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Of Fortune's favours; but the wish how vain
Invigorated by repose, the prince rises early in the morning, and after taking leave of the kind cottagers, who follow him with their blessings and prayers, he enters the wood in pursuit of Waldemar, calling upon his name, and defying him to combat. At length, wearied by fruitless search, he is about to quit it, when he is met by a knight wearing on his helmet a wreath of laurel mixed with cypress, and whom, to his surprise, he immediately discovers to be Cradoc. The chief informs him that he and Lionel had lately encountered and defeated the Saxons, led on by Ulfin, on the banks of the Avon, but that Guendolen, the faithful and beloved mistress of his friend, had perished during the action. She had followed him to the battle disguised as a youthful warrior, and perceiving him, owing to the fall of his horse, exposed to the sword of the exulting Ulfin, she rushed forward to intercept the blow,
WOL. II. Q
and was slain by that merciless chieftain. Arthur asks, though with much anxiety and apprehension, if his friend be yet living; an inquiry which calls forth from the affectionate Cradoc the following tender and sympathising tribute:
If that may life be call'd, the knight replies, In silent anguish, tears, and broken sighs, To shun the sight of man, the face of day, And wear in lonely shades the hours away, He lives; but, ah! with me his fate deplore, He lives to friendship and to fame no more. To roam the wild, to stem the surging main, And mix with warriors in th’ embattled plain, Be henceforth mine alone: the rage of fight, And shouts of heroes give severe delight. Then, though they fall, they fall as suits the brave, And sweet the sorrow that bedevs their grave. Of them we think with joy—their acts of fame Rise grateful on the soul that glows with kindred flame. But may I ne'er again the witness prove To the deep sorrows of despairing love : To beauty blasted in its opening bloom, And valour pining o'er the silent tomb.-B. vii. p. 224.
Arthur compassionately declares, that as soon as he is blessed with the hand of Inogen, who never saw distress without striving to relieve it, it shall be
their joint endeavour to share and to soothe the sorrows of the unhappy Lionel; and saying this, whilst the tear started to his eyes, they issue from the wood together, but had scarcely left its precincts, when they behold on the adjoining heath a female who, from her attitude and manner, appears to be suffering from some sudden calamity. She starts as they approach, and the prince immediately recollecting with joy the features of Ellena, the dear companion of his Inogen, is about to ask her a thousand questions, when she tells him with anguish depicted on her countenance, that she has a dreadful tale to unfold; for that not longer ago than yesterday morning, his Inogen had quitted the enchanted bower in which she had been placed by her father, never to return She had walked, it seems, as was her custom, to the boundary which encircles her abode, but not returning as the day advanced, her friend had gone in search of her, and ascending the mound which forms a lofty barrier to the magic landscape, she had beheld her at a distance borne off on the courser of a stately knight, whilst at the same moment a storm agitated the air, and, to her inexpressible terror, she heard the demons rejoicing that they had foiled the power of Merlin, and that Inogen was the Saxon's prize. Ellena declares that, on hearing these exultations, she sunk to the earth senseless, and only recovered her faculties through the humane care of an old shepherd, whom she points out as approaching, and who, she adds, can communicate further particulars, though such as she is apprehensive will rather increase than allay his grief. The consternation and agony of the prince, which, during this recital, had been in some degree soothed by the hope that Inogen's flight was involuntary, the result of force or fraud, are much augmented by the peasant's tale, who relates that on the preceding evening he had seen a knight and lady on a milk-white courser, crossing the valley with the utmost rapidity; that they were met midway by a young warrior, who appeared to address them in a very friendly manner, when presently the knight plunged his sword into the body of the youth, who instantly fell, whilst loud shrieks were heard. He adds, that the knight and lady were soon afterwards lost to his sight by the intervening wood, and that this morning he had conducted the damsel, whom he had found last night apparently lifeless on the heath, to the spot where the youth had fallen, and that she exclaimed on seeing him, that his death would prove an additional source of grief to Britain's lord. Arthur now demands to be led to the fatal scene, and on his way discovers a golden bracelet on the ground which he had formerly given to Inogen. He at first presses it to his lips—then starting from it as if a scorpion had stung him, he flings it away, declaring that it is but too sure a sign of her infidelity. As he says this, he comes within sight of the body of his friend, an object which the poet has, with great skill, connected with a very tender
and romantic circumstance of legendary lore:
Now Cador's corse he view'd,
With hoary moss, and faded leaves bestrew'd.
Kneeling by the clay-cold relics of his friend, he deplores with loud lamentations his untimely fate,
and accuses Inogen of being accessary to it; the thought drives him almost to distraction, and he