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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:
The moon shines dim in the open air, She was most beautiful to see,
And not a moonbeam enters here.

Like a lady of a far countrée.
But they without its light can see
The chamber carved so curiously,

And thus the lofty lady spake
Carved with figures strange and sweet, “All they, who live in the upper sky,
All made out of the carver's brain,

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,
The silver lamp burns dead and dim; Fair maiden, to requite you well.
But Christabel the lamp will trim.

But now unrobe yourself; for I
She trimmed the lamp, and made it bright, Must pray, ere yet in bed I lie.”
And left it swinging to and fro,
While Geraldine, in wretched plight, Quoth Christabel, “So let it be!"
Sank down upon the floor below.

And as the lady bade, did she.

Her gentle limbs did she undress
O weary lady, Geraldine,

And lay down in her loveliness.
I pray you, drink this cordial wine!
It is a wine of virtuous powers;

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 ;
Who am a maiden most forlorn?”

So half-way from the bed she rose,
Christabel answered — “Woe is me! And on her elbow did recline,
She died the hour that I was born.

To look at the lady Geraldine.

Beneath the lamp the lady bowed, Her slender palms together prest,
And slowly rolled her eyes around;

Heaving sometimes on her breast;
Then drawing in her breath aloud,

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.
Behold! her bosom and half her side
A sight to dream of, not to tell !
O shield her! shield sweet Christabel !

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 —
Ah! what a stricken look was hers !
Deep from within she seems half-way

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,
And eyes the maid and seeks delay;

That holds the maiden in her arms,
Then suddenly, as one defied,
Collects herself in scorn and pride,

Seems to slumber still and mild,

As a mother with her child.
And lay down by the maiden's side! -
And in her arms the maid she took,
Ah, well-a-day!

A star hath set, a star hath risen,
And with low voice and doleful look

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
But vainly thou warrest,

Gathers herself from out her trance;
For this is alone in

Her limbs relax, her countenance
Thy power to declare,

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,


Part II

That (so it seemed) her girded vests
Grew tight beneath her heaving breasts.
“Sure I have sinned !” said Christabel,
“Now heaven be praised if all be well !”
And in low faltering tones, yet sweet,
Did she the lofty lady greet
With such perplexity of mind
As dreams too lively leave behind.

Each matin bell, the Baron saith,
Knells us back to a world of death.
These words Sir Leoline first said,
When he rose and found his lady dead :
These words Sir Leoline will say
Many a morn to his dying day!
And hence the custom and law began
That still at dawn the sacristan,
Who duly pulls the heavy bell,
Five and forty beads must tell
Between each stroke - a warning knell,
Which not a soul can choose but hear
From Bratha Head to Wyndermere.

So quickly she rose, and quickly arrayed
Her maiden limbs, and having prayed
That He, who on the cross did groan,
Might wash away her sins unknown,
She forthwith led fair Geraldine
To meet her sire, Sir Leoline.
The lovely maid and the lady tall
Are pacing both into the hall,
And pacing on through page and groom,

, Enter the Baron's presence-room.

The Baron rose, and while he prest
His gentle daughter to his breast,
With cheerful wonder in his eyes
The lady Geraldine espies,
And gave such welcome to the same,
As might beseem so bright a dame!

Saith Bracy the bard, “So let it knell!
And let the drowsy sacristan
Still count as slowly as he can!”
There is no lack of such, I ween,
As well fill up the space between.
In Langdale Pike and Witch's Lair,
And Dungeon-ghyll so foully rent,

of rock and bells of air
Three sinful sextons' ghosts are pent,
Who all give back, one after t'other,
The death-note to their living brother;
And oft too, by the knell offended,
Just as their one! two! three! is ended,
The devil mocks the doleful tale
With a merry peal from Borrowdale.
The air is still! through mist and cloud
That merry peal comes ringing loud;
And Geraldine shakes off her dread,
And rises lightly from the bed;
Puts on her silken vestments white,
And tricks her hair in lovely plight,
And nothing doubting of her spell
Awakens the lady Christabel.
“Sleep you, sweet lady Christabel?
I trust that you have rested well.”
And Christabel awoke and spied
The same who lay down by her side
O rather say, the same whom she
Raised up beneath the old oak tree!
Nay, fairer yet! and yet more fair!
For she belike hath drunken deep
Of all the blessedness of sleep!
And while she spake, her looks, her air,
Such gentle thankfulness declare,

But when he heard the lady's tale,
And when she told her father's name,
Why waxed Sir Leoline so pale,
Murmuring o'er the name again,
Lord Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine?
Alas! they had been friends in youth;
But whispering tongues can poison truth;
And constancy lives in realms above;
And life is thorny; and youth is vain;
And to be wroth with one we love
Doth work like madness in the brain.
And thus it chanced, as I divine,
With Roland and Sir Leoline.
Each spake words of high disdain
And insult to his heart's best brother:
They parted — ne'er to meet again!
But never either found another
To free the hollow heart from paining -
They stood aloof, the scars remaining,
Like cliffs which had been rent asunder;
A dreary sea now flows between.
But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder,
Shall wholly do away, I ween,
The marks of that which once hath been.

Sir Leoline, a moment's space,
Stood gazing on the damsel's face:
And the youthful Lord of Tryermaine
Came back upon his heart again.

Made answer, “All will yet be well!”
I ween, she had no power to tell
Aught else: so mighty was the spell.




O then the Baron forgot his age,

His noble heart swelled high with rage;
He swore by the wounds in Jesu's side

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
He would proclaim it far and wide,

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 drew in her breath with a hissing Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:

And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and
Whereat the Knight turned wildly round,
And nothing saw, but his own sweet maid It flung up momently the sacred river.
With eyes upraised, as one that prayed. Five miles meandering with a mazy motion

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
The touch, the sight, had passed away, Then reached the caverns measureless to
And in its stead that vision blest,

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
Had put a rapture in her breast,

Ancestral voices prophesying war!
And on her lips and o'er her eyes
Spread smiles like light!

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
With new surprise,

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


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