert's son to shame;
151 "For, tho' by love from prison freed,
152 " I bear an outlaw's hateful name.
153 "My sister no fond friend can shield,
154 " No relative allay her grief;
155 "For tyranny all hearts hath steel'd,
156 " And nought can give her soul relief.
157 "With ev'ry quality to charm,
158 " A guardian will not heaven allow,
159 "To screen thy artless youth from harm,
160 " And, fair deserted! help thee now!
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161 "No aid, no comfort, can be nigh!
162 " And shall thy brother here remain?
163 "Has he not fortitude to fly,
164 " And burst the heavy, servile chain?
165 "Why should I linger here alone,
166 " Unseen by every human eye?
167 "To live unfriended and unknown,
168 " And in this dreary desart die.
169 "For now the sun-beams gild the sky,
170 " And give the misty morning grace,
171 "Far from the light I'm doom'd to fly,
172 " Abandon'd by the human race.
173 "But no! I'll bear suspense no more!
174 " Too dear a price to purchase breath;
175 "I'll seek the scenes I yet deplore,
176 " And meet a welcome, wish'd-for death. "
177 Tortur'd to frenzy, Alwin flew,
178 And as he left his sad retreat,
179 He, turning, look'd a last adieu,
180 And shook the dew-drops from his feet.
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181 His hurried steps nor press'd the ground,
182 Nor pointed out the path he came;
183 And, though so long the way he found,
184 Despair buoy'd up his fainting frame.
185 The sun shot forth, a feeble ray,
186 But hid his glorious orb from sight,
187 And the pale evening's modest grey,
188 Had soften'd the too-glaring light,
189 When Alwin reach'd the humble cot,
190 That once he did with Emma share,
191 And, weeping, hail'd the well-known spot,
192 In vain, for Emma was not there.
193 Repuls'd, he turn'd his languid eye,
194 Where Ranulph's lofty turrets rose;
195 And, heaving disappointment's sigh,
196 He sought the mansion of his foes.
197 His faltering step, when there he came,
198 A proud, disdainful air possest;
199 Memory recall'd his former shame,
200 And indignation fill'd his breast.
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201 He enter'd, in his wild attire,
202 With hasty pace and haggard brow,
203 Scorn fill'd his azure eye with fire,
204 And gave his cheeks a deeper glow.
205 A graceful knight who met his view,
206 Sat pleading by a lady's side;
207 And Alwin's jealous bosom knew
208 Lord Percy, and his fated bride.
209 Mistaken youth! thy eyes have seen,
210 The persons pictur'd in thy mind;
211 But who is that, with pensive mien,
212 And forehead on her hand reclin'd?
213 O'er whom Lord Ranulph fondly bends,
214 With sorrow seated on his brow;
215 While the regretting tear descends
216 O'er his pale cheek, in silent woe.
217 "Ah! is it thus?" sad Alwin said,
218 The fancied bride the accents knew,
219 Lord Percy rais'd his drooping head,
220 And lovely Emma met his view.
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221 Then rapture and surprize prevail'd,
222 Each bosom felt confus'd delight;
223 While his return the mourner hail'd,
224 And thus his sorrows did requite.
225 "O, dearest Alwin, now no more
226 " My father disapproves our flame;
227 "No longer we thy loss deplore,
228 " Or tremble to pronounce thy name.
229 "A noble friend has gain'd our cause,
230 " And vanquish'd all his former hate;
231 "Who, ere he own'd a lover's laws,
232 " With generous tears had wept thy fate. "
233 "Yes, injur'd youth," Lord Ranulph cried,
234 "Thou art this day my chosen heir;
235 " In Adelaide behold thy bride,
236 "Thy sister's future husband, there.
237 "Lord Percy, to a candid mind,
238 " Unites a fervour like thy own;
239 "And Emma, not to merit blind,
240 " Refers his cause to thee alone.
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241 "If thou wilt grant his fond desire,
242 " 'Twill gain a brave, a noble friend;
243 "And the possessions of thy sire,
244 " To his posterity descend. "
245 "And did my Emma stay to hear,
246 " Her brother sanctify her choice?
247 "Ah Percy! now you need not fear
248 " From Alwin, a dissenting voice.
249 "Blest in my love, in Emma blest,
250 " My heart each cherish'd wish obtains;
251 "Northumbrians, now no more opprest,
252 " Shall own a son of Herbert reigns.
253 "May ye rebuild the peasant's cot,
254 " Exalt the woe-depressed head,
255 "And o'er each desolated spot,
256 " The fostering calm of quiet spread!
257 "May sterne reserve and caution cease!
258 " With lenient hand dispense your sway;
259 "Give them the healing balm of peace,
260 " Their wounded spirits will obey.
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261 "Ah! cheer their gloom! dispel their care!
262 " The smile will soon replace the tear;
263 "And, wedded to a Saxon fair,
264 " The foreign lord no more appear. "


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): THE OUTLAW
Genres: ode

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Source edition

Betham, Mary Matilda, 1776-1852. Elegies and Other Small Poems, by Matilda Betham. Ipswich: Printed by W. Burrell, and sold by Longman, Paternoster-Row, and Jermyn and Forster, Ipswich, 1797, pp. [27]-42.  (ESTC T143264)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.