Around him some mysterious circle thrown
Repelld approach, and show'd him still alone ;
Upon his eye sat something of reproof,
That kept at least frivolity aloof;
And things more timid that beheld him near,
In silence gazed, or whisper'd mutual fear;
And they the wiser, friendlier few confess'd
They deem'd him better than his air express'd.


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'T was strange

in youth all action and all life,
Burning for pleasure, not averse from strife ;
the field
- the ocean

all that gave
Promise of gladness, peril of a grave,
In turn he tried — he ransack'd all below,
And found his recompense in joy or woe,
No tame, trite medium ; for his feelings sought
In that intenseness an escape from thought :
The tempest of his heart in scorn had gazed
On that the feebler elements hath raised;
The rapture of his heart had look'd on high,
And ask'd if greater dwelt beyond the sky :
Chain'd to excess, the slave of each extreme,
How woke he from the wildness of that dream?
Alas! he told not but he did awake
To curse the wither'd heart that would not break.


Books, for his volume heretofore was Man,
With eye more curious he appear'd to scan,
And oft, in sudden mood, for many a day,
From all communion he would start away:
And then, his rarely call'd attendants said,
Through night's long hours would sound his hurried tread
O’er the dark gallery, where his fathers frown'd
In rude but antique portraiture around :
They heard, but whisper'd — that must not be known
The sound of words less earthly than his own.
Yes, they who chose might smile, but some had seen
They scarce knew what, but more than should have been.
Why gazed he so upon the ghastly head
Which hands profane had gather'd from the dead,
That still beside his open'd volume lay,
As if to startle all save him away y?
Why slept he not when others were at rest ?
Why heard no music, and received no guest?

All was not well, they deem'd

but where the wrong? Some knew perchance - but 't were a tale too long ; And such besides were too discreetly wise, To more than hint their knowledge in surmise ; But if they would — they could " around the board, Thus Lara's vassals prattled of their lord.


It was the night - and Lara's glassy stream
The stars are studding, each with imaged beam;
So calm, the waters scarcely seem to stray.
And yet they glide like happiness away ;
Reflecting far and fairy-like from high
The immortal lights that live along the sky :
Its banks are fringed with many a goodly tree,
And flowers the fairest that may feast the bee;
Such in her chaplet infant Dian wove,
And Innocence would offer to her love,
These deck the shore ; the waves their channel make
In windings bright and mazy like the snake.
All was so still, so soft in earth and air,
You scarce would start to meet a spirit there ;
Secure that nought of evil could delight
To walk in such a scene, on such a night!
It was a moment only for the good :
So Lara deem'd, nor longer there he stood,
But turn'd in silence to his castle-gate ;
Such scene his soul no more could contemplate :
Such scene reminded him of other days,
Of skies more cloudless, moons of purer blaze,
Of nights more soft and frequent, hearts that now
No- no — the storm may beat upon his brow,
Unfelt — unsparing — but a night like this,
A night of beauty, mock'd such breast as his.


He turn'd within his solitary hall,
And his high shadow shot along the wall :
There were the painted forms of other times,
'T was all they left of virtues or of crimes,

tradition ; and the gloomy vaults
That hid their dust, their foibles, and their faults ;
And half a column of the pompous page,
That speeds the specious tale from age to age,
Where history's pen its praise or blame supplies,
And lies like truth, and still most truly lies.

He wandering mused, and as the moonbeam shone
Through the din lattice o'er the floor of stone,
And the high fretted roof, and saints, that there
O'er Gothic windows knelt in pictured prayer,
Reflected in fantastic figures grew,
Like life, but not like mortal life, to view ;
His bristling locks of sable, brow of gloom,
And the wide waving of his shaken plume,
Glanced like a spectre's attributes, and gave
His aspect all that terror gives the grave.


'T was midnight — all was slumber ; the lone light
Dimm'd in the lamp, as loth to break the night.
Hark! there be murmurs heard in Lara's hall
A sound
-a, voice

a shriek a fearful call!
A long, loud shriek -- and silence — did they hear
That frantic echo burst the sleeping ear?
They heard and rose, and tremulously brave,
Rush where the sound invoked their aid to save ;
They come with half-lit tapers in their hands,
And snatch'd in startled haste unbelted brands.


Cold as the marble where his length was laid,
Pale as the beam that o'er his features play'd,
Was Lara stretch'd; his half drawn sabre near,
Dropp'd it should seem in more than nature's fear;
Yet he was firm, or had been firm till now,
And still defiance knit his gather'd brow;
Though mix'd with terror, senseless as he lay,
There lived upon his lip the wish to slay;
Some half form'd threat in utterance there had died,
Some imprecation of despairing pride ;
His eye was almost seal'd, but not forsook
Even in its trance the gladiator's look,
That oft awake his aspect could disclose,
And now was fixed in horrible repose.
They raise him — bear him; -hush! he breathes, he

The swarthy blush recolours in his cheeks,
His lip resumes its red, his eye, though dim,
Rolls wide and wild, each slowly quivering limb
Recalls its function, but his words are strung
In terms that seem not of his native tongue ;

Distinct but strange, enough they understand
To deem them accents of another land ;
And such they were, and meant to meet an ear
That hears him not- - alas ! that cannot hear !


His page approach'd, and he alone appear'd
To know the import of the words they heard;
And, by the changes of his cheek and brow,
They were not such as Lara should avow,
Nor he interpret, - yet with less surprise
Than those around their chieftain's state he eyes,
But Lara's prostrate form he bent beside,
And in that tongue which seem'd his own replied,
And Lara heeds those tones that gently seem
To soothe away the horrors of his dream
If dream it were, that thus could overthrow
A breast that needed not ideal woe.


Whate'er his frenzy dream'd or eye heheld,
If yet remember'd ne'er to be reveald,
Rests at his heart: the custom’d morning came,
And breathed new vigour in his shaken frame ;
And solace sought he none from priest nor leech
And soon the same in movement and in speech
As heretofore he fill’d the passing hours,
Nor less he smiles, nor more his forehead lowers,
Than these were wont; and if the coming night
Appear’d less welcome now to Lara's sight,
He to his marvelling vassals show'd it not,
Whose shuddering proved their fear was less forgot.
In trembling pairs (alone they dared not) crawl
The astonish'd slaves, and shun the fated hall;
The waving banner, and the clapping door,
The rustling tapestry, and the echoing floor;
The long dim shadows of surrounding trees,
The flapping bat, the night song of the breeze ;
Aught they behold or hear their thought appals,
As evening saddens o'er the dark gray walls.


Vain thought that hour of ne'er unravell’d gloom
Came not again, or Lara could assume
A seeming of forgetfulness, that made
His vassals more amazed nor less afraid

Had memory vanish'd then with sense restored ?
Since word, nor look, nor gesture of their lord
Betray'd a feeling that recall’d to these
That fever'd monent of his mind's disease.
Was it a dream ? was his the voice that spoke
Those strange wild accents; his the cry that broke
Their slumber? his the oppress’d, o'erlabour'd heart
That ceased to beat, the look that made them start?
Could he who thus had suffer'd so forget,
When such as saw that suffering shudder yet?
Or did that silence prove memory

Too deep for words, indelible, unmix'd
In that corroding secrecy which gnaws
The heart to show the effect, but not the cause ?
Not so in him; his breast had buried both,
Nor common gazers could discern the growth
Of thoughts that mortal lips must leave half told;
They choke the feeble words that would unfold.



In him inexplicably mix'd appear'd
Much to be loved and hated, sought and feard ;
Opinion varying o'er his hidden lot,
In praise or railing ne'er his name forgot:
His silence form'd a theme for others' prate –
They guess'd - they gazed — they fain would know his

What had he been? what was he, thus unknown,
Who walk'd their world, his lineage only known?
A hater of his kind ? yet some would say,
With them he could seem gay

amidst the

gay ;
But own'd that smile, if oft observed and near,
Waned in its mirth, and wither'd to a sneer;
That smile might reach his lip, but pass'd not by,
None e'er could trace its laughter to his

Yet there was softness too in his regard,
At times, a heart as not by nature hard,
But once perceived, his spirit seem'd to chide
Such weakness, as unworthy of its pride,
And steeld itself, as scorning to redeem
One doubt from others' half withheld esteem;
In self-inflicted penance of a breast
Which tenderness might once have wrung from rest ;
In vigilance of grief that would compel
The soul to hate for having loved too well.

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