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BOOK OF RECITATIONS.
BY SCHILLER, TRANSLATED BY BULWER LYTTON.
“Oh, where is the knight or the squire so bold
As to dive to the howling Charybdis below ?-
And o'er it already the dark waters flow;
He spoke, and the cup from the terrible steep,
That, rugged and hoary, hung over the verge
Swirled into the maëlstrom that maddened the surge.
And the knights and the squires that gathered around,
Stood silent—and fixed on the ocean their eyes ;
And the peril chilled back every thought of the prize.
And all as before heard in silence the king,
Till a youth with an aspect unfearing but gentle, 'Mid the tremulous squires—stepped out from the ring,
Unbuckling his girdle, and doffing his mantle;
One glance on the gulf of that merciless main,
Casts roaringly up the Charybdis again;
As when fire is with water commixed and contending, And the spray of its wrath to the welkin up-soars,
And flood upon flood hurries on, never ending; And it never will rest, nor from travail be free, Like a sea that is labouring the birth of a sea. Yet, at length, comes a lull o'er the mighty commotion,
And dark through the whiteness, and still through theswell, The whirlpool cleaves downward and downward in ocean
A yawning abyss, like the pathway to hell ;
That path through the riven abyss closed again,
And behold! he is whirled in the grasp of the main ! And o'er him the breakers mysteriously rolled, And the giant mouth closed on the swimmer so bold. All was still on the height, save the murmur that went
From the grave of the deep, sounding hollow and fell, Or save when the tremulous sighing lament
Thrilled from lip unto lip, “Gallant youth, fare thee well !