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NIGHT wanes,the vapours round the mountains curl'd
But creeping things shall revel in their spoil,
U. 'Tis morn—'tis noon-assembled in the hall, The gather'd chieftains come to Otho's call; 665 'Tis now the promis’d hour, that must proclaim The life or death of Lara's future fame; When Ezzelin his charge may here unfold, And whatsoe'er the tale, it must be told. His faith was pledged, and Lara's promise given, 670 To meet it in the eye of man and heaven. Why comes he not? Such truths to be divulged, Methinks the accuser's rest is long indulged.
The hour is past, and Lara too is there,
675 Why comes not Ezzelin? The hour is past, And murmurs rise, and Otho's brow 's o'ercast: “I know my friend ! his faith I cannot fear, “ If yet he be on earth, expect him here; “ The roof that held him in the valley stands 680 “ Between my own and noble Lara's lands;
My halls from such a guest had honour gain’d, “ Nor had Sir Ezzelin his host disdain'd, “But that some previous proof forbade his stay, " And urged him to prepare against to-day; 685
“The word I pledged for his I pledge again,
He ceased-and Lara answer'd, “I am here “To lend at thy demand a listening ear; “To tales of evil from a stranger's tongue, 690 “Whose words already might my heart have wrung, “But that I deem'd him scarcely less than mad, “Or, at the worst, a foe ignobly bad. “I know him not-but me it seems he knew « In lands where--but I must not trifle too: 695 “ Produce this babbler-or redeem the pledge; “Here in thy hold, and with thy falchion's edge.”
Proud Otho on the instant, reddening, threw
With cheek unchanging from its sallow gloom,
well-used to deal the sabre-stroke; 705
Short was the conflict; furious, blindly rash,
fiercer shook his angry falchion now 720
730 That left a foe, howe'er o'erthrown, with life i As if to search how far the wound he gave Had sent its victim onward to his grave.
They raised the bleeding Otho, and the Leech Forbade all present question, sign, and speech; 735
The others met within a neighbouring hall,
But where was he? that meteor of a night,
750 Except the absence of the chief it sought. A chamber tenantless, a steed at rest, His host alarm’d, his murmuring squires distrest: Their search extends along, around the path, In dread to meet the marks of prowlers' wrath: 755 But none are there, and not a brake hath borne, Nor gout of blood, nor shred of mantle torn; Nor fall nor struggle hath defaced the grass, Which still retains a mark where murder was; Nor dabbling fingers left to tell the tale,
760 The bitter print of each convulsive nail, When agonised hands that cease to guard, Wound in that pang the smoothness of the sward.