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Perhaps it is the owlet's scritch:
I have heard the gray-haired friar tell, For what can ail the mastiff bitch?
How on her death-bed she did say,
That she should hear the castle-bell They passed the hall, that echoes still, Strike twelve upon my wedding-day. Pass as lightly as you will.
O mother dear! that thou wert here!” The brands were flat, the brands were “I would," said Geraldine, “she were !"
dying, Amid their own white ashes lying; But soon, with altered voice, said she But when the lady passed, there came "Off, wandering mother! Peak and pine! A tongue of light, a fit of flame;
I have power to bid thee flee." And Christabel saw the lady's eye,
Alas! what ails poor Geraldine? And nothing else saw she thereby,
Why stares she with unsettled eye? Save the boss of the shield of Sir Leoline Can she the bodiless dead espy? tall,
And why with hollow voice cries she, Which hung in a murky old niche in the “Off, woman, off! this hour is mine wall.
Though thou her guardian spirit be, “O softly tread," said Christabel,
Off, woman, off! 'tis given to me. “My father seldom sleepeth well :" Sweet Christabel her feet doth bare, Then Christabel knelt by the lady's side, And, jealous of the listening air,
And raised to heaven her eyes so blue They steal their way from stair to stair, “Alas !” said she, “this ghastly ride Now in glimmer, and now in gloom, Dear lady! it hath wildered you!” And now they pass the Baron's room, The lady wiped her moist cold brow, As still as death, with stifled breath! And faintly said, “ 'Tis over now!” And now have reached her chamber door; Again the wild-flower wine she drank: And now doth Geraldine
down Her fair large eyes 'gan glitter bright, The rushes of the chamber floor.
And from the floor, whereon she sank,
The lofty lady stood upright:
Like a lady of a far countrée.
And thus the lofty lady spake
Do love you, holy Christabel ! For a lady's chamber meet :
And you love them, and for their sake, The lamp with twofold silver chain
And for the good which me befell, Is fastened to an angel's feet.
Even I in my degree will try,
But now unrobe yourself; for I
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, My mother made it of wild flowers.' So many thoughts moved to and fro, “And will your mother pity me,
That vain it were her lids to close ;
So half-way from the bed she rose,
To look at the lady Geraldine.
Beneath the lamp the lady bowed, Her slender palms together prest,
Heaving sometimes on her breast;
Her face resigned to bliss or bale Like one that shuddered, she unbound Her face, oh, call it fair not pale, The cincture from beneath her breast: And both blue eyes more bright than Her silken robe and inner vest,
clear, Dropt to her feet, and full in view,
Each about to have a tear.
With open eyes (ah, woe is me!)
Asleep, and dreaming fearfully, Yet Geraldine nor speaks nor stirs :
Fearfully dreaming, yet, I wis,
Dreaming that alone, which is —
O sorrow and shame! Can this be she, To lift some weight with sick assay,
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 These words did say:
Have been the lovely lady's prison.
O Geraldine! one hour was thine “In the touch of this bosom there worketh Thou'st had thy will! By tairn and a spell,
rill, Which is lord of thy utterance, Christabel! The night-birds all that hour were still. Thou knowest to-night, and wilt know to- But now they are jubilant anew, morrow,
From cliff and tower, tu-whoo! tu-whoo! This mark of my shame, this seal of my Tu-whoo! tu-whoo! from wood and fell! sorrow;
And see! the lady Christabel
Gathers herself from out her trance;
Her limbs relax, her countenance
Grows sad and soft; the smooth thin That in the dim forest
lids Thou heard'st a low moaning,
Close o'er her eyes; and tears she sheds And found'st a bright lady, surpassingly Large tears that leave the lashes bright! fair:
And oft the while she seems to smile And didst bring her home with thee, in love As infants at a sudden light! and in charity,
Yea, she doth smile, and she doth weep, To shield her and shelter her from the Like a youthful hermitess, damp air.”
Beauteous in a wilderness,
Who, praying always, prays in sleep.
And, if she move unquietly,
Perchance, 'tis but the blood so free It was a lovely sight to see
Comes back and tingles in her feet. The lady Christabel, when she
No doubt, she hath a vision sweet. Was praying at the old oak tree.
What if her guardian spirit 'twere, Amid the jagged shadows
What if she knew her mother near? Of mossy leatless boughs,
But this she knows, in joys and woes, Kneeling in the moonlight,
That saints will aid if men will call : To make her gentle vows;
For the blue sky bends over all,
That (so it seemed) her girded vests
Each matin bell, the Baron saith,
So quickly she rose, and quickly arrayed
, Enter the Baron's presence-room.
The Baron rose, and while he prest
Saith Bracy the bard, “So let it knell!
of rock and bells of air
But when he heard the lady's tale,
Sir Leoline, a moment's space,
Made answer, “All will yet be well!”
O then the Baron forgot his age,
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree: With trump and solemn heraldry,
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran That they, who thus had wronged the dame Through caverns measureless to man Were base as spotted infamy!
Down to a sunless sea. “And if they dare deny the same,
So twice five miles of fertile ground My herald shall appoint a week,
With walls and towers were girdled round: And let the recreant traitors seek
And here were gardens bright with sinuous My tourney court that there and then
rills I may dislodge their reptile souls
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing From the bodies and forms of men !"
tree; He spake: his eye in lightning rolls ! And here were forests ancient as the hills, For the lady was ruthlessly seized; and he Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
kenned In the beautiful lady the child of his friend ! But oh! that deep romantic chasm which
slanted And now the tears were on his face, Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover ! And fondly in his arms he took
A savage place! as holy and enchanted Fair Geraldine, who met the embrace, As e'er beneath a waning moon Prolonging it with joyous look.
haunted Which when she viewed, a vision fell By woman wailing for her demon-lover! Upon the soul of Christabel,
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turThe vision of fear, the touch and pain!
moil seething, She shrunk and shuddered, and saw As if this earth in fast thick pants were again
breathing, (Ah, woe is me! Was it for thee,
A mighty fountain momently was forced ; Thou gentle maid! such sights to see?) Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst Again she saw that bosom old,
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding Again she felt that bosom cold,
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
man, Which comforted her after-rest,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean: While in the lady's arms she lay,
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves ; “What ails then my beloved child?”
Where was heard the mingled measure The Baron said -- His daughter mild
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
Echo or mirror seeking of itself, A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of And makes a toy of Thought. ice!
But O! how oft, A damsel with a dulcimer
How oft, at school, with most believing In a vision once I saw:
mind, It was an Abyssinian maid,
Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars, And on her dulcimer she played, To watch that fluttering stranger! and as Singing of Mount Abora.
oft Could I revive within me
With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt Her symphony and song,
Of my sweet birth-place, and the old To such a deep delight 'twould win
Whose bells, the poor man's only music, That with music loud and long,
rang I would build that dome in air,
From morn to evening, all the hot Fairday, That sunny dome! those caves of ice! So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted And all who heard should see them there, And all should cry, Beware! Beware! With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear His flashing eyes, his floating hair! Most like articulate sounds of things to Weave a circle round him thrice,
come! And close your eyes with holy dread, So gazed I, till the soothing things I For he on honey-dew hath fed,
dreamt And drunk the milk of Paradise.
Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged my
And so I brooded all the following morn, FROST AT MIDNIGHT
Awed by the stern preceptor's face, mine The frost performs its secret ministry,
eye Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's
Fixed with mock study on my swimming Came loud — and hark, again! loud as be
book : fore.
Save if the door half opened, and I The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
snatched Have left me to that solitude, which suits A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped Abstruser musings: save that at my side
up, My cradled infant slumbers peacefully. For still I hoped to see the stranger's face, 'Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved, And vexes meditation with its strange My play-mate when we both were clothed And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and
alike! wood, This populous village! Sea, and hill, and Dear babe, that sleepest cradled by my wood,
side, With all the numberless goings on of life Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame
calm, Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not; Fill up the interspersed vacancies Only that film, which fluttered on the And momentary pauses of the thought! grate,
My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing. With tender gladness, thus to look at thee, Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature And think that thou shalt learn far other Gives it dim sympathies with me who live,
lore Making it a companionable form,
And in far other scenes! For I was reared Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling In the great city, pent ’mid cloisters dim, Spirit
And saw naught lovely but the sky and By its own moods interprets, every where