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Till they have told their fill, could scarce express
Of Cythna gleamed, and her voice once again
XLV. I dreaded not the tempest, nor did he Who bore me, but his eyeballs wide and red Turned on the lightning's cleft exultingly; And when the earth beneath his tameless tread, Shook with the sullen thunder, he would spread His nostrils to the blast, and joyously Mock the fierce peal with neighings-thus we sped
O'er the lit plain, and soon I could descry Where Death and Fire had gorged the spoil of victory.
XLVI. There was a desolate village in a wood Whose bloom-inwoven leaves now scattering fed The hungry storm ; it was a place of blood, A heap of hearthless walls ;—the flames were dead Within those dwellings now, the life had fled From all those corpses now,—but the wide sky Flooded with lightning was ribbed overhead
By the black rafters, and around did lie Women, and babes, and men, slaughtered confusedly.
But tied the steed beside, and sought in haste
And cried, "Now Mortal, thou hast deeply quaffed The Plague's blue kisses-soon millions shall pledge the draught!
XLIX. “My name is Pestilence—this bosom dry, Once fed two babes a sister and a brother When I came home, one in the blood did lie Of three death-wounds the flames had ate the other! Since then I have no longer been a mother, But I am Pestilence;-hither and thither I flit about, that I may slay and smother:
All lips which I have kissed must surely wither, Dut Death's-if thou art he, we'll go to work together!
“What seek'st thou here? the moonlight comes in flashes The dew is rising dankly from the dell'Twill moisten her! and thou shalt see the gashes In my sweet boy, now full of worms—but tell First what thou seek'st.”—“I seek for food.”—“'Tis well, Thou shalt have food; Famine, my paramour, Waits for us at the feast-cruel and fell
Is Famine, but he drives not from his door Those whom these lips have kissed, alone. No more, no more!"
LI. As thus she spake, she grasped me with the strength Of madness, and by many a ruined hearth She led, and over many à corpse :—at length We came to a lone hut, where on the earth Which made its floor, she in her ghastly mirth Gathering from all those homes now desolate, Had piled three heaps of loaves, making a dearth
Among the dead—round which she set in state A ring of cold, stiff babes; silent and stark they sate.
Despair, I might have raved in sympathy;
Cythna among the rocks, where she alway
We reached our home ere morning could unbind
LV. Her chilled heart having cherished in my bosom, And sweetest kisses past, we two did share Our peaceful meal as an autumnal blossom Which spreads its shrunk leaves in the sunny air, After cold showers, like rainbows woven there, Thus in her lips and cheeks the vital spirit Mantled, and in her eyes, an atmosphere
Of health, and hope; and sorrow languished near it, And fear, and all that dark despondence doth inherit.
Time, tho' he wield the darts of death and sleep,
I told her of my sufferings and my madness,
From sunbright dales; and when I ceased to speak, Her accents soft and sweet the pausing air did wake.
III. She told me a strange tale of strange endurance, Like broken memories of many a heart Woven into one; to which no firm assurance, So wild were they, could her own faith impart. She said that not a tear did dare to start From the swoln brain, and that her thoughts were firm When from all mortal hope she did depart,
Borne by those slaves across the Ocean's term,
Like winds that die in wastes-one moment mute
Again his load of slavery, and became
Where like a Spirit in fleshly chains she lay Struggling, aghast and pale the Tyrant fled away.