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But, as thou wast and art, on thee looks | With which that chieftain's brow would bear him down : Distrusts thy smiles, but shakes not at thy It was nor smile of mirth, nor struggling

down,

frown.

Art thou not he? whose deeds--"

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Whate'er I be, Werds wild as these, accusers like to thee I list no further; those with whom they weigh

May hear the rest, nor venture to gainsay The wondrous tale no doubt thy tongue can tell,

Which thus begins so courteously and well. Let Othe cherish here his polish'd guest, To him my thanks and thoughts shall be exprest." And here their wondering host hath interposedWhate'er there be between you undisclosed,

This is no time nor fitting place to mar The mirthful meeting with a wordy war. thou, Sir Ezzelin, hast ought to show Which it befits Count Lara's ear to know, Tomorrow, here, or elsewhere, as may best Bestem your mutual judgment, speak the rest;

pledge myself for thee, as not unknown, Though like Count Lara now return'd alone From other lands, almost a stranger grown; And if from Lara's blood and gentle birth lagur right of courage and of worth, He will not that untainted line belie, raught, that knighthood may accord, deny."

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Light was his form, and darkly delicate That brow whereon his native sun had sate, But had not marr'd, though in his beams he grew, The cheek where oft the unbidden blush shone through; Yet not such blush as mounts when health would show

All the heart's hue in that delighted glow;

But 'twas a hectic tint of secret care

That for a burning moment fever'd there; And the wild sparkle of his eye seem'd caught From high, and lighten'd with electric thought, Though its black orb those long low lashes fringe, Had temper'd with a melancholy tinge; Yet less of sorrow than of pride was there, Or if 'twere grief, a grief that none should share:

And pleased not him the sports that please his age,

The tricks of youth, the frolics of the page; For hours on Lara he would fix his glance, As all-forgotten in that watchful trance; And from his chief withdrawn, he wander'd lone, Brief were his answers, and his questions none;

His resting-place the

His walk the wood, his sport some foreign book; bank that curbs the brook : He seem'd, like him he served, to live apart From all that lures the eye, and fills the heart;

To know no brotherhood, and take from earth No gift beyond that bitter boon—our birth.

If aught he loved, 'twas Lara; but was

shown

His faith in reverence and in deeds alone; In mute attention; and his care, which guess'd

Each wish, fulfill'd it ere the tongue express'd. Still there was haughtiness in all he did, A spirit deep that brook'd not to be chid; His zeal, though more than that of servile hands,

In act alone obeys, his air commands;
As if 'twas Lara's less than his desire
That thus he served, but surely not for hire.
Slight were the tasks enjoin'd him by his
lord,

To hold the stirrup, or to bear the sword; To tune his lute, or if he will'd it more, • On tomes of other times and tongues to pore; But ne'er to mingle with the menial train, To whom he show'd nor deference nor disdain, But that well-worn reserve which proved he knew

No sympathy with that familiar crew:
His soul, whate'er his station or his stem,
Could bow to Lara, not descend to them.
Of higher birth he seem'd, and better days,
Nor mark of vulgar toil that hand betrays,
So femininely white it might bespeak
Another sex, when match'd with that
smooth cheek,
But for his garb, and something in his gaze,
More wild and high than woman's eye
betrays;
A latent fierceness that far more became
His fiery climate than his tender frame:
True, in his words it broke not from his
breast,
But from his aspect might be more than
guess'd.

Kaled his name, though rumour said he bore
Another ere he left his mountain-shore;
For sometimes he would hear, however nigh,

That name repeated loud without reply,
As unfamiliar, or, if roused again,
Start to the sound, as but remember'd then
Unless 'twas Lara's wonted voice that spake
For then, ear, eyes, and heart would al
awake.

He had look'd down upon the festive hall And mark'd that sudden strife so mark' of all;

And when the crowd around and near hir told

Their wonder at the calmness of the bold
Their marvel how the high-born Lara bor
Such insult from a stranger, doubly sor
The colour of young Kaled went and cam
The lip of ashes, and the cheek of flame
And o'er his brow the dampening hear
drops threw
The sickening iciness of that cold dew,
That rises as the busy bosom sinks
With heavy thoughts from which reflectio

shrinks.

Yes-there be things that we must drea

and dare,

And execute ere thought be half aware:'
Whate'er might Kaled's be, it was enow
To seal his lip, but agonise his brow.
He gazed on Ezzelin till Lara cast
That sidelong smile upon the knight he pas
When Kaled saw that smile his visage fe
As if on something recognized right we
His memory read in such a meaning mo
Than Lara's aspect unto others wore:
Forward he sprung-a moment, both we

gone,

And all within that hall seem'd left alon Each had so fix'd his eye on Lara's mien, All had so mix'd their feelings with th

scene,

That when his long dark shadow throug the porch No more relieves the glare of yon hi torch, Each pulse beats quicker, and all bosor To bound as doubting from too black dream,

seem

Such as we know is false, yet dread

sooth, Because the worst is ever nearest truth. And they are gone-but Ezzelin is there But long remain'd not; ere an hour expir With thoughtful visage and imperious ai He waved his hand to Otho, and retired.

The crowd are gone, the revellers at res The courteous host,and all-approving gues Again to that accustom'd couch must cre Where joy subsides, and sorrow sighs, sleep. And man, o'er-labour'd with his being strife, Shrinks to that sweet forgetfulness of lif

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109

There lie love's feverish hope and cunning's | Why comes he not? Such truths to be guile,

divulged,

Hate's working brain, and lull'd ambition's Methinks the accuser's rest is long indulged. wile; fer each vain eye oblivion's pinions wave, And quench'd existence crouches in a grave. What better name may slumber's bed become? Night's sepulchre, the universal home, Where weakness, strength, vice, virtue, sunk supine, Ake in naked helplessness recline; d for awhile to heave unconscious breath, levde to wrestle with the dread of death, Adban, though day but dawn on ills increast, That sleep, the loveliest, since it dreams the least.

CANTO II.

mountains curl'd

Twanes the vapours round the Cisto morn, and Light awakes the world. has another day to swell the past, lead him near to little, but his last; tighty Nature bounds as from her birth, in the heavens, and life on earth; vers in the valley, splendour in the

beam, aish on the gale, and freshness in the

stream.

see;

tal man! behold her glories shine, y exulting inly, "they are thine!" , while yet thy gladden'd eye may Arrow comes when they are not for thee: grieve what may above thy senseless bier, earth nor sky will yield a single tear; Send shall gather more, nor leaf shall

The hour is past, and Lara too is there, With self-confiding, coldly patient air; Why comes not Ezzelin? The hour is past, And murmurs rise, and Otho's brow's o'ercast.

"I know my friend! his faith I cannot fear, If yet he be on earth, expect him here; The roof that held him in the valley stands Between my own and noble Lara's lands; My halls from such a guest had honour gain'd,

Nor had Sir Ezzelin his host disdain'd, But that some previous proof forbade his stay,

And urged him to prepare against to-day ;
The word I pledged for his I pledge again,
Or will myself redeem his knighthood's
stain."

hall,

To morn-'tis noon-assembled in the The rather'd chieftains come to Otho's call; now the promised hour, that must proclaim

The life or death of Lara's future fame;
WEzzelin his charge may here unfold, |
And whatsoe'er the tale, it must be told.
pledged, and Lara's promise

His faith was

given,

To meet it in the eye of man and heaven.

He ceased--and Lara answer'd, "I am here
To lend at thy demand a listening ear
To tales of evil from a stranger's tongue,
Whose words already might my heart have

wrung,

But that I deem'd him scarcely less than
mad,
Or, at the worst, a foe ignobly bad.
I know him not-but me it seems he knew
In lands where-but I must not trifle too;
Produce this babbler-or redeem the pledge;
Here in thy hold, and with thy falchion's
edge.

99

Proud Otho on the instant, reddening, threw
His glove on earth, and forth his sabre flew.
"The last alternative befits me best,
With check unchanging from its sallow
And thus I answer for mine absent guest."
However near his own or other's tomb;
gloom,
With hand, whose almost careless coolness
spoke,

Its grasp well-used to deal the sabre-stroke;
With eye, though calm, determined not to

spare,

Serne breathe forth one sigh for thee, fall, But creping things shall revel in their In vain the circling chieftains round them

for all;

Did Lara too his willing weapon bare.

at thy clay to fertilize the soil. spoil,

closed,

For Otho's phrenzy would not be opposed;
And from his lip those words of insult fell-
His sword is good who can maintain them
well.

Short was the conflict; furious, blindly rash, Vain Otho gave his bosom to the gash: He bled, and fell, but not with deadly wound, Stretch'd by a dextrous sleight along the ground. "Demand thy life!" He answer'd not: and then

From that red floor he ne'er had risen Wound in that pang the smoothness of th again, sward. For Lara's brow upon the moment grew Some such had been, if here a life was ref Almost to blackness in its demon-hue; But these were not; and doubting hop And fiercer shook his angry falchion now is left; Than when his foe's was levell'd at his And strange suspicion, whispering Lara brow; Then all was stern collectedness and art, Now rose the unleaven'd hatred of his heart; So little sparing to the foe he fell'd, That when the approaching crowd his arm withheld,

name,

He almost turn'd the thirsty point on those
Who thus for mercy dared to interpose;
But to a moment's thought that purpose
bent:

Yet look'd he on him still with eye intent,

As if he loathed the ineffectual strife

That left a foe, howe'er o'erthrown, with
life;
As if to search how far the wound he gave
Had sent its victim onward to his grave.

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distrest:

Their search extends along, around the path,
In dread to meet the marks of prowlers'

Now daily mutters o'er his blacken'd fam
Then sudden silent when his form appear
Awaits the absence of the thing it fear
Again its wonted wondering to renew,
And dye conjecture with a darker hue.

Days roll along, and Otho's wounds a
heal'd,
and hate no m

But not his pride;

conceal'd:

He was a man of power, and Lara's fo
The friend of all who sought to wo
And from his country's justice now demar
him woe,

Account of Ezzelin at Lara's hands.
Who else than Lara could have cause to f
His presence? who had made him disappe
If not the man on whom his menaced cha
Had sate too deeply were he left at lar
The general rumour ignorantly loud,
The mystery dearest to the curious crov
The seeming friendlessness of him v

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form,

Such as himself might fear, and foes w
And he must answer for the absent
Of one that haunts him still, alive or

wrath:

But none are there, and not a brake hath

borne Nor gout of blood, nor shred of mantle torn ; Nor fall nor struggle hath defaced the grass, Which still retains a mark where murder was;

Within that land was many a malcon
Who cursed the tyranny to which he
That soil full many a wringing despot
Who work'd his wantonness in form of
Long war without and frequent broil w
Had made a path for blood and gian
That waited but a signal to begin

Nor dabbling fingers left to tell the tale,
The bitter print of each convulsive nail,

When agonized hands that cease to guard, | New havock, such as civil discord bi

or friends;

Which knows no neuter, owns but foes All now was ripe, he waits but to proclaim That slavery nothing which was still a name. The moment came, the hour when Otho thought

Fir'd in his feudal fortress each was lord,
Is word and deed obey'd, in soul abhorr'd.
Thes Lara had inherited his lands,
And with them pining hearts and sluggish
hands;

But that long absence from his native clime
Had left him stainless of oppression's crime,
And now diverted by his milder sway,
All dread by slow degrees had worn away:
The menials felt their usual awe alone,
But more for him than them that fear was
grown;

They deem'd him now unhappy, though
at first

Secure at last the vengeance which he
sought:

His summons found the destined criminal
Begirt by thousands in his swarming hall,
Fresh from their feudal fetters newly riven,
Defying earth, and confident of heaven.
That morning he had freed the soil-bound
slaves

Who dig no land for tyrants but their
graves!
Such is their cry-some watchword for
the fight

Their evil judgment augur'd of the worst, Must vindicate the wrong, and warp the
And cach long restless night, and silent

mood,

Was traced to sickness, fed by solitude:

right: will,

Religion-freedom-vengeance--what you

And though his lonely habits threw of late A word's enough to raise mankind to kill: Glom o'er his chamber, cheerful was his Some factious phrase by cunning caught

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They found asylum oft, and ne'er reproof. And they who watch'd might mark that day by day

new retainers gather'd to his sway; But most of late, since Ezzelin was lost, play'd the courteous lord and bounteous host:

France his strife with Otho made him

dread

mare prepared for his obnoxious head; Feer his view, his favour more obtains With these, the people, than his fellow

dis were

thanes.

policy, so far 'twas sound, million judged but of him as they found; him by sterner chiefs to exile driven They but required a shelter, and 'twas given. him no peasant mourn'd his rifled cot, scarce the Serf could murmur o'er his lot; ith him old avarice found his hoard

secure,

Whim contempt forbore to mock the

Tech

poor;

present cheer and promised recompense

and spread, That guilt may reign, and wolves and worms be fed!

Throughout that clime the feudal chiefs had gain'd Such sway, their infant-monarch hardly reign'd; Now was the hour for faction's rebel growth, The Serfs contemned the one, and hated

both:

They waited but a leader, and they found
One to their cause inseparably bound;
By circumstance compell'd to plunge again,
In self-defence, amidst the strife of men.
Cut off by some mysterious fate from those
Whom birth and nature meant not for his
foes,

Had Lara from that night, to him accurst,
Prepared to meet, but not alone, the worst:
Some reason urged, whate'er it was, to shun
Inquiry into deeds at distance done;
By mingling with his own the cause of all,
E'en if he fail'd, he still delay'd his fall.
The sullen calm that long his bosom kept,
The storm that once had spent itself and
slept,

Roused by events that seem'd foredoom'd

to urge His gloomy fortunes to their utmost verge, Burst forth, and made him all he once had been,

And is again; he only changed the scene. Light care had he for life, and less for fame,

But not less fitted for the desperate game:

Dead, till all too late to part from He deem'd himself mark'd out for others'

thence :

hate,

Thate he offer'd, with the coming change, And mock'd at ruin so they shared his fate.
The deep reversion of delay'd revenge;

To love, long baffled by the unequal match, He raised the humble but to bend the proud.
The well-won charms success was sure to He had hoped quiet in his sullen lair,
But man and destiny beset him there :

What cared he for the freedom of the crowd?

snatch.

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