Open main menu

Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/557

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Again attracted every eye—
Would she thus hear him doomed to die!
She stood, I said, all pale and still,
The living cause of Hugo's ill:
Her eyes unmoved, but full and wide,
Not once had turned to either side—
Nor once did those sweet eyelids close,330
Or shade the glance o'er which they rose,
But round their orbs of deepest blue
The circling white dilated grew—
And there with glassy gaze she stood
As ice were in her curdled blood;
But every now and then a tear[1]
So large and slowly gathered slid
From the long dark fringe of that fair lid,

It was a thing to see, not hear![2]

    might be a resemblance between part of Parisina and a similar scene in Canto 2d. of Marmion. I fear there is, though I never thought of it before, and could hardly wish to imitate that which is inimitable.... I had completed the story on the passage from Gibbon, which, in fact, leads to a like scene naturally, without a thought of the kind; but it comes upon me not very comfortably."—Letter to Murray, February 3, 1816 (Letters, 1899, iii. 260). The scene in Marmion is the one where Constance de Beverley appears before the conclave—

    "Her look composed, and steady eye,
    Bespoke a matchless constancy;
    And there she stood so calm and pale,
    That, but her breathing did not fail,
    And motion slight of eye and head,
    And of her bosom, warranted
    That neither sense nor pulse she lacks,
    You must have thought a form of wax,
    Wrought to the very life, was there—
    So still she was, so pale, so fair."

    Canto II. stanza xxi. lines 5-14.]

  1. ["I admire the fabrication of the 'big Tear,' which is very fine—much larger, by the way, than Shakespeare's."—Letter of John Murray to Lord Byron (Memoir of John Murray, 1891, i. 354).]
  2. [Compare Chrtstabel, Part I. line 253—

    "A sight to dream of, not to tell!"]