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ALICE DU CLOS:

A BALLAD.

OR THE FORKED TONGUE.

“One word with two meanings is the traitor's shield and shaft: and a slit tongue be his blazon !"

Caucasian Proverb.

“ The sun is not yet risen,
But the dawn lies red on the dew;
Lord Julian has stolen from the hunters away,
Is seeking, lady, for you.
Put on your dress of green,

Your buskins and your quiver ;
Lord Julian is a hasty man,

Long waiting brook'd he never.
I dare not doubt him, that he means

To wed you on a day,
Your lord and master for to be,

And you his lady gay.
O lady! throw your book aside !

I would not that my lord should chide.”

Thus spake Sir Hugh the vassal knight

To Alice, child of old Du Clos,
As spotless fair, as airy light

As that moon-shiny doe,

The gold star on its brow, her sire's ancestral crest!
For ere the lark had left his nest,

She in the garden bower below
Sate loosely wrapt in maiden white,
Her face half drooping from the sight,

A snow-drop on a tuft of snow!
O close your eyes, and strive to see
The studious majd, with book on knee,-

Ah! earliest-opend flower;
While yet with keen unblunted light
The morning star shone opposite

The lattice of her bower-
Alone of all the starry host,

As if in prideful scorn
Of flight and fear he stay'd behind,

To brave th’advancing morn.

0! Alice could read passing well,

And she was conning then Dan Ovid's mazy tale of loves,

And gods, and beasts, and men.

The vassal's speech, his taunting vein,
It thrill'd like venom thro’ her brain;

Yet never from the book
She rais'd her head, nor did she deign

The knight a single look.

“ Off, traitor friend! how dar'st thou fix

Thy wanton gaze on me?

And why, against my earnest suit,

Does Julian send by thee?

“Go, tell thy lord, that slow is sure:

Fair speed his shafts to-day! I follow here a stronger lure,

And chase a gentler prey."

a

She said : and with a baleful smile

The vassal knight reeld offLike a huge billow from a bark

Toild in the deep sea-trough,
That shouldering sideways in mid plunge,

Is travers’d by a flash.
And staggering onward, leaves the ear

With dull and distant crash.

And Alice sate with troubled mien
A moment; for the scoff was keen,

And thro' her veins did shiver !
Then rose and donn'd her dress of green,

Her buskins and her quiver.

There stands the flowering may-thorn tree! From thro' the veiling mist you see

The black and shadowy stem ;Smit by the sun the mist in glee Dissolves to lightsome jewelry

Each blossom hath its gem!

With tear-drop glittering to a smile,
The gay maid on the garden-stile

Mimics the hunter's shout. “ Hip! Florian, hip! To horse, to horse!

Go, bring the palfrey out.

“ My Julian's out with all his clan,

And, bonny boy, you wis,
Lord Julian is a hasty man,
Who comes late, comes amiss."

Now Florian was a stripling squire,

A gallant boy of Spain,
That toss'd his head in joy and pride,
Behind his lady fair to ride,

But blush'd to hold her train.

The huntress is in her dress of green,And forth they go ; she with her bow,

Her buskins and her quiver ! The squire—no younger e'er was seenWith restless arm and laughing een,

He makes his javelin quiver.

And had not Ellen stay'd the race,
And stopp'd to see, a moment's space,

The whole great globe of light
Give the last parting kiss-like touch
To the eastern ridge, it lack'd not much,

They had o’erta'en the knight.

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