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Alas! he told not but he did awake
IX. 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, (tread Through night's long hours would sound his hurried 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? 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.
Where history's pen its praise or blame supplies,
X. It was the night and Lara's glassy stream The stars are studding, cach 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 trec, 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 nowNo— 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.
XI. 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, Save vague 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 ;
XV. Whate'er his frenzy dream'd or eye bebeld, If yet remember'd ne'er to be reveal'd,
What had he been? what was he, thus unknown,
Rests at his heart: the custom'd morning came, In vigilance of grief that would compel
There was in him a vital scorn of all :
An erring spirit from another hurl'd;
A thing of dark imaginings, that shaped Whose shuddering proved their fear was less forgot. By choice the perils he by chance escaped ; In trembling pairs (alone they dared not) crawl
But 'scaped in vain, for in their memory yet The astonish'd slaves, and shun the fated hall;
His mind would half exult and half regret : The waving banner, and the clapping door,
With more capacity for love than earth The rustling tapestry, and the echoing floor;
Bestows on most of mortal mould and birth, Tae long dim shadows of surrounding trees,
His early dreams of good outstripp'd the truth, The fapping bat, the night song of the breeze ;
And troubled manhood follow'd baffled youth ; Aught they behold or hear their thought appals,
With thought of years in phantom chase misspent, As efening sadden3 o'er the dark grey walls.
And wasted powers for better purpose lent;
In hurried desolation o'er his path,
And left the better feelings all at strife
In wild reflection o'er bis stormy life;
But haughty still, and loth himself to blame,
He call'd on Nature's self to share the shame,
And charged all faults upon the fleshy form vanish'd then with sense restored !
She gave to clog the soul, and feast the worm ; Since word, nor look, nor gesture of their lord
Till he at last confounded good and ill, Betray'd a feeling that recall'd to these
And half mistook for fate the acts of will :
Too high for common selfishness, he could
At times resign his own for others' good,
But not in pity, not because he ought, That ceased to beat, the look that made them start?
But in some strange perversity of thought, Could he who thus had suffer'd so forget,
That sway'd him onward with a secret pride
To do what few or none would do beside ;
And this same impulse would, in tempting time, Tod deep for words, indelible, unmix'd
Mislead his spirit equally to crime ; In that corroding secrecy which gnaws
So much he soar'd beyond, or sunk beneath, The heart to show the effect, but not the cause ?
The men with whom he felt condemn'd to breathe, Not so in him; his breast had buried both,
And long'd by good or ill to separate Nor common gazers could discern the growth
Himself from all who shared his mortal state; Of thoughts that mortal lips must leave half told;
His mind abhorring this, had fix'd her throne They choke the feeble words that would unfold.
Far from the world, in regions of her own :
His blood in temperate seeming now would flow:
Ah ! happier if it ne'er with guilt had glow'd, In him inexplicably mix'd appear'd
But ever in that icy smoothness flow'd !
'Tis true, with other men their path he walk'd, In praise or railing ne'er his name forgot :
And like the rest in seeming did and talk'd, His silence form'd a theme for others' prate
Nor outraged Reason's rules by flaw nor start,
His madness was not of the head, but heart; They guess'd — they gazed — they fain would know And rarely wanderd in his speech, or drew
His thoughts so forth as to offend the view,
That friendship, pity, or aversion knew,
Doubt not my fitting answer to requite
'Tis Lara !- further wouldst thou mark or ask ? Despite your wonder, to your own he wound;
I shun no question, and I wear no mask.”
“ Thou shunnst no question ! Ponder- is there none Vain was the struggle in that mental net,
Thy heart must answer, though thine ear would shun? His spirit seem'd to dare you to forget.
And deem'st thou me unknown too ? Gaze again!
At least thy memory was not given in vain.
Oh! never canst thou cancel half her debt,
Eternity forbids thee to forget." And aught that wealth or lofty lineage claims,
With slow and searching glance upon his face Appear — a highborn and a welcome guest
Grew Lara's eyes, but nothing there could trace To Otho's hall came Lara with the rest.
They knew, or chose to know — with dubious look The long carousal shakes the illumined hall,
He deign'd no answer, but his head he shook, Well speeds alike the banquet and the ball;
And half contemptuous turn’d to pass away; And the gay dance of bounding Beauty's train
But the stern stranger motion’d him to stay. Links grace and harmony in happiest chain :
“ A word !- I charge thee stay, and answer here Blest are the early hearts and gentle hands
To one, who, wert thou noble, were thy peer, That mingle there in well according bands;
But as thou wast and art — nay, frown not, lord, It is a sight the careful brow might smooth,
If false, 't is easy to disprove the word —
Distrusts thy smiles, but shakes not at thy frown. So springs the exulting bosom to that mirth!
Art thou not he? whose deeds
“ Whate'er I be, XXI.
Words wild as these, accusers like to thee, And Lara gazed on these, sedately glad,
I list no further ; those with whom they weigh His brow belied him if his soul was sad ;
May hear the rest, nor venture to gainsay
The wondrous tale no doubt thy tongue can tell, And his glance follow'd fast each fluttering fair,
Which thus begins so courteously and well.
Let Otho cherish here his polish'd guest,
To him my thanks and thoughts shall be expressid."
And here their wondering host hath interposed Nor mark'd a glance so sternly fix'd on his —
“ Whate'er there be between you undisclosed, Ill brook'd high Lara scrutiny like this:
This is no time nor fitting place to mar At length he caught it— 't is a face unknown,
The mirthful meeting with a wordy war. But seems as searching his, and his alone;
If thou, Sir Ezzelin, hast aught to show Prying and dark, a stranger's by his mien,
Which it befits Count Lara's ear to know,
To-morrow, here, or elsewhere, as may best
Beseem your mutual judgment, speak the rest;
I pledge myself for thee, as not unknown, As if distrusting that the stranger threw;
Though, like Count Lara, now return'd alone
From other lands, almost a stranger grown;
And if from Lara's blood and gentle birth
He will not that untainted line belie,
Nor aught that knighthood may accord, deny."
“ To-morrow be it,” Ezzelin replied, “ 'Tis he!”—“'Tis who? "they question far and near, “ And here our several worth and truth be tried : Till louder accents rung on Lara's ear;
I gage my life, my falchion to attest
What answers Lara ? to its centre shrunk
The words of many, and the eyes of all Seem'd now subsided, neither sunk nor raised
That there were gather'd, seem'd on him to fall; Glanced his eye round, though still the stranger gazed; | But his were silent, his appear'd to stray And drawing nigh, exclaim'd, with haughty sneer, In far forgetfulness away-away“ 'Tis he! — how came he thence ? - what doth he Alas! that heedlessness of all around here ?"
Bespoke remembrance only too profound.