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home to Langdale-Hall, the castle of Sir Leoline, where the howl of “the mastiff-bitch seems to bode evil, and some wild expressions addressed by Geraldine to Christabel's “guardian spirit,” her dead mother (who had "said that she should hear the castle-bell strike twelve upon her [daughter's] wedding day"), gives the first clue to the wicked and supernatural character of Geraldine. The maidens now retiring to rest together, the beautiful stranger's "bosom and half her side," "old" "and cold,” suggest vague alarms, and "for an hour" Christabel in "her arms is dreaming fearfully, from which state of terror she is delivered by her guardian mother.
The second part opens with the introduction of Geraldine to Sir Leoline, who recognises in the “ lofty lady," the daughter of his once "friend in youth," "Roland de Vaux, of Tryermaine," who had parted from Sir Leoline many years ago "in disdain and insult." At her tale, (which I am pleased to consider a fabrication, as also the likeness to Roland's daughter to be a piece of witchcraft,) the Baron is highly indignant, and vows to avenge "the child of his friend." Meanwhile, poor Christabel is under a mysterious spell, subjected to "perplexity of mind," "a vision of fear," and "snake-like looks" of the rival beauty; albeit "comforted by a "vision blest." Sir Leoline, glad of the opportunity of a reconciliation to his long-lost friend, sends "Bracy the bard," with " harp" and "solemn vest," by "Irt-(hing) flood," &c., to Roland's border-castle, commissioning him to "greet Lord Roland," acquaint him that his daughter is safe in Langdale-Hall," and bidding him " come with "all his numerous array" to meet Sir Leoline "with his own numerous array," on "panting palfreys," and to be friends once more. "Bard Bracy" hesitates, on account of having dreamt that Christabel "the dove❞—had "a green snake" "coiled around its wings and neck," "underneath the old tree; " and having "vowed," "with music strong and saintly song," to exorcise the forest. The Baron interprets it as of "Lord Roland's beauteous dove," and when Christabel, who had ever and anon been tortured by "looks askance of "dull and treacherous hate," entreats him by her "mother's soul to send away that woman," he, accounting "his child" jealous of the radiant stranger, and no doubt alienated by black arts from his daughter, as the lover is afterwards, scems full of wrath, and, "in tones abrupt, austere," sends the reluctant Bracy on his mission.
Thus far Christabel: for the "Conclusion to part the second," however beautiful in itself, is clearly out of place, unless it was intended as a mystification.
And now, on my own portion, I may be permitted to make a few
remarks. My excuse for continuing the fragment at all, will be found in Coleridge's own words to the preface of the 1816 pamphlet edition, where he says, "I trust that I shall be able to embody in verse the three parts yet to come, in the course of the present year; a halfpromise, which, I need scarcely observe, has never been redeemed.
In the following attempt I may be censured for rashness, or commended for courage: of course, I am fully aware that to take up the pen where COLERIDGE has laid it down, and that in the wildest and most original of his poems, is a most difficult, nay, dangerous proceeding: but, upon these very characteristics of difficulty and danger I humbly rely; trusting that, in all proper consideration for the boldness of the experiment, if I be adjudged to fail, the fall of Icarus may be broken; if I be accounted to succeed, the flight of Dædalus may apologize for his presumption.
I deem it due to myself to add what I trust will not be turned against me, viz.: that, if not written literally currente calamo, GERALDINE has been the pleasant labor of but very few days: also, that until I had just completed it, I did not know of the existence of the proposed solution of Christabel in a recent life of Coleridge, and at that period saw no reason to make any change in mine: and finally, that I should wish to be judged by the whole volume, and not by GERALDINE alone.
M. F. T.
(BEING THE THIRD OF CHRISTABEL.)
IT is the wolf on stealthy prowl,
Comes like a groan from the sear old oak,
Hath peopled with terrors the spectral beech;
And taught the magician the time for his spell,
The gibbous moon, all chilling and wan,
What dost thou here in the forest dun,
Hiding from heaven in deep midnight?
All dauntless stands the maid
She dares the sorrowful skies,
And to the moon, like one possest,
Hath shown, O dread! that face so fair
Should smile above so shrunk a breast,
Haggard and brown, as hangeth there, -
O evil sight! for, by the light
From those large eyes streaming bright,
Lofty gait and graceful mien,
By that bosom half reveal'd,
Muttering wildly through her set teeth,