Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter V / The Pilgrim of Love >> Page 74

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 74 SOUTHWARD HO !

The sentiment that touched the soul of Geoffrey Rudel, was certainly no common one. It may have been a fanaticism, but it was such a fanaticism as could only happen to a poet. In inferior degree, however, the frenzy was not an unusual one. It belonged to the age and to his profession, if the performances of the troubadour, at any time, could properly deserve this title! Common to his order, it was heightened as well as refined by the peculiar temper of his individual mind, and by that contemplative, inner or spiritual life which he had lived so long. Though spoken aloud, and fondly and frequently reiterated, it was no momentary ebullition. The passion had fastened upon his mind and his affections equally, and was fixed there by the grateful image that informed his dreams. These, repeated nightly, according to the tradition, gave him no time to cool. Their visitation was periodical. Their exhortation was pressing. They preyed upon his strength, and his physical powers declined in due degree with the wondrous increase of his mental energies. He set sail for Palestine with all the fervor of his enthusiasm upon him, as warm and urgent as when it had seized upon him first. The voyage was protracted, and the disease of our pilgrim underwent increase from its annoyances. But, if his frame suffered, the energies of his soul were unimpaired. His muse was never in better wing or vigor. Still lie sung, and with all the new-born exultation of a lover. The one hope of his heart, the one dream of his fancy, gave vitality to every utterance. The image of the beautiful and noble Countess of Tripoli was reflected from, and through, all his sonnets, as through a mirror of magic. Of their usual burden, a single specimen will suffice :
" When my foot presses on those sacred shores
To me thrice sacred, as they bear the sign, That, lifted high, all Christendom adores
And the proud beauty I have loved as mine�My song shall speak my passion�she shall hear
How much I love�how powerful is the sway,
Her charms maintain o'er heart so far away, That, until now, no other chains could wear. Ah, sure, she will not let me sing in vain
Such deep devotion, such abiding trust,
Love, so wholly born of her own beauty, must Touch her sweet spirit with a pleasing pain !