Imágenes de páginas

from the charge, and who, on any striking coincidence, would permit me to address them in this docgrel version of twoʻmonkish Latin hexameters.

The lady sprang up suddenly,
The lovely lady, Christabel!
It ioan'd as near, as near can be,
But what it is, she cannot tell.-
On the other side it seems to be,
Of the huge, broad-breasted, old oak tree.

'T is mine and it is likewise your's;
But an if this will not do,
Let it be mine, good friend! for I
Am the poorer of the two.

I have only to add, that the metre of the Christabel is not, properly speaking, irregular, though it may seem so from its being founded on a new principle : namely, that of counting in each line the accents, not the syllables. Though the latter may vary from seven to twelve, yet in each line the accents will be found to be only four. Nevertheless this occasional variation in number of syllables is not introduced wantonly, or for the mere ends of convenience, but in correspondence with some transition, in the nature of the imagery or passion.

The night is chill; the forest bare;
Is it the wind that moaneth bleak?
There is not wind enough in the air
To move away the ringlet curl
From the lovely lady's check-
There is not wind enough to (wirl
The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
That dances as often as dance it can,
Hanging so light, and hanging so bigh,
On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.

Hush, heating heart of Christabel!
Jesu, Maria, shield ber well!
She folded her arms bencath her cloak,
And stole to the other side of the oak.

What sees she there?



'T is the middle of night by the castle clock,
And the owls have awaken'd the crowing cock;
Tu-whit!––Tu whoo!
And hark, again! the crowing cock,
How drowsily it crew.

There she sees a damsel bright,
Drest in a silken robe of while,
That shadowy in the moonlight shone:
The neck that made that white robe wan,
Her stately neck, and arms were bare;
ller blue-vein'd feet unsandal'd were,
And wildly glitter'd liere and there

gems entangled in her hair. 1

guess, 't was frightful there to see A lady so richly clad as sheo Beautiful exceedingly!

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Mary mother, save me now!
(Said Christabel), And who art thou?
The lady strange made answer meet,
And her voice was faint and sweet :-
Have pity on my sore distress,
I scarce can speak for weariness :
Stretch forth thy hand, and have no fear!
Said Christabel, How camest thou here?
And the lady, whose voice was faint and sweet:
Did thus pursue her answer meet :-
My sire is of a noble line,
And my name is Geraldine:
Five warriors seized me yestermorn,
Me, even mc, a maid forlorn :
They choked my cries with force and fright,
And tied me on a palfrey white.
The palfrey was as fleet as wind,
And they rode furiously behind.
They spurr'd amain, their steeds were white;
And once we cross'd the shade of night.
As sure as Heaven shall rescue me,
I have no thought what men they be;
Nor do I know how long it is
(For I have lain entranced I wis)
Since one, the tallest of the five,
Took me from the palfrey's back,
A weary woman, scarce alive.
Some mutter'd wordä liis comrades spoke :
He placed me underncath this oak,

She stole along, she nothing spoke,
The sighs she heaved were soft and low,
And nought was green upon the oak,
But moss and rarest misletoe:
She kneels beneath the huge oak tree,
And in silence praycth she.

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And see! the lady Christabel
Gathers herself from out her trance;
ller 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!

Yet Geraldine nor speaks nor stirs ;
Ah! what a stricken look was hers!
Decp from within she seems half-way
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,

Ah well-a-day!
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 (0-night, and will know to-morrow
This mark of my slame, 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 moaping,

Yea, she doth smile, and she doth weer,
Like a youthful hermitess,
Beauteous in a wilderness,
Who, praying always, prays in sleep.
And, if she move unquietly,
Perchance, 't is gu the blood so free,
Comes back and tingles in her feet.
No doubt, she hath a vision sweet :
What if ber guardian spirit 't were,
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!

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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

the space

In Langdale Pike and Witch's Lair,
And Dungeon-ghyll so foully rent,

ropes of rock and bells of air
Three sinful sextons' ghosts are pent,
Who all give back, one after l'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.

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,
Like cliffs which had been rent asunder;
A dreary sea now flows between.
But neither heat, nor frosi, 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.

The air is still! through mist and cloud That merry peal comes ringing loud; And Geraldine shakes off her dread, And rises liglıtly 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


have rested well.»


And Christabel awoke and spied
The same whn lay down by her side-
O rather the same whom she


beneath the old oak-trec ! 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 her girded vests Grew tight beneath her heaving breasts.

Sure I have sinn'd,» said Christabel, « Now leaven 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.

O then the Baron forgot his age !
Ilis noble lieart swellid high with rage;
He swore by the wounds in Jesu's side,
He would proclaim it far and wide

trump and solemn heraldry,
'That they, who thus had wrong'd the dame,
Werc base as spotted infamy!
« And if they dare deny the same,
My herald shall appoint a week,
And let the recreant traitors scek
My tourney court—that there and then

may dislodge their reptile souls From the bodies and forms of men!, Ile spake: his eye in lightning rolls ! For the lady was ruthlessly seized ; and he kenn'd In the beautiful lady the child of his friend!,

So quickly she rose, and quickly array'd Her mailen limbs, and having pray'd That lle, who on the cross did groan, Might waslı away lier sins unknown,

And now the tears were on his face,
And fondly in his arms he took
Fair Geraldine, who met the 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, woe is me! Was it for thee,
Thou gentle maid! such sights to see ?)

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 fierce disdain
To Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine!

since th: evil hour hath flown,
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 B.iron said -lis daughter mild Made answer,

All will


be well!, I ween, she had no power to tell Aught else : 80 mighty was the spell.

The lady fell, and clasp'd his knees,
Her face upraised, her eyes o‘erflowing;
And Bracy replied, with faultering voice,
Her gracious ligil on all bestowing ;-
Thy words, thou sire of Christabel,
Are sweeter than my harp can tell;
Yet might I gain a boon of thee,
This day my journey should not be,
So strange a dream bath come lo me;
That Uad 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 old

Yet he, who saw this Geraldine,
Had deem'd her sure a thing divine.
Such sorrow with such grace shie blended,
As if she fear'd she had offended
Sweet Christabel, that gentle maid!
And with such lowly tones she pray'd,
She might be sent without delay
Ilome to her father's mansion.


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 barp, 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 in my dream, 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 hier distressful cry;
But yet for bier 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 couchd,
Close by the dove's its liead it crouchd;
And with the dove it beaves and stirs,
Swelling its neck as she swellid 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 self-same day,
With music strong and saintly song
To wander through the forest bare,
Lest aught unholy loiter there.

• Bard Bracy, bard Pracy! your lorses are feet,
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 free-
Sir Leoline greets thee thus through me.
He bids thee come without delay
With all thy numerous array;
And take thy lovely daughter home:
And he will meet thec on the way

Thus Bracy said: the Baron, the while,
Half-listening hcard 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,

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