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They said the glance of an evil eye
Had been on the knight's prosperity:
Less swift on the quarry his falcon went,
Less true was his hound on the wild deer's scent,
And thrice in the list he came to the earth,
By the luckless chance of a broken girth.
And Poverty soon in her rags was seen
At the board where Plenty erst had been ;
And the guests smiled not as they smiled before,
And the song of the minstrel was heard no more.
And a base ingrate, who was his foe,
Because, a little month ago,
He had cut him down, with friendly ardour,
From a rusty hook in an Ogre's larder,
Invented an atrocious fable, . .
And libelled his fame at the Royal Table :
And she at last, the worshipped one,
For whom his valorous deeds were done,
Who had heard his vows, and worn his jewels,
And made him fight so many duels,-
She, too, when Fate's relentless wheel
Deprived him of the Privy Seal,
Bestowed her smiles upon another,
And gave his letters to her mother.
Fortune and fame,-- he had seen them depart, With the silent pride of a valiant heart : Traitorous friends,-- he had passed them by, With a haughty brow and a stifled sigh.
Boundless and black might roll the sea,
O'er which the course of his bark must be ;
But he saw, through the storms that frowned above,
One guiding star, and its light was Love.
Now all was dark; the doom was spoken!
His wealth all spent, and his heart half-broken,
Poor youth, he had no earthly hope,
Except in laudanum, or a rope.
He ordered out his horse, and tried,
As the Leech advised, a gentle ride.
A pleasant path he took,
Where the turf, all bright with the April showers,
Was spangled with a hundred flowers,
Beside a murmuring brook.
Never before had he roved that way;
And now, on a sunny first of May,
He chose the turning, you may guess,
Not for the laughing loveliness
Of turf, or flower, or stream; but only
Because it looked extremely lonely.
He had wandered, musing, scarce a mile,
In his melancholy mood,
When, peeping o’er a rustic stile,
He saw a little village smile,
Embowered in thick wood.
There were small cottages, arrayed
In the delicate jasmin's fragrant shade;
And gardens, whence the rose's bloom
Loaded the gale with rich perfume ;
And there were happy hearts ; for all
In that bright nook kept festival,
And welcomed in the merry May
With banquet and with roundelay.
Sir Isumbras sate gazing there,
With folded arms, and monrnful air ;
He fancied,—'t was an idle whim,-
That the village looked like a home to him.
And now a gentle maiden came,
Leaving her sisters and their game,
And wandered up the vale ;
Sir Isumbras had never seen
A thing so fair,-except the Queen,-
But out on passion's doubts and fears !
Her beautiful eyes were full of tears,
And her cheeks were wan and pale. None courted her stay of the joyous throng,
As she passed from the group alone ; And he listened, which was very wrong, And heard her singing a lively song,
In a very dismal tone.
“ Deep is the bliss of the belted knight,
When he kisses at dawn the silken glove, And goes, in his glittering armour dight,
To shiver a lance for his Lady love!”
That thrilling voice,—so soft and clear,
Was it familiar to his ear?
And those delicious drooping eyes,
As blue and as pure as the summer skies,
Had he, indeed, in other days,
Been blessed in the light of their holy rays ?
He knew not; but his knee he bent
Before her in most knightly fashion, And grew superbly eloquent
About her beauty, and his passion. He said that she was very fair,
And that she warbled like a linnet ; And that he loved her, though he ne'er
Had looked upon her till that minute. He grieved to mention, that a Jew
Had seized for debt his grand pavilion ; And he had little now, 'twas true,
To offer, but a heart and pillion : But what was wealth ?-In many a fight,
Though he, who should n't say it, said it,He still had borne him like a knight,
And had his share of blows and credit ; And, if she would but condescend
To meet him at the Priest's to-morrow, And be henceforth his guide, his friend,
In every toil, in every sorrow,
They'd sail instanter from the Downs ;
His hands just now were quite at leisure ; And, if she fancied foreign crowns,
He’d win them with the greatest pleasure.
“ A year is gone,"—the damsel sighed,
But blushed not, as she so replied, -
“ Since one I loved,-alas! how well
He knew not, knows not,- left our dell.
Time brings to his deserted cot
No tidings of his after lot;
But his weal or woe is still the theme
Of my daily thought, and my nightly dream.
Poor Alice is not proud or coy;
But her heart is with her minstrel boy.”
Away from his arms the damsel bounded,
And left him more and more confounded.
He mused of the present, he mused of the past,
And he felt that a spell was o'er him cast ;
He shed hot tears, he knew not why,
And talked to himself and made reply,
Till a calm o'er his troubled senses crept,
And, as the daylight waned, he slept.
Poor gentleman! - I need not say,
Beneath an ancient oak he lay.
“ He is welcome,”-o'er his bed, Thus the beauteous Fairy said;