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What makes her in the wood so late,
A furlong from the castle gate?
She had dreams all yesternight
Of her own betrothed knight;
Dreams, that made her moan and leap,
As on her bed she lay in sleep;
And she in the midnight wood will pray
For the weal of her lover that's far away.

She stole along, she nothing spoke,
The breezes they were still also;
And nought was green upon the oak,
But moss and rarest misletoe:
She kneels beneath the huge oak tree,
And in silence prayeth she.

The lady leaps up suddenly,
The lovely lady, Christabel!

It moaned as near, as near can be,

But what it is, she cannot tell.—

On the other side it seems to be,

Of the huge, broad-breasted, old oak tree.

The night is chill; the forest bare;

Is it the wind that moaneth bleak?

There is not wind enough in the air

To move away the ringlet curl

From the lovely lady's cheek —

There is not wind enough to twirl

The one red leaf, the last of its clan,

That dances as often as dance it can,

Hanging so light, and hanging so high,

On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.

Hush, beating heart of Christabel!
Jesu, Maria, shield her well!

N

She folded her arms beneath her cloak,
And stole to the other side of the oak.
What sees she there?

There she sees a damsel bright,
Drest in a silken robe of white;
Her neck, her feet, her arms were bare,
And the jewels disorder'd in her hair.
I guess, 'twas frightful there to see
A lady so richly clad as she—
Beautiful exceedingly!

Mary mother, save me now!

(Said Christabel,) And who art thou?

The lady strange made answer meet,
And her voice was faint and sweet:—
Have pity on my sore distress,
I scarce can speak for weariness.

Stretch forth thy hand, and have no fear,
Said Christabel, How cara'st thou here?
And the lady, whose voice was faint and sweet,
Did thus pursue her answer meet:—

My sire is of a noble line,

And my name is Geraldine.

Five warriors seiz'd meyesterraorn,

Me, even me, a maid forlorn:

They chok'd my cries with force and fright.

And tied me on a palfrey white.

The palfrey was as fleet as wind,

And they rode furiously behind.

They spurr'd amain, their steeds were white;

And once we cross'd the shade of night.

As sure as Heaven shall rescue me,

I have no thought what men they be;

Nor do I know how long it is

(For I have lain in fits, I wis)

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Since one, the tallest of the five,

Took me from the palfrey's back,

A weary woman, scarce alive.

Some mutter'd words his comrades spoke:

He placed me underneath this oak,

He swore they would return with haste;

Whither they went I cannot tell—

I thought I heard, some minutes past,

Sounds as of a castle bell.

Stretch forth thy hand (thus ended she),

And help a wretched maid to flee.

Then Christabel stretch'd forth her hand

And comforted fair Geraldine,

Saying, that she should command

The service of Sir Leoline;

And straight be convoy'd, free from thrall,

Back to her noble father's hall.

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