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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. 140 Yes, they who chose might smile, but some had

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66

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?

145

"Why heard no music and received no guest?

"All was not well they deem'd--but where the

wrong?

"Some knew perchance--but 'twere a tale too

long;

"And such besides were too discreetly wise,

150

"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.

X.

It was the night-and Lara's glassy stream

155

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: 160
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.

166

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:

170

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,

175

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. 180

XI.

He turn'd within his solitary hall,

And his high shadow shot along the wall;
There were the painted forms of other times,
"Twas all they left of virtues or of crimes,
Save vague tradition; and the gloomy vaults 185
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 dim 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,

190

195

Glanced like a spectre's attributes, and gave
His aspect all that terror gives the grave.

XII.

200

'Twas 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?

206

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. 210

XIII.

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, 215
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 fix'd in horrible repose.

220

They raise him-bear him; hush! he breathes, he

speaks,

The swarthy blush recolours in his cheeks,

225

His lip resumes its red, his eye, though dim,
Rolls wide and wild, each slowly quivering limb
Recals its function, but his words are strung

In terms that seem not of his native tongue; 230
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!

XIV.

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,

235

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