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His sire was dust, his vassals could declare,
'Twas all they knew, that Lara was not there ; 30
Nor sent, nor came he, till conjecture grew
Cold in the many, anxious in the few.
His hall scarce echoes with his wonted name,
His portrait darkens in its fading frame,
Another chief consoled his destined bride,
The young forgot him, and the old had died;
" Yet doth he live !" exclaims the impatient heir,
And sighs for sables which he must not wear.
A hundred seutcheons deck with gloomy grace
The Laras' last and longest dwelling place; 40
But one is absent from the mouldering file
That now were welcome in that Gothic pile.
He comes at last in sudden loneliness,
And whence they know not, why they need not
guess; They more might marvel, when the greeting's o'er, Not that he came, but came not long before : No train is his beyond a single page, of foreigo aspect, and of tender age.
Years had rollid on, and fast they speed away
To those that wonder as to those that stay; 50
But lack of tidings from another clime
Had lent a flagging wing to weary Time.
They see, they recognise, yet almost deem
The present dubious, or the past a dream.
He lives, nor yet is past his manhood's prime,
Though seared by toil, and something touch'd by
Tlis faults, whate'er they were, if scarce forgot,
Might be untaught him by his varied lot;
Nor good nor ill of late were known, his name
Might yet uphold his patrimonial fame. CO
His soul in youth was haughty, but his sins
No more than pleasure from the stripling wins;
And such, if not yet harden'd in their course,
Might be redeem'd, nor ask a long remorsç.
And they indeed were changed— tis quickly seen
Whate'er he be, 'twas not what he had been ;
That brow in furrow'd lines had fix'd at last
And spake of passions, but of passion past ;
The pride, but not the fire, of early days,
Coldness of mień, and carelessness of praise ; 70
A high demeanour, and a glance that took
Their thoughts from others by a single look ;
And that sarcastic levity of tongue,
The stinging of a hea the world hath stung,
That darts in seeming playfulness around,
And makes those feel that will not own the wound;
All these seem'd his, and something more beneath
Than glance could well reveal, or accent breathe.
Ambition, glory, love, the common aim
That some can conquer, and that all would
Within his breast appear'd no more to strive,
Yet seem'd as lately they had been alive;
And some deep feeling it were vain to trace
At moments lighten’d o'er his livid face.
Not mueh he lov'd long question of the past,
Nor told of wondrous wilds, and desarts vast
In those far lands where he had wandered lone,
And as binaself would have it seem-unknown:
Yet these in vain his eye could scarcely scan
Nor glean experience from his fellow man;
But what he had beheld he shunn'd to show,
As hardly worth a stranger's care to know;
If still more prying such inquiry grew,
His brow fell darker, and his words more few.
Not unrejoiced to see him once again, Warm was his welcome to the haunts of men ; Born of high líneage, link'd in high command, He mingled with the Magnates of his land; Join'd the carousals of the great and gay, And saw them smile or sigh their hours away; 100 But still he only saw, and did not share The common pleasure or the general care ; He did not follow what they all pursued With hope still baffled, still to he renew'd; Nor shadowy honour, nor substantial gain, Nor beauty's preference, and the rival's pain : Around him some mysterious circle thrown Repell’d approach, and showed him still alone ; Upon his eye sate something of reproof, That kept at least frivolity aloof;
And things more timid that beheld him near,
In silence gaz'd, or whisper'd mutual fear;
And they the wiser, friendlier few confess'd
They deem'd him better than his air express'd.
'Twas strange--in youth all action and all life,
Burning for pleasure, not averse from strife ;
Woman—the field—the ocean--all that gave
Promise of gladness, peril of a grave,
In turn he tried-he ransack'd all below,
And found his recompense in joy or woe, 120
No tame, trite medium; for his feelings sought
In that intenseness an escape from thought
The tempest of his heart in scorn had gazed
On that the feebler elements hath rais’d;
The rapture of his heart had look'd on high,
And ask'd if greater dwelt beyond the sky :
Chain'd to excess, the slave of each extreme,
How woke he from the wildness of that dream?
Alas! he told not, but he did awake
To curse the wither'd heart that would not break.