A Celebration of Women Writers

"Lewin and Gynneth." by Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800)
From: Robinson, Mrs. M. Poems. London: J. Bell, 1791. pp. 217-223..

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[Page 217]

LEWIN AND GYNNETH.

A TALE.

"WHEN will my troubled soul have rest ?"
  The beauteous LEWIN cried;
As thro' the murky shade of night
  With frantic step she hied.

"When shall those eyes my GYNNETH'S face,
  My GYNNETH'S form survey ?
When shall those longing eyes again
  Behold the dawn of day ?"

Cold are the dews that wet my cheek,
  The night-mist damps the ground;
Appalling echoes strike mine ear,
  And spectres gleam around.

The vivid lightning's transient rays
  Around my temples play;
'Tis all the light my fate affords,
  To mark my thorny way.

[Page 218]

From the black mountain's awful height,
  Where LATHRYTH'S turrets rise;
The dark owl screams a direful song,
  And warns me as she flies !

The chilling blast, the whistling winds,
  The mould'ring ramparts shake;
The hungry tenants of the wood,
  Their cavern'd haunts forsake.

Those tender limbs unus'd to stray
  Beyond a father's door;
Full many a mile have journey'd forth,
  Each footstep mark'd with gore.

No costly sandals deck those feet,
  By thorns and briars torn;
The cold rain chills my rosy cheek,
  Whose freshness sham'd the morn !

Slow steals the life-stream at my heart;
  Dark clouds o'ershade my eyes;
Foreboding sorrow tells my soul,
  My captive Lover dies.

Yet if one gentle ray of hope
  Can sooth the soul to rest;
Oh ! may it pierce yon flinty tow'r,
  And warm my GYNNETH's breast:

[Page 219]

And if soft pity's tearful eye
  A Tyrant's heart can move;
Ill-fated LEWIN yet may live
  To clasp her vanquish'd Love.

And tho' stern war with bonds of steel
  His graceful form shall bind;
No earthly spell has pow'r to hold
  The freedom of his mind !

And tho' his warm and gallant heart
  Now yields to fate's decree;
Its feelings spurn the base constraint,
  And fly to LOVE and ME !

Then, BRANWORTH, Lion of the field !
  O, hear a maiden plead;
Sheath not thy sword in GYNNETH'S breast,
  Or too, let LEWIN'S bleed ?

To valiant feats of arms renown'd
  Shall earthly praise be giv'n;
But deeds of MERCY, mighty Chief,
  Are register'd in HEAV'N !

Thy praises shall resounding fill
  The Palace of thy foe;
While down the joyful LEWIN'S cheek
  The grateful tear shall flow.

[Page 220]

And sure the tear that VIRTUE sheds,
  Some rapture can impart;
What gem can deck a victor's throne
  Like incense from the heart?

Now the grey Morning's silv'ry light,
  Dawn'd in the eastern skies,
When at the lofty lattice grate
  Her Lover's form she spies:

"He lives," she cried, "My GYNNETH lives !"
  Youth of the crimson shield !
The graceful Hero of my heart,
  The glory of the field !

"Come down, my soul's delight," she said,
  "Thy blue-ey'd LEWIN see;
YRGANVY'S Daughter, thy true Love,
  Who only breathes for THEE:

"Then haste THEE from thy prison house
  Ere yet the Foe doth rise !
Oh! haste, ere yet the Morning Sun
  Doth flame along the skies.

"Ah, speak! my heart is chill'd with fear,
  My fault'ring voice doth fail;
Why are thy darling eyes so dim,
  Thy cheek so deathly pale ?"

[Page 221]

"I am THY GYNNETH'S GHOST, sweet maid,
  Avoid the madd'ning sight;
Those eyes that doated on thy charms,
  Are lock'd in endless night.

"This loyal heart which beat for thee,
  Is rent with many a wound;
Cleft is my shield, my glitt'ring spear
  Lies broken on the ground !

"My bones the eagle hath convey'd
  To feed her rav'nous brood;
The savage BRANWORTH'S cruel hand
  Hath spilt my purple blood.

"Then hie thee hence, ill-fated maid,
  Ere greater woes betide;
To where LLANGADOC'S silver streams
  Along the vallies glide.

"There, where the modest PRIMROSE blooms,
  Pale as thy lover's shade;
My mangled relics shalt thou find
  Upon the green turf laid.

"Then hie thee hence, with holy hands,
  Build up a sacred shrine,
And oh ! chaste maid, thy faith to prove,
  Mingle thy dust with mine ?"

[Page 222]

Ah ! have you seen a mother's joy
  In cherub sweetness dress'd,
Seiz'd by the numbing hand of death,
  Expiring at her breast ?

Or the fond maid, whom morrow's dawn
  Had hail'd a wedded fair;
Doom'd to behold her lover's corse
  Scorch'd by the lightning's glare ?

So stood the hopeless, frantic maid,
  YRGANVY's graceful child,
Cold was her cheek, her dove-like eyes
  Fix'd in amazement wild !

"This panting heart," at length she cried
  "A sharper pang doth feel,
Than thine, brave youth, when rent in twain
  By BRANWORTH'S poison'd steel.

"No more these sad and weeping eyes,
  My father's house shall see;
Thy kindred spirit calls me hence.
  I haste to follow thee."

Beside thy tomb the TRAV'LLER'S tear
  Shall join the crystal spring;
Around the solemn dirge of woe
  Shall sainted DRUIDS sing;

[Page 223]

The weary PILGRIM faint and sad,
  Shall stay his steps awhile;
The memory of his OWN hard fate,
  THY story shall beguile;

There wet with many a holy tear,
  The sweetest buds shall blow,
There LEWIN'S ghost shall mark the shrine
  A monument of woe !

Thrice did he ope the lattice grate,
  And thrice he bade adieu;
When lo, to join the parting shade,
  The MAIDEN'S SPIRIT FLEW !

FINIS.

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