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walked slowly back to the rocks ; and The thin gray cloud is spread on high, when he reached it the child told him It covers but not hides the sky. that he had caught hold of his garment | The moon is behind, and at the full ; as he passed by, and that the man had | And yet she looks both small and dull. fallen upon the ground : and Cain once The night is chill, the cloud is gray: 20 more sate beside him, and said, "Abel, 'Tis a month before the month of May, my brother, I would lament for thee, And the Spring comes slowly up this but that the spirit within me is withered,

way. and burnt up with extreme agony. Now, I pray thee, by thy flocks, and by thy The lovely lady, Christabel, pastures, and by the quiet rivers which whom her father loves so well, thou lovedst, that thou tell me all that What makes her in the wood so late, thou knowest. Who is the God of the A furlong from the castle gate ? dead? where doth he make his dwelling ? She had dreams all yesternight what sacrifices are acceptable unto him? Of her own betrothed knight ; for I have offered, but have not been re

And she in the midnight wood will pray ceived; I have prayed, and have not been For the weal of her lover that's far heard ; and how can I be afflicted more

away.

30 than I already am ?' The Shape arose and answered, “O that thou hadst had She stole along, she nothing spoke, pity on me as I will have pity on thee. The sighs she heaved were soft and low, Follow me, Son of Adam ! and bring And naught was green upon the oak thy child with thee !'

But moss and rarest misletoe : And they three passed over the white She kneels beneath the huge oak tree, sands between the rocks, silent as the And in silence prayeth she. shadows.

1798.

The lady sprang up suddenly,
CHRISTABEL

The lovely lady, Christabel !

It moaned as near, as near can be,
PART THE FIRST

But what it is she cannot tell.
'Tis the middle of night by the castle On the other side it seems to be,
clock,

Of the huge, broad-breasted, old oak tree. And the owls have awakened the crowing cock,

The night is chill; the forest bare ; Tu-whit! -Tu-whoo!

Is it the wind that moaneth bleak ? And hark, again ! the crowing cock,

There is not wind enough in the air How drowsily it crew.

To move away the ringlet curl

From the lovely lady's cheekSir Leoline, the Baron rich,

There is not wind enough to twirl Hath a toothless mastiff, which

The one red leaf, the last of its clan, From her kennel beneath the rock That dances as often as dance it can, 50 Maketh answer to the clock,

Hanging so light, and hanging so high, Four for the quarters, and twelve for the On the topmost twig that looks up at

hour;
Ever and aye, by shine and shower,
Sixteen short howls, not over loud ; Hush, beating heart of Christabel !
Some say, she sees my lady's shroud. Jesu, Maria, shield her well!

She folded her arms beneath her cloak, Is the night chilly and dark ?

And stole to the other side of the oak. The night is chilly, but not dark.

What sees she there?

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the sky.

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120

There she sees a damsel bright,

Sounds as of a castle bell. Drest in a silken robe of white,

Stretch forth thy hand (thus ended she), That shadowy in the moonlight shone : 60 And help a wretched maid to flee. The neck that made that white robe wan, Her stately neck, and arms were bare ; Then Christabel stretched forth her hand, Her blue-veined feet unsandal'd were,

And comforted fair Geraldine : And wildly glittered here and there O well, bright dame! may you comThe gems entangled in her hair.

mand I guess, 'twas frightful there to see The service of Sir Leoline ; A lady so richly clad as she

And gladly our stout chivalry Beautiful exceedingly !

Will he send forth and friends withal

To guide and guard you safe and free 110 Mary mother, save me now !

Home to your noble father's hall. (Said Christabel,) And who art thou ? 70

She rose : and forth with steps they The lady strange made answer meet,

passed And her voice was faint and sweet : That strove to be, and were not, fast. Have pity on my sore distress,

Her gracious stars the lady blest, I scarce can speak for weariness :

And thus spake on sweet Christabel : Stretch forth thy hand, and have no fear ! | All our household are at rest, Said Christabel, How camest thou here? | The hall as silent as the cell ; And the lady, whose voice was faint and Sir Leoline is weak in health, sweet,

And may not well awakened be, Did thus pursue her answer meet : But we will move as if in stealth,

And I beseech your courtesy, My sire is of a noble line,

This night, to share your couch with me. And my name is Geraldine :

80 Five warriors seized me yestermorn, They crossed the moat, and Christabel Me, even me, a maid forlorn :

Took the key that fitted well ; They choked my cries with force and A little door she opened straight, fright,

All in the middle of the gate ; And tied me on a palfrey white.

The gate that was ironed within and The palfrey was as fleet as wind,

without, And they rode furiously behind.

Where an army in battle array had They spurred amain, their steeds were

marched out. white :

The lady sank, belike through pain, And once we crossed the shade of night. And Christabel with might and main 130 As sure as Heaven shall rescue me,

Lifted her up, a weary weight, I have no thought what men they be ; 90

Over the threshold of the gate : Nor do I know how long it is

Then the lady rose again, (For I have lain entranced I wis)

And moved, as she were not in pain. Since one, the tallest of the five, Took me from the palfrey's back,

So free from danger, free from fear, A weary woman, scarce alive.

They crossed the court : right glad they Some muttered words his comrades

were. spoke :

And Christabel devoutly cried He placed me underneath this oak; To the lady by her side, He swore they would return with haste; Praise we the Virgin all divine Whither they went I cannot tell- Who hath rescued thee from thy disI thought I heard, some minutes past, 100

tress!

140

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Alas, alas ! said Geraldine,

The lamp with twofold silver chain I cannot speak for weariness.

Is fastened to an angel's feet. So free from danger, free from fear, They crossed the court : right glad they The silver lamp burns dead and dim ; were.

But Christabel the lamp will trim.

She trimmed the lamp, and made it Outside her kennel, the mastiff old

bright, Lay fast asleep, in moonshine cold.

And left it swinging to and fro, The mastiff old did not awake,

While Geraldine, in wretched plight, Yet she an angry moan did make ! Sank down upon the floor below. And what can ail the mastiff bitch ? Never till now she uttered yell 150 O weary lady, Geraldine,

190 Beneath the eye of Christabel.

I pray you, drink this cordial wine ! Perhaps it is the owlet's scritch :

It is a wine of virtuous powers ;
For what can ail the mastiff bitch ? My mother made it of wild flowers.
They passed the hall, that echoes still,

And will your mother pity me,
Pass as lightly as you will !

Who am a maiden most forlorn ? The brands were flat, the brands were

Christabel answered—Woe is me! dying,

She died the hour that I was born. Amid their own white ashes lying ;

I have heard the grey-haired friar tell But when the lady passed, there came

How on her death-bed she did say,

That she should hear the castle-bell 200 A tongue of light, a fit of flame ; And Christabel saw the lady's eye,

Strike twelve upon my wedding-day.

160 And nothing else saw she thereby,

O mother dear ! that thou wert here ! Save the boss of the shield of Sir Leoline I would, said Geraldine, she were ! tall,

But soon with altered voice, said she Which hung in a murky old niche in the

'Off, wandering mother! Peak and pine! wall.

I have power to bid thee flee.' O softly tread, said Christabel,

Alas! what ails poor Geraldine ? My father seldom sleepeth well.

Why stares she with unsettled eye?

Can she the bodiless dead espy? Sweet Christabel her feet doth bare,

And why with hollow voice cries she, 210 And jealous of the listening air

Off, woman, off! this hour is mineThey steal their way from stair to stair, Now in glimmer, and now in gloom,

Though thou her guardian spirit be, And now they pass the Baron's room, 170

Off, woman, off ! 'tis given to me." As still as death, with stifled breath ! Then Christabel knelt by the lady's side, And now have reached her chamber

And raised to heaven her eyes so bluedoor ;

Alas! said she, this ghastly rideAnd now doth Geraldine press down Dear lady! it hath wildered you ! The rushes of the chamber floor.

The lady wiped her moist cold brow,

And faintly said, ''tis over now !
The moon shines dim in the open air,
And not a moonbeam enters here.

Again the wild flower wine she drank: 220 But they without its light can see

Her fair large eyes 'gan glitter bright, The chamber carved so curiously,

And from the floor whereon she sank, Carved with figures strange and sweet, The lofty lady stood upright : All made out of the carver's brain, 180 She was most beautiful to see, For a lady's chamber meet :

Like a lady of a far countrée.

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Yet Geraldine nor speaks nor stirs ;
Ah! what a stricken look was hers !
Deep from within she seems half-way
To lift some weight with sick assay,
And eyes the maid and seeks delay;
Then suddenly, as one defied,

260
Collects herself in scorn and pride,
And lay down by the Maiden's side !
And in her arms the maid she took,

Ah wel-a-day ! And with low voice and doleful look These words did say : • In the touch of this bosom there worketh

a spell, Which is lord of thy utterance, Christa

bel !

With open eyes (ah woe is me !)
Asleep, and dreaming fearfully,
Fearfully dreaming, yet, I wis,
Dreaming that alone, which is-
O sorrow and shame! Can this be she,
The lady, who knelt at the old oak tree?
And lo! the worker of these harms,
That holds the maiden in her arms,
Seems to slumber still and mild,

300 As a mother with her child.

A star hath set, a star hath risen,
O Geraldine ! since arms of thine
Have been the lovely lady's prison.
O Geraldine ! one hour was thine-
Thou'st had thy will ! By tairn and rill,

The night-birds all that hour were still. There is no lack of such, I ween,
But now they are jubilant anew,

As well fill up the space between. From cliff and tower, tu—whoo ! tu— In Langdale Pike and Witch's Lair, 350 whoo !

And Dungeon-ghyll so foully rent, Tu--whoo ! tu— whoo ! from wood and With ropes of rock and bells of air fell !

310

Three sinful sextons' ghosts are pent,

Who all give back, one after t’other, And see ! the lady Christabel

The death note to their living brother ; Gathers herself from out her trance ; And oft too, by the knell offended, Her limbs relax, her countenance

Just as their one! two ! three ! is ended, Grows sad and soft ; the smooth thin lids The devil mocks the doleful tale Close o'er her eyes; and tears she sheds- With a merry peal from Borrowdale. Large tears that leave the lashes bright ! And oft the while she seems to smile The air is still ! through mist and As infants at a sudden light !

cloud

360

That merry peal comes ringing loud ; Yea, she doth smile, and she doth weep, And Geraldine shakes off her dread, Like a youthful hermitess,

320 And rises lightly from the bed ; Beauteous in a wilderness,

Puts on her silken vestments white, Who, praying always, prays in sleep. And tricks her hair in lovely plight, And, if she move unquietly,

And nothing doubting of her spell Perchance, 'tis but the blood so free

Awakens the lady Christabel. Comes back and tingles in her feet.

'Sleep you, sweet lady Christabel ? No doubt, she hath a vision sweet.

I trust that you have rested well.' What if her guardian spirit 'twere, What if she knew her mother near ? And Christabel awoke and spied 370 But this she knows, in joys and woes, The same who lay down by her sideThat saints will aid if men will call : 330 O rather say, the same whom she For the blue sky bends over all !

1797 Raised up beneath the old oak tree !

Nay, fairer yet ! and yet more fair!

For she belike hath drunken deep
PART THE SECOND

Of all the blessedness of sleep !
Each matin bell, the Baron saith,

And while she spake, her looks, her air, Knells us back to a world of death. Such gentle thankfulness declare, These words Sir Leoline first said, That (so it seemed) her girded vests When he rose and found his lady dead :

Grew tight beneath

her heaving These words Sir Leoline will say

breasts.

380 Many a morn to his dying day !

Sure I have sinn'd!' said Christabel,

* Now heaven be praised if all be well !' And hence the custom and law began

And in low faltering tones, yet sweet, That still at dawn the sacristan,

Did she the lofty lady greet Who duly pulls the heavy bell, 340 With such perplexity of mind Five and forty beads must tell

As dreams too lively leave behind. Between each stroke—a warning knell, Which not a soul can choose but hear So quickly she rose, and quickly arrayed From Bratha Head to Wyndermere.

Her maiden limbs, and having prayed

That He, who on the cross did groan, Saith Bracy the bard, So let it knell ! Might wash away her sins unknown, 390 And let the drowsy sacristan

She forthwith led fair Geraldine Still count as slowly as he can !

To meet her sire, Sir Leoline.

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