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A moment since, with eyes half-closed, And murmured something in your beard."

The Hebrew smiled, and answered, "Nay;

Not that, but something very near;
Like, and yet not the same, may seem
The vision of my waking dream;
Before it wholly dies away,
Listen to me, and you shall hear."



King Solomon, before his palace gate
At evening, on the pavement tessellate
Was walking with a stranger from the

Arrayed in rich attire as for a feast,
The mighty Ilunjeet-Sing, a learned man,
And Rajah of the realms of Hindostan.
And as they walked the guest became

Of a white figure in the twilight air,
Gazing intent, as one who with surprise
His form and features seemed to recog-

And in a whisper to the king he said: '' What is yon shape, that, pallid as the dead,

Is watching me, as if he sought to trace In the dim light the features of my face?"

The king looked, and replied: "I know

him well; It is the Angel men call Azrael, 'T is the Death Angel; what hast thou

to fear 1"

And the guest answered: "Lest he

should come near, And speak to me, and take away my


Save me from Azrael, save me from death!

O king, that hast dominion o'er the wind, Bid it arise and bear me hence to Ind."

The king gazed upward at the cloudless sky,

Whispered a word, and raised his hand on high,

And lo! the signet-ring of chrvsoprase On his uplifted finger seemed to blaze With hidden fire, and rushing from the west

There came a mighty wind, and seized the guest

And lifted him from earth, and on they passed,

His shining garments streaming in the blast,

A silken banner o'er the walls upreared, A purple cloud, that gleamed and disappeared.

Then said the Angel, smiling: "If this man

Be Rajah Runjeet-Sing of Hindostan, Thou hast done well in listening to his prayer;

I was upon my way to seek him there."


"O EpREin, forbear to-night
Your ghostly legends of affright,
And let the Talmud rest in peace;
Spare us your dismal tales of death
That almost take away one's breath;
So doing, may your tribe increase."

Thus the Sicilian said; then went
And on the spinet's rattling keys
Played Marianina, like a breeze
From Naples and the Southern seas,
That brings us the delicious scent
Of citron and of orange trees,
And memories of soft days of ease
At Capri and Amain spent.

"Not so," the eager Poet said;
"At least, not so before I tell
The story of my Azrael,
An angel mortal as ourselves,
Which in an ancient tome l found
Upon a convent's dusty shelves,
Chained with an iron chain, and bound
In parchment, and with clasps of brass,
Lest from its prison, some dark day,
It might be stolen or steal away,
While the good friars were singing mass.

"It is a tale of Charlemagne,
When like a thunder-cloud, that lowers
And sweeps from mountain-crest to

With lightning flaming through its showers,

He swept across the Lombard plain,
Beleaguering with his warlike train
Pavia, the country's pride and bonst,
The City of the Hundred Towers."

Thus heralded the tale began, Aud thus in sober measure ran.



Oloek the Dane and Desiderio,
King of the Lombards, on a lofty tower
Stood gazing northward o'er the rolling

League after league of harvests, to the foot

Of the suow-erested Alps, and saw approach

A mighty army, thronging all the roads

That led into the city. And the King

Said unto Olger, who had passed his youth

As hostage at the court of France, and knew

The Emperor's form and face: "Is Charlemagne

Among that host?" And Olger answered: "No."

And still the innumerable multitude Flowed onward and increased, until the King

Cried in amazement: "Surely Charlemagne

Is coming in the midst of all these

knights!" And Olger answered slowly: "No; not


He will not come so soon." Then much disturbed

King Desiderio asked: "What shall we do,

If he approach with a still greater army?"

And Olger answered: "When he shall appear,

You will behold what manner of man he is;

But what will then befall us I know not."

Then came the guard that never knew repose,

The Paladins of Fiance; and at the sight

The Lombard King o'ercome with terror cried:

"This must be Charlemagne!" and as before

Did Olger answer: "No; not yet, not yet."

And then appeared in panoply complete The Bishops and the Abbots and the Priests

Of the imperial chapel, and the Counts; And Desiderio could no more endure The light of dav, nor yet encounter death,

But sobbed aloud and said : "Let us go down

And hide us in the bosom of the earth, Far from the sight and anger of a foe So terrible as this!" And Olger said: "When you behold the harvests in the fields

Shaking with fear, the Po and the Ticino

Lashing the city walls with iron waves, Then may you know that Charlemagne is come."

And even as he spake, in the northwest, Lo! there uprose a black and threatening cloud,

Out of whose bosom flashed the light of arms

Upon the people pent up in the city; A light more terrible than any darkness;

And Charlemagne appeared ; — a Man of Iron!

His helmet was of iron, and his gloves Of iron, and his breastplate and his greaves

And tassets were of iron, and his shield. In his left hand he held an iron spear, In his right hand his sword invincible. The horse he rode on had the strength of iron,

And color of iron. All who went before him,

Beside him and behind him, his whole host,

Were armed with iron, and their hearts

within them Were stronger than the armor that they


The fields and all the roads were filled with iron,

And points of iron glistened in the sun

And shed a terror through the city streets.

This at a single glance Olger the Dane Saw from the tower, and turning to the King

Exclaimed in haste: "Behold! this is the man

You looked for with such eagerness!"

and then Fell as one dead at Desiderio's feet.


Well pleased all listened to the tale,
That drew, the Student said, its pith
And marrow from the ancient myth
Of some one with an iron flail;
Or that portentous Man of Brass
Hephaestus made in days of yore,
Who stalked about the Cretan shore,
And saw the ships appear and pass,
And threw stones at the Argonauts,
Being filled with indiscriminate ire
That tangledand perplexed his thoughts;
But, like a hospitable host,
When strangers landed on the coast,
Heated himself red-hot with fire,
And hugged them in his arms, and

Their bodies to his burning breast.

The Poet answered: "No, not thus
The legend rose ; it sprang at first
Out of the hunger and the thirst
In all men for the marvellous.
And thus it filled and satisfied
The imagination of mankind,
And this ideal to the mind
Was truer than historic fact.
Fancy enlarged and multiplied
The terrors of the awful name
Of Charlemagne, till he became
Armipotent in every act,
And, clothed in mystery, appeared
Not what men saw, but what they
feared. *


The Theologian said
Your chronicler in writing this
Had in his mind the Anabasis,
Where Xenophon describes the advance
Of Artaxerxes to the fight;
At first the low gray cloud of dust,
And then a blackness o'er tne fields
As of a passing thunder-gust,
Then flash of brazen armor bright,

And ranks of men, and spears up-thrust, [ Gentle of speech, but absolute of rule.

* See page 340.

Bowmen and troops with wicker shields,
And cavalry equipped in white,
And chariots ranged in front of these
With scythes upon their axle-trees."

To this the Student answered: "Well,
I also have a tale to tell
Of Charlemagne; a tale that throws
A softer light, more tinged with rose,
Than your grim apparition cast
Upon the darkness of the past.
Listen, and hear in English rhyme
What the good Monk of Laurcsheim
Gives as the gossip of his time,
In mediaeval Latin prose."



When Alcuin taught the sons of Charlemagne,

In the free schools of Aix, how kings

should reign, And with them taught the children of

the poor

How subjects should be patient and endure,

He touched the lips of some, as best befit,

With honey from the hives of Holy

Others intoxicated with the wine
Of ancient history, sweet but less divine;
Some with the wholesome fruits of gram-
mar fed;

Others with mysteries of the stars o'erhead,

That hang suspended in the vaulted sky

Like lamps in some fair palace vast and high.

In sooth, it was a pleasant sight to see That Saxon monk, with hood and rosary,

With inkhorn at his belt, and pen and book,

And mingled love and reverence in his look,

Or hear the cloister and the court repeat The measured footfalls of his sandaled feet,

Or watch him with the pupils of his school,

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