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Down the deep precipice his form he cast,
And midst his country's ruins breath'd his last. 448. Within the navel of this hideous wood,
Immur'd in cypress shades a sorcerer dwells,
Of Bacchus and of Circe born, great Comus,
Deep skill'd in all his mother's witcheries ;
And here to every thirsty wanderer
By sly enticement gives his baneful cup,
With many murmurs mix'd, whose pleasing poison
The visage quite transforms of him that drinks,
And the inglorious likeness of a beast
Fixes instead, unmoulding reason's mintage
Character'd in the face : this have I learnt
Tending my flocks hard by i' the hilly crofts,
That brow this bottom glade ; whence night by
He and his monstrous rout are heard to howl,
Like stabled wolves, or tigers at their prey,
Doing abhorred rites to Hecate
In their obscured haunts of inmost bowers.
Yet have they many baits and guileful spells,
To inveigle and invite the unwary sense
Of them that pass unweeting by the way. 449.
I was all ear,
And took in strains that might create a soul
Under the ribs of death: but, oh! ere long,
Too well I did perceive it was the voice
Of my most honour'd lady, your dear sister.
Amaz’d I stood, harrow'd with grief and fear,
And, O poor hapless nightingale, thought I,
How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly snare!
Then down the lawn I ran with headlong haste,
Through paths and turnings often trod by day,
Till, guided by mine ear, I found the place,
Where that damn'd wizard, hid in sly disguise
(For so by certain signs I knew), had met
Already, ere my best speed could prevent,
The aidless innocent lady, his wish'd prey,
Who gently ask'd if he had seen such two,
Supposing him some neighbour villager.
Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guess’d
Ye were the two she meant: with that I sprung
Into swift flight, till I had found you here ;
But further know I not.
450. S. Ill blows the wind that profits nobody. -
This man, whom hand- to hand I slew in fight,
May be possessed with some store of crowns :
And I, that haply take them from him now,
May yet ere night yield both my life and them
To some man else, as this dead man doth me. -
Who's this? - O God! it is my father's face,
Whom in this conflict I unwares have kill'd.
And I, who at his hands receiv'd my life,
Have by my hands of life bereaved him.
Pardon me, God, I knew not what I did :
And pardon, father, for I knew not thee.
My tears shall wipe away these bloody marks ;
And no more words, till they have flow'd their fill.
K. O piteous spectacle ! O bloody times !
Whilst lions war, and battle for their dens,
Poor harmless lambs abide their enmity.
Weep, wretched man; I'll aid thee tear for tear;
And let our hearts, and eyes, like civil war,
Be blind with tears, and break o'ercharg’d with
451. Many a day had past away
Since they began their arduous way,
Their way of toil and pain ;
And now their weary feet attain
The earth's remotest bound,
Where outer ocean girds it round.
But not like other oceans this,
Rather it seem'd a drear abyss,
Upon whose brink they stood.
O scene of fear! the travellers hear
The raging of the flood :
They hear how fearfully it roars ;
But clouds of darker shade than night,
For ever hovering round those shores,
Hide all things from their sight.
The sun upon that darkness pours
His unavailing light:
Nor ever moon nor stars display,
Through the dark shade, one guiding ray
To show the perils of the way.
452. I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguisb’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless and pathless; and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air.
Morn came, and went and came, and brought no
And they did live by watch-fires ; and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings, the huts,
The habitations of all things that dwell,
Were burnt for beacons. All the world was void,
A waste of death — a solitary wild.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean, all were still,
And nothing stirred within their silent depths.
Ships, sailorless, lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal: as they dropt
They slept on the abyss, without a surge :
The waves were dead, the tides were in their grave,
The moon, their mistress, had expir'd before,
And the clouds perish’d. Darkness had no need
Of aid from them : she was the Universe.
453. A. But one word more, and heaven be with you all.
Since you have led the way, I hope, my lord,
That I am free to marry too. P. Thou art.
A. Let me beseech you, then, to be so kind,
After your own solemnities are done,
To grace my wedding. I shall be married shortly.
P. To whom ? A. To one whom you have ali heard
Your fathers knew him well; one who will never
Give cause I should suspect him to forsake me ;
A constant lover; one whose lips, though cold,
Distil chaste kisses. Though our bridal bed
Be not adorn'd with roses, 'twill be green:
We shall have virgin laurel, cypress, yew,
To make us garlands. Though no pine do burn,
Our nuptials shall have torches, and our chamber
Shall be cut out of marble, where we'll sleep
Free from all care for ever. Death, my lord,
I hope shall be my husband. Now farewell :
Although no kiss, accept my parting tear,
And give me leave to wear my willow here. 454. And dost thou fly from me ? By thy right hand,
By these my tears, since for my wretched self
Is nothing else reserv'd, — by wedlock’s tie,
Our union just begun, if I in aught
To thee was ever sweet, pity, I pray,
My falling house; and, for entreaty yet
If room there be, thy purpose lay aside.
For thy sake, Libya's clans, Numidian lords,
Hate me, and my own Tyrians are displeas’d
Through thee is honour lost, and what alone
Could raise me to the stars, my former fame.
To whom am I, a dying woman, left
By thee my Guest, such only to be call’d
Instead of Husband now? Why do I wait
Until Pygmalion lay these walls in dust,
Or I be captive by Iarbas led ?
Had I but offspring, ere thou fliest, enjoy'd ;
And if, thyself resembling, in my halls
A young Æneas play'd, not wholly then
Should I appear deserted and forlorn.
455. Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge,
Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern,
Beneath them; and descending they were ware
That all the decks were dense with stately forms
Black-stold, black-hooded, like a dream. By these
Three Queens with crowns of gold: and from them
A cry that shiver'd to the tingling stars,
And, as it were one voice, an agony
Of lamentation, like a wind that shrills
All night in a waste land where no one comes,
Or hath come, since the making of the world.
Then murmur'd Arthur, Place me in the barge ;
And to the barge they came. Then those three
Put forth their hands, and took the King, and wept.
But she that rose the tallest of them all
And fairest, laid his head upon her lap,
And loos’d the shatter'd casque, and chaf'd his
And call’d him by his name, complaining loud,
And dropping bitter tears against his brow
Strip'd with dark blood.
456. R. Hold, take this letter; early in the morning
See thou deliver it to my lord and father.
Give me the light. Upon thy life I charge the:',
Whate'er thou hear'st or seest, stand all aloof,
And do not interrupt me in my course.
Why I descend into this bed of death,
Is, partly, to behold my lady's face :