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The ground, with cautious tread, is traversed o'er,
Lest aught unseen should lurk to thwart his speed :
His arms a dart, he fights aloof, nor more
Can man achieve without the friendly steed,
Alas ! too oft condemned for him to bear and bleed.
Thrice sounds the clarion; lo! the signal falls,
The den expands, and expectation mute,
Gapes round the silent circle's peopled walls.
Bounds with one lashing spring the mighty brute,
And, wildly staring, spurns, with sounding foot,
The sand , nor blindly rushes on his foe :
Here, there, he points his threatening front, to suit
His first attack , wide waving to and fro
His angry tail; red rolls his eye's dilated glow,
Sudden he stops ; his eye is fixed : away,
Away, thou heedless boy! prepare the spear:
Now is thy time, to perish, or display
The skill that yet may check his mad carreer,
With well-timed croupe the nimble coursers veer;
On foams the bull, but not unscathed he goes;
Streams from his flank the crimson torrent clear:
He flies, he wheels, distracted with his throes;
Dart follows dart; lance, lance; loud bellowings speak his woes.
Again he comes; nor dart nor lance avail,
Nor the wild plunging of the tortured horse;
Though man and man's avenging arms assail,
Vain are his weapons, vainer is his force.
One gallant steed is stretched a mangled corse;
Another, hideous sight! unseamed appears,
His gory chest unveils life's panting-source,
Though death-struck still his feeble frame he rears, Staggering, but stemming all, his lord .unharmed he bears,
LXXVIII. . Foiled, bleeding, breathlees, furious to the last, Full in the centre stand the bull at bay, S Mid wounds , and clinging darts, and lances brast, And foes disabled in the brutal fray: And now the Matadores around him play, Shake the red cloak, and poise the ready brand: Once more through all he bursts his thundering way
Vain rage! the mantle quits the conynge hand, Wraps his fierce eye-?tis past-he sinks upon the sand !
Where his vast neck just mingles with the spine,
Sheathed in his form the deadly weapon lies,
He stops--he starts disdaining to decline:
Slowly he falls, amidst triumphant cries,
Without a groan, without a struggle dies.
The decorated car appears--on high
The corse is piled-sweet sight for vulgar eyes
· Four steeds that spurn the rein, as swift as shy,
Hurl the dark bulk along, scarce seen in dashing by,
Such the ungentle sport that oft invites
The Spanish maid, and cheers the Spanish swain,
Nurtured in blood betimes, his heart delights
In vengeance, gloating on another's pain,
What private feuds the troubled village stain !
Though now one phalanx'd host should meet the foe,
Enough , alas ! in humble homes remain,
To meditate 'gainst friends the secret blow,
For some slight cause of wrath,whence life's warm streammust flow.
But Jealousy has fled : his bars, his bolts,
His withered centinel, Duenna sage!
And all whereat the generous soul revolts,
Which the stern dotard deemed he could encage,
Have passed to darkness with the vanished age.
Who late so free as Spanish girls were seen,
(Ere War uprose in his volcanic rage), .
With braided tresses bounding o'er the green,
While on the gay dance shone Night's lover-loving Queen ?0
LXXXII. Oh! many a time, and oft, had Harold loved, Or dreamed he loved, since rapture is a dream; But now his wayward bosom was unmoved, For not yet had he drunk of Lethe's stream; And lately had he learned with truth to deem Love has no gift so grateful as his wings: How fair, how young, how soft soe'er he seem, .
Full from the fount of Joy's delicious springs Some bitter o'er the flowers/its bubbling venom flings. 16
Yet to the beauteous form he was not blind,
Though now it moved him as it moves the wisc;
Nol that Philosophy on such a mind
E'er deigned to bend her chastely-awsul eyes:
But Passion raves herself to resť, or flies;
And Vice, that digs her own voluptuous tomb,
Had buried long his hopes, no more to rise:
Pleasure's palled victim ! life-abliorring gloom
Wrote on his faded brow curst Cain's unresting doom..
Still he beheld, nor mingled with the throng;
But viewed them not with misanthropic hate :
Fain would he now have joined the dance, the song;
But who may smile that sinks beneath his fate?
Nought that he saw his sadness could abate:
Yet once he struggled 'gainst the demon's sway, .
And as in Beauty's bower he pensive sate,
Poured forth this unpremeditated lay,
To charms as fair as those , that soothed his happier day.
Nay; smile not at my sullen brow,
Alas ! I cannot smile again;
Yet heaven avert that ever thou
Shouldst weep, and haply weep in vain.
And dost thou ask, what secret woe
I bear, corroding joy and youth?
And wilt thou vainly seek to know
A pang, ev’n thou must fail to soothe ?
. . 3. It is not love, it is not hate,
Nor low Ambition's honours lost, That bids me loathe my present state,
And fly from all I prized the most:
It is that weariness which springs
From all I meet, or hear, or see: To me no pleasure Beauty brings ;
Thine eyes haye scarce a charm for me.