'Twas dark and winding, and he knew not where 1560
That passage led; nor lamp nor guard was there;
He sees a dusky glimmering—shall he seek
Or shun that ray so indistinct and weak?
Chance guides his steps—a freshness seems to bear
Full on his brow as if from morning air;
He reached an open gallery—on his eye
Gleamed the last star of night, the clearing sky:
Yet scarcely heeded these—another light
From a lone chamber struck upon his sight.
Towards it he moved; a scarcely closing door 1570
Revealed the ray within, but nothing more.
With hasty step a figure outward passed,
Then paused, and turned—and paused—'tis She at last!
No poniard in that hand, nor sign of ill—
"Thanks to that softening heart—she could not kill!"
Again he looked, the wildness of her eye
Starts from the day abrupt and fearfully.
She stopped—threw back her dark far-floating hair,
That nearly veiled her face and bosom fair,
As if she late had bent her leaning head 1580
Above some object of her doubt or dread.
They meet—upon her brow—unknown—forgot—
Her hurrying hand had left—'twas but a spot—
Its hue was all he saw, and scarce withstood—
Oh! slight but certain pledge of crime—'tis Blood!
He had seen battle—he had brooded lone
O'er promised pangs to sentenced Guilt foreshown;
He had been tempted—chastened—and the chain
Yet on his arms might ever there remain:
But ne'er from strife—captivity—remorse— 1590
From all his feelings in their inmost force—