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Not far from Margaret's cottage dwelt a He had been noble, but some great deceit knight

Had turned his better instinct to a vice: Of the proud Templars, a sworn celibate, He strove to think the world was all a Whose heart in secret fed upon the light

cbeat, And dew of her ripe beauty, through the That power and fame were cheap at any grate

price, Of his close vow catching what gleams he That the sure way of being shortly great might

Was even to play life's game with loaded Of the free heaven, and cursing all too late

dice, The cruel faith whose black walls hemmed Since he had tried the honest play and him in

found And turned life's crowning bliss to deadly That vice and virtue differed but in sound.

sin.

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For he had met her in the wood by chance,
And, having drunk her beauty's wilder-

ing spell,
His heart shook like the pennon of a lance

That quivers in a breeze's suddeu swell, And thenceforth, in a close-infolded trance,

From mistily golden deep to deep he fell ; Till earth did waver and fade far away Beneath the hope in whose warm arms he

lay.

Yet Margaret's sight redeemed him for a

space From his own thraldom; man could

never be
A hypocrite when first such maiden grace

Smiled in upon his heart; the agony
Of wearing all day long a lying face
Fell lightly from him, and, a moment

free,
Erect with wakened faith his spirit stood
And scorned the weakness of his demon-

mood.

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Like a sweet wind-barp to him was her

tbought, Which would not let the common air

come near, Till from its dim enchantment it had caught

A musical tenderness that brimmed his

ear

With sweetness more ethereal than aught

Save silver-dropping snatches that whil

ere

A dark, proud man he was, whose half

blown youth
Had shed its blossoms even in opening,
Leaving a few that with more winning ruth
Trembling around grave manhood's stem

might cling,
More sad than cheery, making, in good

sooth, Like the fringed gentian, a late autumn

spring:
A twilight nature, braided light and gloom,
A youth half-smiling by an open tomb.

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Fair as an angel, who yet inly wore
A wrinkled heart foreboding his near

fall;
Who saw him alway wished to know him

more, As if he were some fate's defiant thrall And nursed a dreaded secret at his core;

Little he loved, but power the most of all, And that he seemed to scorn, as one who

knew By what foul paths men choose to crawl

thereto.

Rained down from some sad angel's faith

ful harp To cool her fallen lover's anguish sharp.

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Deep in the forest was a little dell

High overarchëd with the leafy sweep
Of a broad oak, through whose gnarled

roots there fell
A slender rill that sung itself to sleep,
Where its continuous toil had scooped a well

To please the fairy folk; breathlessly deep The stillness was, save when the dreaming

brook From its small urn a drizzly murmur shook.

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old caress,

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seen

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up

And thoughts of childish peace, he knew

not whence, The wooded hills sloped upward all around Thronged round his heart with many an

With gradual rise, and made an even rim, So that it seemed a mighty casque un- Melting the frost there into pearly dew bound

That mirrored back his nature's morningFrom some huge Titan's brow to lighten

blue. him, Ages ago, and left upon the ground, Where the slow soil had mossed it to the She turned and saw him, but she felt nc brim,

dread, Till after countless centuries it grew

Her purity, like adamantine mail, Into this dell, the haunt of noontide dew. Did so encircle her; and yet her head

She drooped, and made her golden hair XXIII

her veil, Dim vistas, sprinkled o'er with sun-flecked Through which a glow of rosiest lustre green,

spread, Wound through the thickset truuks on Then faded, and anon she stood all pale, every side,

As snow o'er which a blush of northern-light And, toward the west, in fancy might be Suddenly reddens, and as soon grows

white. A Gothic window in its blazing pride, When the low sun, two arching elms between,

She thought of Tristrem and of Lancilot, Lit the leaves beyond, which, autumn- Of all her dreams, and of kind fairies' dyed

might, With lavish hues, would into splendor start, And how that dell was deemed a haunted Shaming the labored panes of richest art.

spot, Until there grew a mist before her sight,

And where the present was she half forgot, Here, leaning once against the old oak's Borne backward through the realms of trunk,

old delight, Mordred, for such was the young Tem- Then, starting up awake, she would have plar's name,

gone, Saw Margaret come; unseen, the falcon Yet almost wished it might not be alone.

sbrunk From the meek dove; sharp thrills of tingling flame

How they went home together through the Made him forget that he was vowed a wood, monk,

And how all life seemed focussed into one And all the outworks of his pride o'er- Thought-dazzling spot that set ablaze the

blood, Flooded he seemed with bright delicious What need to tell ? Fit language there pain,

is none As if a star had burst within his brain. For the heart's deepest things. Who ever

wooed

As in his boyish hope he would have done ? Such power hath beauty and frank inno- For, when the soul is fullest, the hushed

tongue A flower bloomed forth, that sunshine Voicelessly trembles like a lute unstrung.

glad to bless, Even from his love's long leafless stem; the sense

But all things carry the heart's messages Of exile from Hope's happy realm grew And know it not, nor doth the heart well less,

know,

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came:

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cence:

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But Nature hath her will; even as the That she loved him, and not a pulse could bees,

stir Blithe go-betweens, fly singing to and fro In her whole frame but quivered through With the fruit-quickening pollen; — hard and through if these

With this glad thought, and was a minister Found not some all unthought-of way to To do him fealty and service true, show

Like golden ripples hasting to the land Their secret each to each; and so they did, To wreck their freight of sunshine on the And one heart's flower-dust into the other

strand. slid.

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filled quite

With sunshine, like the shepherd's-clock As one who, from the sunshine and the at noon,

green, Closes its leaves around its warm delight;

Enters the solid darkness of a cave, Whate'er in life is harsh or out of tune Nor knows what precipice or pit unseen Is all shut out, no boding shade of blight May yawn before him with its sudden Can pierce the opiate ether of its swoon:

grave, Love is bnt blind as thoughtful justice is, And, with hushed breath, doth often forBut naught can be so wanton-blind as bliss. ward lean,

Dreaming he hears the plashing of a XXXIII All beauty and all life he was to her; Dimly below, or feels a damper air She questioned not his love, she only From out som eary chas he knows knew

not where;

wave

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wan

VIII It ever is weak falsehood's destiny That her thick mask turns crystal to let Thou wilt not let her wash thy dainty feet through

With such salt things as tears, or with The unsuspicious eyes of honesty;

rude hair But Margaret's heart was too sincere Dry them, soft Pharisee, that sit'st at meat and true

With him who made her such, and Aught but plain truth and faithfulness to

speak'st him fair, see,

Leaving God's wandering lamb the while to And Mordred's for a time a little grew

bleat To be like hers, won by the mild reproof Unheeded, shivering in the pitiless air: Of those kind eyes that kept all doubt Thou hast made prisoned virtue show more aloof.

And haggard than a vice to look upon. Full oft they met, as dawn and twilight meet

Now many months flew by, and weary In northern climes; she full of growing

grew day

To Margaret the sight of happy things; As he of darkness, which before her feet Blight fell on all her flowers, instead of Shrank gradual, and faded quite away,

dew; Soon to return; for power had made love Shut round her heart were now the joysweet

ous wings To him, and, when his will had gained Wherewith it wont to soar; yet not un

true, The taste began to pall; for never power Though tempted much, her woman's Can sate the hungry soul beyond an hour.

nature clings

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full sway,

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ness

and press

move

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XV

To its first pure belief, and with sad eyes And yet, though thou be pure, the world is
Looks backward o'er tbe gate of Paradise.

foe
To purity, if born in such a shrine;

And, having trampled it for struggling And so, though altered Mordred came less thence, oft,

Smiles to itself, and calls it Providence. And winter frowned where spring bad

laughed before In his strange eyes, yet half her sadness As thus she mused, a shadow seemed to dutfed,

rise And in her silent patience loved him From out her thought, and turn to dreari

more: Sorrow had made her soft heart yet more All blissful hopes and sunny memories, soft,

And the quick blood would curdle up And a new life within her own she bore Which made her tenderer, as she felt it About her heart, which seemed to shut its

eyes Beneath her breast, a refuge for her love. And hush itself, as who with shuddering

guess

Harks through the gloom and dreads e'en This babe, she thought, would surely bring

now to feel bim back,

Through his bot breast the icy slide of And be a bond forever them between;

steel. Before its eyes the sullen tempest-rack Would fade, and leave the face of heaven serene;

But, at that heart-beat, while in dread she And love's return doth more than fill the

was, lack,

In the low wind the honeysuckles gleam, Which in his absence withered the heart's A dewy thrill fits through the heavy green:

grass, And yet a dim foreboding still would flit And, looking forth, she saw, as in a Between her and ber hope to darken it.

dream,

Within the wood the moonlight's shadowy XII She could not figure forth a happy fate, Night's starry heart yearning to hers Even for this life from heaven so newly come;

And the deep sky, full-hearted with the The earth must needs be donbly desolate

moon, To him scarce parted from a fairer Folds round her all the happiness of June.

home: Such boding heavier on her bosom sate One night, as, standing in the twilight What fear could face a heaven and earth gloam,

like this? She strained her eyes beyond that dizzy What silveriest cloud could hang 'neath verge

such a sky ? At whose foot faintly breaks the future's A tide of wondrous and unwonted bliss surge.

Rolls back through all her pulses sud

denly, XIII

As if some seraph, who had learned to Poor little spirit ! nanght but shame and woe

kiss Nurse the sick heart whose lifeblood From the fair daughters of the world nurses thine:

gone by, Yet not those only ; love hath triumphed so, Had wedded so his fallen light with hers, As for thy sake makes sorrow more Such sweet, strange joy through soul and divine:

body stirs.

mass:

doth seem,

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