Зображення сторінки



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. 325
No doubt, she hath a vision sweet.
What if 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.



Part II


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: 335
These words Sir Leoline will say
Many a morn to his dying day!


It was a lovely sight to see
The lady Christabel, when she
Was praying at the old oak tree.

Amid the jagged shadows
Of mossy leafless boughs,
Kneeling in the moonlight,

To make her gentle vows;
Her slender palms together prest,
Heaving sometimes on her breast;
Her face resigned to bliss or bale
Her face, oh call it fair not pale,
And both blue eyes

more bright than clear, Each about to have a tear. With open eyes (ah, woe is me!) Asleep, and dreaming fearfully, Fearfully dreaming, yet I wis, Dreaming that alone, which is

295 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. 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 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


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! Yea, she doth smile, and she doth weep, Like a youthful hermitess,

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.




Saith Bracy the bard, “So let it knell! 345
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, 350
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; 355
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 Borrodale,


The air is still! through mist and cloud 360
That merry peal comes ringing loud;
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 noching doubting of her spell
Awakens the lady Christabel.
"Sleep you, sweet lady Christabel ?
I trust that you have rested well.”


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 hrother:

They parted — ne'er to meet again!
But never either found another.
To free the hollow heart from pain-

ingThey stood aloof, the scars remaining, 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.





And Christabel awoke and spied 370
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 375
Of all the blessedness of sleep!
And while she spake, her looks, her air,
Such gentle thankfulness declare,
That (so it seemed) her girded vests
Grew tight beneath her heaving

"Sure I have sinned!” 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.
So quickly she rose, and quickly arrayed
Her maiden limbs, and having prayed
That He, who on the cross did groan,
Might wash away her sins unknown, 390
She forthwith led fair Geraldine
To meet her sire, Sir Leoline.
The lovely maid and the lady tall
Are pacing both into the hall,
And pacing

through page

and groom,

395 Enter the Baron's presence-room. 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!

[blocks in formation]



O then the Baron forgot his age,
His noble heart swelled 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 wronged the

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 eye in lightning rolls!
For the lady was ruthlessly seized; and he

kenned In the beautiful lady the child of his friend!




[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]







Which when she viewed, a vision fell "And when he has crossed the Irthing Upon the soul of Christabel,

flood, The vision of fear, the touch and pain! My merry bard! he hastes, he hastes She shrunk and shuddered, and Up Knorren Moor, through Halegarth again

Wood, (Ah, woe is me! Was it for thee,

And reaches soon that castle good Thou gentle maid! such sights to see?) Which stands and threatens Scotland's Again she saw that bosom old,

wastes. Again she felt that bosom cold, And drew in her breath with a hissing “Bard Bracy! bard Bracy! your horses are sound:

fleet, Whereat the Knight turned wildly Ye must ride up the hall, — your music round,

so sweet, And nothing saw, but his own sweet More loud than your horses' echoing maid

feet! With eyes upraised, as one that prayed. And loud and loud to Lord Roland call, The touch, the sight, had passed away, Thy daughter is safe in Langdale hall! And in its stead that vision blest,

Thy beautiful daughter is safe and free — Which comforted her after-rest,

Sir Leoline greets thee thus through me! While in the lady's arms she lay,

He bids thee come without delay 505 Had put a rapture in her breast,

With all thy numerous array;
And on her lips and o'er her eyes And take thy lovely daughter home:
Spread smiles like light!

And he will meet thee on the way
With new surprise, With all his numerous array
“What ails then my beloved child ?" 470 White with their panting palfreys'
The Baron said — His daughter mild

foam: Made answer, “All will yet be well!” And, by mine honor! I will say, I ween, she had no power to tell That I repent me of the day Aught else: so mighty was the spell. When I spake words of fierce disdain

To Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine! Yet he who saw this Geraldine

475 For since that evil hour hath flown, 515 Had deemed her sure a thing divine. Many a summer's sun hath shone; Such sorrow with such grace she blended, Yet ne'er found I a friend again As if she feared she had offended

Like Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine.” Sweet Christabel, that gentle maid! And with such lowly tones she prayed 480 The lady fell, and clasped his knees, She might be sent without delay

Her face upraised, her eyes o'erflowHome to her father's mansion.


“Nay! And Bracy replied, with faltering voice, Nay, by my soul!" said Leoline.

His gracious Hail on all bestowing: “Ho! Bracy the bard, the charge be thine! “Thy words, thou sire of Christabel, Go thou, with music sweet and loud, 485 Are sweeter than my harp can tell; And take two steeds with trappings proud, Yet might I gain a boon of thee, 525 And take the youth whom thou lov'st best This day my journey should not be, To bear thy harp, and learn thy song, So strange a dream hath come to me, And clothe you both in solemn vest,

That I had vowed with music loud And over the mountains haste along, 490 To clear yon wood from thing unblest, Lest wandering folk, that are abroad, Warned by a vision in my rest! 530 Detain you on the valley road.

For in my sleep I saw that dove,




That gentle bird, whom thou dost love, She turned her from Sir Leoline;
And call'st by thy own daughter's name Softly gathering up her train,
Sir Leoline! I saw the same

That o'er her right arm fell again;
Fluttering, and uttering fearful moan, 535 And folded her arms across her chest,
Among the green herbs in the forest alone. And couched her head upon her breast, 580
Which when I saw and when I heard, And looked askance at Christabel
I wondered what might ail the bird; Jesu, Maria, shield her well!
For nothing near it could I see,
Save the grass and green herbs underneath A snake's small eye blinks dull and shy,
the old tree.

540 And the lady's eyes they shrunk in her

head, "And in my dream, methought, I went Each shrunk up to a serpent's eye, 585 To search out what might there be found; And with somewhat of malice, and more of And what the sweet bird's trouble meant,

dread, That thus lay fluttering on the ground. At Christabel she looked askance! I went and peered, and could descry One moment — and the sight was filed! No cause for her distressful cry;

But Christabel in dizzy trance But yet for her dear lady's sake

Stumbling on the unsteady ground 590
I stooped, methought, the dove to take, Shuddered aloud, with a hissing sound;
When lo! I saw a bright green snake And Geraldine again turned round,
Coiled around its wings and neck. 550 And like a thing that sought relief,
Green as the herbs on which it couched, Full of wonder and full of grief,
Close by the dove's its head it crouched; She rolled her large bright eyes divine 595
And with the dove it heaves and stirs, Wildly on Sir Leoline.
Swelling its neck as she swelled hers!
I woke; it was the midnight hour, 555 The maid, alas! her thoughts are gone,
The clock was echoing in the tower; She nothing sees

no sight but one!
But though my slumber was gone by, The maid, devoid of guile and sin,
This dream it would not pass away I know not how, in fearful wise,
It seems to live upon my eye!

So deeply had she drunken in
And thence I vowed this self-same day 560 That look, those shrunken serpent eyes,
With music strong and saintly song That all her features were resigned
To wander through the forest bare, To this sole image in her mind:
Lest aught unholy loiter there."

And passively did imitate

That look of dull and treacherous hate! Thus Bracy said: the Baron, the while, And thus she stood, in dizzy trance, Half-listening heard him with a smile; 565 Still picturing that look askance Then turned to Lady Geraldine,

With forced unconscious sympathy His eyes made up of wonder and love; Full before her father's view – And said in courtly accents fine,

As far as such a look could be "Sweet maid, Lord Roland's beauteous In eyes so innocent and blue! dove,

And when the trance was o'er, the maid With arms

more strong than harp or Paused awhile, and inly prayed: song,

570 Then falling at the Baron's feet, Thy sire and I will crush the snake!” “By my mother's soul do I entreat He kissed her forehead as he spake, That thou this woman send away!” And Geraldine in maiden wise

She said: and more she could not say: Casting down her large bright eyes, For what she knew she could not tell, With blushing cheek and courtesy fine O'er-mastered by the mighty spell.








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! 625
O, by the pangs of her dear mother
Think thou no evil of thy child!
For her, and thee, and for no other,
She prayed the moment ere she died:
Prayed 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 ?

Upon his heart, that he at last
Must needs express his love's excess
With words of unmeant bitterness.
Perhaps 'tis pretty to force together
Thoughts so all unlike each other;
To mutter and mock a broken charm,
To dally with wrong that does no harm.
Perhaps 'tis tender too and pretty 670
At each wild word to feel within
A sweet recoil of love and pity.
And what, if in a world of sin
(O sorrow and shame should this be true!)
Such giddiness of heart and brain 675
Comes seldom save from rage and pain,
So talks as it's most used to do.





Within the Baron's heart and brain
If thoughts, like these, had any share,
They only swelled his rage and pain,
And did but work confusion there.
His heart was cleft with pain and rage, 640
His cheeks they quivered, his eyes were

Dishonored thus in his old age;
Dishonored by his only child,
And all his hospitality
To the wronged daughter of his friend 645
By more than woman's jealousy
Brought thus to a disgraceful end –
He rolled 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 obeyed;
And turning from his own sweet maid,
The aged knight, Sir Leoline,
Led forth the lady Geraldine!



In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

5 So twice five miles of fertile ground With walls and towers were girdled round: And here were gardens bright with

sinuous rills Where blossomed many an incense-bearing

tree; And here were forests ancient as the

hills, Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. But oh! that deep romantic chasm which

slanted Down the green hill athwart a cedarn

cover! A savage place! as holy and enchanted As e'er beneath a waning moon

haunted By woman wailing for her demon-lover! And from this chasm, with ceaseless tur

moil seething, As if this earth in fast thick pants were

breathing, A mighty fountain momently was forced ; Amid whose


half-intermitted burst





[blocks in formation]


« НазадПродовжити »