The Daughter Of Plantagenet

PLANTAGENET hath dungeons deep
Beneath his castled halls;—
Plantagenet awakes from sleep
To count his dungeoned thralls.

Alone, with the torch of blood-red flame,
The man of blood descends;
And the fettered captives curse his name,
As through the vaults he wends.—

His caverns are visited all save one,
The deepest, and direst in gloom,—
Where his father, doomed by a demon son,
Abode in a living tomb.—

'I bring thee bread and water, sire!
'Brave usury for thy gold!
'I fear my filial zeal will tire
'To visit, soon, thy hold!'

Thus spake the fiendish-hearted lord,
And wildly laughed, in scorn:
Like thunder round the cell each
By echoing fiends is borne,—
But not a human heart is there
The baron's scorn or hate to fear!

And the captives tell, as he passeth again,—
That tyrant, in his rage,—
How an angel hath led the aged
To his heavenly heritage!

The wrathful baron little recked
That angel was his darling child;
Or knew his dark ambition checked
By her who oft his rage beguiled.—
By her on whom he ever smiled:—
This had he known, from that dread hour,
His darling's smile had lost its power,—
And his own hand, without remorse,
Had laid her at his feet a corse!—

Plantagenet's banners in pride are borne
To the sound of pipe and drum!
And his mailed bands, with the dawn of morn,
To Romara's walls are come.
'We come not as foes,' the herald saith,—
'But we bring plantangenet's shriven faith
'That thou, Romara, in thine arms
'Shalt soon enfold thy true love's charms:
'Let no delay thy joy betide!—
'Thy Agnes soon shall be thy bride!'

The raven croaks as Torksey's lord
Attends that bannered host;
But the lover is deaf to the omen-bird—
The fatal moat is crossed!

'Ride, ride!' saith the baron,—'thy ladye fain
'And the priest—by the altar wait!'
And the spearmen seize his bridle-rein,
And hurry him to his fate.

'A marriage by torchlight!' the baron said;
'This stair to the altar leads!
'We patter our prayers, 'mong the mouldering dead,—
'And there we tell our beads!'

Along the caverned dungeon's gloom
The tyrant strides in haste;
And, powerless, to his dreadful doom
The victim followeth fast.
The dazed captives quake and stare
At the sullen torch's blood-red glare,
And the lover starts aghast
At the deathlike forms they wear!

Too late, the truth upon him breaks!—
Romara's heart is faint!—
'Behold thy bride!' the baron shrieks—
'Wilt hear the wedding chaunt?
'This chain once bound my father here,
'Who would have found his grave—
'The cursèd dotard!—'neath the wave,—
'Had not thy hateful hand been near.—
'Be this the bride thou now shalt wed!
'This dungeon dank thy bridal bed!—
'And when thy youthful blood shall freeze
'In death,—may fiends thy spirit seize!'

Plantagenet hath minions fell
Who do their master's bidding well:—
Few days Romara pines in dread—
His soul is with the sainted dead!—

Plantagenet hath reached his bourne!
What terrors meet his soul forlorn
And full of stain,—I may not say:—
Reveal them shall the judgment Day!—

Her orisons at matin hour,
At noon, and eve, and midnight toll,
For him, doth tearful Agnes pour!—
Jesu, Maria! sain* his soul!