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THE night it was still, and the moon it shone
Serenely on the Sea,
They murmur'd pleasantly.
When Gondoline roam'd along the shore,
A maiden full fair to the sight; Though love had made bleak the rose on her cheek,
And turn'd it to deadly white.
Her thoughts they were drear, and the silent tear
It filld her faint blue eye, As oft she heard, in fancy's ear,
Her Bertrand's dying sigh.
Her Bertrand was the bravest youth
Of all our good King's men, And he was gone to the Holy Land
To fight the Saracen.
And many a month had pass'd away,
And many a rolling year,
Could of her lover hear.
Full oft she vainly tried to pierce
The Ocean's misty face;
She on the wave could trace.
And every night she placed a light
In the high rock's lonely tower, To guide her lover to the land,
Should the murky tempest lower.
But now despair bad seiz'd her breast,
And sunken in her eye: “Oh! tell me but if Bertrand live,
“ And I in peace will die"
She wanderd o'er the lonely shore,
The Curlew scream'd above, She heard the scream with a sickening heart,
Much boding of her love.
Yet still she kept her lonely way,
And this was all her cry, “ Oh! tell me but if Bertrand live,
“ And I in peace shall die.”
And now she came to a horrible rift
All in the rock's bard side,
The cavern yawning wide,
And pendant from its dismal top
The deadly night-shade hung, The hemlock, and the aconite,
Across the mouth were flung.
And all within, was dark, and drear,
And all without, was calm, Yet Gondoline entered, her soul upheld
By some deep-working charm.
And, as she enter'd the cavern wide,
The moonbeam gleamed pale, And she saw a snake on the craggy rock,
It clung by its slimy tail.
Her foot it slipp'd, and she stood aghast,
She trod on a bloated toad;
She kept upon her road.
And now upon her frozen ear
Mysterious sounds arose, So, on the mountain's piny top,
The blustering North-wind blows. VOL. II.
Then furious peals of laughter loud
We're heard with thundering sound, Till they died away, in soft decay,
Low whispering o'er the ground.
Yet still the maiden onward went,
The charm yet onward led,
Seem'd bursting from her head.
But now a pale blue light she saw,
It from a distance came,
Burst full a flood of flame.
She stood appallid; yet still the charm
Upheld her sinking soul,
And each wild eye did roll,
And such a sight as she saw there,
No mortal saw before,
No mortal shall see more.
A burning cauldron stood in the midst,
The flame was fierce, and high,
Was plainly seen thereby.
And round about the cauldron stout
Twelve withered witches stood: Their waists were bound with living snakes,
And their hair was stiff with blood.
Their hands were gory too; and red
And fiercely, flamed their eyes ; And they were muttering indistinct
Their hellish mysteries.
And suddenly they join'd their hands,
And uttered a joyous cry,
They danced right merrily.
And now they stopt; and each prepared
To tell what she had done, Since last the Lady of the night,
Her waning course had run.
Behind a rock stood Gondoline,
Thick weeds her face did veil, And she lean'd fearful forwarder,
To hear the dreadful tale.
The first arose : She said she'd seen
Rare sport, since the blind cat mew'd, She'd been to sea, in a leaky sieve, And a jovial storm bad brew'd.