Study Guide

Christabel Stanzas 61-63

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Stanzas 61-63

Part II, Stanzas 61-63

And when the trance was o'er, the maid
Paused awhile, and inly prayed:
Then falling at the Baron's feet,
"By my mother's soul do I entreat
That thou this woman send away!"
She said: and more she could not say:
For what she knew she could not tell,
O'er-mastered by the mighty spell.

Why is thy cheek so wan and wild,
Sir Leoline? Thy only child
Lies at thy feet, thy joy, thy pride,
So fair, so innocent, so mild;
The same, for whom thy lady died!
O by the pangs of her dear mother
Think thou no evil of thy child!
For her, and thee, and for no other,
She prayed the moment ere she died:
Prayed that the babe for whom she died,
Might prove her dear lord's joy and pride!
That prayer her deadly pangs beguiled,
Sir Leoline!
And wouldst thou wrong thy only child,
Her child and thine?

Within the Baron's heart and brain
If thoughts, like these, had any share,
They only swelled his rage and pain,
And did but work confusion there.
His heart was cleft with pain and rage,
His cheeks they quivered, his eyes were wild,
Dishonoured thus in his old age;
Dishonoured by his only child,
And all his hospitality
To the wronged daughter of his friend
By more than woman's jealousy
Brought thus to a disgraceful end—
He rolled his eye with stern regard
Upon the gentle minstrel bard,
And said in tones abrupt, austere—
"Why, Bracy! dost thou loiter here?
I bade thee hence!" The bard obeyed;
And turning from his own sweet maid,
The agèd knight, Sir Leoline,
Led forth the lady Geraldine!

  • The speaker, whom we now understand to be the bard in this second part (again, check out our "Speaker" section), is pleading with Sir Leoline to not be angry with Christabel.
  • But boy, oh boy is Leoline mad.
  • He thinks that the bard is being extremely rude about wanting to go sing in the forest before going to Lord Roland's to tell him about Geraldine.
  • However, the baron is even angrier at Christabel because she is embarrassing him in front of their guest.
  • There were very strict codes of hospitality among nobles, and the smallest oversight could be considered a massive slight toward another noble if these codes were not followed. Ultimately, Leoline feels that Christabel has violated these codes, insulting his honor as a knight and a host to this poor woman. Just when he thinks that his relationship with Lord Roland might be fixed, his bratty daughter decides to not only ruin that chance but also to make the feud even worse with such appalling behavior in front of Lord Roland's daughter.
  • Though all of this is reason to be angry, the emotion that Leoline expresses is so extreme that we have to consider that this might also be Geraldine's handy work. Perhaps Geraldine's real magic is in enhancing what is already there—Leoline's anger this morning and Christabel's sexual curiosity the night before.
  • Sir Leoline puts his foot down and tells bard Bracy to forget about his little forest concert and to follow his orders. Bracy has to go to Lord Roland right away.
  • As one final, rather cruel, gesture, Sir Leoline literally turns his back on his own daughter and walks away with Geraldine on his arm.

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