Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Within the Baron's heart and brain
If thoughts, like these, had any share,
They only swelled his rage and pain,
And did but work confusion there.
His heart was cleft with pain and rage,
His cheeks they quivered, 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 rolled his eye with stern regard
Upon the gentle minstrel bard,
And said in tones abrupt, austere-
“Why, Bracy ! dost tnou loiter here?
I bade thee hence!” The bard obeyed ;
And turning from his own sweet maid,
The aged knight, Sir Leoline,
Led forth the lady Geraldine !

1800, 1816.

THE CONCLUSION TO PART THE SECOND

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 Shuddered aloud, with a hissing sound ; And Geraldine again turned round, And like a thing, that sought relief, Full of wonder and full of grief, She rolled 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 fearful wise, So deeply had she drunken in That look, those shrunken serpent eyes, That all her features were resigned 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 prayed : 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'er mastered by the mighty spell. Why is thy cheek so wan and wild, Sir Leoline? Thy only chill 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 prayed the moment ere she died : Praved 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 ?

A little child, a limber elf,
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 liis love's excess
With words of upmeant 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
(0 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 inost used to do.

9 1801. 1816.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

Yield homage only to eternal laws!
Ye Woods! that listen to the night-

bird's singing,
Midway the smooth and perilous slope

reclined, Save when your own imperious branches

swinging, Have made a solemn music of the

wind ! Where, like a man beloved of God, Through glooms, which never woodman

trod,

How oft, pursuing fancies holy, My moonlight way o'er flowering weeds

I wound,

Inspired beyond the guess of folly, By each rude shape and wild unconquer

able sound! O ye loud Waves! and 0 ye Forests

high! And 0 ye Clouds that far above me

soared! Thou rising sun! thou blue rejoicing

Sky!
Yea, every thing that is and will be

free!
Bear witness for me, wheresoe'er ye

be,
With what deep worship I have still

adored
The spirit of divinest Liberty.

was

and gory.

II

III · And what," I said, " though Blas.

phemy's loud scream With that sweet music of deliverance

strove ! Though all the fierce and drunken

passions wore A dance more wild than e'er

maniac's dream ! Ye storms, that round the dawning

east assembled, The Sun was rising, though ye hid his

light! And when to soothe my soul, that

hoped and trembled, The dissonance ceased, and all seemed

calm and bright; When France her front deep-scarr’d Concealed with clustering wreaths of

glory ; When insupport: bly advancing, Her arm made mockery of the war

rior's ramp ; While timid looks of fury glancing. Domestic treason, crushed beneath her

fatal stamp, Writhed like a wounded dragon in his

gore ; Then I reproached my fears that

would not flee; "And soon," I said, “shall Wisdom

teach her lore In the low huts of them that toil and

groan ; And, conquering by her happiness

alone, Shall France compel the nations to be

free, Till Love and Joy look round, and call

the earth their own."

When France in wrath her giant-limbs

upreared, And with that oath which smote air,

earth and sea, Stamped her strong foot and said she

would be free, Bear witness for me, how I hoped and

feared ! With what a joy my lofty gratulation

Unawed I sang, amid å slavish band : And when to whelm the disenchanted

nation, Like fiends embattled by a wizard's

wand, The Monarchs marched in evil day,

And Britain join'd the dire array ; Though dear lier shores and circling

ocean, Though many friendships, many youth

ful loves Had swoln the patriot emotion And flung a magic light o'er all her hills

and groves; Yet still my voice, unaltered, sang

IV

Forgive me, Freedom ! O forgive those

dreams! I hear thy voice, I hear thy loud

defeat

lament,

From bleak Helvetia's icy caverns

sentI hear thy groans upon her blood-stained

streams! Heroes, that for your peaceful country

perished, And ye, that fleeing, spot your moun

tain snows With bleeding wounds; forgive me,

that I cherished One thought that ever blessed your cruel

foes ! To scatter rage and traitorous guilt Where Peace her jealous home had

built ;

A patriot-race to disinherit Of all that made their stormy wilds so

dear;

And with inexpiable spirit To taint the bloodless freedom of the

mountaineer() France, that mockest Heaven, adul

terous, blind, And patriot only in pernicious toils ! Are these thy-boasts, Champion of human

kind? To mix with Kings in the low lust of

sway, Yell in the hunt, and share the murder

ous prey ; Toinsult the shrine of Liberty with spoils From freemen torn; to tempt and to

betray?

Thou speedest on thy subtle pinions, The guide of boneless winds, and play

mate of the waves ! And then I felt thee !-on that sea-cliff's

verge, Whose pines, scarce travelled by the

breeze above, Had made one murmur with the distant

surge ! Yes, while I stood and gazed, my temples

bare, And shot iny being through earth, sea

and air, Possessing all things with intensest

love, O Liberty! my spirit felt thee there.

February, 1798. April 16, 1798.

FROST AT MIDNIGHT

[blocks in formation]

THE Frost performs its secret ministry, Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's

cry Came loud-and hark, again ! loud as

before. The inmates of my cottage, all at rest, Have left me to that solitude, which

suits Abstruser musings : save that at my

side My cradled infant slumbers peacefuly. 'Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it dis

turbs And vexes meditation with its strange And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and

wood, This populous village! Sea, and bill, and

wood, With all the numberless goings-on of

life, Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue

flame Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers

not ; Only that film, which fluttered on the

grate, Still flutters there, the sole unquiet

thing: Methinks, its motion in this hush of

pature Gives it dim sympathies with me who

live, Making it a companionable form, Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling

Spirit By its own moods interprets, everywhere Echo or mirror seeking of itself, And makes a toy of Thought.

nor ever

Didst breathe thy soul in forms of human

power. Alike from all, howe'er they praise

thee, (Nor prayer, nor boastful name delays

thee) Alike from Priestcraft's harpy

minions, And factious Blasphemy's obscener

slaves,

as oft

But O! how oft, How oft, at school, with most believing

mind, Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars, To watch that fluttering stranger! and With unclosed lids, already had I

dreamt Of my sweet birth-place, and the old

church-tower, Whose bells the poor man's only music

rang From morn to evening, all the hot Fair

day, So sweetly, that they stirred and

haunted me With a wild pleasure, falling on mine Most like articulate sounds of things to

come ! So gazed I, till the soothing things, I

dreamt, Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged

my dreams! And so I boded all the following morn, Awed by the stern preceptor's face, Fixed with mock study on my swim

ming book : Save if the door half opened, and I

snatched A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped

up: For still I hoped to see the stranger's

face, Townsman, or aunt, or sister more be

loved, My play-mate when we both were

clothed alike! Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by

By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the

crags Of ancient mountain, and beneath the

clouds, Which image in their bulk both lakes

and sliores And mountain crags : so shalt thou see

and hear The lovely shapes and sounds intelligi.

ble Of that eternal language, which thy

God Utters, who from eternity doth teach Himself in all, and all things in himself. Great universal Teacher ! he shall mould Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask. Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to

thee, Whether the summer clothe the general

earth With greenness, or the redbreast sit and

sing Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare

branch Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh

thatch Smokes in the sun-thaw ; whether the

eave-drops fall Heard only in the trances of the blast, Or if the secret ministry of frost Shall hang them up in silent icicles, Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

February, 1798. 1798.

ear

mine eye

LOVE

my side,

Whose gentle breathings, heard in this

deep calm, Fill up the interspersed vacancies And momentary pauses of the thought! My babe so beautiful! it thrills my

heart With tender gladness, thus to look at

thee, And think that thou shalt learn far

other lore, And in far other scenes ! For I was

reared In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters

dim, And saw nought lovely but the sky and

stars. But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a

breeze

All thoughts, all passions, all delights
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,

And feed his sacred flame.
Oft in my waking dreams do I
Live o'er again that happy hour,
When midway on the mount I lay,

Beside the ruined tower.
The moonshine, stealing o'er the scene
Had blended with the liglıts of eve:
And she was there, my hope, my joy

My own dear Genevieve !
She leant against the armed man,
The statue of the armed knight;
She stood and listened to my lay,

Amid the lingering light.
Few sorrows hath she of her own,
My liope ! my joy! my Genevieve!
She loves me best, whene'er I sing

The songs that make her grieve.

I played a soft and doleful air,
I sang an old and moving story-
An old rude song, that suited well

That ruin wild and hoary.
She listened with a fitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace ;
For well she knew, I could not choose

But gaze upon her face.
I told her of the Knight that wore
Upon his shield a burning brand ;
And that for ten long years he woved

The Lady of the Land.
I told her how he pined: and ah!
The deep, the low, the pleading tone
With which I sang another's love,

Interpreted my own.
She listened with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes, and modest grace
And she forgave me, that I gazed

Too fondly on her face ! But when I told the cruel scorn That crazed that bold and lovely Knight, And that he crossed the mountain.

woods,

Nor rested day nor night; That sometimes from the savage den, And sometimes from the darksome shaile And sometimes starting up at once

In green and sunny glade,There came and looked him in the face An angel beautiful and bright; And that he knew it was a Fiend,

This miserable Knight! And that unknowing what he did, He leaped amid a murderous band, And saved from outrage worse than

death

The Lady of the Land ! And how she wept, and clasped his

knees ; And how she tended him in vain And ever strove to expiate

The scorn that crazed his brain ;-And that she nursed him in a cave; And how his madness went away, When on the yellow forest-leaves

A dying man he lay ;His dying words--but when I reached That tenderest strain of all the ditty, My faltering voice and pausing harp

Disturbed her soul with pity!

All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrilled my guileless Genevieve;
The music and the doleful tale,

The rich and balmy eve;
And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
An undistinguishable throng,
And gentle wishes long subdued,

Subdued and cherished long! She wept with pity and delight, She blushed with love, and virgine

shame; And like the murmur of a dream,

I heard her breathe my name. Her bosom heaved-she stepped aside, As conscious of my look she stepped — Then suddenly, with timorous eye

She fled to me and wept.
She half enclosed me with her arms,
She pressed me with a meek embrace:
And bending back her bead, looked up

And gazed upon my face.
'Twas partly love, and partly fear,
And partly 'twas a bashful art,
That I might rather feel, than see,

The swelling of her heart.
I calmed her fears, and she was calm,
And told her love with virgin pride ;
And so I won my Genevieve,
My bright and beauteous Bride,

1798--1799. December 21, 1799.

THE BALLAD OF THE DARK

LADIE

A FRAGMENT

BENEATH yon birch with silver bark,
And boughs so pendulous and fair,
The brook falls scatter'd down the rock:

And all is mossy there!
And there upon the moss she sits,
The Dark Ladie in silent pain ;
The heavy tear is in her eye,

And drops and swells again.
Three times she sends her little page
Up the castled mountain's breast,
If he might find the Knight that wears

The Griffin for his crest.
The sun was sloping down the sky,
And she had linger'd there all day,
Counting moments, dreaming fears--

Oh wherefore can he stay ?

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »