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Stretch forth thy hand, and have no fear,
Said Christabel, How cam'st thou here?
And the lady, whose voice was faint and sweet,
Did thus pursue her answer meet:—

My sire is of a noble line,

And my name is Geraldine.

Five warriors seiz'd me yestormorn,

Me, even me, a maid forlorn:

They chok'd my cries with force and fright,

And tied me on a palfrey white.

The palfrey was as fleet as wind,

And they rode furiously behind.

They spurred amain, their steeds were white;

And once we cross'd the shade of night.

As sure as Heaven shall rescue me,

I have no thought what men they be;

Nor do I know how long it is

(For I have lain in fits, I wis)

Since one, the tallest of the five,

Took me from the palfrey's back,

A weary woman, scarce alive.

Some mutter'd words his comrades spoke:

He plac'd me underneath this oak,

He swore they would return with haste;

Whither they went I cannot tell—

I thought I heard, some minutes past,

Sounds as of a castle bell.

Stretch forth thy hand (thus ended she),

And help a wretched maid to flee.

Then Christabel stretch'd forth her hand

And comforted fair Geraldine,

Saying, that she should command

The service of Sir Leoline';

And straight be convoy'd, free from thrall,

Back to her noble father's hall.

So up she rose, and forth they pass'd,
With hurrying steps, yet nothing fast;
Her lucky stars the lady blest,
And Christabel she sweetly said—
All our household are at rest,
Each one sleeping in his bed;
Sir Leoline is weak in health,
And may not well awaken'd be;
So to my room we'll creep in stealth,
And you to-night must sleep with me.

They cross'd the moat, and Christabel

Took the key that fitted well;

A little door she open'd straight,

All in the middle of the gate;

The gate that was iron'd within and without,

Where an army in battle array had march'd out.

The lady sank, belike thro' pain,
And Christabel with might and main
Lifted her up, a weary weight,
Over the threshold of the gate:
Then the lady rose again,
And mov'd, as she were not in pain.

So free from danger, free from fear,

They cross'd the court: right glad they were.

And Christabel devoutly cried,

To the lady by her side,

Praise we the Virgin all divine

Who hath rescued thee from thy distress!

Alas, alas! said Geraldine,

I cannot speak for weariness.

So free from danger, free from fear,

They cross'd the court: right glad they were.

Outside her kennel, the mastiff old
Lay fast asleep, in moonshine cold.
The mastiff old did not awake,
Yet she an angry moan did make!
And what can ail the mastiff bitch?
Never till now she utter'd yell
Beneath the eye of Christabel.
Perhaps it is the owlet's scritch:
For what can ail the mastiff bitch?

They pass'd the hall, that echoes still,

Pass as lightly as you will!

The brands were flat, the brands were dying,

Amid their own white ashes lying;

But when the lady pass'd, there came

A tongue of light, a fit of flame;

And Christabel saw the lady's eye,

And nothing else saw she thereby,

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