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violence to craft, or betrayed it in venomous looks, she could not have beaten the soft-voiced, appalling spells, or sudden, snakeeyed glances of the lady Geraldine,-looks which the innocent Christabel, in her fascination, feels compelled to "imitate."
A snake's small eye blinks dull and shy,
And the lady's eyes they shrank in her head,
Each shrank up to a serpent's eye;
And with somewhat of malice and more of dread,
At Christabel she look'd askance.
This is as exquisite in its knowledge of the fascinating tendencies of fear as it is in its description. And what can surpass a line quoted already in the Essay (but I must quote it again!) for very perfection of grace and sentiment?—the line in the passage where Christabel is going to bed, before she is aware that her visitor is a witch.
Quoth Christabel,-So let it be !
Oh! it is too late now; and habit and self-love blinded me at the time, and I did not know (much as I admired im) how great a poet lived in that grove at Highgate; or I would have cultivat ed its walks more, as I might have done, and endeavored to return him, with my gratitude, a small portion of the delight his verses have given me.
I must add, that I do not think Coleridge's earlier poems at all equal to the rest. Many, indeed, I do not care to read a second time; but there are some ten or a dozen, of which I never fire, and which will one day make a small and precious volume to
put in the pockets of all enthusiasts in poetry, and endure with the language. Five of these are The Ancient Mariner, Christabel, Kubla Khan, Genevieve, and Youth and Age. Some, that more personally relate to the poet, will be added for the love of him, not omitting the Visit of the Gods, from Schiller, and the famous passage on the Heathen Mythology, also from Schiller. A short life, a portrait, and some other engravings perhaps, will complete the book, after the good old fashion of Cooke's and Bell's editions of the Poets; and then, like the contents of the Jew of Malta's casket, there will be
Infinite riches in a little room.
I play'd a soft and doleful air,
She listen'd with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace, For well she knew I could not choose But gaze upon her face.
I told her of the knight that wore
I told her how he pin'd, and—ah!
She listen'd with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace, And she forgave me, that I gaz'd Too fondly on her face!
But when I told the cruel scorn
That crazed that bold and lovely knight, And that he cross'd the mountain-woods, Nor rested day nor night:
That sometimes from the savage den,
And sometimes from the darksome shade, And sometimes starting up at once In green and sunny glade,
There came and look'd him in the face
And that, unknowing what he did,
And how she wept and claspt his knees; And how she tended him in vain
And ever strove to expiate
The scorn that crazed his brain;
And that she nurs'd him in a cave;
And how his madness went away,
His dying words—but when I reach'd
All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrill'd my guileless Genevieve;
And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
She wept with pity and delight,
She blush'd with love and virgin shame And like the murmur of a dream, I heard her breathe my name.
Her bosom heav'd-she stept aside,
As conscious of my look she stept Then suddenly, with timorous eye, She fled to me and wept.
She half enclos'd me in her arms,
She press'd me with a meek embrace: And bending back her head, look'd up, And gazed upon my face.
'Twas partly love and partly fear,
And partly 't was a bashful art That I might rather feel than see, The swelling of her heart.
I calm'd her fears, and she was calm,
And so I won my Genevieve,
I can hardly say a word upon this poem for very admiration. I must observe, however, that one of the charms of it consists in the numerous repetitions and revolvings of the words, one on the other, as if taking delight in their own beauty.
SUGGESTED TO THE AUTHOR BY A PASSAGE IN PURCHAS'S PILGRIMAGE.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan1
A stately pleasure-dome decree,
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And here were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
But oh, that deep romantic chasm which slanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
A mighty fountain momently was forc'd;
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion,