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Can she the bodiless dead espy ?
And why with hollow voice cries she,
“Off, woman, off! this hour is mine-
Though thou her guardian spirit be,
Off, woman, off! 'tis given to me."
Then Christabel knelt by the lady's side,
And raised to heaven her eyes so blue-
Alas! said she, this ghastly ride-
Dear lady! it hath wildered you !
The lady wiped her moist cold brow,
And faintly said, “ 'Tis over now !”
Again the wild-flower wine she drank :
Her fair large eyes 'gan glitter bright.
And from the floor whereon she sank,
The lofty lady stood upright;
She was most beautiful to see,
Like a lady of a far countrée.
And thus the lofty lady spake-
All they, who live in the upper sky,
Do love you, holy Christabel!
love them, and for their sake
And for the good which me befell,
Even I in my degree will try,
Fair maiden, to requite you well.
But now unrobe yourself; for I
Must pray, ere yet in bed I lie.
Quoth Christabel, So let it be!
And as the lady bade, did she.
Her gentle limbs did she undress,
And lay down in her loveliness.
But through her brain of weal and woe
So many thoughts moved to and fro,
That vain it were her lids to close ;
So half-way from the bed she rose,
And on her elbow did recline
To look at the lady Geraldine.
Beneath the lamp the lady bowed,
And slowly rolled her eyes around;
Then drawing in her breath aloud
Like one that shuddered, she unbound
The cincture from beneath her breast:
Her silken robe, and inner vest,
Dropt to her feet, and full in view,
Behold! her bosom and half her side
A sight to dream of, not to tell !
O shield her! shield sweet Christabel !
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,
the maid and seeks delay;
Then suddenly as one defied
Collects herself in scorn and pride,
And lay down by the maiden's side !
And in her arms the maid she took,
And with low voice and doleful look
These words did
In the touch of this bosom there worketh a spell,
Which is lord of thy utterance, Christabel !
Thou knowest to-night, and wilt know to-morrow
This mark of my shame, this seal of my sorrow.
But rainly thou warrest,
For this is alone in
Thy power to declare,
That in the dim forest
Thou heard'st a loy moaning, And found'st a bright lady, surpassingly fair ; And didst bring her home with thee in love and in
charity, To shield her and shelter her from the damp air.
THE CONCLUSION TO PART I.
T was a lovely sight to see
The lady Christabel, when she
Was praying at the old oak tree,
Amid the jagged shadows
Of mossy leafless boughs,
Kneeling in the moonlight,
To make her gentle vows;
Her slender palms together prest,
Heaving sometimes on her breast;
Her face resigned to bliss or bale-
Her face, oh call it fair, not pale,
And both blue eyes more bright than clear,
Each about to have a tear.
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,
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.
But now they are jubilant anew,
From cliff and tower, tu—whoo! tu—whoo!
Tu—whoo! tu—whoo! from wood and fell!
And see the lady Christabel
Gathers herself from out her trance;
Her limbs relax, her countenance
Grows sad and soft; the smooth thin lids
Close o'er her eyes ; and tears she sheds-
Large tears that leave the lashes bright !
And oft the while she seems to smile
As infants at a sudden light!
Yea, she doth smile, and she doth weep,
Like a youthful hermitess,
Beauteous in a wilderness,
Who, praying always. pravs in sleep,
And, if she move unquietly,
Perchance, 'tis but the blood so free,
Comes back and tingles in her feet.
No doubt, she hath a vision sweet.
What if her guardian spirit 'twere ?
What if she knew her mother near ?
But this she knows, in joys and woes,
That saints will aid if men will call :
For the blue sky bends over all!
EACH matin bell, the Baron saith,
Knells us back to a world of death, These words Sir Leoline first said, When he rose and found his lady dead : These words Sir Leoline will say, Many a morn to his dying day!
And hence the custom and law began,
That still at dawn the sacristan,
Who duly pulls the heavy bell,
Five and forty beads must tell
Between each stroke—a warning knell,
Which not a soul can choose but hear
From Bratha Head to Wyndermere.
Saith Bracy the Bard, So let it knell !
And let the drowsy sacristan
Still count as slowly as he can
There is no lack of such,
As well fill
the In Langdale Park and Witch's Lair, And Dungeon-ghyll so foully rent, With ropes of rock and bells of air Three sinful sextons' ghosts are pent, Who all give back, one after t’other, The death-note to their living brother ; And oft too, by the knell offended, Just as their one! two! three! is ended, The devil mocks the doleful tale With a merry peal from Borodale.