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Indignantly he blew his nose,
And overturned a flagon. And “Away," quoth he, “with the canting priest, Who comes uncalled to a midnight feast, And breathes through a helmet his holy benison, To sour my hock, and spoil my venison !" That moment all the lights went out; And they dragged him forth, that rabble rout, With oath, and threat, and foul scurrility, And every sort of incivility. They barred the gates; and the peal of laughter, Sudden and shrill, that followed after, Died off into a dismal tone, Like a parting spirit's painful moan. “I wish,” said Rudolph, as he stood On foot in the deep and silent wood; “I wish, good Roland, rack and stable May be kinder to-night than their master's table !'
By this the storm had fleeted by ;
And the moon with a quiet smile looked out
Flinging her silvery beams about
With just as miscellaneous bounty
In half-an-hour on half the county.
As he turned from that discourteous tower.
On either side ; and many a flower, Lily, and violet, and heart's-ease,
Grew by the way, a fragrant border ; And the tangled bows of the hoary trees
Were twined in picturesque disorder :
And there came from the grove, and there came
from the hill The loveliest sounds he had ever heard, The cheerful voice of the dancing rill,
And the sad sad song of the lonely bird. And at last he stared with wondering eyes,
As well he might, on a large pavilion : 'Twas clothed with stuffs of a hundred dyes,
Blue, purple, orange, pink, vermilion ; And there were quaint devices traced
All round in the Saracenic manner; And the top, which gleamed like gold, was graced
With the drooping folds of a silken banner ; And on the poles, in silent pride,
There sat small doves of white enamel ; And the veil from the entrance was drawn aside,
And flung on the humps of a silver camel. In short it was the sweetest thing
For a weary youth in a wood to light on; And finer far than what a King
Built up, to prove his taste, at Brighton.
The gilded gate was all unbarred ;
With paintings, and an ivory lute,
Beneath a crimson canopy,
A lady, passing fair, was lying ; Deep sleep was on her gentle eye,
And in her slumber she was sighing Bewitching sighs, such sighs as say
Beneath the moonlight, to a lover, Things which the coward tongue by day
Would not, for all the world, discover
For the warm evening's sultriness,
The glory of her loveliness,
Or here and there a wayward tress, Which wandered out with vast assurance From the pearls that kept the rest in durance, And fluttered about, as if 'twould try To lure a zephyr from the sky.
“Bertha !” large drops of anguish came
Sir Rudolph hid his burning face
Oh ! pity will be slow to guess them;
Did good Sir Rudolph e'er confess them. But soon his spirit you might deem Came forth from the shade of the fearful dream; His cheek, though pale, was calm again, And he spoke in peace, though he spoke in pain :
“Not mine! not mine! now Mary, mother,
His purple mantle, rich and wide,
And flung it o'er those dangerous charms,
The swelling neck, and the rounded arms. Once more he looked, once more he sighed; And away, away from the perilous tent,
Swift as the rush of an eagle's wing,
Or the flight of a shaft from Tartar string, Into the wood Sir Rudolph went: Not with more joy the schoolboys run To the gay green fields, when their task is done ;Not with more haste the members fly, When Hume has caught the Speaker's eye.
At last the daylight came; and then
Within the sound of the Castle clock
Beside the rock there is an oak,