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Where, the wild witchery to close,
The Castle of Saint John !
The portal's gloomy way.
Had suffer'd no decay:
In the mid torrent lay.
Unfelt had pass'd away.
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,
The rusty bolts withdraw;
And rusted bolt and bar
Return'd their surly jar. “Now closed is the gin and the prey withio
By the Rood of Lanercost !
May rue him of his boast."
And towers of varied size,
Of fancy, could devise;
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.
And enter'd soon the Hold,
By warriors done of old.
While trumpets seem'd to blow;
They quell'd gigantic foe,
Were here depicted, to appal
In this enchanted hall.
To an arch'd portal door,
And, ere he ventured more,
The vaulting, and the floor ;
Four Maids whom Afric bore;
As Lucy's golden hair,--
Was but of gossamer.
And limbs of shapely jet ;
In savage pomp were set;
A quiver on their shoulders lay,
That Roland wellnigh hoped
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!"
Rung those vaulted roofs among,
Died the far resounding song.
While yet the distant echoes roll,
I swore upon the rood,
For evil or for good.
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.