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He ventures in : let no buzz'd whisper tell:
eyes be muffled, or a hundred swords
Him any mercy, in that mansion foul, Save one old beldame, weak in body and in soul.
Ah, happy chance ! the aged creature came,
place; They are all here to-night, the whole blood
“Get hence! get hence! there's dwarfish Hilde
brand; He had a fever late, and in the fit He cursed thee and thine, both house and land: Then there's that old Lord Maurice, not a whit More tame for his gray hairs—Alas me! flit! Flit like a ghost away."_"Ah, Gossip dear, We're safe enough; here in this arm-chair sit, And tell me how ”“ Good Saints! not here,
not here; Follow me, child, or else these stones will be thy
He follow'd through a lowly arched way, Brushing the cobwebs with his lofty plume; And as she mutter'd “ Well-a-well-a-day!” He found him in a little moonlight room, Pale, latticed, chill, and silent as a tomb. “ Now tell me where is Madeline,” said he, “O tell me, Angela, by the holy loom
Which none but secret sisterhood may see, When they St. Agnes' wool are weaving piously.”
“St. Agnes ! Ah! it is St. Agnes' Eve-
This very night: good angels her deceive! But let me laugh awhile, I've mickle time to
Feebly she laugheth in the languid moon,
Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose,
From wicked men like thee. Go, Go! I deem Thou canst not surely be the same that thou didst
“I will not harm her, by all saints I swear," Quoth Porphyro: “O may I ne'er find grace When my weak voice shall whisper its last
prayer, If one of her soft ringlets I displace,
Or look with ruffian passion in her face:
, And beard them, though they be more fang'd than
wolves and bears."
“Ah! why wilt thou affright a feeble soul?
That Angela gives promise she will do Whatever he shall wish, betide her weal or woe.
Which was, to lead him, in close secrecy,
Never on such a night have lovers met,
“ It shall be as thou wishest,” said the Dame : “All cates and dainties shall be stored there Quickly on this feast-night: by the tambour
frame Her own lute thou wilt see: no time to spare, For I am slow and feeble, and scarce dare On such a catering trust my dizzy head. Wait here, my child, with patience kneel in
prayer The while : Ah! thou must needs the lady wed, Or may I never leave my grave among the dead.”
So saying she hobbled off with busy fear.
Where Porphyro took covert, pleased amain. His poor guide hurried back with agues in her
Her faltering hand upon the balustrade,