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Women and babes and men slaughtered Of three death wounds—the flames consusedly.

had ate the other!

Since then I have no longer been XLVII

a mother, Beside the fountain in the market-place

But I am Pestilence; hither and Dismounting, I beheld those corpses

thither stare

I fit about; that I may slay and With horny eyes upon each other's

smother ;face,

All lips which I have kissed must And on the earth, and on the surely wither, vacant air,

But Death's—if thou art he, we'll go to And upon me, close to the waters

work together! where I stooped to slake my thirst ;-- I shrank to taste,

" What seek'st thou here? The For the salt bitterness of blood was moonlight comes in flashes, there;

The dew is rising dankly from the But tied the steed beside, and sought dellin haste

'Twill moisten her! and thou shalt If any yet survived amid that ghastly see the gashes waste.

In my sweet boy, now full of

worms—but tell XLVIII

First what thou seek'st.”- _“I seek No living thing was there beside one

for food."--"'Tis well,

Thou shalt have food ; Famine, my Whom I found wandering in the

paramour, streets, and she

Waits for us at the feast - cruel Was withered from a likeness of aught

and fell human

Is Famine, but he drives not from Into a fiend, by some strange misery :

his door Soon as she heard my steps, she Those whom these lips have kissed, leaped on me,

alone. No more, no more!” And glued her burning lips to mine,

and laughed
With a loud, long, and frantic

As thus she spake, she grasped me laugh of glee,

with the strength And cried, “Now, Mortal, thou hast

Of madness, and by many a ruined deeply quaffed

hearth The Plague's blue kisses--soon millions

She led, and over many a corpse : shall pledge the draught !

at length

a lone hut, where, on XLIX

the earth My

is Pestilence - this Which made its floor, she in her bosom dry

ghastly mirth, Once fed two babes-a sister and Gathering from all those homes now a brother

desolate, When I came home, one in the blood Had piled three heaps of loaves, did lie

making a dearth S



We came

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Among the dead - round which she

set in state A ring of cold stiff babes; silent and

stark they sate.

My arms around her, lest her steps

should fail As to our home we went, and

thus embraced, Her full heart seemed a deeper joy


to taste

Than e'er the prosperous know; the

steed behind Trod peacefully along the mountain

waste: We reach our home ere morning

could unbind Night's latest veil, and on our bridal

couch reclined.

She leaped upon a pile, and listed high
Her mad looks to the lightning,

and cried : " Eat !
Share the great feast-to-morrow we

must die!”
And then she spurned the loaves,

with her pale feet,
Towards her bloodless guests ;

that sight to meet,
Mine eyes and my heart ached, and,

but that she Who loved me did with absent

looks defeat Despair, I might have raved in sym

pathy: But now I took the food that woman

offered me;



And, vainly having with her madness

striven If I might win her to return with

me, Departed. In the eastern beams of

The lightning now grew pallid--

As by the shore of the tempestuous

TIer 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 atmo.

sphere Of health and hope; and sorrow

languished near it, And fear, and all that dark despondence

doth inherit.



The dark steed bore me, and the

mountain gray Soon echoed to his hoofs, and I

could see Cythna among the rocks, where she

alway Had sate with anxious eyes fixed on the

lingering day



So we sate joyous as the morning ray Which fed upon the wrecks of

night and storm Now lingering on the winds; light

airs did play Among the dewy weeds, the sun

And joy was ours to meet : she was

most pale, Famished, and wet, and weary;

was warm, And we sate linked in the inwoven


so I cast

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But she was calm and sad, musing

alway On loftiest enterprise, till on a day The Tyrant heard her singing to her

lute A wild and sad and spirit-thrilling

lay, Like winds that die in wastes-one

moment mute The evil thoughts it made which did his

breast pollute.

I told her of my sufferings and my

madness, And how, awakened from that

dreamy mood By Liberty's uprise, the strength of

gladness Came my spirit in my solitude; And all that now I was; while

tears pursued Each other down her fair and listen

ing cheek Fast as the thoughts which fed

them, like a flood From sunbright dales; and, when I

ceased to speak, Her accents soft and sweet the pausing

air did wake.

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But, when he bade her to his secret

bower Be borne, a loveless victim, and she

tore Her locks in agony, and her words

of fame And mightier looks availed not;

then he bore Again his load of slavery, and became A king, a heartless beast, a pageant

and a name.


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, And that she reached the port without

one fear infirmi.

She told me what a loathsome agony Is that when selfishness mocks

love's delight, Foul as in dream's most fearful

imagery To dally with the mowing dead

that night All torture, fear, or horror, made seem



fed away.



Which the soul dreams or knows, and, when the day

They bore her to a bark, and the Shone on her awful frenzy, from

swift stroke the sight,

Of silent rowers clove the blue Where like a Spirit in fleshly chains

moonlight seas, she lay

Until upon their path the morning Struggling, aghast and pale the Tyrant broke;

They anchored then where, be

there calm or breeze, The gloomiest of the drear Sym

plegades Her madness was a beam of light, a

Shakes with the sleepless surge ;-the power

Ethiop there
Which dawned through the rent

Wound his long arms around her, soul; and words it gave,

and with knees Gestures, and looks, such as in whirl

Like iron clasped her feet, and winds bore

plunged with her (Which might not be withstood, Among the closing waves out of the whence none could save)

boundless air. All who approached their sphere,

like some calm wave Vexed into whirlpools by the chasms

“Swift as an eagle stooping from the beneath;

plain And sympathy made each attend

Of morning light into some shadowy ant slave

wood, Fearless and free, and they began to He plunged through the green silence breathe

of the main, Deep curses, like the voice of flames far

Through many a cavern which the underneath.

eternal flood Had scooped as dark lairs for its

monster brood;

And among mighty shapes which fled The King felt pale upon his noonday in wonder, throne :

And among mightier shadows which At night two slaves he to her

pursued chamber sent;

Ilis heels, he wound; until the dark One was a green and wrinkled eunuch,

rocks under grown

He touched a golden chain-a sound From human shape into an instru

arose like thunder. ment Of all things ill-distorted, bowed, and bent;

“A stunning clang of massive bolts The other was a wretch from infancy redoubling Made dumb by poison, who nought Beneath the deep-a burst of waters knew or meant

driven But to obey; from the fire-isles came As from the roots of the sea, raging he,

and bubbling : A diver lean and strong, of Oman's And in that roof of crags a space coral sea.

was riven






of sea,


Through which there shone the
emerald beams of heaven,

“ The fiend of madness which had Shot through the lines of many waves

made its prey inwoven

Of my poor heart was lulled to Like sunlight through acacia woods

sleep awhile : at even,

There was an interval of many a day, Through which his way the diver

And a sea-eagle brought me food having cloven

the while, Passed like a spark sent up out of a

Whose nest was built in that unburning oven.

trodden isle, And who to be the gaoler had been

taught ". And then,” she said, “he laid me

Of that strange dungeon; as in a cave

friend whose smile Above the waters, by that chasm

Like light and rest at morn and even

is sought A fountain round and vast, in which that wild bird was to me, till madness the wave,

misery brought
Imprisoned, boiled and leaped per-

Down which, one moment resting,
he did flee,

“The misery of a madness slow and Winning the adverse depth; that


Which made the earth seem fire, spacious cell Like an hupaithric temple wide

the sea seem air, and high,

And the white clouds of noon, which Whose aëry dome is inaccessible,

oft were sleeping

In the blue heaven so beautiful and Was pierced with one round cleft through which the sunbeams sell.

fair, Like hosts of ghastly shadows

hovering there; “ Below, the fountain's brink was

And the sea-eagle looked a fiend who

richly paven
With the deep's wealth, coral and

Thy mangled limbs for food !-

Thus all things were pearl, and sand Like spangling gold, and purple shells

Transformed into the agony which I
With mystic legends by no mortal Even as a poisoned robe around my

bosom's core.
Left there when, thronging to the

moon's command, The gathering waves rent the Hesper. · Again I knew the day and night ian gate

fast fleeing, Of mountains, and on such bright The eagle and the fountain and the

floor did stand Columns, and shapes like statues, and Another frenzy came—there seemed the state

a being Of kingless thrones, which Earth did in Within me--a strange load my her heart create.

heart did bear,





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