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Perhaps you'd better not-but that's all taste;
Some think but lightly of a face; more stress
Is laid by others on a taper waist;
And some lay most upon the air or dress;
Hands, arms, or feet, claim others' approbation;
But as for me, I like a combination.
But this is a digression: eight o'clock
Proclaim'd aloud from every tower and steeple,
That Notre Dame, St. Sulpice, and St. Roch,
Were sending forth their priests among the people,
Loaded with blessings, ready to bestow them
On all to whom the morning air might blow them.
First, floating banners, moving onward, told
The holy cavalcade was now in motion;
Then scores of virgins, rather plain and old
To be themselves the objects of devotion,
A pretty substitute in rose-leaves found,
Which they from holy vessels scatter'd round.
Then cavaliers, dress'd out in all their orders,
Looking less humble than perhaps they might;
And priests, with crimson robes and golden borders,
Their precious charge supported, left and right:
And in the rear, which would the most engross you,
Devoutly walked the Duchesses* and Monsieur.
Alas! alas! there came a sad mishap;
Who could have guess’d,—the sky so clear at seven?
A flash of lightning, and a thunder-clap,
Rais'd all the eyes of devotees to heaven;
But two or three drops of rain might well excuse
Their quick transition to their robes and shoes.
The rain in torrents pour’d, the flowing street
By Dames and Messieurs was deserted quite;
Thus to neglect a spiritual treat
For straw and silks was surely far from right;
The most devout expected no miracle ;
But all were vexed at losing the spectacle.
Byron. The seal is set.-Now welcome thou dread power!
Nameless, yet thus omnipotent--which here Walk'st in the shadow of the midnight hour,
With a deep awe, yet all distinct from fear;
Thy haunts are ever where the dead walls rear
Their ivy mantles; and the solemn scene
Derives from thee a sense so deep and clear,
That we become a part of what has been,
And grow unto the spot, all seeing, but unseen.
And here the buzz of eager nations ran
In murmur'd pity or loud-roar'd applause,
As man was slaughter'd by his fellow man.
And wherefore slaughter'd ? wherefore but because
Such were the bloody circus' genial laws,
And the imperial pleasure ?-Wherefore not ?
What matters where we fall to fill the maws
Of worms--on battle plains or listed spot ?
Both are but theatres where chief actors rot.
I see before me the Gladiator lie :
He leans upon his hand-his manly brow
Consents to death, but conquers agony ;
And his droop'd head sinks gradually low;
And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow
From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one,
Like the first of a thunder shower; and now
The arena swims around him-he is gone
Ere ceas'd the inhuman shout which hail'd the wretch
He heard it, but he heeded not-his eyes
Were with his heart, and that was far away ;
He reck'd not of the life he lost, nor prize,
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay-
There were his young barbarians all at play,
There was their Dacian mother-he, their sire,
Butcher'd to make a Roman holiday !
All this rush'd with his blood.-Shall he expire,
And unaveng'd ?-Arise, ye Goths, and glut your ire !
THE bell for the Compline, with echoing roar,
Had called to their mass the young monks of St. Goar ;
And their banquet they left, and its bacchanal strains,
With a little too much Rhenish wine in their brains :
The young monks of St. Goar Were wilder than any monks since or before ; You'd have thought that each merry eyed skaven young spark Had come up the Rhine from the convent of Lark.
At last it was over, the prayers were said,
And the monks swarmed giddily off to bed,
Like a cluster of tipsy bees.
Within 'twas all snug ; but the north wind without
Was indulging itself in a terrible rout,
As chimnies and gables it blew in and out,
And rattled the vanes and the casements about;
Now mimicking laughter, shrieks, whistle, and shout-
Sometimes whirling off a loose pantile or spout
To the cloisters below, with a deuce of a clout,
Or stripping a branch from the trees.
At length in the corridors old was not step heard,
But all was as still as the night when J. Sheppard,
With footsteps as stealthy as panther or leopard,
Escaped from his dread doom
By leaving the “red room,
Exclaiming, as if all upbraiding to smother,
“Each brick I take out brings me nearer my mother."
(If you ask for the last rhyme to whom I'm in debt,
I confess that it comes from the song of “We Met;"
In which some young lady much given to languish,
Abuses her mother for giving her anguish.)
But young Father Winkle, he went not to sleep,
For he had that night an appointment to keep,
So stealthily down the back stairs he did creep,
And crossing the cloister whilst sounded the hour,
He reached the old gate of the almoner's tower,
Where, coaxing the lock with a huge gothic key,
He let in the guest he expected to see.
It was not a penitent come to confess,
Nor a foot-weary pilgrim in want or distress,
But-o pudor! O mores!-a beautiful girl!
Who entered the room with a bound and a irl,
Which the “omnibus heads” would have set in a whirl,
Though pretty Cerito most jealous might feel,
With Planquet and Scheffee, and little Camille ;
In a very short dress of the loveliest green,
More fine and transparent than ever was seen,
Boufféed by a jupe of the best crinoline.
By what chance she
First came to be
Within St. Goar's proud monastery,
We know not well;
But the chronicles tell
Qu'elle avait une gorge extrêmement belle.
Young Father Winkle fondly gazed upon the lovely form,
Through whose fair skin the vivid blood was blushing young and
And felt how beauty's presence proved “a comfort in a storm ;"
He looked upon her flowing hair, so glossy, dark, and long;
Her eyes so bright, whose magic might cannot be told in song;
And then his conscience whisper'd he was doing very ong,
Although he thought in such a case the fault might be excused;
For when by some fair creature's guiles, poor mortals are amused,
Their just ideas of right and wrong are terribly confused.
However firm one's self-command, all resolution trips
Beneath the mesmerising thrill of woman's ruby lips.
But 'tis an adage known full well,
That folks should never kiss and tell;
Or else we might have shown
That the first meeting of the two,
And greeting eke which did ensue,
Was not of words alone.
“ Now come with me," the fair one cried ;
“ In these dull cells no longer 'bide.
I will become thy river bride,
And o'er my realms thou shalt preside
Away-the dawn is near ;
The wind is hushed, the storm has passed
The sky no longer is o'ercast;
And see, the moon begins to shine,
Upon the mountains of the Rhine,
In radiance bright and clear.
Then come with me, and we will go
Where the rocks of coral grow.”-
(I've heard these lines before, I know.)
Father Winkle cried—“Stay!
I've a trifle to say
Ere thus from
draw me astray ;
My beautiful Lurley, one instant delay-
Each wish that you utter I burn to obey ;
But in truth, love, I don't very well see my way,
For though many people I've met heretofore
Find keeping their heads above water a bore,
Yet keeping mine under would puzzle me more.
With your own pretty self, as my sentiments prove,
I'm over my head and my ears now in love,
And I cannot well see what I gain by the move.
Replied Lurline, "My dear,
You have nothing to fear;
You would sleep just as well in the Rhine's bed as here."
Said Winkle, said he,
6. That bed won't do for me ;
For its bedding would nothing but winding-sheets be,
And I can't bear wet blankets in any degree.
In accepting your offer, to me it seems clear,
That I only should get in so novel a sphere-
my bed and my board, but my bed and my bier."
"My Winkle," said Lurline, repressing a frown.
The bed of the Rhine is of costliest down."
“Yes, down at the bottom, my own one, I know;
But I'm downy too;—no, I don't think I'll go.'
Then Lurline looked mournfully up in his eye,
With a face at once impudent, tearful, and sly,
And a sweet petit mince, as if going to cry,
As she said: “Can it be? Would you leave me to die?
Farewell, cruel Winkle! from hence I shall fly:
Think of Lurline—sometimes I am going—Good bye !”
Thus speaking, the nymph waved her hand in adieu,
And e'er he could answer, dissolved like a view.
But fair Lurline knew
What was sure to accrue,
When from Winkle's fond eyes she so quickly withdrew!
And she said to herself, as she stepped through the wall,
I was never yet foil'd-You'll be mine after all.”
There's a boat
On the edge of the Rhine,
With a sail
When a gale Should blow on the right line; And Winkle had heard of a jolly young waterman, Who at St. Goar's hausen used for to ply. So he stayed not a second-you would not have thought a man Not over lean could so rapidly flyAnd down to the river he ran like a shot; But when he arrived there, the boatman was not: For, during the night-time, all traffic was dull, And the waterman taking his rest in the lull, With an eider-down pillow had feathered his skull. But there lay the barky, sail, rudder, and oar, All properly stamped with the cross of St. Goar, As ordered to be by the Burgraves of yore; For the Burgraves of yore were a terrible clique: If they wished a thing done, they had only to speak, And none dared to show, at their visits, his pique; Although Victor Hugo, they tell us, was grieved To find that his Burgraves were coldly received.
But though there was no watchman the fragile boat to guide,
The fevered monk pushed off from shore, and launched it in the tide.
The wind was right, the bark was light, the Father's arm was strong,
And, darting through the foaming waves, they swiftly flew along.
High on the right, the Rheinfel's Keep slept in the moon's cold gleam,
Whilst opposite, the lofty Katz was frowning on the streamt
And round the huge basaltic rocks, one on the other piled,
The roaring waves leapt and chaf'd, in whirlpools swift and wild :
Until, beneath the Lurleyberg, half hidden by the foam,
The monk and boat at last drew near fair Lurline's echoing home,