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But had not marr'd though in his beams he grew, 530 The cheek where oft the unbidden blush shone

through; Yet not such blush as mounts when health would show All the heart's hue in that delighted glow; But 'twas a hectic tint of secret care That for a burning moment fever'd there; 535 And the wild sparkle of his eye seem'd caught From high, and lighten'd with electric thought, Though its black orb those long low lashes fringe, Had temper'd with a melancholy tinge; Yet less of sorrow than of pride was there, 540 Or if 'twere grief, a grief that none should share: And pleased not him the sports that please his age, The tricks of youth, the frolics of the page; For hours on Lara he would fix his glance, As all-forgotten in that watchful trance;

545 And from his chief withdrawn, he wander'd lone, Brief were his answers, and his questions none; His walk the wood, his sport some foreign book; His resting-place the bank that curbs the brook: He seem'd, like him he served, to live apart 550 From all that lures the eye, and fills the heart; To know no brotherhood, and take from earth No gift beyond that bitter hoon-our birth.

XXVII.

If aught he loved, 'twas Lara; but was shown his faith in reverence and in deeds alone;

555

In mute attention; and his care, which guess'd
Each wish, fulfill'd it ere the tongue express'd.
Still there was haughtiness in all he did,
A spirit deep that brook'd not to be chid ;
His zeal, though more than that of servile hands, 560
In act alone obeys, his air commands ;
As if 'twas Lara's less than his desire
That thus he served, but surely not for hire.
Slight were the tasks enjoin'd him by his lord,
To hold the stirrup, or to bear the sword; 565
To tune his lute, or if he will'd it more,
On tomes of other times and tongues to pore; Bra
But ne'er to mingle with the menial train,
To whom he show'd nor deference nor disdain,
But that well-worn reserve which proved he knew 570
No sympathy with that familiar crew :
His soul, whate'er his station or his stem,
Could bow to Lara, not descend to them.
Of higher birth he seem'd, and better days,
Nor mark of vulgar toil that hand betrays, 575
So femininely white it might bespeak
Another sex, when match'd with that smooth cheek,
But for his garb, and something in his gaze,
More wild and high than woman's eye betrays;
A latent fierceness that far more became 580
His fiery climate than his tender frame:
True, in his words it broke not from his breast,
But from his aspect might be more than guess?d.

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585

Kaled his name, though rumour said he bore
Another ere he left his mountain shore;
For sometimes he would hear, however nigh,
That name repeated loud without reply,
As unfamiliar, or, if roused again,
Start to the sound, as but remember'd then;
Unless 'twas Lara's wonted voice that spake,
For then, ear, eyes, and heart would all awake.

590

XXVIII. He had look'd down upon the festive hall, And mark'd that sudden strife so mark'd of all; And when the crowd around and near him told Their wonder at the calmness of the bold, 595 Their marvel how the high-born Lara bore Such insult from a stranger, doubly sore, The colour of young Kaled went and came, The lip of ashes, and the cheek of flame; Ando'er his brow the dampening heart-drops threw 600 The sickening iciness of that cold dew, That rises as the busy bosom sinks With heavy thoughts from which reflection shrinks. Yes—there be things that we must dream and dare, And execute ere thought be half aware:

605 Whate'er might Kaled's be, it was enow To seal his lip, but agonise his brow. He gazed on Ezzelin till Lara cast That sidelong smile upon the knight he past ; When Kaled saw that smile his visage fell, 610 As if on something recognised right well;

His memory read in such a meaning more
Than Lara's aspect unto others wore:
Forward he sprung-a moment, both were gone,
And all within that hall seem'd left alone;

615
Each had so fix'd his eye on Lara's mien,
All had so mix'd their feelings with that scene,
That when his long dark shadow through the porch
No more relieves the glare of yon high torch,
Each pulse beats quicker, and all bosoms seem 620
To bound as doubting from too black a dream,
Such as we know is false, yet dread in sooth,
Because the worst is ever nearest truth.
And they are gone—but Ezzelin is there,
With thoughtful visage and imperious air; 625
But long remain'd not; ere an hour expired
He waved his hand to Otho, and retired.

XXIX. The crowd are gone, the revellers at rest; The courteous host, and all-approving guest, Again to that accustom'd couch must creep 630 Where joy subsides, and sorrow sighs to sleep, And man o'er-labour'd with his being's strife, Shrinks to that sweet forgetfulness of life: There lie love's feverish hope, and cunning's guile, Hate's working brain, and lulld ambition's wile; 695 O’er each vain eye oblivion's pinions wave, And quench'd existence crouches in a grave,

VOL. II.

R

What better name may slumber's bed become ?
Night's sepulchre, the universal home,
Where weakness, strength, vice, virtue, sunk supine,
Alike in naked helplessness recline;

641
Glad for awhile to heave unconscious breath,
Yet wake to wrestle with the dread of death,
And shun, though day but dawn on ills increast,
That sleep, the loveliest, since it dreams the least. 645

END OF CANTO I.

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