« PreviousContinue »
" How glad is Skipton at this hourThough she is but a lonely tower! To vacancy and silence left; Of all her guardian sons bereftKnight, squire, or yeoman, page or groom ; We have them at the Feast of Brougham. How glad Pendragon-though the sleep Of years be on her!-She shall reap A taste of this great pleasure, viewing As in a dream her own renewing. Rejoiced is Brough, right glad I deem Beside her little humble stream ; And she that keepeth watch and ward Her statelier Eden's course to guard ; They both are happy at this hour, Though each is but a lonely tower :But here is perfect joy and pride For one fair House by Emont's side, This day, distinguished without peer, To see her Master and to cheer; Him, and his Lady Mother dear!
" Oh! it was a time forlorn,
Maid and mother undefiled,
“Now who is he that bounds with joy On Carrock's side, a Shepherd Boy ? No thoughts hath he but thoughts that pass Light as the wind along the grass. Can this be he who hither came In secret, like a smothered flame ? O'er whom such thankful tears were shed For shelter, and a poor man's bread ! God loves the child; and God hath willed That those dear words should be fulfilled, The lady's words, when forced away, The last she to her babe did say, ‘My own, my own, thy fellow-guest I
may not be; but rest thee, rest For lowly shepherd's life is best!'
“ Alas! when evil men are strong
-Give Sir Lancelot Threlkeld praise !
“A recreant harp, that sings of fear
A weak and cowardly untruth !
- Again he wanders forth at will
Now another day is come, Fitter hope, and nobler doom : He hath thrown aside his crook, And hath buried deep his book ;
Armour rusting in his halls
Alas! the fervent harper did not know
Love had he found in huts where poor men lie;
In him the
virtue of the race,
Glad were the vales, and
every cottage hearth; The Shepherd Lord was honoured more and more : And ages
after he was laid in earth, “ The good Lord Clifford" was the name he bore.
Mr. Southey, describing the mountain scenery of the Lake region, says, “The story of the Shepherd Lord Clifford, which was known only to a few antiquarians till it was told so beautifully in verse by Wordsworth, gives a romantic interest to Blencathara.” Henry Lord Clifford was the son of John Lord Clifford, who was slain at Towton, which battle placed the House of York upon the throne. His family could expect no mercy from the conqueror; for he was the man who slew the younger brother of Edward IV. in the battle of Wakefielda deed of cruelty in a cruel age. The hero of this poem fled from his paternal home, and lived for twenty-four years as a shepherd. He was restored to his rank and estates by Henry VII. The following narrative is from an old MS. quoted by Mr. Southey :
“So in the condition of a shepherd's boy at Lonsborrow, where his mother then lived for the most part, did this Lord Clifford spend his youth, till he was about fourteen years of age, about which time his mother's father, Henry Bromflett, Lord Vesey, deceased. But a little after his death it came to be rumoured, at the court, that his daughter's two sons were alive; about which their mother was examined: but her answer was, that she had given directions send them both beyond seas, to be bred there; and she did not know whether they were dead or alive.
“ And as this Henry Lord Clifford did grow to more years, he was still the more capable of his danger, if he had been discovered. And therefore presently after his grandfather, the Lord Vesey, was dead, the said rumour of his being alive, being more and more whispered at the court, made his said loving mother, by the means of her second husband Sir Lancelot Threlkeld, to send him away with the said shepherds and their wives into Cumberland, to be kept as a shepherd there, sometimes at Threlkeld, and amongst his father-in-law's kindred, and sometimes upon the borders of Scotland, where they took lands, purposely for these shepherds that had the custody of him; where many times his father-in-law came purposely to visit him, and sometimes his mother, though very secretly. By which mean kind of breeding this inconvenience befel him, that he could neither write nor read; for they durst not bring him up in any kind of learning lest by it his birth should be discovered. Yet, after he came to his lands and honours, he learnt to write his name only.
“ Notwithstanding which disadvantage, after he came to be possessed again, and restored to the enjoyment of his father's estate, he came to be a very wise man, and a very good manager of his estate and fortunes.
“ This Henry Lord Clifford, after he came to be possessed of his said estate, was a great builder and repairer of all his castles in the north, which had gone to decay when he came to enjoy them; for they