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Arthur pursues, taunting and defying the unhappy Saxon, who had rather have met the deadliest wounds which his enemy could inflict, than the threats and reproaches he was now condemned to hear. The preternatural speed of his courser, however, soon releases him from this vexation; the voice of Arthur and the roar of the distant battle die upon his ear, and, as evening closes in, he enters the remote forest of Celidon, where his horse, released from the maddening pest, sinks beneath him, and expires without a groan.

Harassed in mind, and fatigued in body, the disappointed chieftain rests for a while on the bank of a gushing streamlet. Then starting with anguish from the spot, he lifts his eyes to heaven, and whilst the recollection of this compulsory flight presses heavy on his heart, bursts forth into the following pathetic appeal, which, with the reflection naturally arising from it, furnishes us with a graceful and very interesting close of this division of the poem.

O sun! who, sinking from thy towering height, Hast seen me borne reluctant from the fight! Thou conscious moon! ye glittering orbs on high, That grace her course and gild the glowing sky;

Witness this bosom, though to flight compell’d,
With rage indignant, not with terror swell’d.
And you, my friends, whom I behold no more,
My tried associates in the battle's roar,
Witness, from danger's front I never fled ;
Where raged the conflict, where the mighty bled,
Your monarch strove. Your rampart was his shield,
His sword your beacon shone in glory's field.
Ah, friends beloved ! for whom I mourn in vain,
Whose spirits wander o'er the fatal plain ;
Or hovering on the breeze around your chief,
Mark his wild anguish, and partake his grief!
A while your flight to Odin's hall delay;
To Thora's ear the mournful tale

Tell her, by fraud betray'd, not force o’erthrown,
I fled that conscious honour is my own.
That Valdemar, resolved his fate to brave,
Will never sink a coward to the grave :
But on the Briton,–Vengeance bend thine ear!
Requite his wrongs, or cease those wrongs to bear.
Should I no more to Denmark's coast return,
Forbid the fair with bootless tears to mourn
My fate-to her belongs a nobler care;
Hialmar lives to pour the storm of war
On Britain's coast; t'avenge his sire's disgrace,
And guard the honours of a martial race.

Thus as he spoke, in spite of manly pride, From his swoll'n eyes forth gush'd the genial tide. Th’endearing joys that crown domestic life, The smiling offspring and the faithful wife Rise on his soul. Ye haughty sons of fame! Whose generous spirits high resolves inflame,

When urg'd to arms you quit your darling fair,
Or tender babes, soft objects of your care,
Can stubborn honour then your bosoms steel,
Or martial pride subdue the pangs ye feel?
Ah no! the sigh supprest, the heart-wrung groan,
Reveals the anguish that you dare not own.

B. v. p. 168.

In the sixth book the poet transports us to a winter scene in Lapland, which he describes with great strength and minuteness. Here, as to a place congenial with the malignancy of their nature, which loves to contemplate the features of wreck and desolation, the weird sisters are accustomed at times to resort; and two of them are now drawn as performing their direful incantations in a tremendous cavern on this savage coast. The picture, notwithstanding the anticipations of our great dramatist, is a very fine one, and merits reproduction alike for the vigour of its tone and the grandeur of its conception.

There, a vast cave, unknown to mortal eyes,
Deep-buried in a pathless forest lies :
Huge icicles, impending from the height
Of beetling cliffs, tinged with transparent light,
Like polish'd spears reversed, its jaws surround,
And shoot their many-colour'd rays around.

But darkness reign'd within ; save when retired,
With quenchless hatred to mankind inspired,
The sisters meet; then mix'd with vap'rous gloom,
Flames bursting through the central point illuine
The dismal cavern; while from realms profound
Spirits unblest arise, and wheel around
In mystic dance. There now in orgies dire,
'Gainst Britain's prince to wreak their ruthless ire,
Valdandi, Skulda join-can man proclaim
Th’unhallow'd rite" the deed without a name !"
The deed, which startles e'en the fiends of night,
At which, if acted in day's sacred light,
The sun, with horror struck, had backward fled,
Or veil'd in dark’ning clouds his blazing head.

B. vi. p. 175. The responses of the demons being of doubtful import, and not such as the sisters require, their invocations are repeated with still more dreadful potency, when Urda, dimly descried through the lurid gloom, approaches with the body of Hengist, yet

insensate from the blow which he had received from the arm of Arthur. She joins in the invocation, reproaching the fiends for their tardy vengeance, and commits her fallen hero to the protection of the sister Fates, in language which breathes all the deep fervour of prophetic enthusiasm :

Spirits of night! reception due prepare : Take him, my sisters, to your guardian care,


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His former strength renew; and through his soul
Bid the swoll'n tides of rage and vengeance roll.
Whate'er the impulse of his mind inspires,
Regard, nor counteract his wild desires;
But whilst his breast with high-wrought fury glows,
Hurl him, like heaven's red bolt, to blast our foes.
I breathe the scent of carnage ! death pursues
His course, and royal blood his steel embrues !
Visions of keen delight! why interpose
These hated clouds, and on the prospect close ?
Sisters, rejoice! behold, enough is known-
Fate aids our will-destruction is our own!
Receive your charge.” This said, she swift enshrouds
Her form of terror 'mid encircling clouds,
And rushing forward on the howling blast,
The groaning forest trembled as she past.

B. vi. p. 177.

Hengist, awakening from his death-like swoon, beholds far other objects than the scenes of terror just described ; for the cavern and its hell-born shapes have vanished, and a hall of exquisite beauty and symmetry meets his view. It is supported by a central pillar of white marble, whose ramifications diverge over the ceiling, and illumined by pendant lamps and reflecting gems, whilst ministering spirits, under the form of beautiful youths, stand round his couch, and endeavour to soothe his ear with the most delightful melody.

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