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dogs raised themselves up, as if attending to the melodious accents of the youthful singer. A thrill of pleasure vibrated through Frederick's heart when he heard the maiden applaud his minstrelsy; and far sweeter did he find the cup of welcome which she presented to him than the richest beverage he had ever tasted in his father's halls. Frederick's heart had been insensible to the smiles of the most beautiful ladies of the court; Gela's blue eye had now awakened in his bosom a new feeling, to which he had hitherto been a stranger.
Scarcely had the first rays of morning gilded the foliage of the surrounding woods, when Frederick sprang from his sleepless couch to confide to his lyre the melancholy emotions of his heart, but for the first time his skilful fingers did not respond to the workings of his mind. He was hastening out to quell the storm of his feelings in the cool morning breeze, but as he crossed the spacious hall he was met by Gela, beautiful as the rose when the first rays of the sun sparkle on the dew-drops from the fragrant cup. He approached, and greeted the maiden, who returned his salutation with graceful courtesy.
On his return to his father's palace, he concealed his love in the inmost recesses of his heart, but his companions observed that an extraordinary change had taken place in him. The chase no longer delighted him, nor could the chivalrous pastimes of the age divert his melancholy: his guitar was the only confidant of his secret sorrow. In vain did his father endeavour to discover the cause of this change, and no less vain were the inquiries of his tender mother, Judith, daughter of Henry, Duke of Bavaria, surnamed the Black.
Frederick sometimes strolled into the woods, armed as usual with spear and bow, but the beasts of the forest passed unheeded and unscathed by his shafts. Unconsciously his steps were attracted towards the castle where the star of his existence radiated in all its gentle splendour; but he dared not approach the idol of his affections, for his love was timid as the startled roe. One morning, however, as he was wandering among the sylvan scenes that surrounded the castle where Gela resided, he suddenly perceived the beauteous maiden seeking for wild herbs within bow-shot of the walls. His first impulse was to speak to her, but the words died upon his lips. The maiden blushed deeply, and regarded the youth with astonishment, for he stood before her motionless, as if transfixed by enchantment.
"You seem unwell, my Lord (said she); will you not enter our castle, and take rest and refreshment?"
"Gela! (cried Frederick, throwing himself at her feet, as if restored to animation by her words), you do not, then, reject my suit 1 May I ever hope to
see you again? Will you listen to the outpourings of my heart, for I swear"
"Oh, swear not (said Gela, interrupting him), but rise, for it is not fit, my Lord, that I should see you thus before me.'
"Gela, I love you (replied the impassioned youth). Say but the word—may I hope? may I live 1"
Gela answered, hesitatingly, "Let to-morrow's earliest dawn find you in the chapel of the castle;" and, before Frederick had time to reply, she had disappeared among the trees. He seemed as if awakened from a dream. At length, he entered the mansion, and passed a tedious day in conversing with Erwin, whose daughter did not appear.
Scarcely had the warder announced the hour of midnight from the donjon turret ere the impatient Frederick descended with a hasty step into the vaulted chapel, where he anxiously awaited the appearance of the lovely Gela. Long had he to wait, for it was not till the morning twilight shed its first grey streaks through the painted windows that the door which communicated with the corridor of the castle (the private entrance for its inmates) creaked upon its hinges. Frederick started up, scarcely able to breathe with emotion. When he beheld the adored form of Gela, he flew towards her, and in impassioned accents renewed the declaration of his affection. Gela listened to him for awhile, then, leading him to a seat before the altar, seated herself by his side, and exclaimed in a calm and solemn voice,
"My Lord, my meeting you here, and at this hour, is a sufficient proof that your love has struck a responding chord in my poor heart. But, alas! your love must be my only guardian—my inward devotion your only hope. I never can be yours. No, my Lord; you are called to higher and more glorious destinies. The noblest ladies await your selection—a princess becoming your exalted rank must be your bride. An humble maiden such as I cannot aspire to that honour. Leave me, then, I beseech you—I never can be yours."
Frederick cast himself at her feet, and endeavoured to overcome her resolution by arguments and fresh protestations of his love.
Gela replied, in a tone of mild submission, "Here, in God's presence, I promise you that my love shall never cease. May Heaven forgive me, if my affection is deserving of punishment; but my love shall and must be pure and holy as the place in which I have made you this confession."
Frederick dared not interrupt her; his eyes were fixed on hers; but when she ceased speaking, and his ear was no longer enraptured by the sweet melody of her voice, he exclaimed, in despair, "Oh, Gela, must I never see you again 2"
"Yes (answered Gela, pointing to an image of the Virgin Mary, sculptured with exquisite skill, over which the rays of the rising sun, darting through the painted windows, threw the splendour of their colours)—here, before this altar, and at this hour, as often as you please, but at no other place, for I will keep my love in all its purity for another and a better world. Here our feelings will be under the guidance of God and his angels."
Frederick, who flattered himself he should eventually overcome her scruples, could not contain his excess of happiness; he vowed eternal love and fidelity.
Henceforth, each morning's dawn found the lovers seated within the holy sanctuary, where they indulged without reserve in the felicity of their mutual passion; but that passion was pure as heaven's ether, and their souls were free from every earthly thought.
When the news of the fall of Odessa, in the year 1146, became known in Germany, and the eloquent Bernard of Clairvaux preached the crusade throughout Europe, the Emperor, Conrad the Third, was amongst the first to answer the inspiring appeal which called all Christian knights to rally round the banner of the Cross. It was then that a noble thirst for glory was rekindled in Frederick's bosom. He also affixed the red cross to his mantle, and, having assembled his faithful Suabians, followed his uncle, the Emperor, to Palestine.
Though heart-broken at this interruption of their innocent affection, Gela was the first to urge him to join the expedition, as became the future Duke of Suabia. The parting hour at length arrived. At the same holy spot where they had so often met the lovers bade adieu to each other; and M Frederick imprinted the last kiss on the maiden's lips, he said,
"Thus let our love be sealed for ever."
"For ever," responded Gela, and quickly disengaged herself from his embrace » for the trumpets already founded for the warrior's departure.
Throughout the various perils and vicissitudes of the crusade, Frederick was animated by the desperation of his love, which excited him to the performance of prodigies of valour. The rosebud, a symbol of his Gela's youth and purity, was the emblem on his shield and banner. This symbol was his protection. Often, when overpowering numbers oppressed the Christian hosts, Frederick's war-cry, "Gela to the rescue!" struck terror into the hearts of the Saracens and turned the scale of victory.
At length, when the imperial army was compelled, by treachery and the reverses they sustained in the burning deserts of Iconium, to retreat to Constantinople, Frederick there received the mournful tidings of his father's death, which rendered it necessary for him to return home.
No sooner had his subjects tendered their allegiance, than his love, which had augmented by separation, impelled him to the castle where his Gela dwelt. Impatient of delay, and anticipating the happiness of their union, Frederick hastened to the Kinzig; but what was his disappointment and agony when he heard by the way that Gela had taken the veil. He received the confirmation of this astounding intelligence from Erwin, who presented him with a letter and an embroidered scarf, which his daughter had confided to his care for the young Duke on the very day she entered the convent. Frederick pressed the scarf and letter to his quivering lips, and, with eyes bedimmed with tears, he read the following words:—
"It behoves the Duke of Swabia to select a wife among the princesses of his own rank. For a whole year, his love was the sole happiness of Gela's life—so it will ever be. Let that love be as eternal as it was pure and holy."
The unhappy Duke, casting himself on his knees, swore to obey the mandate, and he kept his word. The scarf, the dear pledge of his Gela's affection, accompanied him in all his expeditions, and in the hour of peril was wound around his casque. Yielding, at length, to the entreaties of his family, and the representation of his counsellor?, he married Adelheid, daughter of the Margrave Theobald of Vohburg, in the year 1149; yet love was a stranger to their union; and when the imperial crown was placed on the head of the heroic Frederick, he immediately separated from Adelheid, whom, however, he treated with all the respect and courtesy due to her rank.
His love for Gela remained unchanged. At the place where her father's castle had stood he built a magnificent palace, which was his favourite place of residence; and on the spot where he so unexpectedly met her in the woods he founded a noble city, one of the finest monuments of the age, to which he gave the name of Gelahausen. The last relic of the heroic race of Hohenstaufen has long since descended to the grave, and the name of Frederick Barbarossa adorns the page of history, but his love for the beautiful Gela still lives in the traditions of the people.
HANDEL AND DR. GREENE.
Dr. Greene, a personal friend, as well as warm admirer, of Handel's, brought to the great German an anthem of his own composition, requesting the favour of his opinion and remarks upon it. Handel readily received the production, promised to examine it immediately, and invited the doctor to breakfast with him the next day. Dr. Greene accordingly waited upon the illustrious musician. Handel, who had inspected the composition, received him with cordiality, gave him an elegant breakfast, and treated him with every politeness, but constantly continued to evade his visitor's questions respecting the opinion of his anthem. Greene, at length, too impatient to wait any longer for the great composer's decision on the merits of his piece, exclaimed vehemently, "My dearest friend, keep me no longer in suspense—tell me, I pray you—tell me what you think of my anthem?" Handel, who had found it scientifically written, but very deficient in melody, answered, " Oh, it is very fine, my dear doctor, very fine, indeed; only it do vant air, and so |I flung it out ov de window."