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Distinct but strange, enough they understand
To deem them accents of another land ;
And such they were, and meant to meet an ear
That hears him not - alas ! that cannot hear !


His page approach'd, and he alone appear'd
To know the import of the words they heard ;
And, by the changes of his cheek and brow,
They were not such as Lara should avow,
Nor he interpret, - yet with less surprise
Than those around their chieftain's state he eyes,
But Lara's prostrate form he bent beside,
And in that tongue which seem'd his own replied,
And Lara heeds those tones that gently seem
To soothe away the horrors of his dream
If dream it were, that thus could overthrow
A breast that needed not ideal woe.


Whate'er his frenzy dream'd or eye beheld,
If yet remember'd ne'er to be reveald,
Rests at his heart: the custom’d morning came,
And breathed new vigour in his shaken frame ;
And solace sought he none from priest nor leech
And soon the same in movement and in speech
As heretofore he fill'd the passing hours,
Nor less he smiles, nor more his forehead lowers,
Than these were wont; and if the coming night
Appear'd less welcome now to Lara's sight,
He to his marvelling vassals show'd it not,
Whose shuddering proved their fear was less forgot.
In trembling pairs (alone they dared not) crawl
The astonish'd slaves, and shun the fated hall;
The waving banner, and the clapping door,
The rustling tapestry, and the echoing floor ;
The long dim shadows of surrounding trees,
The flapping bat, the night song of the breeze ;
Aught they behold or hear their thought appals,
As evening saddens o'er the dark gray walls.


Vain thought! that hour of ne'er unravell’d gloom
Came not again, or Lara could assume
A seeming of forgetfulness, that made
His vassals more amazed nor less afraid -

Had memory vanish'd then with'sense restored ?
Since word, nor look, nor gesture of their lord
Betray'd a feeling that recall'd to these
That fever'd moment of his mind's disease.
Was it a dream ? was his the voice that spoke
Those strange wild accents ; his the cry that broke
Their slumber? his the oppress’d, o'erlabour'd heart
That ceased to beat, the look that made them start?
Could he who thus had suffer'd so forget,
When such as saw that suffering shudder yet?
Or did that silence prove


memory fix'd Too deep for words, indelible, unmix'd In that corroding secrecy.


The heart to show the effect, but not the cause ?
Not so in him ; his breast had buried both,
Nor common gazers could discern the growth
Of thoughts that mortal lips must leave half told;
They choke the feeble words that would unfold.


In him inexplicably mix'd appear'd
Much to be loved and hated, sought and fear'd;
Opinion varying o'er his hidden lot,
In praise or railing ne'er his name forgot:
His silence form’d a theme for others' prate —
They guess'd - they gazed - they fain would know his

What had he been? what was he, thus unknown,
Who walk'd their world, his lineage only known?
A hater of his kind ? yet some would say,
With them he could seem gay amidst the gay;
But own'd that smile, if oft observed and near,
Waned in its mirth, and wither'd to a sneer ;
That smile might reach his lip, but pass'd not by,
None e'er could trace its laughter to his eye:
Yet there was softness too in his regard,
At times, a heart as not by nature hard,
But once perceived, his spirit seem'd to chide
Such weakness, as unworthy of its pride,
And steel'd itself, as scorning to redeem
One doubt from others' half withheld esteem;
In self-inflicted penance of a breast
Which tenderness might once have wrung from rest ;
In vigilance of grief that would compel
The soul to hate for having loved too well.


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There was in him a vital scorn of all :
As if the worst had fall’n which could befall,
He stood a stranger in this breathing world,
An erring spirit from another hurl'd;
A thing of dark imaginings, that shaped
By choice the perils he by chance escaped ;
But ’scaped in vain, for in their memory yet
His mind would half exult and half regret :
With more capacity for love than earth
Bestows on most of mortal mould and birth,
His early dreams of good outstripp'd the truth,
And troubled manhood follow'd baffled youth ;
With thought of years in phantom chase mispent,
And wasted powers for better purpose lent ;
And fiery passions that had pour'd their wrath
In hurried desolation o'er his path,
And left the better feelings all at strife
In wild reflection o’er his stormy life ;
But haughty still, and loth himself to blame,
He call'd on Nature's self to share the shame,
And charged all faults upon the fleshly form
She gave to clog the soul, and feast the worm;
Till he at last confounded good and ill,
And half mistook for fate the acts of will :
Too high for common selfishness, he could
At times resign his own for others' good,
But not in pity, not because he ought,
But in some strange perversity of thought,
That sway'd him onward with a secret pride
To do what few or none would do beside ;
And this same impulse would, in tempting time,
Mislead his spirit equally to crime ;
So much he soar'd beyond, or sunk beneath,
The men with whom he felt condemnd to breathe,
And long’d by good or ill to separate
Himself from all who shared his mortal state ;
His mind abhorring this had fix'd her throne
Far from the world, in regions of her own :
Thus coldly passing all that pass'd below,
His blood in temperate seeming now would flow :
Ah! happier if it ne'er with guilt had glow'd,
But ever in that icy smoothness flowd!
'T is true, with other men their path he walk'd,
And like the rest in seeming did and talk'd,


Nor outraged Reason's rules by flaw nor start,
His madness was not of the head, but heart;
And rarely wanderd in his speech, or drew
His thoughts so forth as to offend the view.


With all that chilling mystery of mien,
And seeming gladness to remain unseen,
He had (if 't were not nature's boon) an art
Of fixing memory on another's heart :
It was not love perchance

nor hate

nor aught
That words can image to express the thought ;
But they who saw him did not see in vain,
And once beheld, would ask of him again :
And those to whom he spake remember'd well,
And on the words, however light, would dwell :
None knew, nor how, nor why, but he entwined
Himself perforce around the hearer's mind;
There he was stamp’d, in liking, or in hate,
If greeted once; however brief the date
That friendship, pity, or aversion knew,
Still there within the inmost thought he grew.
You could not penetrate his soul, but found,
Despite your wonder, to your own he wound;
His presence haunted still ; and from the breast
He forced an all unwilling interest :
Vain was the struggle in that mental net,
His spirit seem'd to dare you to forget!


There is a festival, where knights and dames,
And aught that wealth or lofty lineage claims,
Appear — a highborn and a welcome guest,
To Otho's hall came Lara with the rest.
The long carousal shakes the illumined hall,
Well speeds alike the banquet and the ball;
And the gay dance of bounding Beauty's train
Links grace and harmony in happiest chain :
Blest are the early hearts and gentle hands
That mingle there in well according bands ;
It is a sight the careful brow might smooth,
And make Age smile, and dream itself to youth,
And Youth forget such hour was past on earth,
So springs the exulting bosom to that mirth!

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And Lara gazed on these, sedately glad,
His brow belied him if his soul was sad ;
And his glance follow'd fast each fluttering fair,
Whose steps of lightness woke no echo there :
He lean'd against the lofty pillar nigh,
With folded arms and long attentive eye,
Nor mark'd a glance so sternly fix'd on his —
Ill brook'd high Lara scrutiny like this:
At length he caught it, 't is a face unknown,
But seems as searching his, and his alone;
Prying and dark, a stranger's by his mien,
Who still till now had gazed on him unseen:
At length encountering meets the mutual gaze
Of keen enquiry, and of mute amaze ;
On Lara's glance emotion gathering grew,
As if distrusting that the stranger threw;
Along the stranger's aspect, fix'd and stern,
Flash'd more than thence the vulgar eye could learn.


“ 'T is he!” the stranger cried, and those that heard
Re-echoed fast and far the whisper'd word.
66 'T is he!" “ 'T is who ?” they question far and near
Till louder accents rung on Lara's ear;
So widely spread, few bosoms well could brook
The general marvel, or that single look:
But Lara stirr'd not, changed not, the surprise
That sprung at first to his arrested eyes
Seem'd now subsided, neither sunk nor raised
Glanced his eye round, though still the stranger gazed ;
And drawing nigh, exclaim'd, with haughty sneer,
“ 'T is he ! how came he thence ? - what doth he here?


It were too much for Lara to pass by
Such questions, so repeated fierce and high ;
With look collected, but with accent cold,
More mildly firm than petulantly bold,
He turn'd, and met the inquisitorial tone -
My name is Lara !

when thine own is known,
Doubt not my fitting answer to requite
The unlook'd for courtesy of such a knight.
'T is Lara ! further wouldst thou mark or ask ?
I shun no question, and I wear no mask.”


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