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With many an asking smile, and wondering stare,
XVII. This Conrad mark'd, and felt-ah! could he less 1700 Hate of that deed, but grief for her distress; What she has done no tears can wash away, And heaven must punish on its angry day: But-it was done: he knew, whate'er her guilt, For him that poniard smote, that blood was spilt; 1705 And he was free!—and she for him had given Her all on earth, and more than all in heaven! And now he turn'd him to that dark-eyed slave Whose brow was bow'd beneath the glance he gave, Who now seem'd changed and humbled :-faint and meek,
1710 But varying oft the colour of her cheek To deeper shades of paleness—all its red That fearful spot which stain'd it from the dead!
He took that hand-it trembled—now too late-
XVIII. They gain by twilight's hour their lonely isle. To them the very rocks appear to smile ; The haven hums with many a cheering sound, The beacons blaze their wonted stations round, 1735 The boats are darting o'er the curly bay, And sportive dolphins bend them through the spray; Even the hoarse sea-bird's shrill, discordant shriek, Greets like the welcome of his tuneless beak!
Beneath each lamp that through its lattice gleams, 1740
XIX. The lights are high on beacon and from bower, And midst them Conrad seeks Medora's tower: 1745 He looks in vain—'tis strange—and all remark, Amid so many, hers alone is dark. 'Tis strange-of yore its welcome never fail'd, Nor now, perchance, extinguish'd, only veild. With the first boat descends he for the shore, 1750 And looks impatient on the lingering oar. Oh! for a wing beyond the falcon's flight, To bear him like an arrow to that height! With the first pause the resting rowers gave, He waits not-looks not--leaps into the wave, 1755 Strives through the surge, bestrides the beach, and high Ascends the path familiar to his eye.
He reach'd his turret door---he paused---no sound
Its lips are silent-twice his own essay'd,
XX. He turn'd not ---spoke not---sunk not---fix'd his look, And set the anxious frame that lately shook : . He gazed how long we gaze despite of pain, And know, but dare not own, we gaze in vain! In life itself she was so still and fair,
1780 That death with gentler aspect wither'd there; And the cold flowers (16) her colder hand contain'd, In that last grasp as tenderly were strain'd Asif she scarcely felt, but feign'd a sleep, And made it almost mockery yet to weep: 1785 The long dark lashes fringed her lids of snow, And veil'd--thought shrinks from all that lurk'd below-Oh! o'er the eye death most exerts his might, And hurls the spirit from her throne of light! Sinks those blue orbs in that long last eclipse, 1790 But spares, as yet, the charm around her lipsYet, yet they seem as they forbore to smile, And wie?
but only for a while;
But the white shroud, and each extended tress, Long---fair---but spread in utter lifelessness, 1795 Which, late the sport of every summer wind, Escaped the baffled wreath that strove to bind; These-and the pale pure cheek, became the bier But she is nothing ---wherefore is he here?
XXI. He ask'd no question---all were answer'd now 1800 By the first glance on that still---marble brow. It was enough---she died---what reck'd it how ? The love of youth, the hope of better years, The source of softest wishes, tenderest fears, The only living thing he could not hate, Was reft at once---and he deserved his fate, But did not feel it less ;---the good explore, For peace, those realms where guilt can never soar: The proud---the wayward---who have fix'd below Their joy---and find this earth enough for wo, 1810 Lose in that one their all---perchance a mite--But who in patience parts with all delight? Full many a stoic eye and aspect stern Mask hearts where grief hath little left to learn; And many a withering thought lies hid, not lost, 1815 In smiles that least befit who wear them most.