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INTRODUCTION TO THE TALE OF THE

DARK LADIE.

O LEAVE the lily on its stem ;
O leave the rose upon

the

spray;
O leave the elder bloom, fair maids !

And listen to my lay.

A cypress and a myrtle bough
This morn around my harp you twined,
Because it fashioned mournfully

Its murmurs in the wind.

And now a tale of love and woe,
A woful tale of love I sing ;
Hark, gentle maidens ! hark, it sighs

And trembles on the string.

But most, my own dear Genevieve,
It sighs and trembles most for thee!
O come and hear the cruel wrongs,

Befell the Dark Ladie ! *

* Here followed the Stanzas, afterwards published separately under the title “Love,” (see p. 238,) and after them came the other three stanzas printed above; the whole forming the introduction to the intended Dark Ladie, of which all that exists is subjoined.

And now, once more a tale of woe,
A woful tale of love I sing ;
For thee, my Genevieve, it sighs,

And trembles on the string.

When last I sang the cruel scorn,
That crazed this bold and lovely knight,
And how he roamed the mountain woods,

Nor rested day nor night ;

I promised thee a sister tale,
Of man's perfidious cruelty;
Come then, and hear what cruel wrong

Befell the Dark Ladie.

THE BALLAD OF THE DARK LADIE.

A FRAGMENT.

BENEATH yon

birch with silver bark, And boughs so pendulous and fair, The brook falls scatter'd down the rock :

And all is mossy there!

And there upon the moss she sits,
The Dark Ladie in silent pain ;
The heavy tear is in her eye,

And drops and swells again.

Three times she sends her little page
Up the castled mountain's breast,
If he might find the Knight that wears

The Griffin for his crest.

The sun was sloping down the sky,
And she had lingered there all day,
Counting moments, dreaming fears-

O wherefore can he stay? ·

She hears a rustling o'er the brook,
She sees far off a swinging bough!
66 'Tis He ! 'Tis my betrothed Knight!

Lord Falkland, is it Thou !”

She springs, she clasps him round the neck,
She sobs a thousand hopes and fears,
Her kisses glowing on his cheeks

She quenches with her tears.

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My friends with rude ungentle words
They scoff and bid me fly to thee !
O give me shelter in thy breast !

O shield and shelter me !

66

My Henry, I have given thee much, I gave

what I can ne'er recall, I gave my heart, I gave my peace,

O Heaven! I gave thee all.”

The Knight made answer to the Maid,
While to his heart he held her hand,
“ Nine castles hath my noble sire,

None statelier in the land.

“ The fairest one shall be my love's,
The fairest castle of the nine !
Wait only till the stars peep out,

The fairest shall be thine:

“ Wait only till the hand of eve
Hath wholly closed yon western bars,
And through the dark we two will steal

Beneath the twinkling stars ! ”

66 The dark ? the dark ? No! not the dark ? The twinkling stars? How, Henry? How? O God ! 'twas in the

eye

of noon He pledged his sacred vow !

“And in the

eye
of

noon, my love,
Shall lead me from my mother's door,
Sweet boys and girls all clothed in white

Strewing flow'rs before:

“ But first the nodding minstrels go With music meet for lordly bow'rs, The children next in snow-white vests,

Strewing buds and flow'rs!

“And then my love and I shall pace, My jet black hair in pearly braids, Between our comely bachelors

And blushing bridal maids.”

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If thou wert here, these tears were tears of

light! But from as sweet a vision did I start As ever made these eyes grow idly bright !

And though I weep, yet still around my heart A sweet and playful tenderness doth linger, Touching my heart as with an infant's finger.

My mouth half

open,

like a witless man, I saw our couch, I saw our quiet room,

Its shadows heaving by the fire-light gloom ; And o'er my lips a subtle feeling ran, All o'er my lips a soft and breeze-like feelingI know not what—but had the same been

stealing

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