« AnteriorContinuar »
Much of old romantic lore On the high theme he kept in store. - WART.on.
THE sudden appearance of Merlin having, aS might naturally be supposed, struck the ruler of Ebuda and his chieftains not only with reverence but astonishment, he prepares to satisfy their curiosity, by informing them who he was, and what had given rise to the interference which they had just witnessed. He states, that, after a residence of many years at the court of Uther, he had been blessed in his latter days with a daughter, whom he had named Inogen; but that a prophecy concerning her, which had escaped from the lips of the priest at the period of her baptism, had, by its ambiguity, involved his mind in a perpetual conflict of hope and fear. It had declared, that, unless she fled from the man whom she most approved, and was by him rejected who loved her best, she should pine through life in sorrow ; but that he who espoused her should from that hour not only reign supreme in Britain, but transcend all others in heroism and renown. To render her worthy of the high destiny thus singularly unfolded, by adding to the beauties of her form the utmost cultivation of her mental powers, was now, he proceeds to relate, the object of his sole employ; and, with the view of more exclusively dedicating himself to this purpose, he had sought a retirement on the banks of the river Dee in Merionethshire. The description of this solitude, and its moral uses; the motives which he assigns for at length quitting it, and his regret in so doing ; the delight which snogen experiences from the prospect of mingling with the world, and the estimate of human life with which the whole closes, contribute to form
one of the most pleasing passages in the book.
Tired of mankind, and grandeur's irksome weight,
What deep instruction the reflecting mind,
At length resolved, but with reluctant heart,
How sweet the world's delights at distance ey'd
Hope can prevent, and fancy realise.
Merlin returns with Inogen to Carlisle.*, and is welcomed by Uther in the most friendly manner, who tells him that a double blessing is about to crown the day, for that he is in momentary expectation of embracing his son, who has just regained his native shore, after a long and distant expedition to the East, in which, under the eye of the monarch of Byzantium, he had acquired unrivalled glory against the infidels. Whilst he is yet speaking, the shouts of the populace and the voice of the clarions announce the approach of the youthful warrior, who is thus briefly but forcibly described:
His martial mien with pleasure strikes our view,
* “Carlisle is said to have taken its name from a king Leil, an imaginary descendant of Brutus, who reigned A. M. 3021. He is supposed to have built it, and to have been buried there. Arthur is frequently represented, by our old minstrels, as holding his court in that city; and in the neighbourhood of it many romantic adventures are related as performed by himself and his knights.”—Hole, note.
Smiles clothed his roseate cheeks; but in his eyes Dwelt valour's flame; not like the beams that rise To gild the storm, but lovely as the ray Whose purple tints proclaim the dawning day. B. ii. p. 34. Arthur resigns himself to the counsel and instruction of the sage Merlin, who, however, gratified by the deference which is paid him, soon perceives that a portion of it is to be attributed to another and very different cause—to a mutual attachment, in short, which had taken place between the prince and his daughter. It is soon after this discovery that Uthur holds a tournament in commemoration of the day of his son's return, inviting the brave of every nation to honour it with their presence. He and Arthur sit as judges of the field, whilst the beautiful Inogen is destined to bestow the conqueror's prize. For some days the British knights meet with no equal opponents; but, at length, Valdemar and Hengist, the kings of Dacia and of Saxony, and the first amongst the warriors of the North, enter the lists; and the latter, bearing down all before him, is proclaimed by the marshals to have won the meed of victory. He accordingly receives from the hands of Inogen the reward due to his valour; but pre