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But cold and deaf the sullen creature lies,
Over her knees, and with concealing clay,
Like hoarding Avarice locks up his eyes,
And leaves her world impoverish'd of day;
Then at his cruel lips she bends to plead,
But there the door is closed against her need.
Surely he sleeps, – so her false wits infer!
Alas! poor sluggard, ne'er to wake again!
Surely he sleeps, yet without any stir
That might denote a vision in his brain;
Or if he does not sleep, he feigns too long,
Twice she hath reach'd the ending of her song.
Therefore 'tis time she tells him to uncover
Those radiant jesters, and disperse her fears,
Whereby her April face is shaded over,
Like rainy clouds just ripe for showering tears ;
Nay, if he will not wake, so poor she gets,
Herself must rob those lock'd cabinets.
With that she stoops above his brow, and bids
Her busy hands forsake his tangled hair,
And tenderly lift up those coffer-lids,
That she may gaze upon the jewels there,
Like babes that pluck an early bud apart,
To know the dainty colour of its heart.
Now, picture one, soft creeping to a bed,
Who slowly parts the fringe-hung canopies,
And then starts back to find the sleeper dead;
So she looks in on his uncover'd eyes,
And seeing all within so drear and dark,
Her own bright soul dies in her like a spark.
Backward she falls, like a pale prophetess,
Under the swoon of holy divination:
And what had all surpass'd her simple guess,
She now resolves in this dark revelation ;
Death's very mystery, - oblivious death;
Long sleep, - deep night, and an entranced breath.
Yet life, though wounded sore, not wholly slain,
Merely obscur'd, and not extinguish'd, lies;
Her breath that stood at ebb, soon flows again,
Heaving her hollow breast with heavy sighs,
And light comes in and kindles up the gloom,
To light her spirit from its transient tomb.
Then like the sun, awaken'd at new dawn,
With pale bewilder'd face she peers about,
And spies blurr'd images obscurely drawn,
Uncertain shadows in a haze of doubt ;
But her true grief grows shapely by degrees,
A perish'd creature lying on her knees.
And now she knows how that old Murther preys,
Whose quarry on her lap lies newly slain ;
How he roams all abroad and grimly slays,
Like a lean tiger in Love's own domain ;
Parting fond mates, and oft in flowery lawns
Bereaves mild mothers of their milky fawns.
O too dear knowledge ! O pernicious earning!
Foul curse engraven upon beauty's page !
Ev'n now the sorrow of that deadly learning
Ploughs up her brow, like an untimely age,
And on her cheek stamps verdict of death's truth,
By canker blights upon the bud of youth!
For as unwholesome winds decay the leaf,
So her cheeks' rose is perish'd by her sighs,
And withers in the sickly breath of grief;
Whilst unacquainted rheum bedims her eyes,
Tears, virgin tears, the first that ever leapt
From those young lids, now plentifully wept.
Whence being shed, the liquid crystalline
Drops straightway down, refusing to partake
gross admixture with the baser brine,
But shrinks and hardens into pearls opaque,
Hereafter to be worn on arms and ears;
So one maid's trophy is another's tears !
O foul Arch-Shadow, thou old cloud of Night,
(Thus in her frenzy she began to wail,)
Thou blank oblivion - blotter out of light,
Life's ruthless murderer, and dear love's bale !
Why hast thou left thy havoc incomplete,
Leaving me here, and slaying the more sweet?
“ Lo! what a lovely ruin thou hast made,
Alas! alas ! thou hast no eyes to see,
And blindly slew'st him in misguided shade.
Would I had lent my doting sense to thee !
But now I turn to thee, a willing mark,
Thine arrows miss me in the aimless dark !
“O doubly cruel! - twice misdoing spite,
But I will guide thee with my helping eyes,
Or walk the wide world through, devoid of sight,
Yet thou shalt know me by my many sighs.
Nay, then thou should'st have spared my rose, false Death,
And known Love's flow'r by smelling his sweet breath;