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She listened with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes, and modest grace;
And she forgave me that I gazed

Too fondly on her face!

Her bosom heaved — she stepped aside,
As conscious of my look she stepped -
Then suddenly, with timorous eye

She fled to me and wept.

But when I told the cruel scorn

She half enclosed me with her arms, That crazed that bold and lovely Knight, She pressed me with a meek embrace; And that he crossed the mountain-woods, And bending back her head, looked up, Nor rested day nor night;

And gazed upon my face.
That sometimes from the savage den, 'T was partly love, and partly fear,
And sometimes from the darksome shade, | And partly 't was a bashful art,
And sometimes starting up at once

That I might rather feel, than see,
In green and sunny glade, —

The swelling of her heart.

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And how she wept, and clasped his knees;
And how she tended him in vain -
And ever strove to expiate

The scorn that crazed his brain; 60

And that she nursed him in a cave;
And how his madness went away,
When on the yellow forest-leaves

A dying man he lay; —
His dying words — but wben I reached
That tenderest strain of all the ditty,
My faultering voice and pausing harp

Disturbed her soul with pity.

No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
Distinguishes the West, no long thin slip
Of sullen light, no obscure trembling hues.
Come, we will rest on this old mossy bridge.
You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,
But hear no murmuring: it flows silently,
O'er its soft bed of verdure. All is still,
A balmy night ! and though the stars be dim,
Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
That gladden the green earth, and we shall
find

lo
A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.
And hark ! the Nightingale begins its song,
“ Most musical, most melancholy " bird !
A melancholy bird ? Oh idle thought !
In Nature there is nothing melancholy.
But some night-wandering mau whose heart

was pierced
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper, or neglected love,
(And so, poor wretch ! fili'd all things with

himself,
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
Of his own sorrow) he, and such as he, 21
First named these notes a melancholy strain:
And many a poet echoes the conceit;
Poet who hath been building up the rhyme
When he had better far have stretched bis

limbs

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Beside a brook in mossy forest-dell, Glistening, while many a glow-worm in the By sun or moon-light, to the influxes

shade of shapes and sounds and shifting elements Lights up her love-torch. Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song And of his fame forgetful ! so his fame 30

A most gentle Maid, Should share in Nature's immortality, Who dwelleth in her hospitable home 90 A venerable thing! and so his song

Hard by the castle, and at latest eve Should make all Nature lovelier, and itself (Even like a Lady vowed and dedicate Be loved like Nature ! But 't will not be so; To something more than Nature in the And youths and maidens most poetical,

grove) Who lose the deepening twilights of the Glides through the pathways; she knows all spring

their notes, In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still That gentle Maid ! and oft, a moment's Full of meek sympathy must heave their

space,

What time the moon was lost behind a O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains.

cloud,

Hath heard a pause of silence; till the moon My Friend, and thou, our Sister ! we have Emerging, hath awakened earth and sky learnt

With one sensation, and those wakeful birds A different lore: we may not thus profane Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy, 80 Nature's sweet voices, always full of love As if some sudden gale had swept at once And joyance ! 'Tis the merry Nightingale A hundred airy harps! And she hath That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates

watched With fast thick warble his delicious notes, Many a nightingale perch giddily As he were fearful that an April night | On blossomy twig still swinging from the Would be too short for him to utter forth

breeze, His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul And to that motion tune his wanton song Of all its music!

Like tipsy joy that reels with tossing head.

sighs

40

90

And I know a grove

Farewell, O Warbler! till to-morrow eve, Of large extent, hard by a castle huge, 50 And you, my friends ! farewell, a short Which the great lord inhabits not; and so

farewell! This grove is wild with tangling underwood, | We have been loitering long and pleasantly, And the trim walks are broken up, and And now for our dear homes. — That strain grass,

again! Thin grass and king-cups grow within the | Full fain it would delay me! My dear babe, paths.

Who, capable of no articulate sound, But never elsewhere in one place I knew Mars all things with his imitative lisp, So many nightingales; and far and near, How he would place his hand beside his ear, In wood and thicket, over the wide grove, His little hand, the small forefinger up, They answer and provoke each other's songs, And bid us listen! And I deem it wise With skirmish and capricious passagings, To make him Nature's play-mate. He And murmurs musical and swift jug jug, 601 knows well And one low piping sound more sweet than The evening-star; and once, when he awoke

In most distressful mood (some inward pain Stirring the air with such an harmony, 'Had made up that strange thing, an infant's That should you close your eyes, you might dream),

100 almost

I hurried with him to our orchard-plot, Forget it was not day! On moonlight And he beheld the moon, and, hushed at bushes,

once, Whose dewy leaflets are but half-disclosed, Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently, You may perchance behold them on the While his fair eyes, that swam with untwigs,

dropped tears, Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both Did glitter in the yellow moon-beam! bright and full,

Well!

all —

„. grow up

It is a father's tale: But if that Heaven But moss and rarest mistletoe:
Should give me life, his childhood shall She kneels beneath the huge oak tree,

And in silence prayeth she.
Familiar with these songs, that with the
night

The lady sprang up suddenly, He may associate joy. – Once more, fare The lovely lady, Christabell - well,

It moaned as near, as near can be, Sweet Nightingalel once more, my friends! But what it is she cannot tell. farewell.

110 On the other side it seems to be,
Of the huge, broad-breasted, old oak

tree.
CHRISTABEL

The night is chill; the forest bare;
PART THE FIRST

Is it the wind that moaneth bleak ?
[Written 1797 ; publ. 1816]

There is not wind enough in the air

To move away the ringlet curl "Tis the middle of night by the castle clock, | From the lovely lady's cheek — And the owls bave awakened the crowing There is not wind enough to twirl cock;

The one red leaf, the last of its clan, Tu – whit! –Tu– whoo!

That dances as often as dance it can, 50 And hark, again! the crowing cock,

Hanging so light, and hanging so high, How drowsily it crew!

On the topmost twig that looks up at the

sky. Sir Leoline, the Baron rich, Hath a toothless mastiff bitch;

Hush, beating heart of Christabel ! From her kennel beneath the rock

Jesu, Maria, shield her well! She maketh answer to the clock,

She folded her arms beneath her cloak, Four for the quarters, and twelve for the | And stole to the other side of the oak. hour;

10 What sees she there? Ever and aye, by shine and shower, Sixteen short howls, not over loud;

There she sees a damsel bright, Some say, she sees my lady's shroud. Drest in a silken robe of white,

That shadowy in the moonlight shone: 60 Is the night chilly and dark ?

The neck that made that white robe wan, The night is chilly, but not dark.

Her stately neck, and arms were bare; The thin gray cloud is spread on high, Her blue-veined feet unsandalled were, It covers but not hides the sky.

And wildly glittered here and there
The moon is behind, and at the full;

The gems entangled in her hair.
And yet she looks both small and dull. I guess, 't was frightful there to see
The night is chill, the cloud is gray: 20 A lady so richly clad as she -
'T is a month before the month of May, Beautiful exceedingly!
And the Spring comes slowly up this way.

Mary mother, save me now!
The lovely lady, Christabel,

(Said Christabel,) And who art thou ? 70 Whom her father loves so well, What makes her in the wood so late, The lady strange made answer meet, A furlong from the castle gate ?

And her voice was faint and sweet: She had dreams all yesternight

Have pity on my sore distress, Of her own betrothed knight;

I scarce can speak for weariness: And she in the midnight wood will pray Stretch forth thy hand, and have no For the weal of her lover that's far away.

fear!

Said Christabel, How camest thou here? She stole along, she nothing spoke, 31 And the lady, whose voice was faint and The sighs she heaved were soft and low,

sweet, And nought was green upon the oak | Did thus pursue her answer meet:

Where an army in battle array had marched

out. The lady sank, belike through pain, And Christabel with might and main 130 Lifted her up, a weary weight, Over the threshold of the gate: Then the lady rose again, And moved, as she were not in pain.

My sire is of a noble line,
And my name is Geraldine:
Five warriors seized me yestermorn,
Me, even me, a maid forlorn :
They choked my cries with force and

fright,
And tied me on a palfrey white.
The palfrey was as fleet as wind,
And they rode furiously behind.
They spurred amain, their steeds were

white: And once we crossed the shade of night. As sure as Heaven shall rescue me, I have no thought what men they be; 90 Nor do I know how long it is (For I have lain entranced I wis) Since one, the tallest of the five, Took me from the palfrey's back, A weary woman, scarce alive. Some muttered words his comrades spoke: He placed me underneath this oak; He swore they would return with haste; Whither they went I cannot tell I thought I heard, some minutes past, 100 Sounds as of a castle bell. Stretch forth thy hand (thus ended she), And help a wretched maid to flee.

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Then Christabel stretched forth her hand,
And comforted fair Geraldine:
O well, bright dame ! may you command
The service of Sir Leoline;
And gladly our stout chivalry
Will he send forth and friends withal
To guide and guard you safe and free 110
Home to your noble father's hall.

They passed the hall, that echoes still,
Pass as lightly as you will !
The brands were flat, the brands were

dying,

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Amid their own white ashes lying ;
But when the lady passed, there came
A tongue of light, a fit of flame ;
And Christabel saw the lady's eye, 160
And nothing else saw she thereby,
Save the boss of the shield of Sir Leoline

tall, Which hung in a murky old niche in the

wall.
O softly tread, said Christabel,
My father seldom sleepeth well.
Sweet Christabel her feet doth bare,
And jealous of the listening air
They steal their way from stair to stair,
Now in glimmer, and now in gloom,

And now they pass the Baron's room, 190 | As still as death, with stifled breath!

They crossed the moat, and Christabel
Took the key that fitted well;
A little door she opened straight,
All in the middle of the gate,
The gate that was ironed within and with

out,

180

230

190

And now have reached her chamber door ; Again the wild-flower wine she drank: 220 And now doth Geraldine press down

Her fair large eyes 'gan glitter bright, The rushes of the chamber floor.

And from the floor whereon she sank,

The lofty lady stood upright:
The moon shines dim in the open air, She was most beautiful to see,
And not a moonbeam enters here.

Like a lady of a far countrée.
But they without its light can see
The chamber carved so curiously,

And thus the lofty lady spake -
Carved with figures strange and sweet, “ All they who live in the upper sky,
All made out of the carver's brain,

Do love you, holy Christabel! For a lady's chamber meet :

And you love them, and for their sake The lamp with twofold silver chain

And for the good which me befel, Is fastened to an angel's feet.

Even I in my degree will try,

Fair maiden, to requite you well. The silver lamp burns dead and dim; But now unrobe yourself; for I But Christabel the lamp will trim.

Must pray, ere yet in bed I lie." She trimmed the lamp, and made it bright,

Quoth Christabel, So let it be! And left it swinging to and fro,

And as the lady bade, did she. While Geraldine, in wretched plight, Her gentle limbs did she undress, Sank down upon the floor below.

And lay down in her loveliness. O weary lady, Geraldine,

But through her brain of weal and woe I pray you, drink this cordial wine !

So many thoughts moved to and fro, 240 It is a wine of virtuous powers ;

That vain it were her lids to close; My mother made it of wild flowers.

So half-way from the bed she rose,

And on her elbow did recline
And will your mother pity me,

To look at the lady Geraldine.
Who am a maiden most forlorn ?
Christabel answered – Woe is me!

Beneath the lamp the lady bowed,
She died the hour that I was born.

And slowly rolled her eyes around; I have heard the grey-haired friar tell Then drawing in her breath aloud, How on her death-bed she did say,

Like one that shuddered, she unbound That she should hear the castle-bell

The cincture from beneath her breast: Strike twelve upon my wedding-day.

Her silken robe, and inner vest,
O mother dear! that thou wert here! Dropt to her feet, and full in view,
I would, said Geraldine, she were!

Behold ! her bosom and half her side

A sight to dream of, not to tell ! But soon with altered voice, said she - O shield her! shield sweet Christabel ! “ Off, wandering mother! Peak and pine! I have power to bid thee flee."

Yet Geraldine nor speaks nor stirs; Alas! what ails poor Geraldine ?

Ah! what a stricken look was hers! Why stares she with unsettled eye?

Deep from within she seems half-way Can she the bodiless dead espy?

To lift some weight with sick assay, And why with hollow voice cries she, 210 And eyes the maid and seeks delay; « Off, woman, off! this hour is mine - Then suddenly, as one defied, Though thou her guardian spirit be,

Collects herself in scorn and pride, Off, woman, off! 't is given to me."

And lay down by the Maiden's side!

And in her arms the maid she took,
Then Christabel knelt by the lady's side,

Ah wel-a-day!
And raised to heaven her eyes so blue And with low voice and doleful look
Alas! said she, this ghastly ride -

These words did say:
Dear lady! it hath wildered you!

“In the touch of this bosom there worketh The lady wiped her moist cold brow,

a spell, And faintly said, “ 't is over now!”. | Which is lord of thy utterance, Christabel!

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