Page images
PDF
EPUB

CXVI.

It open'd with a most infernal creak,

Like that of hell. "Lasciate ogni speranza
Voi che entrate !" The hinge seemed to speak,
Dreadful as Dante's rhima, or this stanza;
Or-but all words upon such themes are weak:
A single shade's sufficient to entrance a
Hero for what is substance to a spirit?

Or how is 't matter trembles to come near it?

CXVII.

The door flew wide, not swiftly,-but, as fly
The sea-gulls, with a steady, sober flight-
And then swung back; nor close-but stood awry,
Half letting in long shadows on the light,
Which still in Juan's candlesticks burn'd high,
For he had two, both tolerably bright,

And in the door-way, darkening darkness, stood
The sable friar in his solemn hood.

CXVIII.

Don Juan shook, as erst he had been shaken
The night before; but being sick of shaking,
He first inclined to think he had been mistaken;
And then to be ashamed of such mistaking;
His own internal ghost began to awaken
Within him, and to quell his corporal quaking-
Hinting that soul and body on the whole
Were odds against a disembodied soul.

CXIX.

And then his dread grew wrath, and his wrath fierce, And he arose, advanced-the shade retreated; But Juan, eager now the truth to pierce,

Follow'd, his veins no longer cold, but heated,
Resolved to thrust the mystery carte and tierce,
At whatsoever risk of being defeated:

The ghost stopp'd, menaced, then retired, until
He reach'd the ancient wall, then stood stone still.

CXX.

Juan put forth one arm-Eternal powers!
It touch'd no soul, nor body, but the wall,
On which the moonbeams fell in silvery showers,
Chequer'd with all the tracery of the hall;
He shudder'd, as no doubt the bravest cowers
When he can't tell what 'tis that doth appal.
How odd, a single hobgoblin's non-entity
Should cause more fear than a whole host's identity.(')

CXXI.

But still the shade remain'd: the blue eyes glared,
And rather variably for stony death:

Yet one thing rather good the grave had spared,
The ghost had a remarkably sweet breath.
A straggling curl show'd he had been fair-hair'd;
A red lip, with two rows of pearls beneath,
Gleam'd forth, as through the casement's ivy shroud
The moon peep'd, just escaped from a grey cloud.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard,

Than could the substance of ten thousand soldiers," &c.— Rich. III.

CXXII.

And Juan, puzzled, but still curious, thrust

His other arm forth-Wonder upon wonder ! It press'd upon a hard but glowing bust,

Which beat as if there was a warm heart under. He found, as people on most trials must, That he had made at first a silly blunder, And that in his confusion he had caught Only the wall, instead of what he sought.

CXXIII.

The ghost, if ghost it were, seem'd a sweet soul
As ever lurk'd beneath a holy hood:

A dimpled chin, a neck of ivory, stole

Forth into something much like flesh and blood; Back fell the sable frock and dreary cowl,

And they reveal'd-alas! that e'er they should! In full, voluptuous, but not o'ergrown bulk, The phantom of her frolic Grace-Fitz-Fulke!

FINIS.

APPENDIX.

[The trifles which follow escaped the Editor's notice, when arranging the materials of Volumes IX. and XII.]

FAREWELL TO MALTA.

Adieu, ye joys of La Valette!
Adieu, sirocco, sun, and sweat!
Adieu, thou palace rarely enter'd!
Adieu, ye mansions where—I've ventured!
Adieu, ye cursed streets of stairs !
(How surely he who mounts you swears!)
Adieu, ye merchants often failing!
Adieu, thou mob for ever railing!
Adieu, ye packets-without letters!

Adieu, ye

fools-who ape your betters!

Adieu, thou damned'st quarantine,

That gave me fever, and the spleen!
Adieu that stage which makes us yawn, Sirs,
Adieu his Excellency's dancers!

Adieu to Peter-whom no fault's in,
But could not teach a colonel waltzing;
Adieu, ye females fraught with graces!
Adieu red coats, and redder faces!
Adieu the supercilious air

Of all that strut 66 en militaire !"

« PreviousContinue »