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And naught was green upon the oak
But moss and rarest misletoe:
She kneels beneath the huge oak-tree,
And in silence prayeth she.
The lady sprang up suddenly,
The lovely lady, Christabel;
It moaned as near as near can be,
And what it is she cannot tell;
On the other side it seems to be
Of the huge, broad-breasted old oak-tree.

“The night is chill, the forest bare :

Is it the wind that moaneth bleak?
There is not wind enough in the air
To move away the ringlet-curl
From the lovely lady's cheek;
There is not wind enough to twirl
The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
That dances as often as dance it can,
Hanging so light, and hanging so high,
On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky

“Hush, beating heart of Christabel!
Jesu, Maria, shield her well.
She folded her arms beneath her cloak,
And stole to the other side of the oak:

What sees she there?"

While the innocent Christabel is thinking her prayers from the depths of her pure and loving heart, the witch is close by, in the shape of a woman richly clad and exceedingly beautiful. She asks for pity on her distress, telling that her name is Geraldine, and giving a deceitful story. The tender heart of Christabel is touched, and she bids the witch welcome to share her couch with her. The supernatural thickens as they enter into the castle, and the victim is getting entangled in the meshes of sorcery. According to the popular superstition, the witch

من بينهمنههمنننتمنخفاء

sinks, as if in sudden pain, at the threshold, and is lifted over by Christabel, who devoutly proposes a thanksgiving for their safety; but the evil spirit eludes it :

« Alas, alas!' said Geraldine;

"I cannot speak for weariness.'

As they move along, the sleeping mastiff utters an angry moan, and the dying embers on the hearth dart forth a tongue of flame, while a beautiful relief is given to the supernatural by an impulse of simple nature, in Christabel's tender thoughtfulness for her aged parent:

“They passed the hall, that echoes still

Pass as lightly as you will!
The brands were flat; the brands were dying,
Amid their own white ashes lying:
But when the lady passed, there came
A tongue of light, a fit of flame,
And Christabel saw the lady's eye,
And nothing else saw she thereby,
Save the boss of the shield of Sir Leoline tall,
Which hung in a murky old niche in the wall.
'Oh, softly tread,' said Christabel ;
"My father seldom sleepeth well.""

Christabel speaks, too, of her departed mother, when, lo! at her child's fond and innocent wish, echoed mysteriously by the witch, the guardian spirit of the mother is at hand, invisible except to the spectral sight of the sorceress; and a conflict ensues between the good and evil spirits :

«O mother dear! that thou wert here!'

“I would,' said Geraldine, she were !'
But soon with altered voice said she,
Off, wandering mother! Peak and pine !

I have power to bid thee flee.'
Alas! what ails poor Geraldine ?
Why stares she with unsettled eye?
Can she the bodiless dead espy?
And why with hollow voice cries she,
Off, woman! off! this hour is mine,
Though thou her guardian spirit be;
Off, woman! off! 'tis given to me!'

“Then Christabel knelt by the lady's side,

And raised to heaven her eyes so blue,
*Alas!' said she, “this ghastly ride,
Dear lady! it hath wildered you.'
The lady wiped her moist, cold brow,
And faintly said, ''Tis over now!"

The power of witchcraft goes on increasing. Geraldine's silken robe falls; and, beautiful and stately lady as she shone before, there is now disclosed to the heartstricken Christabel an untold sight of some hidden, hideous deformity, some superhuman stump, such as could only belong to a witch’s body. The poor maiden sinks into a trance, and her power of speech is sealed up by the incantation that is uttered over her by the demon drawing close to her side:

“In the touch of this bosom there worketh a spell

Which is lord of thy utterance, Christabel."

I cannot trace the story of the poem without too much impairing the effect, and shall therefore only notice one or two passages in the remainder of it. The most striking of these is the apostrophe to the friends, and the sublimest image of a broken friendship to be found in the whole range of poetry :

“Alas, they had been friends in youth;

But whispering tongues can poison truth,

And constancy lives in realms above,
And life is thorny, and youth is vain :
And to be wroth with one we love
Doth work like madness in the brain,
And thus it chanced, as I divine,
With Roland and Sir Leoline.
Each spake words of high disdain
And insult to his heart's best brother;
They parted, ne'er to meet again!
But never either found another
To free the hollow heart from paining.
They stood aloof, the scars remaining,
Like cliffs which had been rent asunder;
A dreary sea now flows between.
But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder,
Shall wholly do away, I ween,
The marks of that which once hath been."

The admirable skill in the versification of the poem, and its exact adaptation to the spirit of different passages, may be shown by observing, in contrast with any of the passages I have recited, the sound of the spirited lines containing the command given by the knight to one of his retainers :

“Bard Bracy, bard Bracy! your horses are fleet;
Ye must ride up the hall, your music so sweet,
More loud than your horses' echoing feet!
And loud and loud to Lord Roland call,
*Thy daughter is safe in Langdale Hall!
Thy beautiful daughter is safe and free:
Sir Leoline greets thee thus through me.
He bids thee come without delay,
With all thy numerous array,
And take thy lovely daughter home;
And he will meet thee on the way,
With all his numerous array,
White with their panting palfreys' foam.'

The bard then narrates a dream which had distressed

his sleep, in which he had seen a beautiful bird—the pet dove of the castle--fascinated in the forest by a serpent, and fluttering and writhing in its toils. The dream needs no interpretation for either Geraldine or the spell-bound Christabel. When the witch hears it, she stealthily turns a look of withering fascination on her mute victim. The shrinking up of her eyes, and the large dilating of them when she assumes an air of innocence, are given with great power, as well as the effect on Christabel, who passively imitates the serpent-look that had appalled her:-

"A snake's small eye blinks dull and shy,
And the lady's eyes they shrunk in her head;
Each shrunk up to a serpent's eye,
And with somewhat of malice and more of dread.

At Christabel she looked askance :

One moment--and the sight was filed!
But Christabel in dizzy trance,
Stumbling on the unsteady ground,
Shuddered aloud with a hissing sound;
And Geraldine again turned round,
And, like a thing that sought relief,
Full of wonder and full of grief,
She rolled her large bright eyes divine
Wildly on Sir Leoline.

6. The maid, alas! her thoughts are gone;

She nothing sees,--no sight but one!
The maid devoid of guile and sin,
I know not how, in fearful wise,
So deeply had she drunken in
That look, those shrunken serpent eyes,
That all her features were resigned
To this sole image in her mind;
And passively did imitate
That look of dull and treacherous hate !
And thus she stood in dizzy trance,
Still picturing that look askance,

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