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THE SORCERESS;

OR,

Wolfwold and Alla.

Prisca fides. Virg.

'Он, low he lies; his cold pale cheek
Lies lifeless on the clay;
Yet struggling hope-O dayspring, break,
And lead me on my way.

'On Denmark's cruel bands, O Heaven! Thy red-wing'd vengeance pour; Before my Wolfwold's spear be drivenO rise, bright morning hour!'

Thus Ulla wail'd, the fairest maid
Of all the Saxon race;

Thus Ulla wail'd, in nightly shade,
While tears bedew'd her face.

When sudden, o'er the fir-crown'd hill,
The full orb'd moon arose;
And o'er the winding dale so still
Her silver radiance flows.

No more could Ulla's fearful breast
Her anxious care delay;

But, deep with hope and fear impress'd,
She holds the moonshine way.

She left the bower, and all alone
She traced the dale so still;

And sought the cave with rue o'ergrown,
Beneath the fir-crown'd hill.

Black knares of blasted oak, embound
With hemlock, fenced the cell:
The dreary mouth, half under ground,
Yawn'd like the gate of hell.

Soon as the gloomy den she spied,
Cold horror shook her knee;
And hear, O prophetess!' she cried,
'A princess sue to thee.'
Aghast she stood! athwart the air
The dismal screechowl flew;
The fillet round her auburn hair
Asunder burst in two.

Her robe of softest yellow glow'd
Beneath the moon's pale beam;

And o'er the ground, with yew boughs strew'd,
Effused a golden gleam.

The golden gleam the Sorceress spied,
As in her deepest cell,

At midnight's magic hour, she tried
A tomb-o'erpowering spell.

When, from the cavern's dreary womb,
Her groaning voice arose,

'O, come, my daughter, fearless come,
And fearless tell thy woes.'

As shakes the bough of trembling leaf,
When whirlwinds sudden rise;
As stands aghast the warrior chief, -
When his base army flies;

So shook, so stood the beauteous maid,
When from the dreary den

A wrinkled hag came forth array'd
In matted rags obscene.

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Around her brows, with hemlock bound,
Loose hung her ash-gray hair;
As from two dreary caves profound
Her blue-flamed eyeballs glare.

Her skin, of earthy red, appear'd,

Clung round her shoulder bones,
Like wither'd bark, by lightning sear❜d,
When loud the tempest groans.

A robe of squalid green and blue
Her ghostly length array'd,

A gaping rent, full to the view,
Her furrow'd ribs betray'd.

And tell, my daughter, fearless tell
What sorrow brought thee here!
So may my power thy cares expel,
And give thee sweetest cheer.'
'O mistress of the powerful spell,
King Edric's daughter see,
Northumbria to my father fell,
But sorrow fell to me.

My virgin heart Lord Wolfwold won;
My father on him smiled:
Soon as he gain'd Northumbria's throne,
His pride the youth exiled.

Stern Denmark's ravens o'er the seas Their gloomy black wings spread, And o'er Northumbria's hills and leas Their dreadful squadrons sped.

'Return, brave Wolfwold,' Edric cried,
'O generous warrior, hear;
My daughter's hand, thy willing bride,
Awaits thy conquering spear.

'The banish'd youth in Scotland's court Had pass'd the weary year: And soon he heard the glad report, And soon he grasp'd his spear. 'He left the Scottish dames to weep;

And, wing'd with true love speed, Nor day nor night he stopp'd to sleep, And soon he cross'd the Tweed.

With joyful voice and raptured eyes, He press'd my willing hand; "I go, my fair, my love," he cries, To guard thy father's land.

"By Edon's shore, in deathful fray,
The daring foe we meet,
Ere three short days I trust to lay
My trophies at thy feet."
'Alas, alas, that time is o'er,

And three long days beside,
Yet not a word from Edon's shore
Has cheer'd his fearful bride.

'O mistress of the powerful spell,
His doubtful fate decide;'-

And cease, my child, for all is well,'
The grisly witch replied.

( Approach my cave, and where I place The magic circle, stand;

And fear not aught of ghastly face
That glides beneath my wand.'
The grisly witch's powerful charms

Then reach'd the labouring moon,
And, cloudless at the dire alarms,
She shed her brightest noon.

VOL. III.

DD

The pale beam struggled through the shade,
That black'd the cavern's womb,
And in the deepest nook betray'd
An altar and a tomb.

Around the tomb, in mystic lore,
Were forms of various mien,
And efts, and foul-wing'd serpents, bore
The altar's base obscene.

Eyeless a huge and starved toad sat
In corner murk aloof,

And many a snake and famish'd bat
Clung to the creviced roof.

A fox and vulture's skeletons
A yawning rift betray'd;

And grappling still each others bones,
The strife of death display'd.

And now, my child (the Sorceress said), Lord Wolfwold's father's grave

To me shall render up the dead,

And send him to my cave.

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'His skeleton shall hear my spell,
And to the figured walls

His hand of bone shall point and tell
What fate his son befalls.'

O cold, down Ulla's snowlike face,
The trembling sweatdrops fell,
And, borne by sprites of gliding pace,
The corpse approach'd the cell.

And thrice the witch her magic wand
Waved o'er the skeleton;

And slowly, at the dread command,
Up rose the arm of bone.

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