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VII.

Hence, viper thoughts, that coil around my mind,
Reality's dark dream!

I turn from you, and listen to the wind,

Which long has raved unnoticed. What a scream Of agony by torture lengthened out

That lute sent forth! Thou Wind, that ravest without,

Bare crag, or mountain-tairn, or blasted tree,
Or pine-grove whither woodman never clomb,
Or lonely house, long held the witches' home,
Methinks were fitter instruments for thee,
Mad Lutanist! who in this month of showers,
Of dark brown gardens, and of peeping flowers,
Mak'st Devils' yule, with worse than wintry song,
The blossoms, buds, and timorous leaves among.

Thou Actor, perfect in all tragic sounds!

Thou mighty Poet, e'en to frenzy bold!

What tell'st thou now about?

'Tis of the rushing of a host in rout,

With groans of trampled men, with smarting woundsAt once they groan with pain, and shudder with the cold! But hush! there is a pause of deepest silence!

And all that noise, as of a rushing crowd,

With groans and tremulous shudderings-all is over

It tells another tale, with sounds less deep and loud! A tale of less affright,

And tempered with delight,

As Otway's self had framed the tender lay

'Tis of a little child

Upon a lonesome wild,

Not far from home, but she hath lost her way:

And now moans low in bitter grief and fear,

And now screams loud, and hopes to make her mother hear.

VIII.

'Tis midnight, but small thoughts have I of sleep:
Full seldom may my friend such vigils keep!
Visit her, gentle Sleep! with wings of healing,

And may this storm be but a mountain-birth,
May all the stars hang bright above her dwelling,
Silent as though they watched the sleeping Earth!
With light heart may she rise,

Gay fancy, cheerful eyes,

Joy lift her spirit, Joy attune her voice:

To her may all things live, from pole to pole,
Their life the eddying of her living soul!

O simple spirit, guided from above,

Dear Lady! friend devoutest of my choice,
Thus mayst thou ever, evermore rejoice.

SONNET. COMPOSED ON A JOURNEY HOMEWARD; THE AUTHOR HAVING RECEIVED INTELLIGENCE OF THE BIRTH OF A SON, SEPT. 20, 1796.

Oft o'er my brain does that strange fancy roll

:

Which makes the present (while the flash doth last)
Seem a mere semblance of some unknown past,
Mixed with such feelings, as perplex the soul
Self-questioned in her sleep and some have said
We lived, ere yet this robe of flesh we wore.
O my sweet baby! when I reach my door,
If heavy looks should tell me thou art dead
(As sometimes, through excess of hope, I fear)
I think, that I should struggle to believe

Thou wert a spirit, to this nether sphere
Sentenced for some more venial crime to grieve;

Did'st scream, then spring to meet Heaven's quick reprieve, While we wept idly o'er thy little bier!

FIRST PART OF CHRISTABEL.

'Tis the middle of night by the castle clock, And the owls have awaken'd the crowing cock, Tu-whit!-Tu-whoo!

And hark, again! the crowing cock,
How drowsily it crew.

Sir Leoline, the Baron rich,

Hath a toothless mastiff bitch;

From her kennel beneath the rock

She maketh answer to the clock,

Four for the quarters, and twelve for the hour;
Ever and aye, by shine and shower,
Sixteen short howls, not over loud;
Some say, she sees my lady's shroud.

Is the night chilly and dark?
The night is chilly, but not dark.
The thin gray cloud is spread on high,
It covers but not hides the sky.
The moon is behind, and at the full;
And yet she looks both small and dull.
The night is chill, the cloud is gray:
'Tis a month before the month of May,
And the Spring comes slowly up this way.

The lovely lady, Christabel,

Whom her father loves so well,

What makes her in the wood so late,
A furlong from the castle gate?
She had dreams all yesternight
Of her own betrothed knight;
Dreams that made her moan and leap
As on her bed she lay in sleep;

And she in the midnight wood will pray For the weal of her lover that's far away.

VOL. IV.

She stole along, she nothing spoke,
The sighs she heaved were soft and low,
And naught was green upon the oak
But moss and rarest mistletoe :
She kneels beneath the huge oak tree,
And in silence prayeth she.

The lady sprang up suddenly,
The lovely lady, Christabel!
It moaned as near as near can be,

But what it is she cannot tell.→

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

The night is chill; the forest bare;
Is it the wind that moaneth bleak?
There is not wind enough in the air
To move away the ringlet curl
From the lovely lady's cheek—
There is not wind enough to twirl
The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
That dances as often as dance it can,
Hanging so light, and hanging so high,
On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.

Hush, beating heart of Christabel !

Jesu Maria, shield her well!

She folded her arms beneath her cloak,
And stole to the other side of the oak.
What sees she there?

There she sees a damsel bright,
Drest in a silken robe of white,

That shadowy in the moonlight shone:
The neck that made that white robe wan,
Her stately neck and arms were bare;
Her blue-vein'd feet unsandal'd were,
And wildly glitter'd here and there.
The gems entangled in her hair.

K

I guess, 'twas frightful there to see
A lady so richly clad as she-
Beautiful exceedingly!

'Mary mother, save me now!'
(Said Christabel,) ‘And who art thou?'

The lady strange made answer meet, And her voice was faint and sweet :'Have pity on my sore distress,

I scarce can speak for weariness:

Stretch forth thy hand, and have no fear!'
Said Christabel, 'How camest thou here?'
And the lady, whose voice was faint and sweet,
Did thus pursue her answer meet :-

'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 cross'd the shade of night.
As sure as Heaven shall rescue me,

I have no thought what men they be;
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 mutter'd 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,
Sounds as of a castle bell.

Stretch forth thy hand' (thus ended she), 'And help a wretched maid to flee.'

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