[from Island Minstrelsy, 1839]
There is blood upon that hand !
FAR 'mid the rocks of Mann's wild shore
An aged sinner dwelt;
But earthly tongue might never speak
The pangs that sinner felt.
Far in a cavern, by the shore
Of dark Castrooan's flood,
A fearful voice. Avail'd ever-more,-
" Old sinner, blood for blood !"
Yet many a day had that old man mourn'd
Thro' a weary pilgrimage ;
But can hard fare or penance drear
Guilt's burning pangs assuage ?
The tears of heartfelt penitence
Are register'd in heaven;
But that gray man never shed a tear,
That old man was unshriven.
Oh ! he bare a deadly sin, I ween ;
The voice wail'd " Blood for blood ! "
And the Islemen said, misdeeds had been
By dark Castrooan's flood;
And that old man's harp was the white, white bone,
Its strings were soft golden hair;
And the sinner in his sleep would moan,
" Dead ! dead ! altho' so fair !"
And the simple Islemen many a day
Held marvel of the same,-
And many a mother bless'd herself
For thoughts she might not name,-
And many a maiden's cheek was pale
To cross the gloomy strath ;
Alas! there was a weary curse
Upon the old man's path.
There is a headland bare and bold
By Mona's lonely Isle,
And there the wanderer may behold
A solitary pile
The hoary sinner rear'd that pile-
That time-worn cruciform,
And there full many a day mourn'd he
Above the mist and storm.
There is a cave within the rock
As dark as evil thought;
When winds howl'd loud, and waves dash'd high,
Its gloom the sinner sought;
When not a ray of heaven's light
Could that wild temple pierce,
Oh! he would mock the mad tempest
With laughter loud and fierce!
Oh ! what is elemental wrath
To the deep mental strife ?
Alas! the sinner's bitter laugh
With agony was rife;
It mock'd, yea, mock'd the elements,
It mock'd his own sad soul;
Woe and alas! for evil hearts
And minds that spurn control!
And years went by, and from his cave
The sinner pass'd away;
None knew the wherefore, when, or how,-
None know it to this day !
Where'er he went, whate'er his fate,
All dark Castrooan's flood
Could never from his conscience cleanse
The memory of blood.-
Go, view those monuments of eld.
They tell a fearful tale
Of deeds that blanch the cheek, and make
The stoutest heart to quail ;
Alas ! there was doom for the sinner gray
That passeth not with time;
Oh, well may the Islemen shuddering pray,
" Lord, save us from all crime! "