Lydia Huntley Sigourney ( )


OLD Holyrood! Edinas pride,
  When erst, in regal state arrayed,
The mitred abbots told their beads,
  And chanted neath thy hallowed shade,

And nobles, in thy palace courts,
  Revel and dance and pageant led,
And trump to tilt and tourney called,
  And royal hands the banquet spread;

A lingering beauty still is thine,
  Though age on age has oer thee rolled,
Since good King David reared thy walls,
  With turrets proud and tracery bold.

And still the Normans pointed arch
  Its interlacing blends sublime
With Gothic columns clustered strength,
  Where foliage starts and roses climb.

High oer thy head rude Arthurs Seat
  And Salisbury Crag in ledges rise,
Where love the hurtling winds to shriek
  Wild chorus to the wintry skies.

Thy roofless chapel, stained with years,
  And paved with tombstones damp and low,
Yon gloomy vault, whose grated doors
  The bones of prince and chieftain show

Unburied, while from pictured hall,
  In armor decked, or antique crown,
A strange interminable line
  Of Scotias kings looks grimly down.

*        *        *        *        *

But most, of Scotias fairest flower,
  Old Holyrood with mournful grace
Doth every withered petal hoard,
  And dwell on each recorded trace.

I ve stood upon the castled height,
  Where green Carlisle its turrets rears,
And mused on Marys grated cell,
  Her smitten hopes, her captive tears,

When from Lochlevens dreary fosse,
  From Langsides transient gleam of bliss,
She threw herself on queenly faith,
  On kindred blood,for this! for this!	

I ve marked along the stagnant moat
  Her stinted walk mid soldiers grim,
Or, listening, caught the burst of woe
  That mingled with her vesper-hymn;

Or neath the shades of Fotheringay
  In vision seen the faded eye,
The step subdued, the prayer devout,
  The sentenced victim led to die.

But simpler relics, fond and few,
  That in this palace-chamber lie,
Of womans lot and womans care,
  Touch tenderer chords of sympathy,

The arras, with its storied lore,
  By her own busy needle wrought;
The couch, where oft her throbbing brow
  For sweet oblivion vainly sought;

The basket, once with infant robes
  So rich, her own serene employ,
While oer each lovely feature glowed
  A mothers yet untasted joy;

The candelabras fretted shaft,
  Beside whose flickering midnight flame
In sad communion still she bent
  With genial France, from whence it came;

Those sunny skies, those hearts refined,
  The wreaths that Love around her threw,
The homage of a kneeling realm,
  The misery of her last adieu!

Yon secret stairs, yon closet nook,
  The swords that through the arras gleam,
Rude Darnleys ill-dissembled joy,
  Lost Rizzios shrill, despairing scream,

The chapel decked for marriage rite,
  The royal bride, with flushing cheek,
Triumphant Bothwells hateful glance,	
  Alas! alas! what words they speak!

*        *        *        *        *

Lydia Huntley Sigourney's other poems:
  1. Mrs. Charles N. Cadwallader
  2. Rev. Dr. F. W. Hatch
  3. Mrs. Mary Mildenstein Robertson
  4. Garafilia Mohalby
  5. Miss Alice Beckwith

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