Study Guide

Christabel Stanzas 48-50

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Stanzas 48-50

Part II, Stanzas 48-50

O then the Baron forgot his age,
His noble heart swelled high with rage;
He swore by the wounds in Jesu's side
He would proclaim it far and wide,
With trump and solemn heraldry,
That they, who thus had wronged the dame,
Were base as spotted infamy!
"And if they dare deny the same,
My herald shall appoint a week,
And let the recreant traitors seek
My tourney court—that there and then
I may dislodge their reptile souls
From the bodies and forms of men!"
He spake: his eye in lightning rolls!
For the lady was ruthlessly seized; and he kenned
In the beautiful lady the child of his friend!

And now the tears were on his face,
And fondly in his arms he took
Fair Geraldine, who met the embrace,
Prolonging it with joyous look.
Which when she viewed, a vision fell
Upon the soul of Christabel,
The vision of fear, the touch and pain!
She shrunk and shuddered, and saw again—
(Ah, woe is me! Was it for thee,
Thou gentle maid! such sights to see?)

Again she saw that bosom old,
Again she felt that bosom cold,
And drew in her breath with a hissing sound:
Whereat the Knight turned wildly round,
And nothing saw, but his own sweet maid
With eyes upraised, as one that prayed.

  • Everything in this poem seems relatively legit—until this moment. Sir Leoline is so worked up that he's actually crying. He goes in to hug Geraldine.
  • The hug is one of those uncomfortably long ones too.
  • Christabel is the one who is uncomfortable though, as she sees how pleased Geraldine is with herself. The look gives Christabel the willies. She suddenly has a vision of whatever happened the night before, and it inspires some intense emotions.
  • Christabel's visions are of Geraldine naked in her bed, but in the vision Geraldine is no longer young and beautiful. Instead she is old and she is cold to the touch. Witches are old, vampires are dead and cold, so, you know, take your pick.
  • Christabel gasps and looks up to heaven for guidance.
  • Sir Leoline hears Christabel gasp, so he finally looks up from his hugfest with Geraldine.
  • Christabel's vision melts into a pleasant scene of the false memory that Geraldine planted there last night.
  • Sir Leoline asks Christabel what's wrong, but she's unable to answer because of that pesky spell in Geraldine's bosom.
  • The speaker is still unsure of what's going on himself, because he isn't sure whether Christabel is too ashamed to tell or if she is answering pleasantly because of the effects of Geraldine's spell.

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