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Those accents as his native mountains dear,
Awake their absent echoes in his ear,
Friends', kindreds’, parents', wonted voice recall,
Nor lost, abjured, for one - his friend, his all :
For him earth now disclosed no other guide ;
What marvel then he rarely left his side ?
Light was his form, and darkly delicate
That brow whereon his native sun had sate,
But had not marr'd, though in his beams he grew,
The cheek where oft the unbidden blush shone through;
Yet not such blush as mounts when health would show
All the heart's hue in that delighted glow ;
But 't was a hectic tint of secret care
That for a burning moment fever'd there ;
And the wild sparkle of his eye seem'd caught
From high, and lighten'd with electric thought,
Though its black orb those long low lashes' fringe
Had temper'd with a melancholy tinge;
Yet less of sorrow than of pride was there,
Or if’t were grief, a grief that none should share:
And pleased not him the sports that please his age,
The tricks of youth, the frolics of the page;
For hours on Lara he would fix his glance,
As all-forgotten in that watchful trance ;
And from his chief withdraw, he wander'd lone,
Brief were his answers, and his questions none';
His walk the wood, his sport some foreign book ;
His resting-place the bank that curbs the brook :
He seem’d, like him he served, to live apart
From all that lures the eye, and fills the heart;
To know no brotherhood, and take from earth
No gift beyond t. at bitter boon
If aught he loved, 't was Lara ; but was shown
His faith in reverence and in deeds alone ;
In mute atiention; and his care, which guess'd
Each wish, fulfill'd it ere the tongue express’d.
Still there was haughtiness in all he did,
A spirit deep that brook'd not to be chid;
His zeal, though more than that of servile hands,
In act alone obeys, his air commands;
As if 't was Lara's less than his desire
That thus he served, but surely not for hire.
Slight were the tasks enjoin'd him by his lord,
To hold the stirrup, or to bear the sword;
To tune his lute, or if he will'd it more,
On tomes of other times and tongues to pore ;
But ne'er to mingle with the menial train,
To whom he show'd nor deference nor disdain,
But that well-worn reserve which proved he knew
No sympathy with that familiar crew :
His soul, whate'er his station or his stem,
Could bow to Lara, not descend to them.
Of higher birth he seem'd, and better days,
Nor mark of vulgar toil that hand betrays,
So femininely white it might bespeak
Another sex, when match'd with that smooth cheek,
But for his garb, and something in his gaze,
More wild and high than woman's eye betrays ;
A latent fierceness that far more became
His fiery climate than his tender frame :
True, in his words it broke not from his breast,
But from his aspect might be more than guess’d.
Kaled his name, though rumour said he bore
Another ere he left the mountain-shore ;
For sometimes he would hear, however nigh,
That name repeated loud without reply,
As unfamiliar, or, if roused again,
Start to the sound, as but remember'd then ;
Unless 't was Lara's wonted voice that spake,
For then, ear, eyes, and heart would all awake.
He had look'd down upon the festive hall,
And mark'd that sudden strife so mark'd of all;
And when the crowd around and near him told,
Their wonder at the calmness of the bold,
Their marvel how the high-born Lara bore
Such insult from a stranger, doubly sore,
The colour of young Kaled went and came,
The lip of ashes, and the cheek of flame ;
And o'er his brow the dampening heart-drops threw
The sickening iciness of that cold dew,
That rises as the busy bosom sinks
With heavy thoughts from which reflection shrinks.
Yes - there be things which we must dream and care,
And execute ere thought be half aware :
Whate'er might Kaled's be, it was enow
To seal his lip, but agonise his brow.
He gazed on Ezzelin till Lara cast
That sidelong smile upon the knight he past;
When Kaled saw that smile his visage fell
As if on something recognised right well;
His memory read in such a meaning more
Than Lara's aspect unto others wore :
Forward he sprung:
- a moment, both were gone, And all within that hall seem'd left alone ; Each had so fix'd his eye on Lara's mien, All had so mix'd their feelings with that scene, That when his long dark shadow through the porch No more relieves the glare of yon high torch, Each pulse beats quicker, and all bosoms seem To bound as doubting from too black a dream, Such as we know is false, yet dread in sooth, Because the worst is ever nearest truth. sud they are gone — but Ezzelin is there, With thoughtful visage and imperious air ; But long remain’d not; ere an hour expired He waved his hand to Otho, and retired.
The crowd are gone, the revellers at rest;
The courteous host, and all-approving guest,
Again to that accustom'd couch must creep
Where joy subsides, and sorrow sighs to sleep,
And man, o'erlabour'd with his being's strife,
Shrinks to that sweet forgetfulness of life :
There lie love's feverish hope, and cunning's guile,
Hate's working brain, and lull'd ambition's wile ;
O’er each vain eye oblivion's pinions wave,
And quench'd existence crouches in a grave.
What better name may slumber's bed become?
Night's sepulchre, the universal home,
Where weakness, strength, vice, virtue, sunk supine,
Alike in naked helplessness recline ;
Glad for awhile to heave unconscious breath,
Yet wake to wrestle with the dread of death,
And shun, though day but dawn on ills increased,
That sleep, the loveliest, since it dreams the least.
Night wanes the vapours
und the mountains curtid Melt into morn, and Light awakes the world. Man has another day to swell the past, And lead him near to little, but his last ; But mighty Nature bounds as from her birth, The sun is in the heavens, and life on earth ; Flowers in the valley, splendour in the beam, Health on the gale, and freshness in the stream. Immortal man! behold her glories shine, And cry, exulting inly, “ They are thine !" Gaze on, while yet thy gladden'd eye may see; A morrow comes when they are not for thee: And grieve what may above thy senseless bier, Nor earth nor sky will yield a single tear ; Nor cloud shall gather more, nor leaf shall fall, Nor gale breathe forth one sigh for thee, for all ; But creeping things shall revel in their spoil, And fit thy clay to fertilize the soil.
'T is morn - 't is noon assembled in the hall
The gather'd chieftains come to Otho's call ;
'T is now the promised hour, that must proclaim
The life or death of Lara's future fame;
When Ezzelin his charge may here unfold,
And whatsoe'er the tale, it must be told.
His faith was pledged, and Lara's promise given,
To meet it in the eye of man and heaven.
Why comes he not? Such truths to be divulged,
Meihinks the accuser's rest is long indulged.
The hour is past, and Lara too is there,
With self-confiding, coldly patient air ;
Why comes not Ezzelin ? The hour is past,
And murmurs rise, and Otho's brow o'ercast.
“ I know my friend! his faith I cannot fear,
If yet he be on earth, expect him here;
The roof that held him in the valley stands
Between my own and noble Lara's lands;
My halls from such a guest had honour gain’d,
Nor had Sir Ezzelin his host disdain'd,
But that some previous proof forbade his stay,
And urged him to prepare against to-day;
The word I pledged for his I pledge again,
Or will myself redeem his knighthood's stain.”
He ceased and Lara answer'd, “I am here
To lend at thy demand a listening ear
To tales of evil from a stranger's tongue,
Whose words already might my heart have wrung,
But that I deem'd him scarcely less than mad,
Or, at the worst, a foe ignobly bad.
I know him not but me it seems he knew
In land3 where but I must not trifle too :
Produce this babbler — or redeem the pledge;
Here in thy hold, and with thy falchion's edge."
Proud Otho on the instant, reddening, threw
His glove on earth, and forth his sabre flew.
" The last alternative befits me best,
And thus I answer for mine absent guest.”
With cheek unchanging from its sallow gloom,
However near his own or other's tomb;
With hand, whose alrnost careless coolness spoke
Its grasp well-used to deal the sabre-stroke;
With eye, though calm, determined not to spare,
Did Lara too his willing weapon bare.
In vain the circling chieftains round them closed,
For Otho's frenzy would not be opposed;
And from his lip those words of insult fell-
His sword is good who can maintain them well.
Short was the conflict; furious, blindly rash,
Vain Otho gave his bosom to the gash: