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With all that chilling mystery of mien, | Of keen inquiry, and of mute amaze;
And seeming gladness to remain unseen;
He had (if 'twere not nature's boon) an art
Of fixing memory on another's heart:
It was not love perchance- nor hate-nor

That words can image to express the thought;
But they who saw him did not see in vain,
And once beheld, would ask of him again:
And those to whom he spake remember'd

And on the words, however light, would

None knew, nor how, nor why, but he


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On Lara's glance emotion gathering grew,
As if distrusting that the stranger threw;
Along the stranger's aspect fix'd and stern,
Flash'd more than thence the vulgar eye
could learn.

""Tis he!" the stranger cried, and those
that heard,
Re-echoed fast and far the whisper'd word.
"Tis he!" "Tis who?" they question
far and near,

Till louder accents rung on Lara's ear;
So widely spread, few bosoms well could


The general marvel, or that single look;
But Lara stirr'd not, changed not, the surprise
That sprung at first to his arrested eyes
Seem'd now subsided,neither sunk nor raised

Glanced his eye round, though still the

stranger gazed, And drawing nigh, exclaim'd, with haughty


"Tis he! - how came he thence? — what doth he here?"

It were too much for Lara to pass by Such question, so repeated fierce and high; With look collected, but with accent cold,

There is a festival, where knights and More mildly firm than petulantly bold, He turn'd, and met the inquisitorial toneAnd aught that wealth or lofty lineage" My name is Lara!- when thine own is


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So springs the exulting bosom to that mirth!

And Lara gazed on these, sedately glad, His brow belied him if his soul was sad; And his glance follow'd fast each fluttering fair,


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They knew, or chose to know-with dubious

He deign'd no answer, but his head he shook,
And half contemptuous turn'd to pass away;
But the stern stranger motion'd him to stay.
A word!-I charge thee stay, and answer


Whose steps of lightness woke no echo there:
He lean'd against the lofty pillar nigh,
With folded arms and long attentive eye,
Nor mark'd a glance so sternly fix'd on his,
Ill brook'd high Lara scrutiny like this:
At length he caught it, 'tis a face unknown,
But seems as searching his, and his alone; To one, who, wert thou noble, were thy
Prying and dark, a stranger's by his mien,
Who still till now had gazed on him unseen; But as thou wast and art - nay,
At length encountering meets the mutual



frown not,

If false, 'tis easy to disprove the word

But, as thou wast and art, on thee looks With which that chieftain's brow would bear him down :


Distrusts thy smiles, but shakes not at thy | It was nor smile of mirth, nor struggling


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"Whate'er I be, Words wild as these, accusers like to thee I list no further; those with whom they weigh

May hear the rest, nor venture to gainsay The wondrous tale no doubt thy tongue can tell, Which thus begins so courteously and well. Let Otho cherish here his polish'd guest, To him my thanks and thoughts shall be exprest."

And here their wondering host hath interposed“Whate'er there be between you undisclosed,

This is no time nor fitting place to mar
The mirthful meeting with a wordy war.
If thou, Sir Ezzelin, hast ought to show
Which it befits Count Lara's ear to know,
To-morrow, here, or elsewhere, as may best
Beseem your mutual judgment, speak the

I pledge myself for thee, as not unknown,
Though like Count Lara now return'd alone
From other lands, almost a stranger grown;
And if from Lara's blood and gentle birth
I augur right of courage and of worth,
He will not that untainted line belie,
Nor aught, that knighthood may accord,

"To-morrow be it," Ezzelin replied, And here our several worth and truth be tried;

I gage my life, my falchion to attest
My words, so may I mingle with the blest!"
What answers Lara? to its centre shrunk
His soul, in deep abstraction sudden sunk;
The words of many and the eyes of all,
That there were gather'd, seem'd on him
to fall;

But his were silent, his appear'd to stray
In far forgetfulness away-away-
Alas! that heedlessness of all around
Bespoke remembrance only too profound.

"To-morrow!-ay, to-morrow!" further word

Than those repeated none from Lara heard; Upon his brow no outward passion spoke, From his large eye no flashing anger broke; Yet there was something fix'd in that low tone, Which show'd resolve, determined, though unknown.

He seized his cloak-his head he slightly bow'd,

And passing Ezzelin he left the crowd; And, as he pass'd him, smiling met the frown


That curbs to scorn the wrath it cannot hide :
But that of one in his own heart secure
Of all that he would do, or could endure.
Could this mean peace? the calmness of
the good?

Or guilt grown old in desperate hardihood?
Alas! too like in confidence are each,
For man to trust to mortal look or speech;
From deeds, and deeds alone, may he discern
Truths which it wrings the unpractised
heart to learn.

And Lara call'd his page, and went his way

Well could that stripling word or sign obey: His only follower from those climes afar, Where the soul glows beneath a brighter star;

For Lara left the shore from whence he


In duty patient, and sedate though young; Silent as him he served, his faith appears Above his station, and beyond his years. Though not unknown the tongue of Lara's land,

In such from him he rarely heard command, But fleet his step, and clear his tones would come, When Lara's lip breathed forth the words of home: Those accents as his native mountains dear, Awake their absent echoes in his ear, Friends', kindreds', parents', wonted voice recal,

Now lost, abjured, for one—his friend, his all:

For him earth now disclosed no other guide; What marvel then he rarely left his side?

Light was his form, and darkly delicate That brow whereon his native sun had sate,

But had not marr'd, though in his beams he grew,

The cheek where oft the unbidden blush shone through; Yet not such blush as mounts when health would show All the heart's hue in that delighted glow; But 'twas a hectic tint of secret care That for a burning moment fever'd there; And the wild sparkle of his eye seem'd caught

From high, and lighten'd with electric thought, Though its black orb those long low lashes fringe,

Had temper'd with a melancholy tinge; Yet less of sorrow than of pride was there, Or if 'twere grief, a grief that none should


And pleased not him the sports that please

his age,

The tricks of youth, the frolics of the page; For hours on Lara he would fix his glance, As all-forgotten in that watchful trance; And from his chief withdrawn, he wander'd lone,

Brief were his answers, and his questions none;

His walk the wood, his sport some foreign book;

His resting-place the bank that curbs the brook :

He seem'd, like him he served, to live apart From all that lures the eye, and fills the heart;

To know no brotherhood, and take from


No gift beyond that bitter boon-our birth.

If aught he loved, 'twas Lara; but was shown

His faith in reverence and in deeds alone; In mute attention; and his care, which guess'd

Each wish, fulfill'd it ere the tongue express'd.

Still there was haughtiness in all he did,
A spirit deep that brook'd not to be chid;
His zeal, though more than that of servile

In act alone obeys, his air commands;
As if 'twas Lara's less than his desire
That thus he served, but surely not for hire.
Slight were the tasks enjoin'd him by his

To hold the stirrup, or to bear the sword;
To tune his lute, or if he will'd it more,
On tomes of other times and tongues to pore;
But ne'er to mingle with the menial train,
To whom he show'd nor deference nor
But that well-worn reserve which proved
he knew

No sympathy with that familiar crew:
His soul, whate'er his station or his stem,
Could bow to Lara, not descend to them.
Of higher birth he seem'd, and better days,
Nor mark of vulgar toil that hand betrays,
So femininely white it might bespeak
Another sex, when match'd with that

smooth check,

But for his garb, and something in his gaze, More wild and high than woman's eye betrays;

A latent fierceness that far more became His fiery climate than his tender frame : True, in his words it broke not from his breast,

But from his aspect might be more than guess'd.

Kaled his name, though rumour said he bore Another ere he left his mountain-shore; For sometimes he would hear, however nigh,

That name repeated loud without reply,
As unfamiliar, or, if roused again,
Start to the sound, as but remember'd then;
Unless 'twas Lara's wonted voice that spake,
For then, ear, eyes, and heart would all

He had look'd down upon the festive hall, And mark'd that sudden strife so mark'd of all;

And when the crowd around and near him told

Their wonder at the calmness of the bold,
Their marvel how the high-born Lara bore
Such insult from a stranger, doubly sore,
The colour of young Kaled went and came,
The lip of ashes, and the cheek of flame ;
And o'er his brow the dampening heart-
drops threw

The sickening iciness of that cold dew,
That rises as the busy bosom sinks
With heavy thoughts from which reflection


Yes-there be things that we must dream and dare,

And execute ere thought be half aware:
Whate'er might Kaled's be, it was enow
To seal his lip, but agonise his brow.
He gazed on Ezzelin till Lara cast
That sidelong smile upon the knight he past;
When Kaled saw that smile his visage fell,
As if on something recognized right well,
His memory read in such a meaning more
Than Lara's aspect unto others wore:
Forward he sprung—a moment, both were


And all within that hall seem'd left alone; Each had so fix'd his eye on Lara's mien, All had so mix'd their feelings with that

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There lie love's feverish hope and cunning's | Why comes he not? Such truths to be divulged,

guile, wile;

Hate's working brain, and lull'd ambition's Methinks the accuser's rest is long indulged.

O'er each vain eye oblivion's pinions wave, And quench'd existence crouches in a grave. What better name may slumber's bed become?

Night's sepulchre, the universal home, Where weakness, strength, vice, virtue, sunk supine,

Alike in naked helplessness recline;
Glad for awhile to heave unconscious breath,
Yet wake to wrestle with the dread of death,
And shun, though day but dawn on ills

That sleep, the loveliest, since it dreams the least.

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The hour is past, and Lara too is there, With self-confiding, coldly patient air; Why comes not Ezzelin? The hour is past, And murmurs rise, and Otho's brow's o'ercast.

"I know my friend! his faith I cannot fear, If yet he be on earth, expect him here; The roof that held him in the valley stands Between my own and noble Lara's lands; My halls from such a guest had honour gain'd,

Nor had Sir Ezzelin his host disdain'd, But that some previous proof forbade his stay,

And urged him to prepare against to-day ;
The word I pledged for his I pledge again,
Or will myself redeem his knighthood's

He ceased-and Lara answer'd, "I am here
To lend at thy demand, a listening ear
To tales of evil from a stranger's tongue,
Whose words already might my heart have


But that I deem'd him scarcely less than mad,

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Or, at the worst, a foe ignobly bad. 1 know him not--but me it seems he knew In lands where but I must not trifle too; Produce this babbler or redeem the pledge; Here in thy hold, and with thy falchion's edge. Proud Otho on the instant, reddening, threw His glove on earth, and forth his sabre flew. "The last alternative befits me best, With cheek unchanging from its sallow And thus I answer for mine absent guest." gloom,

However near his own or other's tomb; With hand, whose almost careless coolness spoke,

Its grasp well-used to deal the sabre-stroke; With eye, though calm, determined not to

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From that red floor he ne'er had risen again,

For Lara's brow upon the moment grew
Almost to blackness in its demon-hue;
And fiercer shook his angry falchion now
Than when his foe's was levell'd at his

Then all was stern collectedness and art,
Now rose the unleaven❜d hatred of his heart;
So little sparing to the foe he fell'd,
That when the approaching crowd his arm

He almost turn'd the thirsty point on those
Who thus for mercy dared to interpose;
But to a moment's thought that purpose

Yet look'd he on him still with eye intent,

As if he loathed the ineffectual strife

That left a foe, howe'er o'erthrown, with


As if to search how far the wound he gave Had sent its victim onward to his grave.

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But where was he? that meteor of a night,

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To win no confidence, and wake no love; The sweeping fierceness which his soul betray'd,

The skill with which he wielded his keen blade;

Where had his arm unwarlike caught that art? Where had that fierceness grown upon his heart?

Who menaced but to disappear with light? For it was not the blind capricious rage

Where was this Ezzelin? who came and went

To leave no other trace of his intent.
He left the dome of Otho long ere morn,
In darkness, yet so well the path was worn
He could not miss it: near his dwelling lay:
But there he was not, and with coming day
Came fast inquiry, which unfolded nought
Except the absence of the chief it sought.

A chamber tenantless, a steed at rest,

His host alarm'd, his murmuring squires


Their search extends along, around the path, In dread to meet the marks of prowlers'


But none are there, and not a brake hath


Nor gout of blood, nor shred of mantle


Nor fall nor struggle hath defaced the grass, Which still retains a mark where murder was;

Nor dabbling fingers left to tell the tale, The bitter print of each convulsive nail, When agonized hands that cease to guard,

A word can kindle and a word assuage; But the deep working of a soul unmix'd With aught of pity where its wrath had fix'd;

Such as long power and overgorged success These, link'd with that desire which ever Concentrates into all that's merciless :


Mankind, the rather to condemn than praise, 'Gainst Lara gathering raised at length a



Such as himself might fear, and foes would And he must answer for the absent head Of one that haunts him still, alive or dead.

Within that land was many a malcontent, Who cursed the tyranny to which he bent; That soil full many a wringing despot saw, Who work'd his wantonness in form of law; Long war without and frequent broil within Had made a path for blood and giant-sin, That waited but a signal to begin New havock, such as civil discord blends,

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