The night was dark, the moon was hid,
Her radiance dimmed by clouds o'erspread,
No more resplendent shone;
But now and then a transient beam,
Like the faint shadow of a dream,
Between the passing clouds would stream,
To cheer the traveller lone.
Now swiftly on Rodolpho rode,
He saw the heaven in angry mood,
And it was dead of night;
Across his road a grave yard lay,
Within whose bounds report did say,
The spirits of the dead did play,
Around the tombstones white.
No superstitious fears opprest
And filled with dread Rodolpho's breast,
And onward now he sped;
Until the sullen, gloomy light
Just faintly showed the tombstones white,
The curst abode of many a sprite,
The mansions of the dead.
He saw a sight that made him start,
'Twould have appalled the stoutest heart,
That e'er in battle stood.
A spectre form of giant height
Appeared to his astonished sight,
Its flowing robe was snowy white,
Stained with large drops of blood.
Rodolpho breathed a silent prayer,
The spectre vanished into air,
But in its place there stood
With threatening mien and furious eye,
As if impatient of its prey,
And watching as the steed passed by,
A monster of the wood!
The traveller paused, the monster stops,
Again the pause---cold clammy drops
Hung on Rodolpho's brow.
The moon at length her radiance threw
And gave to his astonished view
(Now Reader, mark, I tell thee true)
A damned old spotted cow!
Joseph Rodman Drake, 1795-1820