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o PART II. Each matin-bell, the Baron saith, Knells us back to a world of death. These words Sir Leoline first said, When he rose and found his lady dead: These words Sir Leoline will say, Many a morn to his dying day!
And hence the custom and law began,
That still at dawn the sacristan,
Who duly pulls the heavy bell,
Five-and-sorty beads must tell
Between each stroke—a warning knell,
Which not a soul can choose but hear
From Bratha Head to Wyndermere.
Saith Bracy the bard, So let it knell! And let the drowsy sacristan Still count as slowly as he can' There is no lack of such, I ween, As well fill up the space between. In Langdale Pike and Witch's Lair And Dungeon-ghyll so foully rent, With ropes of rock and bells of air Three sinful sextons' ghosts are pent, Who all give back, one after t'other, . The death-note to their living brother; And oft too, by the knell offended, Just as their one ! two ' three' is ended, The devil mocks the doleful tale With a merry peal from Borrowdale.
The air is still ! through mist and cloud
That merry peal comes ringing loud;
And Geraldine shakes off her dread,
And rises lightly from the bed;
Puts on her silken vestments white,
And tricks her hair in lovely plight,
And, nothing doubting of her spell,
Awakens the lady Christabel.
“Sleep you, sweet lady Christabel?
I trust that you have rested well.”
And Christabel awoke and spied
The same who lay down by her side—
O rather say, the same whom she
Raised up beneath the old oak-tree!
Nay, fairer yet! and yet more fair!
For she belike hath drunken deep
Of all the blessedness of sleep!
And while she spake, her looks, her air
Such gentle thankfulness declare,
That (so it seem'd) her girded vests
Grew tight beneath her heaving breasts.
“Sure I have sinn'd,” said Christabel,
“Now Heaven be praised if all be well!"
And in low faltering tones, yet sweet,
Did she the lofty lady greet
With such perplexity of mind
As dreams too lively leave behind.
So quickly she rose, and quickly array'd Her maiden limbs, and having pray'd That He, who on the cross did groan, Might wash away her sins unknown,
She forthwith led fair Geraldine To meet her sire, Sir Leoline.
The lovely maid and the lady tall
Are pacing both into the hall,
And, pacing on through page and groom,
Enter the Baron's presence-room.
The Baron rose, and while he prest
His gentle daughter to his breast,
With cheerful wonder in his eyes
The lady Geraldine espies,
And gave such welcome to the same,
As might beseem so bright a dame! .
But when he heard the lady's tale,
And when she told her father's name,
Why wax'd Sir Leoline so pale,
Murmuring o'er the name again,
Lord Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine?
Alas! they had been friends in youth; But whispering tongues can poison truth; And constancy lives in realms above, And life is thorny; and youth is vain: And to be wroth with one we love, * Doth work like madness in the brain. And thus it chanced, as I divine, With Roland and Sir Leoline. Each spake words of high disdain And insult to his heart's best brother: They parted—ne'er to meet again! But never either found another To free the hollow heart from paining— They stood aloof, the scars remaining, Like cliffs which had been rent asunder; A dreary sea now flows between. But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder, Shall wholly do away, I ween, " The marks of that which once hath been. Sir Leoline, a moment's space, Stood gazing on the damsel's face: And the youthful Lord of Tryermaine Came back upon his heart again.
O then the Baron forgot his age :
His noble heart swell'd high with rage;
He swore by the wounds in Jesu's side,
He would proclaim it far and wide
With trump and solemn heraldry,
That they, who thus had wrong'd the dame,
Were base as spotted infamy!
“And if they dare deny the same,
My herald shall appoint a week,
And let the recreant traitors seek
My tourney court—that there and then
may dislodge their reptile souls
From the bodies and forms of men!"
He spake: his eye in lightning rolls:
For the lady was ruthlessly seized; and he kenn'd
In the beautiful lady the child of his friend!
And now the tears were on his sace,
And fondly in his arms he took
Fair Geraldine, who met the embrace,
Prolonging it with joyous look.
Which when she view'd, a vision fell
Upon the soul of Christabel,
The vision of fear, the touch and pain!
She shrunk and shudder'd, and saw again—
(Ah, woe is me! Was it for thee,
Thou gentle maid! such sights to see?)
Again she saw that bosom old,
Again she felt that bosom cold, -
And drew in her breath with a hissing sound:
Whereat the knight turn'd wildly round,
And nothing saw but his own sweet maid
With eyes upraised, as one that pray'd.
The touch, the sight, had pass'd away,
And in its stead that vision blest,
Which comforted her after-rest,
While in the lady's arms she lay,
Had put a rapture in her breast,
And on her lips and o'er her eyes
Spread smiles like light!
With new surprise, - What ails then my beloved child?” The Baron said—His daughter mild Made answer, “All will yet be well!" I ween, she had no power to tell Aught else: so mighty was the spell.
Wet he, who saw this Geraldine,
Had deem'd her sure a thing divine.
Such sorrow with such grace she blended,
As is she sear'd she had offended
Sweet Christabel, that gentle maid!
And with such lowly tones she pray'd,
She might be sent without delay
Home to her father's mansion.
“Nay! Nay, by my soul!” said Leoline. “Ho! Bracy the bard, the charge be thine: Go thou, with music sweet and loud, And take two steeds with trappings proud, And take the youth whom thou lovest best To bear thy harp, and learn thy song, And clothe you both in solemn vest, And over the mountains haste along, Lest wandering folk, that are abroad, Detain you on the valley road. And when he has cross'd the Irthing flood, My merry bard! he hastes, he hastes Up Knorren Moor, through Halegarth wood, And reaches soon that castle good Which stands and threatens Scotland's wastes.
Band Bracy, hard Bracy' your horses are fleet, Ye must ride up the hall, your music so sweet, More loud than your horses' echoing feet! And loud and loud to Lord Roland call, Thy daughter is safe in Langdale hall! Thy beautiful daughter is safe and free— Sir Leoline greets thee thus through me. He bids thee come without delay With all thy numerous array; And take thy lovely daughter home And he will meet thee on the way
o With all his numerous array, White with their panting palfreys' foam: And by mine honor! I will say, That I repent me of the day - When I spake words of high disdain *To Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine! —For since that evil hour hath flown, Many a summer's sun hath shone; Yet ne'er found I a friend again Like Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine.”
The Lady fell, and clasp'd his knees,
Her face upraised, her eyes o'erflowing;
And Bracy replied, with faltering voice,
Her gracious hail on all bestowing;-
Thy words, thou sire of Christabel,
*Are sweeter than my harp can tell;
Yet might I gain a boon of thee,
This day my journey should not be,
So strange a dream hath come to me;
That I had vow’d with music loud
To clear yon wood from thing unblest,
Warn'd by a vision in my rest!
For in my sleep I saw that dove,
That gentle bird, whom thou dost love,
And Call'st by thy own daughter's name—
Sir Leoline! I saw the same,
Fluttering, and uttering fearful moan,
Among the green herbs in the forest alone.
Which when I saw and when I heard,
I wonder'd what might ail the bird:
For nothing near it could I see,
Save the grass and green herbs underneath the
And in my dream, methought, I went
To search out what might there be found;
And what the sweet bird's trouble meant,
That thus lay fluttering on the ground.
I went and peer'd, and could descry
No cause for her distressful cry;
But yet for her dear lady's sake
I stoop'd, methought, the dove to take.
When lo! I saw a bright green snake
Coil'd around its wings and neck.
Green as the herbs on which it couch'd,
Close by the dove's its head it crouch'd!
And with the dove it heaves and stirs,
Swelling its neck as she swell'd hers!
I woke; it was the midnight hour,
The clock was echoing in the tower;
But though my slumber was gone by,
This dream it would not pass away—
It seems to live upon my eye'
And thence I vow'd this self-same day,
With music strong and saintly song
To wander through the forest bare,
Lestaught unholy loiter there.
Thus Bracy said: the Baron, the while,
Half-listening heard him with a smile;
Then turn'd to Lady Geraldine,
His eyes made up of wonder and love;
And said in courtly accents fine,
Sweet Maid! Lord Roland's beauteous dove,
With arms more strong than harp or song,
Thy sire and I will crush the snake!
He kiss'd her forehead as he spake,
And Geraldine in maiden wise, .
Casting down her large bright eyes,
With blushing cheek and courtesy fine
She turn'd her from Sir Leoline;
Softly gathering up her train,
That o'er her right arm fell again;
And folded her arms across her chest,
And couch'd her head upon her breast,
And look'd askance at Christabel
Jesu, Maria, shield her well!
A snake's small eye blinks dull and shy,
And the lady's eyes they shrunk in her head,
Each shrunk up to a serpent's eye, -
And with somewhat of malice and more of dread,
At Christabel she look'd askance:—
One moment—and the sight was fled!
But Christabel, in dizzy trance
Stumbling on the unsteady ground,
Shudder'd aloud, with a hissing sound;
And Geraldine again turn'd round,
And like a thing, that sought relief,
Full of wonder and full of grief,
She roll'd her large bright eyes divine
Wildly on Sir Leoline. -
The maid, alas! her thoughts are gone,
She nothing sees—no sight but one !
The maid, devoid of guile and sin,
I know not how, in searful wise
So deeply had she drunken in
That look, those shrunken serpent eyes,
That all her features were resign'd
To this sole image in her mind:
And passively did imitate
That look of dull and treacherous hate'
And thus she stood, in dizzy trance,
Still picturing that look askance
With forced, unconscious sympathy
Full before her father's view
As far as such a look could be,
In eyes so innocent and blue.
And when the trance was o'er, the maid
Paused awhile, and inly pray'd:
Then falling at the Baron's feet,
“By my mother's soul do I entreat
That thou this woman send away!”
She said; and more she could not say;
For what she knew she could not tell,
O'ermaster'd by the mighty spell.
Why is thy cheek so wan and wild,
Sir Leoline? Thy only child
Lies at thy feet, thy joy, thy pride,
So fair, so innocent, so mild;
The same, for whom thy lady died.
O by the pangs of her dear mother,
Think thou no evil of thy child !
For her, and thee, and for no other,
She pray'd the moment ere she died;
Pray'd that the babe for whom she died
Might prove her dear lord's joy and pride!
That prayer her deadly pangs beguiled,
Sir Leoline !
And wouldst thou wrong thy only child,
Her child and thine !
Within the Baron's heart and brain
If thoughts like these had any share,
They only swell'd his rage and pain,
And did but work confusion there.
His heart was cleft with pain and rage,
His cheeks they quiver'd, his eyes were wild,
Dishonor'd thus in his old age;
Dishonor'd by his only child,
And all his hospitality
To the insulted daughter of his friend
By more than woman's jealousy
Brought thus to a disgraceful end—
He roll'd his eye with stern regard
Upon the gentle minstrel bard,
And said in tones abrupt, austere,
Why, Bracy' dost thou loiter here 7
I bade thee hence! The Bard obey'd;
And, turning from his own sweet maid,
The aged knight, Sir Leoline,
Led forth the lady Geraldine !
THE CONCLUSION TO PART II.
A Little child, a limber els,
Singing, dancing to itself,
A fairy thing with red round cheeks
That always finds and never seeks,
Makes such a vision to the sight
As fills a father's eyes with light;
And pleasures flow in so thick and fast
Upon his heart, that he at last
Must needs express his love's excess
With words of unmeant bitterness.
Perhaps 'tis pretty to force together
Thoughts so all unlike each other;
To mutter and mock a broken charm,
To dally with wrong that does no harm.
Perhaps 'tis tender too and pretty
At each wild word to feel within
A sweet recoil of love and pity.
And what, if in a world of sin
(O sorrow and shame should this be true)!
Such giddiness of heart and brain
Comes seldom save from rage and pain,
So talks as it's most used to do.
MARQUIs WALDEz, Father to the two brothers, and
Donna Teresa's Guardian.
Dox Alvar, the eldest son.
DoN ORDoNio, the youngest son.
Moxviedro, a Dominican and Inquisitor.
ZULIMEz, the faithful attendant on Alvar.
Isido RE, a Moresco Chieftain, ostensibly a Christian.
FAMILIARs of THE INQUisition.
Moors, SERVANTs, etc.
DoNNA TERFsa, an Orphan Heiress.
ALHADRA, Wife to Isidore.
TIME. The reign of Philip II., just at the close of the civil wars against the Moors, and during the heat of the persecution which raged against them, shortly after the edict which forbade the wearing of Moresco apparel under pain of death.
ACT I. scene i. The Sea Shore on the Coast of Granada.
Don Alvar, wrapt in a Boat-cloak, and ZULIMEz (a Moresco), both as just landed
ZULiMEz. No sound, no face of joy to welcome us! ALWAR. My faithful Zulimez, for one brief moment Let me forget my anguish and their crimes. If aught on earth demand an unmix'd feeling, Tis surely this—after long years of exile, To step forth on firm land, and gazing round us, To hail at once our country, and our birth-place. Hail. Spain! Granada, hail! once more I press Thy sands with filial awe, land of my fathers! zulian Ez. Then claim your rights in it! O, revered Don Alvar, Yet, yet give up your all too gentle purpose. It is too hazardous! reveal yourself, And let the guilty meet the doom of gunlt! ALV Art. Remember, Zulimez! I am his brother: Injured, indeed! O deeply injured! yet Ordonio's brother. Zulim Ez. Nobly-minded Alvar! This sure but gives his guilt a blacker dye. ALWAR. The more behoves it, I should rouse within him
Remorse! that I should save him from himself
zulimiez. Remorse is as the heart in which it grows: If that be gentle, it drops balmy dews Of true repentance; but if proud and gloomy, It is a poison-tree that, pierced to the inmost, Weeps only tears of poison.
ALWAR. And of a brother, Dare I hold this, unproved 2 nor make one effort, To save him?—Hearine, friend! I have yet to tell thee, That this same life, which he conspired to take, Himself once rescued from the angry flood, And at the imminent hazard of his own. Add too my oath— ZULIMEz. You have thrice told already The years of absence and of secrecy, To which a forced oath bound you: if in truth A suborn'd murderer have the power to dictate A binding oath— ALV art. My long captivity Left me no choice: the very Wish too languish'd With the fond Hope that nursed it; the sick babe Droop'd at the bosom of its famish'd mother. But (more than all) Teresa's perfidy; The assassin's strong assurance, when no interest, No motive could have tempted him to falsehood: In the first pangs of his awaken'd conscience, When with abhorrence of his own black purpose The murderous weapon, pointed at my breast, Fell from his palsied hand— ZULiMEz. Heavy presumption' ALVAR. It weigh’d not with me—Hark! I will tell thee all: As we pass'd by, I bade thee mark the base Of yonder cliff— zu Lim Ez. That rocky seat you mean, Shaped by the billows?— ALWAR. There Teresa met me, The morning of the day of my departure. We were alone: the purple hue of dawn Fell from the kindling east aslant upon us, And, blending with the blushes on her cheek, Suffused the tear-drops there with rosy light. There seem'd a glory round us, and Teresa The angel of the vision' [Then with agitation. Hadst thou seen How in each motion her most innocent soul Beam'd forth and brighten'd, thou thyself wouldst tell me, Guilt is a thing impossible in her! She must be innocent! zuli.MEz (with a sigh). Proceed, my Lord!
A portrait which she had procured by stealth
(For ever then it seems her heart foreboded
Or knew Ordonio's moody rivalry),
A portrait of herself with thrilling hand
She tied around my neck, conjuring me
With earnest prayers, that I would keep it sacred
To my own knowledge: nor did she desist,
Till she had won a solemn promise from me,
That (save my own) no eye should e'er behold it
Till my return. Yet this the assassin knew,
Knew that which none but she could have disclosed.
A damning proof!
My own life wearied me!
And but for the imperative Voice within,
With mine own hand I had thrown off the burthen.
That Voice, which quell'd me, calm'd me: and I
The Belgic states: there join'd the better cause;
And there too fought as one that courted death!
Wounded, I fell among the dead and dying,
In death-like trance: a long imprisonment follow'd.
The fullness of my anguish by degrees
Waned to a meditative melancholy;
And still, the more I mused, my soul became
More doubtful, more perplex'd; and still Teresa,
Night after night, she visited my sleep,
Now as a saintly sufferer, wan and tearful,
Now as a saint in glory beckoning to me!
Yes, still, as in contempt of proof and reason,
I cherish the fond faith that she is guiltless!
Hear then my fix'd resolve: I'll linger here
In the disguise of a Moresco chieftain.—
The Moorish robes 7–
All, all are in the sea-cave,
Some furlong hence. I bade our mariners
Secrete the boat there.
Above all, the picture
Of the assassination—
That it remains uninjured.
I will first seek to meet Ordonio's—wife!
If possible, alone too. This was her wonted walk,
And this the hour; her words, her very looks
Will acquit her or convict.
Will they not know you?
With your aid, friend, I shall unfearingly
Trust the disguise; and as to my complexion,
My long imprisonment, the scanty food,
This scar-and toil beneath a burning sun,
Have done already half the business for us.
Add too my youth, when last we saw each other.
Manhood has swoln my chest, and taught my voice
A hoarser note—Besides, they think me dead:
And what the mind believes impossible,
The bodily sense is slow to recognize.
"Tis yours, Sir, to command; mine to obey.
I hold Ordonio dear; he is your son
And Alvar's brother.
Love him for himself,
Nor make the living wretched for the dead.
I mourn that you should plead in vain, Lord Valdez;
But heaven hath heard my vow, and I remain
Faithful to Alvar, be he dead or living.
Heaven knows with what delight I saw your loves,
And could my heart's blood give him back to thee,
I would die smiling. But these are idle thoughts;
Thy dying father comes upon my soul
With that same look, with which he gave thee to me;
I held thee in my arms a powerless babe,
While thy poor mother with a mute entreaty
Fix'd her faint eyes on mine. Ah not for this,
That I should let thee seed thy soul with gloom,
And with slow anguish wear away thy life,
The victim of a useless constancy.
I must not see thee wretched.
There are woes
Ill-barter'd for the garishness of joy!
If it be wretched with an untired eye
To watch those skiey tints, and this green ocean;
Or in the sultry hour beneath some rock,
My hair dishevell'd by the pleasant sea-breeze,
To shape sweet visions, and live o'er again
All past hours of delight! If it be wretched
To watch some bark, and fancy Alvar there,
To go through each minutest circumstance
Of the blest meeting, and to frame adventures
Most terrible and strange, and hear him tell them;
* (As once I knew a crazy Moorish maid
Who drest her in her buried lover's clothes,
And o'er the smooth spring in the mountain cleft
Hung with her lute, and play'd the selfsame tune
He used to play, and listen'd to the shadow
Herself had made)—if this be wretchedness,
And is indeed it be a wretched thing
To trick out mine own death-bed, and imagine
That I had died, died just ere his return
Then see him listening to my constancy,
Or hover round, as he at midnight of
* Here Valdez bends back, and smiles at her wildness. which Teresa noticing, checks her enthusiasm, and in a sooth. ins half playful toue and manner, apologizes for her fancy, by the little tale in the parenthesis 84