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"TWAS Autumn; thro' Provence had ceased The vintage, and the vintage-feast.
The sun had set behind the hill,
The moon was up, and all was still,
And from the Convent's neighbouring tower
The clock had tolled the midnight-hour,
When Jacqueline came forth alone,
Her kerchief o'er her tresses thrown;
A guilty thing and full of fears,
Yet ah, how lovely in her tears!
She starts, and what has caught her eye?
What-but her shadow gliding by?
She stops, she pants; with lips apart
She listens to her beating heart!
Then, thro' the scanty orchard stealing,
The clustering boughs her track concealing,
She flies, nor casts a thought behind,
But gives her terrors to the wind;
Flies from her home, the humble sphere
Of all her joys and sorrows here,
Her father's house of mountain-stone,
And by a mountain-vine o'ergrown.
At such an hour in such a night,
So calm, so clear, so heavenly bright,
Who would have seen, and not confessed
It looked as all within were blest?
What will not woman, when she loves?
Yet lost, alas, who can restore her?—
She lifts the latch, the wicket moves;
And now the world is all before her.
Up rose St. Pierre, when morning shone; -And Jacqueline, his child, was gone! Oh what the madd'ning thought that came? Dishonour coupled with his name!
By Condé at Rocroy he stood;
By Turenne, when the Rhine ran blood.
Two banners of Castile he gave
Aloft in Notre Dame to wave;
Nor did thy cross, St. Louis, rest
Upon a purer, nobler breast.
He slung his old sword by his side,
And snatched his staff and rushed to save;
Then sunk and on his threshold cried,
"Oh lay me in my grave!
-Constance! Claudine! where were ye then?
But stand not there. Away! away!
Thou, Frederic, by thy father stay.
Though old, and now forgot of men,
Both must not leave him in a day."
Then, and he shook his hoary head,
Unhappy in thy youth!" he said.
"Call as thou wilt, thou call'st in vain;
No voice sends back thy name again.
To mourn is all thou hast to do;
Thy play-mate lost, and teacher too."
And who but she could soothe the boy,
Or turn his tears to tears of joy?
Long had she kissed him as he slept,
Long o'er his pillow hung and wept;
And, as she passed her father's door,
She stood as she would stir no more.
But she is gone, and gone for ever!
No, never shall they clasp her-never!
They sit and listen to their fears;
And he, who thro' the breach had led
Over the dying and the dead,
Shakes if a cricket's cry he hears!