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And climbing up the hill-it was at least,
Nine roods of sheer ascent) Sir Walter found
Three several hoof-marks which the hunted Beast
Had left imprinted on the verdant ground.
Sir Walter wiped his face and cried, “ Till now
Such sight was never seen by living eyes :
Three leaps have borne him from this lofty brow,
Down to the very fountain where he lies.
I'll build a Pleasure-house upon this spot,
And a small Arbour, made for rural joy;
'Twill be the Traveller's shed, the Pilgrim's cot,
A place of love for Damsels that are coy.
A cunning Artist will I have to frame
A bason for that Fountain in the dell;
And they, who do make mention of the same
From this day forth, shall call it Hart-LEAP Well.
And, gallant brute! to make thy praises known,
Another monument shall here be raised;
Three several Pillars, each a rough-hewn Stone,
And planted where thy hoofs the turf have grazed.
And, in the summer-time when days are long,
I will come hither with my Paramour;
And with the Dancers, and the Minstrel's song,
We will make merry in that pleasant Bower.
Till the foundations of the mountains fail
My Mansion with its Arbour shall endure;-
The joy of them who till the fields of Swale,
And them who dwell among the woods of Ure !”
Then home he went, and left the Hart, stone-dead, With breathless nostrils stretched above the spring. --Soon did the Knight perform what he had said, And far and wide the fame thereof did ring.
Ere thrice the moon into her port had steered,
A Cup of Stone received the living Well;
Three Pillars of rude stone Sir Walter reared,
And built a House of Pleasure in the dell.
And near the fountain, flowers of stature tall
With trailing plants and trees were intertwined,
Which soon composed a little sylvan Hall,
A leafy shelter from the sun and wind.
And thither, when the summer-days were long,.
Sir Walter journey'd with his Paramour;
And with the Dancers and the Minstrel's song
Made merriment within that pleasant Bower.
The Knight, Sir Walter, died in course of time, ,
And his bones lie in his paternal vale.-
But there is matter for a second rhyme,
And I to this would add another tale.
The moving accident is not my trade:
To freeze the blood I have no ready arts :
'Tis my delight, alone in summer shade,
To pipe a simple song for thinking hearts.
As I from Hawes to Richmond did repair,
It chanced that I saw standing in a dell
Three Aspens at three corners of a square,
And one, not four yards distant, near a Well.
What this imported I could ill divine :
And, pulling now the rein my horse to stop,
I saw three Pillars standing in a line,
The last Stone Pillar on a dark hill-top.
The trees were gray, with neither arms nor head;
Half-wasted the square Mound of tawny green;
So that you just might say, as then I said,
“ Here in old time the hand of man hath been.”
I looked upon the hill both far and near,
More doleful place did never eye survey;
It seemed as if the spring-time came not here,
And Nature here were willing to decay.
I stood in various thoughts and fancies lost,
When one, who was in Shepherd's garb attired,
Came up the Hollow :-Him did I accost,
And what this place might be I then inquired.
The Shepherd stopped, and that same story told
Which in my former rhyme I have rehearsed.
“ A jolly place,” said he,“ in times of old !
But something ails it now; the spot is curst.
You see these lifeless Stumps of aspen wood
Some say that they are beeches, others elms-
These were the Bower; and here a Mansion stood,
The finest palace of a hundred realms !
The Arbour does its own condition tell;
You see the Stones, the Fountain, and the Stream;
But as to the great Lodge! you might as well
Hunt half a day for a forgotten dream.