Слике страница
PDF
ePub

She might be sent without delay Home to her father's mansion.

[ocr errors]

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 swellid 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, 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 flood,
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 thee 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 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 baron said.-His daughter mild Made answer, “ All will yet be well !" I ween, she had no power to tell Augut 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

old tree.

Yet he, who saw this Geraldine,
Had deem'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 unholy 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.

The same,

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 Christabel-
Jesu, 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 ;

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

dread,
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 roll'd 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 there.
His heart was cleft with pain and rage,
His cheeks they quiverd, bis eyes were wila
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 how, in fearful wise
So deeply had she drunken in
That look, those shrunken serpent eyes,

A LITTLE child, a limber elf,
Singing, dancing to itself,
A fairy thing with red round cheeks
That always finds and never seeks,
Makes such a vision to the sight
As fills a father's eyes with light;
And pleasures flow in so thick and fast
Upon his heart, that he at last

Over the hill and over the dale

And he went over the plain, And backward and forward he swish'd his long tail

As a gentleman swishes his cane.

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
At each wild word to feel within
A sweet recoil of love and pity.
And what, if in a world of sin
(0 sorrow and shame should this be true !)
Such giddiness of heart and brain
Comes seldom, save from rage and pain,
So talks as it's most used to do.

And how then was the Devil drest?

0! he was in his Sunday's best: His jacket was red and his breeches were blue, And there was a hole where the tail came

through.

He saw a LAWYER killing a viper

On a dung-heap beside his stable, And the Devil smiled, for it put him in mind

Of Cain and his brother, Abel.

YOUTH AND AGE.

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 he! 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

Lise
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 kvown, 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 flew, and on the tree of life

Sat like a cormorant.-Par. Lost, IV. The allegory here is so apt, that in a catalogue of da. 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, so called, kàr'efóxnu, 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 net profits, dinner parties, country houses, etc. of the trade, exclaimed, " Ay! that's what I call life now !" -This "Lise, our Death," is thus bappily contrasted with the fruits of authorship.-Sic nos non nobis mellificamus Apes.

or 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 omiuled as grounded on subjects that have lost their interest—and for better reasons. any one should ask, who General

meant, the author begs leave to inform him, that he did once see a red-laced 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. In simple verity, the author never meant any one, or indeed any thing but to put a concluding stanza to his dog. gerel.

3 B 2

THE DEVIL'S THOUGHTS.

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.

72

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

II. “ Ab,” replied my gentle fair; “Dear one, what are names but air ? Choose thou whatever suits the line ; Call me Laura, call me Chloris, Call me Lalage, or Doris, Only-only-call me thine!

Sly Beelzebub took all occasions
To try Job's constancy, and patience.
He took his honour, took his health ;
He took his children, took his wealth,
His servants, oxen, horses, cows,-
But cunning Satan did not take his spouse.

But Heaven, that brings out good from evil,
And loves to disappoint the devil,
Had predetermined to restore
Tuofold all he had before ;
His servants, horses, oxen, cows-
Short-sighted devil, not to take his spouse !

Of late, in one of those most weary hours,
When life seems emptied of all geuial powers,
A dreary mood, which he who ne'er has known
May bless his happy lot, I sate alone;
And, from the numbing spell to win relief,
Calld on the past for thought of glee or grief.
In vain! bereft alike of grief and glee,
I sate and cower'd o'er my own vacancy!
And as I watch'd the dull continuous ache,
Which, all else slumbering, seem'd alone to wake;
O friend ! long wont to notice yet conceal,
And soothe by silence what words cannot heal,
I but half saw that quiet hand of thine
Place on my desk this exquisite design,
Boccaccio's garden and its faëry,
The love, the joyance, and the gallantry!
An idyl, with Boccaccio's spirit warm
Framed in the silent poesy of form.
Like flocks adown a newly-bathed steep

Emerging from a mist: or like a stream
Of music soft that not dispels the sleep,
But casts in happier moulds the slumberer's

dream, Gazed by an idle eye with silent might The picture stole upon my inward sight. A tremulous warmth crept gradual o'er my chest, As though an infant's finger touch'd my breast. And one by one (I know not whence) were brought All spirits of power that most had stirr'd my

thought. In selfless boyhood, on a new world tost Of wonder, and in its own fancies lost; Or charm'd my youth, that kindled from above, Loved ere it loved, and sought a form for love; Or lent a lustre to the earnest scan Of manhood, musing what and whence is man! Wild strain of scalds, that in the sea-worn caves Rehearsed their war-spell to the winds and waves;

HOARSE Mævius reads his hobbling verse
To all, and at all times;
And finds them both divinely smooth,
His voice as well as rhymes.

But folks say Mævius is no ass;
But Mævius makes it clear
That he's a monster of an ass-
An ass without an ear!

THERE comes from old Avaro's grave
A deadly stench-why, sure, they have
Immured his soul within bis grave!

Or fateful hymn of those prophetic maids,

Fair cities, gallant mansions, castles old, That call'd on Hertha in deep forest glades; And forests, where beside his leafy hold Or minstrel lay, that cheer'd the baron's feast; The sullen boar hath heard the distant horn, Or rhyme of city pomp, of monk and priest, And whets his tusks against the gnarled thorn; Judge, mayor, and many a guild in long array, Palladian palace with its storied halls ; To high-church pacing on the great saint's day. Fountains, where love lies listening to their falls ; And

many a verse which to myself I sang, Gardens, where fings the bridge its airy span, That woke the tear, yet stole away the pang,

And nature makes her happy home with man; Of hopes which in lamenting I renew'd.

Where many a gorgeous lower is duly fed And last, a matron now, of sober mien,

With its own rill, on its own spangled bed, Yet radiant still and with no earthly sheen,

And wreathes the marble urn, or leans its head, Whom as a faëry child my childhood wood A mimic mourner, that with veil withdrawn E'en in my dawn of thought-Philosophy.

Weeps liquid gems, the presents of the dawn, Though then unconscious of herself, pardie, Thine all delights, and every muse is thine: She bore no other name than poesy;

And more than all, th' embrace and intertwine And, like a gift from heaven, in lifesul glee, Of all with all in gay and twinkling dance ! That had but newly left a mother's knee,

'Mid gods of Greece and warriors of romance, Prattled and play'd with bird, and Power, and stone, See! Boccace sits, unfolding on his knees As with elfin playfellows well known,

The new-found roll of old Mæonides ;* And life reveal'd to innocence alone.

But from his mantle's fold, and near the heart,

Peers Ovid's Holy Book of Love's sweet smart !t Thanks, gentle artist! now I can descry

O all-enjoying and all-blending sage, Thy fair creation with a mastering eye,

Long be it mine to con thy mazy page, And all awake! And now in fix'd gaze stand, Where, half-conceal'd, the eye of fancy views Now wander through the Eden of thy hand; Fauns, nymphs, and winged saints, all gracious to Praise the green arches, on the fountain clear

thy muse! See fragment shadows of the crossing deer, And with that serviceable nymph I stoop,

Still in thy garden let me watch their pranks, The crystal from its restless pool to scoop.

And see in Dian's vest between the ranks I see no longer! I myself am there,

Of the trim vines, some maid that half believes Sit on the ground-sward, and the banquet share.

The vestal fires, of which her lover grieves, 'Tis 1, that sweep that lute's love-echoing strings,

With that sly satyr peering through the leaves ! And gaze upon the maid, who gazing sings:

* Boccaccio claimed for himself the glory of having first Or pause and listen to the tinkling bells

introduced the works of Homer to his country. From the high tower, and think that there she

t I know few more striking or more interesting proofs dwells.

of the overwhelming influence which the study of the With old Boccaccio's soul I stand possest,

Greek and Roman classics exercised on the judgments, And breathe an air like life, that swells my chest.

feelings, and imaginations of the literati of Europe at the commencement of the restoration of literature, than the

passage in the Filocopo of Boccaccio: where the sage in. The brightness of the world, O thou once free,

structer, Racheo, as soon as the young prince and the And always fair, rare land of courtesy !

beautiful girl, Biancafiore had learned their letters, sels 0, Florence! with the Tuscan fields and hills ! them to study the Holy Book, Ovid's Art of Love. u InAnd famous Arno fed with all their rills ;

cominciò Racheo a mettere il suo officio in essecuzione

con intera sollecitudine. E loro, in breve tempo, inseg. Thou brightest star of star-bright Italy !

nalo a conoscer le lettere, fece legere il santo libro d' Oo. Rich, ornate, populous, all treasures thine,

vidio, nel quale il sommo poeta mostra, come i santi The golden corn, the olive, and the vine.

fuochi di Venere si debbano ne freddi cuori occendere."

« ПретходнаНастави »