« AnteriorContinuar »
And on her elbow did recline To look at the Lady Geraldine.
The silver lamp burns dead and dim ;
But Christabel the lamp will trim.
She trimm'd the lamp, and made it bright,
And left it swinging to and fro,
While Geraldine, in wretched plight,
Sank down upon the floor below,
O weary lady, Geraldine,
I pray you, drink this cordial wine!
It is a wine of virtuous powers;
My mother made it of wild flowers.
Beneath the lamp the Lady bow'd,
And slowly roll'd her eyes around;
Then drawing in her breath aloud,
Like one that shudder'd, she unbound
The cincture from beneath her breast :
Her silken robe, and inner vest,
Dropt to her feet, and full in view,
Behold! her bosom and half her side-
A sight to dream of, not to tell!
O shield her! shield sweet Christabel.
1 And will your mother pity me,
Who am a maiden most forlorn ?
Christabel answer'd-Wo is me!
She died the hour that I was born.
I have heard the gray-hair'd friar tell,
How on her death-bed she did say,
That she should hear the castle-bell
Strike twelve upon my wedding-day.
O mother dear! that thou wert here!
I would, said Geraldine, she were !
* But soon, with alter'd voice said she-
“ Off, wandering mother! Peak and pine !
I have power to bid thee flee.”
Alas! what ails poor Geraldine ?
Why stares she with unsettled eye?
Can she the bodiless dead espy?
And why with hollow voice cries she,
Off, woman, off! this hour is mine
Though thou her guardian spirit be,
Off, woman, off! 'tis given to me.”
Yet Geraldine nor speaks nor stirs ;
Ah! what a stricken look was hers !
Deep from within she seems halfway
To lift some weight with sick assay,
And eyes the maid and seeks delay;
Then suddenly as one defied
Collects herself in scorn and pride,
And lay down by the maiden's side !--
And in her arms the maid she took,
And with low voice and doleful look
These words did say:
In the touch of this bosom there worketh a spell
Which is lord of thy utterance, Christabel!
Thou knowest to-night, and wilt know to-morrow
This mark of my shame, this seal of my sorrow;
But vainly thou warrest,
For this is alone in
Thy power to declare,
That in the dim forest
Thou heardest a low moaning, And foundest a bright lady, surpassingly fair: And didst bring her home with thee in love and in
charity, To shield her and shelter her from the damp air.
Then Christabel knelt by the lady's side,
And raised to heaven her eyes so blue-
Alas! said she, this ghastly ride25 Dear lady! it hath wilder'd you !
The lady wiped her moist cold brow, 3
And faintly said, “ 'Tis over now !"
With open eyes (ah wo is me!)
Asleep, and dreaming fearfully,
Fearfully dreaming, yet I wis,
Dreaming that alone, which is-
O sorrow and shame! Can this be she,
The lady, who knelt at the old oak tree?
And lo! the worker of these harms,
That holds the maiden in her arms,
Seems to slumber still and mild,
As a mother with her child.
But through her brain of weal and wo
So many thoughts moved to and fro,
That vain it were her lids to close ;
So halfway from the bed she rose,
A star hath set, a star hath risen,
O Geraldine! since arms of thine
Have been the lovely lady's prison.
O Geraldine! one hour was thine
Thou'st had thy will! By tairn and rill,
The night-birds all that hour were still.
But now they are jubilant anew,
From cliff and tower, tu-whoo! tu-whoo!
Tu-whoo! tu-whoo! from wood and fell !
And Geraldine shakes off her dread,
And rises lightly from the bed ;
Puts on her silken vestments white,
And tricks her hair in lovely plight,
And, nothing doubting of her spell,
Awakens the Lady Christabel.
“ Sleep you, sweet Lady Christabel ?
I trust that you have rested well.”
And see! the Lady Christabel
Gathers herself from out her trance ;
Her limbs relax, her countenance
Grows sad and soft; the smooth thin lids
Close o'er her eyes; and tears she sheds-
Large tears that leave the lashes bright!
And oft the while she seems to smile
As infants at a sudden light!
And Christabel awoke, and spied
The same who lay down by her side
O rather say, the same whom she
Raised up beneath the old oak tree!
Nay, fairer yet! and yet more fair!
For she belike hath drunken deep
Of all the blessedness of sleep!
And while she spake, her looks, her air
Such gentle thankfulness declare,
That (so it seem'd) her girded vests
Grew tight beneath her heaving breasts.
“ Sure I have sinn'd," said Christabel,
“ Now Heaven be praised, if all be well;
And in low faltering tones, yet sweet,
Did she the lofty lady greet
With such perplexity of mind
As dreams too lively leave behind.
Yea, she doth smile, and she doth weep,
Like a youthful hermitess,
Beauteous in a wilderness,
Who, praying always, prays in sleep,
And, if she move unquietly,
Perchance, 'tis but the blood so free,
Comes back and tingles in her feet.
No doubt, she hath a vision sweet:
What is her guardian spirit 'twere,
What if she knew her mother near?
But this she knows, in joys and woes,
That saints will aid if men will call :
For the blue sky bends over all !
So quickly she rose, and quickly array'd
Her maiden limbs, and having pray'd
That He, who on the cross did groan,
Might wash away her sins unknown,
She forthwith led fair Geraldine
To meet her sire, Sir Leoline.
Each matin-bell, the baron saith, Knells us back to a world of death. These words Sir Leoline first said, When he rose and found his lady dead: These words Sir Leoline will say, Many a morn to his dying day !
The lovely maid and the lady tall
Are pacing both into the hall,
And, pacing on through page and groom,
Enter the baron's presence-room.
And hence the custom and law began,
That still at dawn the sacristan,
Who duly pulls the heavy bell,
Five-and-forty beads must tell
Between each stroke a warning knell,
Which not a soul can choose but hear
From Bratha Head to Wyndermere.
The baron rose, and while he prest
His gentle daughter to his breast,
With cheerful wonder in his eyes
The Lady Geraldine espies,
And gave such welcome to the same,
As might beseem so bright a dame!
But when he heard the lady's tale,
And when she told her father's name,
Why wax'd Sir Leoline so pale,
Murmuring o'er the name again,
Lord Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine ?
Saith Bracy the bard, So let it knell!
And let the drowsy sacristan
Still count as slowly as he can!
There is no lack of such, I ween,
As well fill up the space between.
In Langdale Pike and Witch's Lair
And dungeon-ghyll so foully rent,
With ropes of rock and bells of air
Three sinful sextons' ghosts are pent,
Who all give back, one after t’other,
The death-note to their living brother ;
And oft, too, by the knell offended,
Just as their one! two! three! is ended,
The devil mocks the doleful tale
With a merry peal from Borrowdale.
The air is still! through mist and cloud
That merry peal comes ringing loud;
Alas! they had been friends in youth;
But whispering tongues can poison truth ;
And constancy lives in realms above,
And life is thorny; and youth is vain :
And to be wroth with one we love,
Doth work like madness in the brain.
And thus it chanced, as I divine
With Roland and Sir Leoline.
Each spake words of high disdain
And insult to his heart's best brother:
They parted—ne'er to meet again!
But never either found another
To free the hollow heart from paining
They stood aloof, the scars remaining,
She might be sent without delay Home to her father's mansion.
Like cliffs which had been rent asunder;
A dreary sea now flows between.
But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder,
Shall wholly do away, I ween,
The marks of that which once hath been.
Sir Leoline, a moment's space,
Stood gazing on the damsel's face :
And the youthful Lord of Tryermaine
Came back upon his heart again.
O then the baron forgot his age !
His noble heart swell’d high with rage;
He swore by the wounds in Jesu's side,
He would proclaim it far and wide
With trump and solemn heraldry,
That they, who thus had wrong'd the dame,
Were base as spotted infamy!
“ And if they dare deny the same,
My herald shall appoint a week,
And let the recreant traitors seek
My tourney court-that there and then
I may dislodge their reptile souls
From the bodies and forms of men !”
He spake: his eyes in lightning rolls!
For the lady was ruthlessly seized; and he kenn'd
In the beautiful lady the child of his friend !
“Nay! Nay, by my soul!” said Leoline. “Ho! Bracy the bard, the charge be thine Go thou, with music sweet and loud, And take two steeds with trappings proud, And take the youth whom thou lovest best To bear thy harp, and learn thy song, And clothe you both in solemn vest, And over the mountains haste along, Lest wandering folk, that are abroad, Detain you on the valley road. And when he has cross'd the Irthing food, My merry bard! he hastes, he hastes Up Knorren Moor, through Halegarth wood, And reaches soon that castle good Which stands and threatens Scotland's wastes.
And now the tears were on his face,
And fondly in his arms he took
Fair Geraldine, who met th' embrace,
Prolonging it with joyous look.
Which when she view'd, a vision fell
Upon the soul of Christabel,
The vision of fear, the touch and pain !
She shrunk and shudder'd, and saw again-
(Ah, wo is me!
Was it for thee,
Thou gentle maid! such sights to see !)
“ Bard Bracy, bard Bracy! your horses are
fleet, Ye must ride up the hall, your music so sweet, More loud than your horses' echoing feet! And loud and loud to Lord Roland call, Thy daughter is safe in Langdale hall! Thy beautiful daughter is safe and freeSir Leoline greets thee thus through me. He bids thce come without delay With all thy numerous array ; And take thy lovely daughter home: And he will meet thee on the way With all his numerous array, White with their panting palfreys' foam: And by mine honour! I will say That I repent me of the day When I spake words of high disdain To Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine For since that evil hour hath nown, Many a summer's sun hath shone; Yet ne'er found I a friend again Like Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine.”
Again she saw that bosom old,
Again she felt that bosom cold,
And drew in her breath with a hissing sound:
Whereat the knight turn’d wildly round,
And nothing saw but his own sweet maid
With eyes upraised, as one that pray'd.
The touch, the sight, had pass'd away,
And in its stead that vision blest,
Which comforted her after-rest,
While in the lady's arms she lay,
Had put a rapture in her breast,
And on her lips and o'er her eyes
Spread smiles like light!
With new surprise, “ What ails then my beloved child ?” The baron said.-His daughter mild Made answer, “ All will yet be well !” I ween, she had no power to tell Aught else; so mighty was the spell.
The lady fell, and clasp'd his knees,
Her face upraised, her eyes o’erflowing;
And Bracy replied, with faltering voice,
Her gracious hail on all bestowing:-
Thy words, thou sire of Christabel,
Are sweeter than my heart can tell;
Yet might I gain a boon of thee,
This day my journey should not be,
So strange a dream hath come to me,
That I had vow'd with music loud
To clear yon wood from thing unblest,
Warn’d by a vision in my rest!
For in my sleep I saw that dove,
That gentle bird, whom thou dost love,
And call'st by thy own daughter's name-
Sir Leoline! I saw the same,
Fluttering, and uttering fearful moan,
Among the green herbs in the forest alone.
Which when I saw and when I heard,
I wonder'd what might ail the bird
For nothing near it could I see,
Save the grass and green herbs underneath the
Yet he, who saw this Geraldine,
Had deern'd her sure a thing divine,
Such sorrow with such grace she blended,
As if she fear'd she had offended
Sweet Christabel, that gentle maid !
And with such lowly tones she pray'd,
And in my dreams, methought, I went
To search out what might there be found;
And what the sweet bird's trouble meant,
That thus lay fluttering on the ground.
I went and peer'd, and could descry
No cause for her distressful cry;
But yet for her dear lady's sake
I stoop'd, methought, the dove to take.
When lo! I saw a bright green snake
Coil'd around its wings and neck.
Green as the herbs on which it couch'd,
Close by the dove's its head it crouch'd!
And with the dove it heaves and stirs,
Swelling its neck as she swell'd hers!
I woke; it was the midnight hour,
The clock was echoing in the tower ;
But though my slumber was gone by,
This dream it would not pass away-
It seems to live upon my eye!
And thence I vow'd this selfsame day,
With music strong and saintly song
To wander through the forest bare,
Lest aught upholy loiter there.
That all her features were resign'd
To this sole image in her mind :
And passively did imitate
That look of dull and treacherous hate !
And thus she stood, in dizzy trance,
Still picturing that look askance
With forced, unconscious sympathy
Full before her father's view-
As far as such a look could be
In eyes so innocent and blue.
And when the trance was o'er, the maid
Paused a while, and inly pray'd:
Then falling at the baron's feet,
“ By my mother's soul do I entreat
That thou this woman send away!"
She said: and more she could not say;
For what she knew she could not tell,
O’ermaster'd by the mighty spell.
Thus Bracy said: the baron, the while, Half-listening heard him with a smile ; Then turn'd to Lady Geraldine, His eyes made up of wonder and love; And said in courtly accents fine, Sweet maid! Lord Roland's beauteous dove, With arms more strong than harp or song, Thy sire and I will crush the snake! He kiss'd her forehead as he spake, And Geraldine in maiden wise, Casting down her large bright eyes, With blushing cheek and courtesy fine She turn'd her from Sir Leoline; Softly gathering up her train, That o'er her right arm fell again And folded her arms across her chest, And couch'd her head upon her breast, And look'd askance at ChristabelJesu, Maria, shield her well!
Why is thy cheek so wan and wild,
Sir Leoline? Thy only child
Lies at thy feet, thy joy, thy pride,
So fair, so innocent, so mild ;
The same, for whom thy lady died.
O by the pangs of her dear mother,
Think thou no evil of thy child!
For her, and thee, and for no other,
She pray'd the moment ere she died;
Pray'd that the babe for whom she died
Might prove her dear lord's joy and pride!
That prayer her deadly pangs beguiled,
Sir Leoline !
And wouldst thou wrong thy only child,
Her child and thine?
A snake's small eye blinks dull and shy,
And the lady's eyes they shrunk in her head,
Each shrunk up to a serpent's eye,
And with somewhat of malice and more of
At Christabel she look'd askance:
One moment—and the sight was fled!
But Christabel, in dizzy trance
Stumbling on the unsteady ground,
Shudder'd aloud, with a hissing sound;
And Geraldine again turn'd round,
And like a thing, that sought relief,
Full of wonder and full of grief,
She rolld her large bright eyes divine
Wildly on Sir Leoline.
Within the baron's heart and brain
If thoughts like these had any share,'
They only swell’d his rage and pain,
And did but work confusion tbere.
His heart was cleft with pain and rage,
His cheeks they quiver'd, his eyes were will
Dishonour'd thus in his old age;
Dishonour'd by his only child,
And all his hospitality
To the insulted daughter of his friend
By more than woman's jealousy
Brought thus to a disgraceful end-
He roll’d his eye with stern regard
Upon the gentle minstrel bard,
And said in tones abrupt, austere,
Why, Bracy ! dost thou loiter here?
I bade thee hence! The bard obey'd;
And, turning from his own sweet maid,
The aged knight, Sir Leoline,
Led forth the Lady Geraldine !
THE CONCLUSION TO PART II.
The maid, alas ! her thoughts are gone,
She nothing sees—no sight but one!
The maid, devoid of guile and sin,
I know not bow, in fearful wise
So deeply had she drunken in
That look, those shrunken serpent eyes,
Must needs express his love's excess
Over the hill and over the dale With words of unmeant bitterness.
And he went over the plain, Perhaps 'tis pretty to force together
And backward and forward he swish'd his long tail Thoughts so all unlike each other;
As a gentleman swishes his cane.
To mutter and mock a broken charm,
To dally with wrong that does no harm.
And how then was the Devil drest?
Perhaps 'tis tender too and pretty
0! he was in his Sunday's best: At each wild word to feel within
His jacket was red and his breeches were blue, A sweet recoil of love and pity.
And there was a hole where the tail came And what, if in a world of sin
through. (O sorrow and shame should this be true!) Such giddiness of heart and brain
He saw a LAWYER killing a viper Comes seldom, save from rage and pain,
On a dung-heap beside his stable, So talks as it's most used to do.
And the Devil smiled, for it put him in mind
Of Cain and his brother, Abel.
A POTHECARY on a white horse
Rode by on his vocations,
And the Devil thought of his old friend
Death in the Revelations.
He saw a cottage with a double coach-house,
A cottage of gentility!
And the Devil did grin, for his darling sin
Is pride that apes humility.
VERSE, a breeze 'mid blossoms straying,
Where Hope clung feeding, like a bee-
Both were mine! Life went a-maying
With Nature, Hope, and Poesy,
When I was young!
When I was young ?--Ah, woful when!
Ah for the change 'twixt now and then!
This breathing house not built with hands,
This body that does me grievous wrong,
O'er airy cliffs and glittering sands,
How lightly then it flash'd along :-
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore,
On winding lakes and rivers wide,
That ask no aid of sail or oar,
That fear no spite of wind or tide!
Naught cared this body for wind or weather,
When Youth and I lived in't together.
He went into a rich bookseller's shop,
Quoth be! we are both of one college;
For I myself sate like a cormorant once,
Fast by the tree of knowledge.*
Down the river there plied with wind and tide,
A pig, with vast celerity;
* And all amid them stood the Tree of Life
High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold (query paper money?); and next to
Our Death, the Tree of knowledge, grew fast by. -
Flowers are lovely ; love is flower-like;
Friendship is a sheltering tree;
O the joys, that came down shower-like,
Of friendship, love, and liberty,
Ere I was old!
Ere I was old ? Ah woful Ere,
Which tells me, Youth's no longer here !
O Youth ! for years so many and sweet,
'Tis known, that thou and I were one,
I'll think it but a fond conceit-
It cannot be that thou art gone!
Thy vesper-bell hath not yet tolld :-
And thou wert aye a masker bold !
What strange disguise hast now put on,
To make believe that thou art gone?
I see these locks in silvery slips,
This drooping gait, this alter'd size:
But springtide blossoms on thy lips,
And tears take sunshine from thine eyes!
Life is but thought: so think I will
That Youth and I are house-mates still.
So clomb this first grand thief
Thence up he llew, and on the tree of life
Sat like a cormorant.-Par. Lost, IV.
The allegory here is so apt, that in a catalogue of ra-
rious readings obtained from collating the MSS. one
might expect to find it noted, that for "Life" Cod. quid
habent, "Trade.” Though indeed the trade, i. e. the
bibliopolic, se) called, kùr' sfóxnw, may be regarded as life
sansu eminentiori: a suggestion, which I owe to a young
retailer in the hosiery line, who on hearing a description
of the nel profils, dinner parties, country houses, etc. of
the trade, exclaimed, " Ay! that's what I call life now!"
-This "Life, our Death," is thus happily contrasted with
the fruits of authorship.-Sic nos non nobis mellificamus
of this poem, with which the Fire, Famine, and Slaughter first appeared in the Morning Post, the three first stanzas, which are worth all the rest, and the ninth, were dictated by Mr. Southey. Between the ninth and the concluding stanza, two or three are omitted as grounded on subjects that have lost their interest-and for better reasons.
If any one should ask, who General meant, the author begs leave to inform him, that he did once see a red-faced person in a dream whom by the dress he took for a general; but he might have been mistaken, and most certainly he did not hear any names mentioned. simple verity, the author never meant any one, or in deed any thing but to put a concluding stanza to his dog. gerel.
3 B 2
From his brimstone bed at break of day
A-walking the Devil is gone,
To visit his little snug farm of the earth,
And see how his stock went on.