The sky above, and men around;
Or were they fiends who now so frowned
On one, before whose eyes each eye
Till then had smiled in sympathy?
All was confused and undefined
To her all-jarred and wandering mind;
A chaos of wild hopes and fears:380
And now in laughter, now in tears,
But madly still in each extreme,
She strove with that convulsive dream;
For so it seemed on her to break:
Oh! vainly must she strive to wake!
The Convent bells are ringing,
But mournfully and slow;
In the grey square turret swinging,
With a deep sound, to and fro.
Heavily to the heart they go!390
Hark! the hymn is singing—
The song for the dead below,
Or the living who shortly shall be so!
For a departed being's soul
The death-hymn peals and the hollow bells knoll:
He is near his mortal goal;
Kneeling at the Friar's knee,
Sad to hear, and piteous to see—
Kneeling on the bare cold ground,
With the block before and the guards around;400
And the headsman with his bare arm ready,
That the blow may be both swift and steady,
- For a departing being's soul.—[Copy.]
- [For the peculiar use of "knoll" as a verb, compare Childe Harold, Canto III. stanza xcvi. line 5; and Werner, act iii. sc. 3.]