Poems (Eliza Gabriella Lewis)/Queen Mary's escape from Lochleven Castle

by Eliza Gabriella Lewis
Queen Mary's escape from Lochleven Castle
4532945Poems — Queen Mary's escape from Lochleven CastleEliza Gabriella Lewis

The moon looks down on lake and lea,
O'er wood and ruined tower,
And tinges, with its silvery light,
The Lady's lofty bower.

No light, save from the moonbeam's ray,
Upon the casement streams;
The flame hath to the socket burnt,
The gentle lady dreams.

Not then so darkly was it wont
On former eves to be;
Bright lights, then, from the casement stream 'd,
And merry minstrelsy.

And gallant knights within that hall,
Sighed for a smiling glance
From her, the loveliest in the land,
The royal dame of France.

But now she rests in captive thrall,
Fair Scotia's beauteous queen;
A brighter gem hath never beam'd
In diadem, I ween.

Oh! shame on Scotland's chivalry,
On Britain's nobles, shame;
Why rest their scabbards on the blade,
When weeps so fair a dame?

She dreams, perchance, of grievous wrongs,
Of manhood's blighted truth,
Or fondly of her own lov'd France
And happy days of youth—

Or sadly muses o'er her lot,
With pensive step, and slow,
Wandering beneath that vaulted dome,
A beauteous form of woe.

The moon shines brightly o'er the scene,
And, by its mellow'd light,
Upon the ivy'd casement rests
An arm of ivory white.

And cautiously a female form
From that rude turret leant,
With stealthy glance, and anxious look
Upon the waters bent.

There is a ripple on the lake,
A sound upon the air,
And yet no breeze the waters stir,
The midnight sky is fair.

The moon looks out on lake and lea,
And o'er that gloomy tower;—
Lady, arise, no longer weep,
Propitious is the hour.

I see a noble manly form
A shallop lightly skim,
And now it touches on the shore—
Brave Douglas, it is him.

The turret door is quickly won,
The warder he doth sleep,
And other hands now hold the key,
And ope that dismal keep.

Queen Mary on the threshold stands,
One startled look she cast
Upon the tower; her utter'd thought
"Heaven grant it be the last!"

She turned, and with gentle tone,
"Brave Douglas, in my need,
Thou hast preserved a wretched one,
Heaven's blessing on the deed.

The captive Mary yet may prove
Her gratitude, but now—
Thanks—the poor guerdon she bestows,
Tears and a happy brow!"

The Douglas bent with reverence low,
Then, with a kindly haste,
He whispered, "On, my sovereign,
The precious moments waste."

On the slight shallop's prow she stepp'd
"Farewell, ye towers," she cried;
"Oh! Douglas, but for thee, perchance
Within these walls I'd died."