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And, as I caught her falling, all rushed forth.
“ A Wood-nymph!" cried Roscowi. "By the light,
Lovely as Hebe! Lay her in the shade."
I heard him not. I stood as in a trance.
What,” he exclaimed with a malicious smile,
“ Wouldst thou rebel ?" I did as he required.
“ Now bear her hence to the well-head below;
A few cold drops will animate this marble.
Go! 'Tis an office all will enry thee;
But thou hast earned it.” As I staggered down,
Unwilling to surrender her sweet body;
Her golden hair dishevelled on a neck
Of snow, and her fair eyes closed as in sleep,
Frantic with love, with hate, “ Great God!" I cried,
(I had almost forgotten how to pray;
But there are moments when the courage comes)
“ Why may I not, while yet—while yet I can,
Release her from a thraldom worse than death?"
'Twas done as soon as said. I kissed her brow,
And smote her with my dagger. A short cry
She uttered, but she stirred not; and to heaven
Her gentle spirit fled. 'Twas where the path
In its descent turned suddenly. No eye
Observed me, tho' their steps were following fast.
But soon a yell broke forth, and all at once
Levelled with deadly aim. Then I had ceased
To trouble or be troubled, and had now
(Would I were there !) been slumbering in my grave,
Had not RUSCONI with a terrible shout
Thrown himself in between us, and exclaimed,
Grasping my arm, “ 'Tis bravely, nobly done!
Is it for deeds like these thou wear'st a sword ?
Was this the business that thou cam’st upon ?
- But 'tis his first offence, and let it
Like the young tiger he has tasted blood,
do much hereafter. He can strike Home to the hilt." Then in an under-tone, “ Thus would'st thou justify the pledge I gave, When in the eyes of all I read distrust ? For once,” and on his cheek, methought, I saw The blush of virtue, “ I will save thee, Albert ; Again I cannot.”
Ere his tale was told, As on the heath we lay, my ransom came; And in six days, with no ungrateful mind, Albert was sailing on a quiet sea. -But the night wears, and thou art much in need Of rest. The young Antonio, with his torch, Is waiting to conduct thee to thy chamber.
This region, surely, is not of the earth.*
Was it not dropt from heaven ? Not a grove,
Citron or pine or cedar, not a grot
Sea-worn and mantled with the gadding vine,
But breathes enchantment. Not a cliff but flings
On the clear wave some image of delight,
Some cabin-roof glowing with crimson flowers,
Some ruined temple or fallen monument,
To muse on as the bark is gliding by.
And be it mine to muse there, mine to glide,
From day-break, when the mountain pales his fire
Yet more and more, and from the mountain-top,
Till then invisible, a smoke ascends,
Solemn and slow, as erst from ARARAT,
When he, the Patriarch, who escaped the Flood,
Was with his house-hold sacrificing there-
From day-break to that hour, the last and best,
When, one by one, the fishing-boats come forth,
Each with its glimmering lantern at the prow,
And, when the nets are thrown, the evening-hymn
Steals o'er the trembling waters.
Fable and Truth have shed, in rivalry,
Each her peculiar influence. Fable came
And laughed and sung, arraying Truth in flowers,
Like a young child her grandam. Fable came;
Earth, sea and sky reflecting, as she flew,
A thousand, thousand colours not their own :
And at her bidding, lo! a dark descent
To TARTARUS, and those thrice happy fields,
Those fields with ether pure and purple light
Ever invested, scenes by Him pourtrayed, *
Who here was wont to wander, here invoke
The sacred Muses,+ here receive, record
What they revealed, and on the western shore
Sleeps in a silent grove, o'erlooking thee,
Yet here, methinks,
Truth wants no ornament, in her own shape
Filling the mind by turns with awe and love,
By turns inclining to wild ecstasy,
And soberest meditation. Here the vines
Wed, each her elm, and o'er the golden grain
Hang their luxuriant clusters, chequering
The sunshine ; where, when cooler shadows fall
And the mild moon her fairy net-work weaves,
The lute or mandoline, accompanied
By many a voice yet sweeter than their own,
Kindles, nor slowly; and the dance $ displays
The gentle arts and witcheries of love,
Its hopes and fears and feignings, till the youth
Drops on his knee as vanquished, and the maid,
+ Quarum sacra fero, ingenti percussus amore.
# The Tarantella.