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Best Famous Thomas Heywood Poems

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by Robert Southey |

Rudiger - A Ballad

 Author Note: Divers Princes and Noblemen being assembled in a beautiful and fair
Palace, which was situate upon the river Rhine, they beheld a boat or
small barge make toward the shore, drawn by a Swan in a silver chain,
the one end fastened about her neck, the other to the vessel; and in it
an unknown soldier, a man of a comely personage and graceful presence,
who stept upon the shore; which done, the boat guided by the Swan left
him, and floated down the river. This man fell afterward in league with
a fair gentlewoman, married her, and by her had many children. After
some years, the same Swan came with the same barge into the same place;
the soldier entering into it, was carried thence the way he came, left
wife, children and family, and was never seen amongst them after.

Now who can judge this to be other than one of those spirits that are
named Incubi? says Thomas Heywood. I have adopted his story, but not his
solution, making the unknown soldier not an evil spirit, but one who had
purchased happiness of a malevolent being, by the promised sacrifice of
his first-born child.


Bright on the mountain's heathy slope
The day's last splendors shine
And rich with many a radiant hue
Gleam gayly on the Rhine.

And many a one from Waldhurst's walls
Along the river stroll'd,
As ruffling o'er the pleasant stream
The evening gales came cold.

So as they stray'd a swan they saw
Sail stately up and strong,
And by a silver chain she drew
A little boat along,

Whose streamer to the gentle breeze
Long floating fluttered light,
Beneath whose crimson canopy
There lay reclin'd a knight.

With arching crest and swelling breast
On sail'd the stately swan
And lightly up the parting tide
The little boat came on.

And onward to the shore they drew
And leapt to land the knight,
And down the stream the swan-drawn boat
Fell soon beyond the sight.

Was never a Maid in Waldhurst's walls
Might match with Margaret,
Her cheek was fair, her eyes were dark,
Her silken locks like jet.

And many a rich and noble youth
Had strove to win the fair,
But never a rich or noble youth
Could rival Rudiger.

At every tilt and turney he
Still bore away the prize,
For knightly feats superior still
And knightly courtesies.

His gallant feats, his looks, his love,
Soon won the willing fair,
And soon did Margaret become
The wife of Rudiger.

Like morning dreams of happiness
Fast roll'd the months away,
For he was kind and she was kind
And who so blest as they?

Yet Rudiger would sometimes sit
Absorb'd in silent thought
And his dark downward eye would seem
With anxious meaning fraught;

But soon he rais'd his looks again
And smil'd his cares eway,
And mid the hall of gaiety
Was none like him so gay.

And onward roll'd the waining months,
The hour appointed came,
And Margaret her Rudiger
Hail'd with a father's name.

But silently did Rudiger
The little infant see,
And darkly on the babe he gaz'd
And very sad was he.

And when to bless the little babe
The holy Father came,
To cleanse the stains of sin away
In Christ's redeeming name,

Then did the cheek of Rudiger
Assume a death-pale hue,
And on his clammy forehead stood
The cold convulsive dew;

And faltering in his speech he bade
The Priest the rites delay,
Till he could, to right health restor'd,
Enjoy the festive day.

When o'er the many-tinted sky
He saw the day decline,
He called upon his Margaret
To walk beside the Rhine.

"And we will take the little babe,
"For soft the breeze that blows,
"And the wild murmurs of the stream
"Will lull him to repose."

So forth together did they go,
The evening breeze was mild,
And Rudiger upon his arm
Did pillow the sweet child.

And many a one from Waldhurst's walls
Along the banks did roam,
But soon the evening wind came cold,
And all betook them home.

Yet Rudiger in silent mood
Along the banks would roam,
Nor aught could Margaret prevail
To turn his footsteps home.

"Oh turn thee--turn thee Rudiger,
"The rising mists behold,
"The evening wind is damp and chill,
"The little babe is cold!"

"Now hush thee--hush thee Margaret,
"The mists will do no harm,
"And from the wind the little babe
"Lies sheltered on my arm."

"Oh turn thee--turn thee Rudiger,
"Why onward wilt thou roam?
"The moon is up, the night is cold,
"And we are far from home."

He answered not, for now he saw
A Swan come sailing strong,
And by a silver chain she drew
A little boat along.

To shore they came, and to the boat
Fast leapt he with the child,
And in leapt Margaret--breathless now
And pale with fear and wild.

With arching crest and swelling breast
On sail'd the stately swan,
And lightly down the rapid tide
The little boat went on.

The full-orb'd moon that beam'd around
Pale splendor thro' the night,
Cast through the crimson canopy
A dim-discoloured light.

And swiftly down the hurrying stream
In silence still they sail,
And the long streamer fluttering fast
Flapp'd to the heavy gale.

And he was mute in sullen thought
And she was mute with fear,
Nor sound but of the parting tide
Broke on the listening ear.

The little babe began to cry
And waked his mother's care,
"Now give to me the little babe
"For God's sake, Rudiger!"

"Now hush thee, hush thee Margaret!
"Nor my poor heart distress--
"I do but pay perforce the price
"Of former happiness.

"And hush thee too my little babe,
"Thy cries so feeble cease:
"Lie still, lie still;--a little while
"And thou shalt be at peace."

So as he spake to land they drew,
And swift he stept on shore,
And him behind did Margaret
Close follow evermore.

It was a place all desolate,
Nor house nor tree was there,
And there a rocky mountain rose
Barren, and bleak, and bare.

And at its base a cavern yawn'd,
No eye its depth might view,
For in the moon-beam shining round
That darkness darker grew.

Cold Horror crept thro' Margaret's blood,
Her heart it paus'd with fear,
When Rudiger approach'd the cave
And cried, "lo I am here!"

A deep sepulchral sound the cave
Return'd "lo I am here!"
And black from out the cavern gloom
Two giant arms appear.

And Rudiger approach'd and held
The little infant nigh;
Then Margaret shriek'd, and gather'd then
New powers from agony.

And round the baby fast and firm
Her trembling arms she folds,
And with a strong convulsive grasp
The little infant holds.

"Now help me, Jesus!" loud she cries.
And loud on God she calls;
Then from the grasp of Rudiger
The little infant falls.

And now he shriek'd, for now his frame
The huge black arms clasp'd round,
And dragg'd the wretched Rudiger
Adown the dark profound.

by Robert Southey |

Donica - A Ballad

 Author Note: In Finland there is a Castle which is called the New Rock, moated about with a river of unfounded depth, the water black and the fish therein
very distateful to the palate. In this are spectres often seen, which
foreshew either the death of the Governor, or some prime officer
belonging to the place; and most commonly it appeareth in the shape of
an harper, sweetly singing and dallying and playing under the water.

It is reported of one Donica, that after she was dead, the Devil walked
in her body for the space of two years, so that none suspected but that
she was still alive; for she did both speak and eat, though very
sparingly; only she had a deep paleness on her countenance, which was
the only sign of death. At length a Magician coming by where she was
then in the company of many other virgins, as soon as he beheld her he
said, "fair Maids, why keep you company with the dead Virgin whom you
suppose to be alive?" when taking away the magic charm which was tied
under her arm, the body fell down lifeless and without motion.

The following Ballad is founded on these stories. They are to be found
in the notes to The Hierarchies of the blessed Angels; a Poem by Thomas
Heywood, printed in folio by Adam Islip, 1635.


High on a rock, whose castled shade
Darken'd the lake below,
In ancient strength majestic stood
The towers of Arlinkow.

The fisher in the lake below
Durst never cast his net,
Nor ever swallow in its waves
Her passing wings would wet.

The cattle from its ominous banks
In wild alarm would run,
Tho' parched with thirst and faint beneath
The summer's scorching sun.

For sometimes when no passing breeze
The long lank sedges waved,
All white with foam and heaving high
Its deafening billows raved;

And when the tempest from its base
The rooted pine would shake,
The powerless storm unruffling swept
Across the calm dead lake.

And ever then when Death drew near
The house of Arlinkow,
Its dark unfathom'd depths did send
Strange music from below.

The Lord of Arlinkow was old,
One only child had he,
Donica was the Maiden's name
As fair as fair might be.

A bloom as bright as opening morn
Flush'd o'er her clear white cheek,
The music of her voice was mild,
Her full dark eyes were meek.

Far was her beauty known, for none
So fair could Finland boast,
Her parents loved the Maiden much,
Young EBERHARD loved her most.

Together did they hope to tread
The pleasant path of life,
For now the day drew near to make
Donica Eberhard's wife.

The eve was fair and mild the air,
Along the lake they stray;
The eastern hill reflected bright
The fading tints of day.

And brightly o'er the water stream'd
The liquid radiance wide;
Donica's little dog ran on
And gambol'd at her side.

Youth, Health, and Love bloom'd on her cheek,
Her full dark eyes express
In many a glance to Eberhard
Her soul's meek tenderness.

Nor sound was heard, nor passing gale
Sigh'd thro' the long lank sedge,
The air was hushed, no little wave
Dimpled the water's edge.

Sudden the unfathom'd lake sent forth
Strange music from beneath,
And slowly o'er the waters sail'd
The solemn sounds of Death.

As the deep sounds of Death arose,
Donica's cheek grew pale,
And in the arms of Eberhard
The senseless Maiden fell.

Loudly the youth in terror shriek'd,
And loud he call'd for aid,
And with a wild and eager look
Gaz'd on the death-pale Maid.

But soon again did better thoughts
In Eberhard arise,
And he with trembling hope beheld
The Maiden raise her eyes.

And on his arm reclin'd she moved
With feeble pace and slow,
And soon with strength recover'd reach'd

Yet never to Donica's cheek
Return'd the lively hue,
Her cheeks were deathy, white, and wan,
Her lips a livid blue.

Her eyes so bright and black of yore
Were now more black and bright,
And beam'd strange lustre in her face
So deadly wan and white.

The dog that gambol'd by her side,
And lov'd with her to stray,
Now at his alter'd mistress howl'd
And fled in fear away.

Yet did the faithful Eberhard
Not love the Maid the less;
He gaz'd with sorrow, but he gaz'd
With deeper tenderness.

And when he found her health unharm'd
He would not brook delay,
But press'd the not unwilling Maid
To fix the bridal day.

And when at length it came, with joy
They hail'd the bridal day,
And onward to the house of God
They went their willing way.

And as they at the altar stood
And heard the sacred rite,
The hallowed tapers dimly stream'd
A pale sulphureous light.

And as the Youth with holy warmth
Her hand in his did hold,
Sudden he felt Donica's hand
Grow deadly damp and cold.

And loudly did he shriek, for lo!
A Spirit met his view,
And Eberhard in the angel form
His own Donica knew.

That instant from her earthly frame
Howling the Daemon fled,
And at the side of Eberhard
The livid form fell dead.