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THE FORGE:

A ROMANCE OF THE IRON AGE.

"Who's here, beside foul weather?

KING LEAR. “ Mine enemy's dog, though he had bit me, Should have stood that night against my fire.”

CORDELIA.

PART I.
LIKE a dead man gone to his shroud,
The sun has sunk in a coppery cloud,
And the wind is rising squally and loud

With many a stormy token,-
Playing a wild funereal air,
Through the branches bleak, bereaved, and bare,
To the dead leaves dancing here and there-

In short, if the truth were spoken, It 's an ugly night for anywhere,

But an awful one for the Brocken!

For oh! to stop

On that mountain top, After the dews of evening drop,

Is always a dreary frolicThen what must it be when nature groans, And the very mountain murmurs and moans

As if it writhed with the cholic-
With other strange supernatural tones,
From wood, and water, and echoing stones,
Not to forget unburied bones

In a region so diabolic!

A place where he whom we call old Scratch,
By help of his Witches—a precious batch-

Gives midnight concerts and sermons,
In a Pulpit and Orchestra built to match,
A plot right worthy of him to hatch,
And well adapted, he knows, to catch

The musical, mystical Germans !

However it ’s quite

As wild a night
As ever was known on that sinister height

Since the Demon-Dance was morriced-
The earth is dark, and the sky is scowling,
And the blast through the pines is howling and

growling, As if a thousand wolves were prowling

About in the old BLACK FOREST !

Madly, sadly, the Tempest raves
Through the narrow gullies and hollow caves,
And bursts on the rocks in windy waves,

Like the billows that roar

On a gusty shore Mourning over the mariners' graves

Nay, more like a frantic lamentation

From a howling set

Of demons met
To wake a dead relation.

Badly, madly, the vapours fly
Over the dark distracted sky,

At a pace that no pen can paint!
Black and vague like the shadows of dreams,
Scudding over the moon that seems
Shorn of half her usual beams,

As pale as if she would faint !

The lightning flashes,

The thunder crashes,
The trees encounter with horrible clashes,
While rolling up from marish and bog,

Rank and rich,

As from Stygian ditch,
Rises a foul sulphureous fog,
Hinting that Satan himself is agog,-

But leaving at once this heroical pitch,

The night is a very bad night in which You wouldn't turn out a dog.

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Yet ONE there is abroad in the storm,

And whenever by chance

The moon gets a glance, She spies the Traveller's lonely form,

Walking, leaping, striding along,

As none can do but the super-strong; And flapping his arms to keep him warm, For the breeze from the North is a regular starver,

And to tell the truth,

More keen, in sooth,
And cutting than any German carver!

Ilowever, no time it is to lag ;
And on he scrambles from crag to crag,
Like one determined never to flag-

Now weathers a block

Of jutting rock,
With hardly room for a toe to wag ;
But holding on by a timber snag,
That looks like the arm of a friendly hag;

Then stooping under a drooping bough,
Or leaping over some horrid chasm,
Enough to give any heart a spasm !

And sinking down a precipice now,

Keeping his feet the Deuce knows how, In spots whence all creatures would keep aloof, Except the Goat, with his cloven hoof, Who clings to the shallowest ledge as if Ile grew like the weed on the face of the cliff! So down, still down, the Traveller goes, Safe as the Chamois amid his snows, Though fiercer than ever the hurricane blows,

And round him eddy, with whirl and whizz, Tornadoes of hail, and sleet, and rain, Enough to bewilder a weaker brain,

Or blanch any other visage than his, Which spite of lightning, thunder, and hail, The blinding sleet, and the freezing gale,

And the horrid abyss,

If his foot should miss,
Instead of tending at all to pale,
Like cheeks that feel the chill of affright-
Remains—the very reverse of white !

His heart is granite—his iron nerve

Feels no convulsive twitches; And as to his foot, it does not swerve, [serve : Tho' the Screech-Owls are flitting about him that

For parrots to Brocken Witches !

Nay, full in his very path he spies
The gleam of the Wehr Wolf's horrid eyes;

But if his members quiver-
It is not for thatno, it is not for that -

Nor rat,
Nor cat,

As black as your hat,
Nor the snake that hiss’d, nor the toad that spat,
Nor glimmering candles of dead men's fat,
Nor even the flap of the Vampire Bat,
No anserine skin would rise thereat,

It's the cold that makes Him shiver!

So down, still down, through gully and glen,
Never trodden by foot of men,

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