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THE GOLDEN LEGEND.

PROLOGUE.

THE SPIRE OF STRASBURG CATHEDRAL.

Night and storm. LUCIFER, with the Powers of the Air, trying

to tear down the Cross.

LUCIFER.

HASTEN! hasten!
Oye spirits !
From its station drag the ponderous
Cross of iron, that to mock us
Is uplifted high in air!

VOICES.
0, we cannot!
For around it
All the Saints and Guardian Angels
Throng in legions to protect it;
They defeat us everywhere!

THE BELLS.

Laudo Deum verum!
Plebem voco!
Congrego clerum!

Longfellow. II.

1

LUCIFER.

Lower! lower!
Hover downward !
Seize the loud, vociferous bells, and
Clashing, clanging, to the pavement
Hurl them from their windy tower!

VOICES.
All thy thunders
Here are harmless!
For these bells have been anointed,
And baptized with holy water!
They defy our utmost power.

THE BELLS.
Defunctos ploro!
Pestem fugo!
Festa decoro!

LUCIFER.

Shake the casements!;
Break the painted
Panes, that flame with gold and crimson;
Scatter them like leaves of Autumn,
Swept away before the blast!

VOICES.

0, we cannot!
The Archangel
Michael flames from every window,
With the sword of fire that drove us
Headlong, out of heaven, ayhast!

7

THE BELLS.

Funera plango!
Fulgura frango!
Sabbata pango!

LUCIFER.

Aim your lightnings
At the oaken,
Massive, iron-studded portals!
Sack the house of God, and scatter
Wide the ashes of the dead!

VOICES.

0, we cannot!
The Apostles
And the Martyrs, wrapped in mantles,
Stand as warders at the entrance,
Stand as sentinels o'erhead!

THE BELLS.
Excito lentos!
Dissipo ventos!
Paco cruentos!

LUCIFER.

Baffled! baffled!
Inefficient,
Craven spirits! leave this labor
Unto Time, the great Destroyer!
Come away, ere night is gone!

VOICES.

Onward! onward!
With the night-wind,
Over field and farm and forest,
Lonely homestead, darksome hamlet,
Blighting all we breathe upon!

They sweep away. Organ and Gregorian Chant.

[blocks in formation]

I.

THE CASTLE OF VAUTSBERG ON THE RHINE.

A chamber in a tower. PRINCE HENRY, sitting alone, ill and

restless. Midnight.

PRINCE HENRY.

I CANNOT sleep! my fervid brain
Calls

up the vanished Past again,
And throws its misty splendors deep
Into the pallid realms of sleep!
A breath from that far-distant shore
Comes freshening ever more and more,
And wafts o'er intervening seas
Sweet odors from the Hesperides!
A wind, that through the corridor
Just stirs the curtain, and no more,
And, touching the æolian strings,
Faints with the burden that it brings !
Come back! ye friendships long departed!
That like o'erflowing streamlets started,
And now are dwindled, one by one,
To stony channels in the sun!
Come back! ye friends, whose lives are ended,
Come back, with all that light attended,
Which seemed to darken and decay
When ye arose and went away!

They come, the shapes of joy and woe,
The airy crowds of long-ago,
The dreams and fancies known of yore,
That have been, and shall be no more.

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