To Palestine hastened the hero so bold;

His love she lamented him sore:

But scarce had a twelvemonth elapsed, when behold,
A Baron all covered with jewels and gold
Arrived at Fair Imogine's door.

His treasure, his presents, his spacious domain,
Soon made her untrue to her vows:

He dazzled her eyes; he bewildered her brain;
He caught her affections so light and so vain,
And carried her home as his spouse.

And now had the marriage been blessed by the priest ; The revelry now was begun:

The tables they groaned with the weight of the feast; Nor yet had the laughter and merriment ceased,

When the bell of the castle tolled-ONE!

Then first with amazement Fair Imogine found
That a stranger was placed by her side;

His air was terrific; he uttered no sound;

He spoke not, he moved not, he looked not around,

But earnestly gazed on the bride.

Impiger Eoas miles properavit ad oras,
Assiduis flevit questibus illa virum ;
Sed vix transierat cursus revolubilis anni,
(Heu! miseras annus protulit ille vices,)
Venit eques gemmisque nitens auroque decorus,
Virginis et mostas adstitit ante fores.

Dona videt gazasque, agros videt illa patentes,
Nec puduit voti non meminisse sui.
Obstupuere oculi; mentem dementia cepit;
Et novus infidæ pectore fervet amor.

Heu levis inconstans priscum non servat amorem,
Jungitur atque alii perfida dextra viro.
Jamque illis ritus sacravit voce sacerdos ;
Bacchatur plena turba potita dape,
Mensa sub impositis epulis onerata laborat,
Et reboant crebris atria celsa jocis.
Necdum lætitiæ risus strepitusque quiêrant,
Quum campana novum prodidit icta diem.
Obstupuit virgo, vultus tremefacta decoros,
Ignotum cernens accubuisse virum.

Terribilis vultu, formaque et corpore toto,
Dignatur nullos reddere voce sonos.

Non loquitur, non membra movet, non vertit ocellos,
At nuptæ vultus figit in ora suos.

His vizor was closed, and gigantic his height;

His armour was sable to view:

All pleasure and laughter were hushed at his sight;
The dogs, as they eyed him, drew back in affright;
The lights in the chamber burnt blue!

His presence all bosoms appeared to dismay;

The guests sat in silence and fear;

At length spoke the bride, while she trembled: "I pray,

Sir Knight, that your helmet aside you would lay,
And deign to partake of our cheer."

The lady is silent: the stranger complies,

His vizor he slowly unclosed:

Oh! then what a sight met Fair Imogine's eyes!
What words can express her dismay and surprise,
When a skeleton's head was exposed!

All present then uttered a terrified shout;
All turn'd with disgust from the scene.

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The worms they crept in, and the worms they crept out, And sported his eyes and his temples about,

While the spectre addressed Imogine:


Induerat magnos armis nigrantibus artus,
Ora sub obscura casside tecta latent.
Illo lætitiæ viso risusque quiescunt,

Horrendum refugit cernere quisque virum.
Pertimuere canes visum, pavidique recedunt;
Cærulea e trepida lampade flamma micat.
Illius attonitam terret præsentia turbam,
Nescio quis cunctis horror in ore sedet.
Pallescunt taciti; tandem nova nupta profatur,
Edere vix tremulas hospitis ausa preces.

Dignare oh! tandem galeam deponere vultu,

Nec pudeat nostras participare dapes."

Illa silet, precibusque simul novus annuit hospes,
Et galeam a cæco segnius ore movet.
Di tale ex oculis Superi defendite monstrum,
Qualé oculis visum virginis attonitæ !
Nescio qua præter solitum formidine victa,
Expositum spectri vidit inane caput.

Obstupuere omnes, strepitumque dedere paventes,
Cernere nec tantum sustinuere nefas.

Motubus alternis vermes repsere per artus,

Luseruntque oculis temporibusque cavis, Dum caput horrificum volvens et inania vultus Aggreditur nuptam talibus umbra sonis:

"Behold me, thou false one! behold me!" he cried; "Remember Alonzo the Brave!

God grants, that, to punish thy falsehood and pride, My ghost at thy marriage should sit by thy side, Should tax thee with perjury, claim thee as bride, And bear thee away to the grave!"

Thus saying, his arms round the lady he wound,
While loudly she shrieked in dismay;

Then sank with his prey through the wide-yawning


Nor ever again was Fair Imogine found,

Or the spectre who bore her away.

Not long lived the Baron: and none since that time

To inhabit the castle presume;

For chronicles tell, that, by order sublime,

There Imogine suffers the pain of her crime,

And mourns her deplorable doom.

At midnight four times in each year does her sprite,
When mortals in slumber are bound,

Arrayed in her bridal apparel of white,
Appear in the hall with the skeleton-knight,

And shriek as he whirls her around.

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