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120

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 wo,
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 raised;
The rapture of his heart had look'd on high, 125
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. 130

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Books, for his volume heretofore was Man,
With eye more curious he appear’d to scan,
And oft, in sudden mood, for many a day
From all communion he would start away:
And then, his rarely call’d attendants said, 135
Through night's long hours would sound his hurried

tread O’er the dark gallery, where his fathers frown'd In rude but antique portraiture around: They heard, but whisper'd—"that must not be known-“The sound of words less earthly than his own. 140 “Yes, they who chose might smile, but some had seen “ They scarce knew what, but more than should have

been.

“Why gazed he so upon the ghastly head "Which hands profane had gather'd from the dead, "That still beside his opend volume lay,

145 “ As if to startle all save him away?

Why slept he not when others were at rest ? “Why heard no music, and received no guest ? u All was not well they deem'd—but where the wrong? “Some knew perchance-but 'twere a tale too long; “And such besides were too discreetly wise, 151 “ To more than hint their knowledge in surmise ; “But if they would—they could”-around the board, Thus Lara's vassals prattled of their lord.

X. It was the night--and Lara's glassy stream 155 The stars are studding, each with imaged beam : So calm, the waters scarcely seem to stray, And yet they glide like happiness away; Reflecting far and fairy-like from high The immortal lights that live along the sky: 160 Its banks are fringed with many a goodly tree, And flowers the fairest that may feast the bee: Such in her chaplet infant Dian wove, And Innocence would offer to her love. These deck the shore; the waves their channel make In windings bright and mazy like the snake. 106 All was so still, so soft in earth and air, You scarce would start to meet a spirit there;

170

Secure that nought of evil could delight
To walk in such a scene, on such a night!
It was a moment only for the good :
So Lara deem'd, nor longer there he stood,
But turn'd in silence to his castle-gate ;
Such scene his soul no more could contemplate:
Such scene reminded him of other days, 175
Of skies more cloudless, moons of purer blaze, -
Of nights more soft and frequent, hearts that now
No-no—the storm may beat upon his brow,
Unfelt-unsparing--but a night like this,
A night of beauty, mock'd such breast as his. 180

XI. He turn’d within his solitary hall, And his high shadow shot along the wall; There were the painted forms of other times, 'Twas all they left of virtues or of crimes, Save vague tradition; and the gloomy vaults 185 That hid their dust, their foibles, and their faults; And half a column of the pompous page, That speeds the specious tale from age to age; Where history's pen its praise or blame supplies, And lies like truth, and still most truly lies. 190 He wandering mused, and as the moonbeam shone Through the dim lattice o'er the floor of stone, And the high fretted roof, and saints, that there O'er Gothic windows knelt in pictured prayer,

195

Reflected in fantastic figures grew,
Like life, but not like mortal life, to view;
His bristling locks of sable, brow of gloom,
And the wide waving of his shaken plume,
Glanced like a spectre's attributes, and gave
His aspect all that terror gives the grave.

200

XII.

'Twas midnight-all was slumber; the lone light
Dimm'd in the lamp, as loth to break the night.
Hark! there be murmurs heard in Lara's ball-
A sound-a voice-a shriek---a fearful call!
A long, loud shriek-and silence-did they hear 205
That frantic echo burst the sleeping ear?
They heard and rose, and tremulously brave
Rush where the sound invoked their aid to save;
They come with half-lit tapers in their hands,
And snatch'd in startled haste unbelted brands. 210

XIII.

Cold as the marble where his length was laid,
Pale as the beam that o'er his features play'd,
Was Lara stretch'd; his half drawn sabre near,
Dropp'd it should seem in more than nature's fear;
Yet he was firm, or had been firm till now, 215
And still defiance knit his gather'd brow;
Though mix'd with terror, senseless as he lay,
There lived upon his lip the wish to slay;

220

Some half form'd threat in utterance there had died,
Some imprecation of despairing pride;
His eye was almost seald, but not forsook,
Even in its trance the gladiator's look,
That oft awake his aspect could disclose,
And now was fix'd in horrible repose. [speaks,
They raise him--bear him ;---hush! he breathes, he
The swarthy blush recolours in his cheeks, 226
His lip resumes its red, his eye, though dim,
Rolls wide and wild, each slowly quivering limb
Recalls its function, but his words are strung,
In terms that seem not of his native tongue; 230
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 note--alas! that cannot hear!

XIV.

His page approach'd, and he alone appear'd 235
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, 240
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 sooth away the horrors of his dream;

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