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INTRODUCTION TO THE TALE OF THE
O LEAVE the lily on its stem;
spray; O leave the elder bloom, fair maids !
And listen to my lay.
A cypress and a myrtle-bough
Its murmurs in the wind.
And now a tale of love and woe,
And trembles on the string.
But most, my own dear Genevieve,
Befell the Dark Ladie !*
And now once more, a tale of woe,
And trembles on the string.
* Here followed the stanzas, afterwards published sepa. rately under the title “Love," (see this vol. p. 122,) and after them came the other three stanzas printed above ; the whole forming the introduction to the intended Dark Ladie, of which all that exists is to be found at p. 127.Late Ed.
When last I sang the cruel scorn,
Nor rested day or night;
I promised thee a sister tale, of man's perfidious cruelty ; Come, then, and hear what cruel wrong
Befell the Dark Ladie.
THE BALLAD OF THE DARK LADIE.
BENEATH yon birch with silver bark,
And boughs so pendulous and fair, The brook falls scattered down the rock, And all is
And there upon the moss she sits,
And drops and swells again.
Three times she sends her little page
The Griffin for his crest.
The sun was sloping down the sky, And she had lingered there all day, Counting moments, dreaming fears
O! wherefore can he stay ?
She hears a rustling o'er the brook,
She sees far off a swinging bough! “ 'Tis he! 'Tis my betrothed Knight!
Lord Falkland, it is Thou !"
She springs, she clasps him round the neck,
She quenches with her tears.
“My friends with rude ungentle words
O shield and shelter me!
“My Henry, I have given thee much,
thee all !”
The Knight made answer to the Maid, While to his heart he held her hand, “Nine castles hath my noble sire,
None statelier in the land :
“ The fairest one shall be my love's,
The fairest shall be thine
“Wait only till the band of eve
Hath wholly closed yon western bars,
Beneath the twinkling stars !”—
« The dark ? the dark ? No! not the dark ? The twinkling stars! How, Henry? How? O God ! 'twas in the eye of noon
He pledged his sacred vow!
“And in the eye of noon, my love
Strewing flow'rs before :
But first the nodding minstrels go
Strewing buds and flowers !
“ And then my love and I shall pace, My jet black hair in pearly braids, Between our comely bachelors
And blushing bridal maids !"
OR THE CIRCASSIAN LOVE-CHAUNT.
AT midnight by the stream I roved,
To forget the form I loved. Image of Lewti! from my mind Depart; for Lewti is not kind.
The Moon was high, the moonlight gleam
And the shadow of a star Heaved upon Tamaha's stream ;
But the rock shone brighter far,
The rock half sheltered from my view
Gleaming through her sable hair,
Onward to the moon it passed;
Till it reached the moon at last:
And with such joy I find my Lewti; And even so my pale, wan cheek,
Drinks in as deep a flush of beauty ! Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind, If Lewti never will be kind.
The little cloud-it floats away,
Away it goes; away so soon?
Away it passes from the moon!
Ever fading more and more, To joyless regions of the sky,
And now 'tis whiter than before ! As white as my poor cheek will be,
When Lewti! on my couch I lie, A dying man for love of thee. Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind And yet, thou did'st not look unkind.