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“ How, when the midnight signal tolls,
“ Along the church-yard green, 6 A mournful train of sentenced souls
“ In winding-sheets are seen!
“ The ghosts of all whom DEATH shall doom
“ Within the coming year, “ In pale procession walk the gloom,
“ Amid the silence drear !
“ If EDMUND, bold in conscious might,
“ By love severely tried, “ Can brave the terrors of to-night,
“ ELLA will be his bride."
She spake,-and, like the nimble fawn,
From Edmund's presence fled : He sought, across the rural lawn,
The dwelling of the dead !
That silent, solemn, simple spot,
The mouldering realm of peace, Where human passions are forgot !
Where human follies cease!
The gliding moon, through heaven serene
Pursued her tranquil way,
A soft nocturnal day.
With swelling heart and eager feet
Young EDMUND gain'd the church, And chose his solitary seat
Within the dreadful porch.
Thick, threatening clouds assembled soon,
Their dragon wings display'd; Eclipsed the slow retiring moon, And quench'd the stars in shade.
Amid the deep abyss of gloom
No ray of beauty smiled, Save, glistening o'er some haunted tomb,
The glow-worm's lustre mild.
The village watch-dogs bay'd around,
The long grass whistled drear, The steeple trembled to the ground,
Ev'n EDMUND quaked with fear.
All on a sudden died the blast,
Dumb horror chill'd the air,
In uttermost despair.
-Twelve times the midnight herald tollid, Then glaring through the ghastly gloom,
As oft did EDMUND start; For every
stroke fell dead and cold Upon his fainting heart.
Along the church-yard green, The destin'd victims of the tomb
In winding sheets were seen.
In that strange moment EDMUND stood,
Sick with severe surprise ; While creeping horror drank his blood,
And fix'd his flinty eyes.
He saw the secrets of the grave !
He saw the face of DEATH! No pitying power appear'd to save
He gasp'd away his breath !
Yet still the scene his soul beguiled,
And every spectre cast A look, unutterably wild,
On EDMUND as they pass'd.
All on the ground entranced he lay;
At length the vision broke ! - When, lo !—a kiss as cold as clay, The slumbering youth awoke.
That moment through a rifted cloud,
The darting moon display'd, Robed in a melancholy shroud,
The image of a maid.
Her dusky veil aside she threw,
And shew'd a face most fair; "-My Love! my Ella!" EDMUND flew,
And clasp'd the yielding air !
“ Ha! who art thou ?” His cheek grew pale:
A well known-voice replied, “ Ella, the lily of the vale !
“Ella-thy destin'd bride!"