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Where, the wild witchery to close,
Within three lances' length arose

The Castle of Saint John !
No misty phantom of the air,
No meteor-blazon'd show was there;
In morning splendour, full and fair,
The massive fortress shone.

XV. ,
Embattled high and proudly tower'd,
Shaded by ponderous flankers, lower'd

The portal's gloomy way.
Though for six hundred years and more,
Its strength had brook'd the tempest's roar,
The scutcheon'd emblems which it bore

Had suffer'd no decay:
But from the eastern battlement
A turret had made sheer descent,
And, down in recent ruin rent,

In the mid torrent lay.
Else, o'er the Castle's brow sublime,
Insults of violence or of time

Unfelt had pass'd away.
In shapeless characters of yore,
The gate this stern inscription bore :-

XVI.

Inscription.
“ Patience waits the destined day,
Strength can clear the cumber'd way,
Warrior, who hast waited long,
Firm of soul, of sinew strong,
It is given thee to gaze
On the pile of ancient days.
Never mortal builder's hand
This enduring fabric plann'd;
Sign and sigil, word of power,
From the earth raised keep and tower.
View it o'er, and pace it round,
Rampart, turret, battled mound.
Dare no more! To cross the gate
Were to tamper with thy fate;
Strength and fortitude were vain,
View it o'er-and turn again."

XVII. “ That would I," said the Warrior bold, If that my frame were bent and old, And my thin blood dropp'd slow and cold

As icicle in thaw;

But while my heart can feel it dance,
Blithe as the sparkling wine of France,
And this good arm wields sword or lance,
I mock these words of awe !"
He said ; the wicket felt the sway
Of his strong hand, and straight gave way,
And, with rude crash and jarring bray

The rusty bolts withdraw;
But o'er the threshold as he strode,
And forward took the vaulted road,
An unseen arm, with force amain,
The ponderous gato flung close again,

And rusted bolt and bar
Spontaneous took their place once more,
While the deep arch with sullen roar

Return'd their surly jar. “Now closed is the gin and the prey withio

By the Rood of Lanercost !
But ho that would win the war-wolf's skin,

May rue him of his boast."
Thus muttering, on the Warrior went,
By dubious light down steep descent.

XVIII.
Unbarr'd, unlock'd, unwatch'd, a port
Lod to the Castle's outer court:
There the main fortress, broad and tall,
Spread its long range of bower and hall,

And towers of varied size,
Wrought with each ornament extreme,
That Gothic art, in wildest dream

Of fancy, could devise;
But full between the Warrior's way
And the main portal arch, there lay

An inner moat;

Nor bridge nor boat Affords De Vaux the means to cross The clear, profound, and silent fosso. His arms aside in haste he flings, Cuirass of steel and hauberk rings, And down falls helm, and down the shield, Rough with the dints of many a fielů. Fair was his manly form, and fair His keen dark eye, and close curld hair, When, all unarm'd, save that the brand Of well-proved metal graced his hand, With naught to fonce his dauntless breast But the close gipon's under-vest, Whose sullied buff the sable stains Of bauberk and of mail retains,Roland Do Vaux upon the brim Of the broad moat stood prompt to swim.

XIX.
Accoutred thus he dared the tide,
And soon he reach'd the farther side,

And enter'd soon the Hold,
And paced a hall, whose walls so wide
Were blazon'd all with feats of pride,

By warriors done of old.
In middle lists they counter'd here,

While trumpets seem'd to blow;
And there, in den or desert drear,

They quell'd gigantic foe,
Braved the fierce griffon in bis ire,
Or faced the dragon's breath of fire.
Strange in their arms, and strange in face,
Heroes they seem'd of ancient race,
Whose deeds of arms, and race, and name,
Forgotten long by later fame,

Were here depicted, to appal
Those of an age degenerate,
Whose bold intrusion brave their fate

In this enchanted hall.
For some short space the venturous knight
With these high marvels fed his sight,
Then sought the chamber's upper end,
Where three broad easy steps ascend

To an arch'd portal door,
In whose broad folding leaves of state
Was framed a wicket window-grate,

And, ere he ventured more,
The gallant Knight took earnest view
The grated wicket-window through.

XX.
0, for his arms! Of martial weed
Had never mortal Knight such need !--
He spied a stately gallery; all
Of snow white marble was the wall,

The vaulting, and the floor ;
And, contrast strange ! on either hand
There stood array'd in sable band

Four Maids whom Afric bore;
And each a Lybian tiger led,
Held by as bright and frail a thread

As Lucy's golden hair,--
For the leash that bound these monsters dread

Was but of gossamer.
Each Maiden's short barbaric vest
Left all unclosed the knee and breast,

And limbs of shapely jet ;
White was their vest and turban's fold,
On arms and ankles rings of gold

In savage pomp were set;

A quiver on their shoulders lay,
And in their hand an assagay.
Such and so silent stood they there,

That Roland wellnigh hoped
He saw a band of statues rare,
Station'd the gazer's soul to scare;

But when the wicket oped, Each grisly beast 'gan upward draw, Roll'd his grim eye, and spread his claw, Scented the air, and lick'd his jaw ; While these weird Maids, in Moorish tongue, A wild and dismal warning sung.

XXI. “Rash Adventurer, bear thee back!

Dread the spell of Dahomay! Fear the race of Zaharak,

Daughters of the burning day!

“When the whirlwind's gusts are wheeling,

Ours it is the dance to braid; Zarah's sands in pillars reeling,

Join the measure that we tread, When the Moon has donn'd her cloak,

And the stars are red to see, Shrill when pipes the sad Siroc,

Music meet for such as we.

“ Where the shatter'd columns lie,

Showing Carthage once had been, If the wandering Santon's eye

Our mysterious rites hath seen,Oft ho cons the prayer of death,

To the nations preaches doom, • Azrael's brand hath left the sheath!

Moslems, think upon the tomb!'

“Ours the scorpion, ours the snake,

Ours the hydra of the fen, Ours the tiger of the brake,

All that plague the sons of men. Ours the tempest's midnight wrack,

Pestilence that wastes by dayDread the race of Zaharak!

Fear the spell of Dahomay!"

XXII.
Uncouth and strange the accents shril

Rung those vaulted roofs among,
Long it was ere, faint and still,

Died the far resounding song.

While yet the distant echoes roll,
The Warrior communed with his soul.
“ When first I took this venturous quest,

I swore upon the rood,
Neither to stop, nor turn, nor rest,

For evil or for good.
My forward path too well I ween,
Lies yonder fearful ranks between !
For man unarm'd, 'tis bootless hope
With tigers and with fiends to cope
Yet, if I turn, what waits me there,
Savé famine dire and fell despair ? -
Other conclusion let me try,
Since, choose howe'er I list, I die.
Forward, lies faith and knightly fame;
Behind, are perjury and shame.
In life or death I hold my word !”
With that he drew his trusty sword,
Caught down a banner from the wall,
And enter'd thus the fearful hall.

XXIII. On high each wayward Maiden threw Her swarthy arm, with wild halloo ! On either side a tiger sprungAgainst the leftward foe he flung The ready banner, to engage With tangling folds the brutal rage; The right-band monster in mid air He struck so fiercely and so fair, Through gullet and through spinal bone, The tronchant blade had sheerly gone. His grisly brethren ramp'd and yell’d, But the slight leash their rage withheld, Whilst, 'twixt their ranks, the dangerous road Firmly, though swift, the champion strode. Safe to the gallery's bound he drew, Safe pass d an open portal through; And when against pursuit he flung The gate, judge if the echoes rung! Onward his daring course he bore, Whilo, mix'd with dying growl and roar, Wild jubilee and loud hurra Pursued him on his venturous way.

XXIV.
“Hurra, hurra! Our watch is done!
We hail once more the tropic sun.
Pallid beams of northern day,
Farewell, farewell I Hurra, hurra!

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