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For the lady was ruthlessly seized ; and he kenned In the beautiful lady the child of his friend!
And now the tears were on his face,
And fondly in his arms he took
Fair Geraldine, who met the embrace,
Prolonging it with joyous look.
Which when she viewed, a vision fell
Upon the soul of Christabel,
The vision of fear, the touch and pain!
She shrunk and shuddered, and saw again
(Ah, woe is me! Was it for thee,
Thou gentle maid! such sights to see ?)
Again she saw that bosom old,
Again she felt that bosom cold,
And drew in her breath with a hissing sound;
Whereat the knight turned wildly round,
And nothing saw, but his own sweet inaid
With eyes upraised, as one that prayed.
The touch, the sight, had passed away,
And in its stead that vision blest,
Which comforted her after-rest,
While in the lady's arms she lay,
Had put a rapture in her breast,
And on her lips and o'er her eyes
Spread smiles like light!
With new surprise, “ What ails then my beloved child ?” The baron said-His daughter mild
Made answer, “ All will yet be well ! "
I ween, she had no power to tell
Aught else : so mighty was the spell.
Yet he, who saw this Geraldine,
Had deemed her sure a thing divine,
Such sorrow with such grace she blended,
As if she feared, she had offended
Sweet Christabel, that gentle maid !
And with such lowly tones she prayed,
She might be sent without delay
Home to her father's mansion.
« Nay! Nay, by my
soul! said Leoline. “ Ho! Bracy, the bard, the charge be thine ! Go thou, with music sweet and loud, And take two steeds with trappings proud, And take the youth whom thou lov'st best To bear thy harp, and learn thy song, And clothe you both in solemn vest, And over the mountains haste along Lest wandering folk, that are abroad, Detain you on the valley road. And when he has crossed the Irthing flood, My merry bard! he hastes, he hastes Up Knorren Moor, through Halegarth Wood, And reaches soon that castle good Which stands and threatens Scotland's wastes.
“ Bard Bracy! bard Bracy! your horses are fleet,
Ye must ride up the hall, your music so sweet,
More loud than your horses' echoing feet !
And loud and loud to Lord Rolaud call,
Thy daughter is safe in Langdale hall !
Thy beautiful daughter is safe and free-
Sir Leoline greets thee thus through me.
He bids thee come without delay
With all thy numerous array ;
And take thy lovely daughter home:
And he will meet thee on the way
With all his numerous array
White with their panting palfreys' foam :
And by mine honour! I will say,
That I repent me of the day
When I spake words of fierce disdain
To Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine!-
-For since that evil hour hath flown,
Many a summer's syn hath shone ;
Yet ne'er found I a friend again
Like Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine.”
The lady fell, and clasped his knees,
Her face upraised, her eyes o’erflowing;
And Bracy replied, with faltering voice,
His gracious hail on all bestowing !-
“ Thy words, thou sire of Christabel,
Are sweeter than my harp can tell ;
Yet might I gain a boon of thee,
This day my journey should not be,
So strange a dream hath come to me;
That I had vowed with music loud
To clear yon wood from thing unblest,
Warned by a vision in my rest !
For in my sleep I saw that dove,
That gentle bird, whom thou dost love,
And call'st by thy own daughter's name-
Sir Leoline! I saw the same
Fluttering, and uttering fearful moan,
Among the green herbs in the forest alone.
Which when I saw and when I heard,
I wonder'd what might ail the bird ;
For nothing near it could I see,
tree. Save the grass and green herbs underneath the old
“ And in my dream methought I went
To search out what might there be found;
And what the sweet bird's trouble meant,
That thus lay fluttering on the ground.
I went and peered, and could descry
No cause for her distressful cry;
But yet for her dear lady's sake
I stooped, methought, the dove to take,
When lo! I saw a bright green snake
Coiled around its wings and neck,
Green as the herbs on which it couched,
Close by the dove's its head it crouched;
And with the dove it heaves and stirs,
Swelling its neck as she swelled hers !
I woke; it was the midnight hour,
The clock was echoing in the tower;
But though my slumber was gone by,
This dream it would not pass away-
It seems to live upon my eye!
And thence I vowed this self-same day,
With music strong and saintly song
To wander through the forest bare,
Lest aught unholy loiter there.”
Thus Bracy said: the baron, the while,
Half-listening heard him with a smile ;
Then turned to Lady Geraldine,
His eyes made up of wonder and love;
And said in courtly accents fine,
“ Sweet maid, Lord Roland's beauteous dove,
With arms more strong than harp or song,
Thy sire and I will crush the snake !"
He kissed her forehead as he spake,
And Geraldine, in maiden wise,
Casting down her large bright eyes,
With blushing cheek and courtesy fine
She turned her from Sir Leoline;
Softly gathering up her train,
That o'er her right arm fell again;
And folded her arms across her chest,
And couched her head upon her breast,
And looked askance at Christabel-
Jesu Maria, shield her well!
A snake's small eye blinks dull and shy,
And the lady's eyes they shrunk in her head,