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Ceas'd the bold strain,then deep the Saxon drain'd The ruddy cup, and savage joy uncouth it his blue gleaming eyes: nor sate unmov’d The Briton Chiefs; fierce thoughts began to rise Df ancient wars, and high ancestral fame. Sudden came floating through the hall an air So strangely sweet,the o'erwrought sense scarce felt ts rich excess of pleasure; softer sounds Melt never on the enchanted midnight cool, By haunted spring, where elfin dancers trace Breen circlets on the moonlight dews; nor lull Becalmed mariner from rocks, where basks At summer noon the sea-maid; he his oar Breathless suspends, and motionless his bark Sleeps on the sleeping waters. Now the notes So gently died away, the silence seem'd Melodious; rmerry now and light and blithe They danced on air: anon came tripping forth in frolic grace a maiden troop, their locks [zone Flower-wreathed, their snowy robes from clasped Fell careless drooping, quick their glittering feet 3lanc'd o'er the pavement. Then the pomp of sound Swell’d up, and mounted; as the stately swan, Her milk-white neck embowered in arching spray, Queens it along the waters, entered in The lofty hall a shape so fair, it lull'd The music into silence, yet itself Pour'd out, prolonging the soft extacy, The trembling and the touching of sweet sound. Her grace of motion and of look, the smooth And swimming majesty of step and tread, The symmetry of form and feature, set The soul afloat, even like delicious airs Of flute or harp: as though she trod from earth, And round her wore an emanating cloud Of harmony, the Lady mov’d. Too proud For less than absolute command, too soft For aught but gentle amorous thought: her hair Cluster'd, as from an orb of gold cast out A dazzling and o'erpowering radiance, save Here and there on her snowy neck repos'd In a sooth'd brilliance some thin wandering tress. The azure flashing of her eye was fring'd With virgin meekness, and her tread, that seem'd Earth to disdain, as softly fell on it As the light dew-shower on a tuft of flowers. The soul within seem'd feasting on high thoughts, That to the outward form and feature gave A loveliness of scorn, scorn that to feel Was bliss, was sweet indulgence. Fast sank back Those her fair harbingers, their modest eyes, Downcast, and drooping low their slender necks on graceful reverence; she, by wond'ring gaze
Unmov’d, and stifled murmurs of applause,
HENGIST CONSULTS THE ORACLE.
And now have Hengist and Caswallon climb'd The chariot of the Oracle: no wheels Bear that strange car; like wind along the sea, It glides along the rapid rein-deer's track. Beauteous those gentle rein deer arched their necks And cast their palmy antlers back, and spread Their broad red nostrils to the wind; they hear Old Hengist's voice, like arrows down the wind, Like shot-stars through the welkin start they forth. The car slides light, the deer bound fleet: they pass Dark leagues of pine and fir, the filmy light, Shivering with every motion of the wind. On their brown path lies tremulous; o'er them sails, Heard through the dismal foliage hissing shrill, And hoarser groanings of the swaying boughs, The funeral descant of the ominous birds. Around them the prophetic milk white steeds, Their necks yet virgin of the taming curb, With all their loose long glories, arch, and pass In solemn silence, and regardless paw The unechoing earth. But that old German, set Inflexible with bolder hand to draw The veil of dusk futurity, disdains These tamer omens. Still the car slides light, The deer bound fleet, they pause not, save to quaff The narrow cruise, to share their scanty store. Like swallows o'er the glassy rivers smooth, O'er the pellucid lake, with glittering breast Yet wrinkled with its rippling waves, they skim; The dead unstirring ocean bears them on ; Amid the immortal ice-hills wind they now. In restless change, God's softer summer works Glitter and fade, are born and die, but these, Endiadem’d by undissolving snows, High Potentates of winter's drear domain, Accumulate their everlasting bulk; Eternal and imperishable, stand Amid Creation's swift inconstant round, In majesty of silence undisturb’d,
Save when from their long-menacing brows they
Stands conqueror: and how the Roman conquers,
not from me, The tears thou sheddest feel as though I wrung them From mine own heart, my life blood's dearest
I have enough at home of thoughts like these,
Thou know'st it is a lover's wayward joy
Miriam. With thee! to fly with thee! thou mak'st me fear Lest all the while I have deceived my soul, Excusing to myself our stolen meetings By the fond thought, that for my father's life I labour'd, bearing sustenance from thee, Which he hath deem'd heaven-sent.
Javan. Oh! farewell then The faithless dream, the sweet yet faithless dream, That Miriam loves me !
Miriam. Love thee! I am here, Here at dead midnight by the fountain's side, Trusting thee, Javan, with a faith as fearless As that which the instinctive infant twines To its mother's bosom—Love thee! when the sounds Of massacre are round me, when the shouts
Of frantic men in battle rack the soul
Will it then cease! will it not always sound Sweet, musical as thus? and wilt thou leave me?
Miriam. My father
Miriam' is not thy father
(Oh, that such flowers should bloom on such a stock!)
Oh cease, I pray thee cease !
Javan ' I know that all men hate my father;
Javan. Oh, Miriam what a fatal art hast thou Of winding thought, word, act, to thy sole purpose; The enamouring one even now too much enamour'd I must admire thee more for so denying, Than I had dared if thou hadst fondly granted. Thou dost devote thyself to utterest peril, And me to deepest anguish; yet even now Thou art lovelier to me in thy cold severity Flying me, leaving me without a joy, Without a hope on earth, without thyself; Thou art lovelier now than if thy yielding soul Had smiled on me a passionate consent. Go; for I see thy parting homeward look, Go in thy beauty like a setting star, The last in all the thick and moonless heavens, O'er the lone traveller in the trackless desert. Go! if this dark and miserable earth