Page images



THE night it was still, and the moon it shone

Serenely on the Sea,
And the waves at the foot of the rifted rock

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,
But nothing the maid from Palestine

Could of her lover hear.

Full oft she vainly tried to pierce

The Ocean's misty face;
Full oft she thought her lover's bark

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,
A bleak, and blasted oak, o'erspread

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;
Yet still, upheld by the secret charm,

She kept upon her road.

[ocr errors]

And now upon her frozen ear

Mysterious sounds arose, So, on the mountain's piny top,

The blustering North-wind blows. VOL. II.


[ocr errors]

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,
Though each big glaring ball of sight

Seem'd bursting from her head.

But now a pale blue light she saw,

It from a distance came,
She followed, till upon her sight,

Burst full a flood of flame.

She stood appallid; yet still the charm

Upheld her sinking soul,
Yet each bent knee the other smote,

And each wild eye did roll,

And such a sight as she saw there,

No mortal saw before,
And such a sight as she saw there,

No mortal shall see more.

A burning cauldron stood in the midst,

The flame was fierce, and high,
And all the cave so wide and long,

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,
And round about the cauldron stout

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.

« PreviousContinue »