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The bonds of the spirit of evil are broken,
There is a rush of invisible wings
Amid shrieks and distant thunderings,
And now one nearer than others is heard
Flapping his way as a huge seabird,
Or liker the deep-dwelling ravenous shark
Cleaving through the waters dark.

It is the hour, the spell hath power!
Now haste thee, ere the tempest lower.

Her mouth grows wide, and her face falls in,
And her beautiful brow becomes flat and thin,
And sulphurous flashes blear and singe

That sweetest of eyes with its delicate fringe,
Till, all its loveliness blasted and dead,
The eye of a snake blinks deep in her head;
For raven locks flowing loose and long
Bristles a red mane, stiff and strong,

And sea-green scales are beginning to speck Her shrunken breasts, and lengthening neck; The white round arms are sunk in her sides, As when in chrysalis canoe

A may-fly down the river glides,

Struggling for life and liberty too,
Her body convulsively twists and twirls.
This way and that it bows and curls,
And now her soft limbs melt into one
Strangely and horribly tapering down,
Till on the burnt grass dimly is seen
A serpent monster, scaly and green.
Horror! can this be Geraldine?
Haste, O haste, - 'tis almost past,
The sand is dripping thick and fast;
And distant roars the coming blast.

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Swiftly the dragon-maid unroll'd

The burnished strength of each sinewy fold, And round the old oak trunk with toil

Hath wound and trailed each tortuous coil,
Then with one crush hath splitten and broke
The hollow black heart of the sear old oak.

The hour is fled, the spell hath sped;
And heavily dropping down as dead,
All in her own beauty drest,

Brightest, softest, loveliest,

Fair faint Geraldine lies on the ground,
Moaning sadly;

And forth from the oak,

In a whirl of thick smoke,
Grinning gladly,
Leaps with a hideous howl at a bound
A squat black dwarf of visage grim,
With crutches beside each twisted limb
Half-hidden in many a flame-colored rag,
It is Ryxa the Hag!

Ho, ho! what wouldst thou, daughter mine,
Wishes three, or curses nine?
Wishes three to work thy will,
Or curses nine thy hate to fulfil?

Ryxa, spite of thy last strong charm,
Some pure spirit saves from harm
Her, who before me was loved too well,
Our holy hated Christabel:

Her who stole my heart from him,

One of the guardian cherubim,

Hovers around, and cheers in dreams,

Thwarting from heaven my hell-bought schemes for another five hundred years, O mother mine, will I be thine,


To writhe in pains, and shriek in fears,
And toil in chains, and waste in tears,
So thy might will scorch and smite

The beautiful face of Christabel,
And will drain by jealous pain

Love from the heart of Christabel,
And her own betrothed knight,
O glad sight! shall scorn and slight
The pale one he hath loved so well,
While in my arms, by stolen charms
And borrowed mien, for Geraldine
He shall forget his Christabel.

It is done, it is done, thy cause is won!
Quoth Ryxa the Hag to Geraldine;
Thus have I prest my seal on thy breast,
Twelve circling scales from a dragon's crest,
And still thy bosom and half thy side
Must shrivel and sink at eventide,

And still, as every Sabbath breaks,
Thy large dark eyes must blink as a snake's.
Now, for mine aid: - De Vaux doth come
To lead his seeming daughter home,
Therefore I fit thee a shape and a face
Differing, yet of twin-born grace,
That all who see thee may fall down
Heart-worshippers before thy throne,
Forgetting in that vision sweet
Thy former tale of dull deceit,
And tranc'd in deep oblivious joy,
Bask in bliss without alloy:
He too, thou lovest, in thine arms,
Shall grace the triumph of thy charms,
While thy thirsty rage thou satest
In the woes of her thou hatest.
Yet, daughter, hark! my warning mark!
Hallowed deed, or word, or thought,
Is with deadliest peril fraught;
And if, where true lovers meet,
Thou hearest hymning wild and sweet,
O stop thine ears, lest all be marr'd, -
Beware, beware of holy bard!

For that the power of hymn and harp

Thine innermost being shall wither and warp,

And the same hour they touch thine ears,
A serpent thou art for a thousand years.

Hush! how heavily droops the night

In sultry silence, calm as death;
Gloomy and hot, and yet no light,

Save where the glow-worm wandereth,
For the moon hath stolen by,
Mantled in the stormy sky,

And there is a stillness strange,
An awful stillness, boding change,
As if live nature holds her breath,
And all in agony listeneth
Some terror undefin'd to hear
Coming, coming, coming near !
Hush'd is the beetle's drowsy hum,
And the death-watch's roll on his warning drum,
Hush'd the raven, and screech owl,

And the famishing wolf on his midnight prowl, -
Silent as death.

Hark, hark! he is here, he has come from afar,
The black-rob'd storm in his terrible car;
Vivid the forked lightning flashes,
Quick behind the thunder crashes,
Clattering hail, a shingly flood,
Rattles like grape-shot in the wood;
And the whole forest is bent one way,

Bowing as slaves to a tyrant's sway,

While the foot of the tempest hath trampled and broke Many a stout old elm and oak.

And Geraldine? O who could tell
That thou who by sweet Christabel,
Softly liest in innocent sleep,
Like an infant's, calm and deep,
Smiling faintly, as it seems
From thy bright and rosy dreams,
Who could augur thou art she
That around the hollow tree,

With bad charm and hellish rite

Shook the heav'ns, and scar'd the night?

Alas! for gentle Christabel,
Alas! for wasting Christabel;
From evil eye, and powers of hell,
And the strong magic of the spell,
Holy Mary, shield her well!


THE murderer's knife is a fearful thing,
But what, were it edg'd with a scorpion's sting?
A dagger of glass hath death in its stroke,
But what, should venom gush out as it broke?
And hatred in man's deep heart

Festereth there like the barb of a dart
Maddening the fibres at every beat,
And filling its caverns with fever-heat;
But jealous rage in a woman's soul
Simmers and steams as a poison-bowl:
A drop were death, but the rival maid
Must drain all dry, e'er the passion be staid:
It floodeth the bosom with bitterest gall,

It drowneth the young virtues all,

And the sweet milk of the heart's own fountain,

Chok'd and crush'd by a heavy mountain,

All curdled, and hardened, and blackened, doth shrink
Into the sepia's stone-bound ink;

The eye of suspicion deep sunk in the head
Shrinks and blinks with malice and dread,
And the cheek without and the heart within
Are blistered and blighted with searing sin,
Till charity's self no more can trace
Aught that is lovely in feature or face,

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