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THE VIGIL OF ST. MARK.
RETURNING from their evening walk,
EDMUND, the monarch of the dale,
ELLA, the lily of the vale,
The rose of AUBURN's bowers.
In airy Love's delightful bands
"Ah! why," said he, "our bliss delay ?
Mine ELLA, why so cold?
Those who but love from day to day,
"The bounding arrow cleaves the sky, Nor leaves a trace behind;
And single lives like arrows fly,
- They vanish through the wind.
"In Wedlock's sweet endearing lot Let us improve the scene,
That some may be, when we are not,
""Tis now," replied the village Belle,
"How, when the midnight signal tolls,
A mournful train of sentenced souls
"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,
That silent, solemn, simple spot,
The gliding moon through heaven serene Pursued her tranquil way,
And shed o'er all the sleeping scene
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,
Amid the deep abyss of gloom
Save, glistening o'er some haunted tomb,
The village watch-dogs bay'd around,
The long grass whistled drear, The steeple trembled to the ground, Ev'n EDMUND quak'd with fear.
All on a sudden died the blast,
Dumb horror chill'd the air,
While NATURE seem'd to pause aghast,
-Twelve times the midnight herald toll'd,
As oft did EDMUND start;
stroke fell dead and cold
Upon his fainting heart.
Then glaring through the ghastly gloom,
Along the churchyard green, The destined 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,
He saw the secrets of the grave;
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;
- When, lo ! — a kiss, as cold as clay, The slumbering youth awoke.
That moment through a rifted cloud,
Robed in a melancholy shroud,
Her dusky veil aside she threw,
And show'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,
To win his neck her airy arms
The pallid phantom spread; Recoiling from her blasted charms, The affrighted lover fled.
To shun the visionary maid,
His speed outstript the wind;
But, though unseen to move, the shade
Was evermore behind.
SO DEATH'S unerring arrows glide,
Yet seem suspended still;
Nor pause, nor shrink, nor turn aside,
O'er many a mountain, moor, and vale,
The ghost of ELLA, wild and pale,
But when the dawn began to gleam,