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The fragrant rose of Sharon's bow'rs,
The lily of the dale,
Refresh'd by morning's dewy show'rs,
Ere burning suns prevail,
Could boast no tint, no charm, no grace,
Like Elda's form, like Elda's face.
Her mind as crystal streams was pure,
That no rude winds deform;
But worth nor beauty can secure
From sad affliction's storm:
And though the knight her love repaid,
A powerful hand their hopes betray'd.
Arganta, skill'd in magic charms,
Malignant, crooked, old,
Long woo'd Sir Albert to her arms,
And rag'd to find him cold;
Till, by her arț, the cause she learn’d,
And, on the maid her vengeance turn'd.
" Ah! where, sir knight, is now thy fair?
Ah! where does Elda pine?
By demons carried through the air,
To thwart her love and thine.
Haste, mount and seek thy destin'd bride,
O'er many a hill and valley wide.”
His breast by bitter anguish torn,
Sir Albert took his steed,
And onward pass'd, like lightning borne,
O'er mountain, vale, and mead.
He knew that in a darksome wood
Arganta's steel-clad palace stood.
At length, as dawn’d the second day,
The steed relax'd his pace;
And a deep stream, that cross'd the way,
Left now no road to trace.
For rocks, that fenc'd the other side,
And tow'ring trees, all course denied.
While lost in wonder stood the knight,
To view this fatal check,
A snake, with scales of silver bright,
Fell on his courser's neck;
And, swift descending from the skies,
An eagle pounc'd to seize the prize.
True knights the weak from wrong should guard,
This well Sir Albert knew;
And quickly, with his keen-edg'd sword,
The feather'd tyrant slew;
When, thus from fear reliev'd, the snake
Sprang to á verdant bank and spake:
“ Sir Knight, a fairy's power I hold,
And this your gen'rous aid,
That sav'd my life, a hundred fold
Shall shortly be repaid.
Through streams and woods now force your way,
For Elda chides your long delay."
Th'enamour'd knight the voice obey'd,
And, plunging through the deep,
Still by his gen'rous steed convey'd,
Soon climb'd the rocky steep,
Where trees grew thick, his course to stay,
Till with his sword he cut the way.
But soon, as by his dauntless might
The darksome wood he clear'd,
Delicious scenes, in verdure bright,
Of groves and lawns appear'd;
While streams, from purest springs, were seen
Meand'ring through the velvet green..
Soft from each shade the dulcet sound
Of warblers charm’d the ear,
And ev'ry flow'r blow'd wild around,
That decks the various year;
Sir Albert stopp'd, amaz’d, confounded,
Thus by enchanting scenes surrounded.
Perfumes that scented ev'ry breeze
Soon through his senses stole,
And, charm'd, he felt soft languor seize.
Each impulse of his soul..
His steed he left, and listless laid
His limbs beneath a myrtle's shade.
A tree, enrich'd with golden fruit,
Hung pendant o'er his head,
And sudden blossoms seem'd to shoot
By some soft magic sped;
The knight beheld, with wishing eyes,
And tried a while to reach the prize.'
But as he lay, his arm's extent
He feebly stretch'd in vain;
The envied fruit, though lowly bent,
Was much too high to gain:
At length his sword he drew, in haste,
And lopp'd the bough he wish'd to taste.
But wonder seiz’d the startled knight,
And horror-struck he stood, When, from the wound, to chill his sight,
Distilld fresh streams of blood. Nor less affright his bosom stirr'd, When from the tree a voice he heard
“Ah, me! Sir Knight," it, sighing, said,
“Your ever-conq'ring sword
The throbbing, vital stream has shed
Of her you once ador'd.
By arts-transform'd, your Elda view,
Who dies, well pleas'd to die for you."
The madning phrensy of despair,
Now burn'd Sir Albert's mind;
And now he tore his clothes, his hair,
The wounded tree to bind:
Yet still fast Aow'd the purple tide,
And fainter still the victim sigh'd.'
The fatal weapon then he rais’d,
His own life's blood to take,
When, looking up, he saw, amaz’d,
His friend, the silver snake.
She twin'd around the bleeding wood,
And thus soon stay'd the flowing blood.
“Sir Knight,” she said, “ in this sad hour
Arganta's charms prevail;
And I, now robb'd of half my power,
. Must not her deeds assail;
But, if my grateful aid you prize,
Attend and act as I adyise.
The form of this much-injur'd fair,
I'll keep from further harm,
But still no pow'r on earth will dare
Dissolve the potent charm.
Nor can the arm, your vent'rous sword
Cut off, be to its place restord,
Till, by your valour, you obtain,
A cord to bind it on again,
Made from two locks, as white as snow,
That on Arganta's forehead grow.
Then boldly haste to yonder grove,
Where many dangers wait,
But think that she you boast to love
From you expects her fate;
Arganta now reposing lies,
And if she 'scape, your Elda dies."
Fir’d with this dawning hope, the knight
Across the valley flew;
But threat'ning clouds obscur'd the light,
As tow'rds the wood he drew;
Yet nought disturb’d his dauntless breast,
And onwards to the task he press'd.
Now, sudden walls of burning fire
Rose up to stop his way,
Where horrid fiends and monsters dire
Appear’d in grim array;
Fearless he march'd to scale the wall,
When fiends and monsters vanish'd all.