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"And he will meet thee on the way

"With all his numerous array

"White with their panting palfreys' foam,

"And, by mine honour! I will say,

"That I repent me of the day

"When I spake words of fierce disdain

"To Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine !—

"—For since that evil hour hath flown,

"Many a summer's sun have shone;

"Yet ne'er found I a friend again

"Like Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine."

The lady fell, and clasped his knees,
Her face uprais'd, her eyes o'erflowing;
And Bracy replied, with faltering voice,
His gracious hail on all bestowing :—
Thy words, thou sire of Christabel,
Are sweeter than my harp can tell;

Yet might I gain a boon of thee,
This day my journey should not be,
So strange a dream hath come to me:
That I had vow'd with music loud
To clear yon wood from thing unblest,
Warn'd by a vision in my rest!
For in my sleep I saw that dove,
That gentle bird, whom thou dost love,
And call'st by thy own daughter's name—
Sir Leoline! I saw the same,
Fluttering, and uttering fearful moan,
Among the green herbs in the forest alone.
Which when I saw and when I heard,
I wonder'd what might ail the bird:;
For nothing near it could I see,
Save the grass and green herbs underneath the
old tree.

And in my dream, methought, I went

To search out what might there be found;

And what the sweet bird's trouble meant,
That thus lay fluttering on the ground.
I went and peer'd, and could descry
No cause for her distressful cry;
But yet for her dear lady's sake
I stoop'd, methought the dove to take,
When lo! I saw a bright green snake
Coil'd around its wings and neck.
Green as the herbs on which it couched,
Close by the dove's its head it crouched ;
And with the dove it heaves and stirs,
Swelling its neck as she swell'd hers!
I woke; it was the midnight hour,
The clock was echoing in the tower;
But tho' my slumber was gone by,
This dream it would not pass away—
It seems to live upon my eye!
And thence I vow'd this self-same day,
With music strong and saintly song

To wander thro' the forest bare,
Lest aught unholy loiter there.

Thus Bracy said: the Baron, the while,

Half-listening heard him with a smile;

Then turn'd to Lady Geraldine,

His eyes made up of wonder and love;

And said in courtly accents fine,

Sweet maid, Lord Roland's beauteous dove,

With arms more strong than harp or song,

Thy sire and I will crush the snake!

He kiss'd her forehead as he spake,

And Geraldine in maiden wise,

Casting down her large bright eyes,

With blushing cheek and courtesy fine

She turn'd her from Sir Leoline;

Softly gathering up her train,

That o'er her right arm fell again;

And folded her arms across her chest,

And couch'd her head upon her breast,

And look'd askance at Christabel

Jesu, Maria, shield her well!

A snake's small eye blinks dull and shy,

And the lady's eyes they shrunk in her head,

Each shrunk up to a serpent's eye,

And with somewhat of malice, and more of dread

At Christabel she look'd askance!

One moment—and the sight was fled!
But Christabel in dizzy trance,
Stumbling on the unsteady ground—
Shudder'd aloud, with a hissing sound;
And Geraldine again turn'd round,
And like a thing, that sought relief,
Full of wonder and full of grief,
She rolled her large bright eyes divine
Wildly on Sir Leoline.

The maid, alas! her thoughts are gone,
She nothing sees—no sight but one!

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