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That I have struck the innocent babe in anger.
tears A. O Heaven' it is too horrible to hear.
ALHA dra A. What was it then to suffer? T is most right That such as you should hear it.—Know you not, what Nature makes you mourn, she bids you heal? Great Evils ask great Passions to redress them, And Whirlwinds fitliest scatter Pestilence.
TERE's A. You were at length released ?
ALHA of A.
Yes, at length
I saw the blessed arch of the whole heaven'
‘Twas the first time my infant smiled. No more—
For if I dwell upon that moment, Lady,
A trance comes on which makes me o'er again
All I then was—my knees hang loose and drag,
And my lip falls with such an idiot laugh,
That you would start and shudder!
- 1 tearsA. If aught enforce you to concealment, Sir– ALHADRA.
[Alvah sinks down and hides his face in his robe.
Tenes A. See, we have disturb’d him.
[Approaches nearer to him.
I pray you think us friends—uncowl your face,
For you seem faint, and the night breeze blows healing.
I pray you think us friends !
Alvah (raising his head).
Calm, very calm
'T is all too tranquil for reality
And she spoke to me with her innocent voice,
That voice, that innocent voice! She is no traitress!
Let us retire. (Haughtily to Alhapna).
[They advance to the front of the Stage.
Alhada A (with scorn).
He is indeed a Christian.
Alva R (aside).
She deems me dead, yet wears no mourning garment!
Why should my brother's—wife—wear mourning gar-
Your pardon, noble dame! that I disturb’d you :
I had just started from a frightful dream.
Dreams tell but of the past, and yet,'t is said,
The Past lives o'er again
In its effects, and to the guilty spirit
The ever-frowning Present is its image.
Traitress! (Then aside).
What sudden spell o'ermasters me?
Why seeks he me, shunning the Moorish woman?
[Teresa looks round uneasily, but gradually be-
comes attentive as Alvah proceeds in the next
I dreamt I had a friend, on whom 1 leant
With blindest trust, and a betrothed maid,
Whom I was wont to call not mine, but me :
For mine own self seem'd nothing, lacking her.
This maid so idolized that trusted friend
Dishonour'd in my absence, soul and body!
Fear, following guilt, tempted to blacker guilt,
And murderers were suborn'd against my life.
But by my looks, and most impassion'd words,
I roused the virtues that are dead in no man,
Even in the assassins' hearts! they made their terms,
And thank'd me for redeeming them from murder.
You are lost in thought: hear him no more, sweet Lady'
tenes A. From morn to night I am myself a dreamer, And slight things bring on me the idle mood' Well, sir, what happen'd then
On a rude rock,
A rock, methought, fast by a grove of firs, Whose thready leaves to the low-breathing gale Made a soft sound most like the distant ocean,
Yet Geraldine nor speaks nor stirs; Ah! what a stricken look was hers! Deep 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 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.
THE CONCLUSION TO PART I.
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,
Ileaving sometimes on her breast;
Her face resign'd to bliss or bale—
Her face, O call it fair, not pale !
And both blue eyes more bright than clear,
Each about to have a tear.
With open eyes (all woe 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.
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 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!
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, "t is but the blood so free,
Comes back and tingles in her feet.
No doubt, she hath a vision sweet:
What if her 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!
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 aster to 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;
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 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 treet
With such perplexity of mind
As dreams too lively leave behind.
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,
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 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 seck
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 kenn'd
In the beautiful lady the child of his friend!"
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?)
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 comfortcol 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.
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,
She might be sent without delay
Home 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 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.
• Bard Bracy, bard Tracy' 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 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 incet thce 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 fierce 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."
The lady fell, and clasp'd his knees,
Her face upraised, her eyes o'erflowing;
And Bracy replied, with faultering voice,
Her gracious hail 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 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
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 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 self-same day,
With music strong and saintly song
To wander through the forest bare,
Lestaught unholy loiter there.
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,
Swect maid ' Lord Roland's beautcous dove,
With arms more strong than harp or song,