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Lucretia Maria Davidson (Лукреция Мария Дэвидсон)


The White Maid of the Rock


(Written in her fifteenth year.)

Loud 'gainst the rocks the wild spray is dashing,
Its snowy white foam o'er the waves rudely splashing;
The woods echo round to the bittern's shrill scream,
As he dips his black wing in the wave of the stream;
Now mournful and sad the low murmuring breeze
Sighs lonely and dismal through hollow oak trees.
The owl loudly hoots, while his lonely abode
Serves to shelter the snake and the poisonous toad;
Lo! the black thunder-cloud is spread over the skies,
And the swift-winged lightning at intervals flies.
The streamlet looks dark, and the spray wilder breaks,
And the alder leaf dank, with its silver drops shakes;
This dell and these rocks, this lone alder and stream,
With the dew-drops which dance in the moon's silver beam,
Are sacred to beings ethereal and light,
Who hold their dark orgies alone and at night.
Wild, and more wild, dashed the waves of the stream,
The White Maid of the rock gave a shrill piercing scream;
Down headlong she plunged 'neath the dark rolling wave,
And rising, thus chanted a dirge to the brave.
"The raven croaks loud from her nest in the rock,
The night-owl's shrill hooting resounds from the oak;
Behold the retreat where brave Avenel is laid,
Uncoffin'd, except by his own Scottish plaid!
Long since has my girdle diminished to naught,
And the great house of Avenel low has been brought;
The star now burns dimly which once brightly shone,
And proud Avenel's glory for ever has flown.
As I sail'd and my white garments caught in the brake,
'Neath the oak, whose huge branches extend o'er the lake,
' Woe to thee! woe to thee! Maid of the Rock,'
Cried the night-raven who builds in the oak;
' Woe to thee! guardian spirit of Avenel!
Where are thy holly-bush, streamlet and dell?
No longer thou sittest to watch and to weep,
Near the abbey's lone walls, and its turrets so steep!
Woe to thee! woe to thee! Maid of the rock,'
Cried the night-raven who builds in the oak!
Then farewell, great Av'nel, thy proud race is run!
The girdle has vanish'd — my task is now done."
Then her long flowing tresses around her she drew,
And her form 'neath the wave of the dark streamlet threw.



Lucretia Maria Davidson's other poems:
  1. To a Departing Friend
  2. Morning Melody
  3. The Good Shepard
  4. On Reading a Fragment Called The Flower of the Forest
  5. The Blush


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