Obrazy na stronie
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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 con

fusedly.

XLVII. Beside the fountain in the market-place Dismounting, I beheld those corpses stare With horny eyes upon each other's face, And on the earth and on the vacant air, And upon me, close to the waters where I stooped to slake my thirst ;-I shrank to

taste, For the salt bitterness of blood was there ; But tied the steed beside, and sought in

haste If any yet survived amid that ghastly waste.

XLVIII. No living thing was there beside one woman, Whom I found wandering in the streets, and

she

Was withered from a likeness of aught

human Into a fiend, by some strange misery : Soon as she heard my steps she leaped on me, And glued her burning lips to mine, and

laughed

With a loud, long, and frantic laugh of glee, 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 brotherWhen 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, But Death's—if thou art he, we'll go to work

together!

L. “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 a 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.

LII. She leaped upon a pile, and lifted 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 sympathy; But now I took the food that woman offered me;

LIII. And vainly having with her madness striven If I might win her to return with me, Departed. In the eastern beams of Heaven The lightning now grew pallid-rapidly, As by the shore of the tempestuous sea The dark steed bore me, and the mountain

grey

Soon echoed to his hoofs, and I could see

Cythna among the rocks, where she alway Had sate, with anxious eyes fixed on the linger

ing day.

LIV. And joy was ours to meet: she was most pale, Famished, and wet and weary, so I cast 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 reached our home ere morning could

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

reclined.

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Her chilled heart having cherished in my

bosom,
And sweetest kisses passed, 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.

CANTO SEVENTH.

1. 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 was warm, And we sate linked in the inwoven charm Of converse and caresses sweet and deep, Speechless caresses, talk that might disarm Time, though he wield the darts of death

and sleep, And those thrice mortal barbs in his own poison

steep.

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 to my spirit in my solitude;
And all that now I was, while tears pursued
Each other down her fair and listening 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.

III. She told me, a strange tale of strange en

durance,

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