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And wear this mask of falsehood even to those
Who are most dear — not for my own repose -
Alas no scorn or pain or hate could be
So heavy as that falsehood is to me
But that I cannot bear more altered faces
Than needs must be, more changed and cold embraces,
More misery, disappointment and mistrust
To own me for their father ... Would the dust
Were covered in upon my body now!
That the life ceased to toil within my brow !
And then these thoughts would at the least be filed;
Let us not fear such pain can vex the dead.
•What Power delights to torture us? I know
That to myself I do not wholly owe
What now I suffer, tho’ in part I may.
Alas none strewed sweet flowers
Where wandering heedlessly, I met pale Pain
My shadow, which will leave me not again -
If I have erred, there was no joy in error,
But pain and insult and unrest and terror;
I have not as some do, bought penitence
With pleasure, and a dark yet sweet offence,
For then, — if love and tenderness and truth
Had overlived hope's momentary youth,
My creea should have redeemed me from repenting,
But loathed scorn and outrage unrelenting
Met love excited by far other seeming
Until the end was gained ... as one from dreaming
Of sweetest peace, I woke, and found my state
Such as it is.
O Thou, my spirit's mate
Who, for thou art compassionate and wise,
Wouldst pity me from thy most gentle eyes
If this sad writing thou shouldst ever see -
My secret groans must be unheard by thee,
Thou wouldst weep tears bitter as blood to know
Thy lost friend's incommunicable woe.
• Ye few by whom my nature has been weighed In friendship, let me not that name degrade By placing on your hearts the secret load Which crushes mine to dust. There is one road To peace and that is truth, which follow ye ! Love sometimes leads astray to misery. Yet think not tho' subdued and I may well Say that I am subdued -- that the full Hell Within me would infect the untainted breast Of sacred nature with its own unrest ; As some perverted beings think to find In scorn or hate a medicine for the mind Which scorn or hate have wounded -O how vain ! The dagger heals not but may rend again ....
Believe that I am ever still the same
In creed as in resolve, and what may tame
My heart, must leave the understanding free,
Or all would sink in this keen agony -
Nor dream that I will join the vulgar cry,
Or with my silence sanction tyranny,
Or seek a moment's shelter from my pain
In any madness which the world calls gain,
Ambition or revenge or thoughts as stern
As those which make me what I am, or turn
To avarice or misanthropy or lust ....
Heap on me soon,O grave, thy welcome dust!
Till then the dungeon may demand its prey,
And Poverty and Shame may meet and say -
Halting beside me on the public way-
That love-devoted youth is our's — let's sit
Beside him — he may live some six months yet.
Or the red scaffold, as our country bends,
May ask some willing victim, or ye friends
May fall under some sorrow which this heart
Or hand may share or vanquish or avert ;
I am prepared : in truth with no proud joy
To do or suffer aught, as when a boy
I did devote to justice and to love
My nature, worthless now!...
'I must remove
A veil from my pent mind. 'Tis torn aside!
O, pallid as Death's dedicated bride,
Thou mockery which art sitting by my side,
Am I not wan like thee? at the grave's call
I haste, invited to thy wedding-ball
To greet the ghastly paramour, for whom
Thou hast deserted me ... and made the tomb
Thy bridal bed ... but I beside your feet
Will lie and watch
my winding sheet -Thus ... wide awake tho' dead ... yet stay O stay ! Go not so soon I know not what I
Hear but my reasons I am mad, I fear,
My fancy is o'erwrought .. thou art not here ...
Pale art thou, 'tis most true . . but thou art gone,
Thy work is finished ... I am left alone ! -
'Nay, was it I who wooed thee to this breast
Which, like a serpent thou envenomest
As in repayment of the warmth it lent?
Didst thou not seek me for thine own content?
Did not thy love awaken mine? I thought
That thou wert she who said “You kiss me not
Ever, I fear you do not love me now"
In truth I loved even to my overthrow
Her, who would fain forget these words : but they Cling to her mind, and cannot pass away.
say that I am proud — that when I speak My lip is tortured with the wrongs which break The spirit it expresses . . . Never one Humbled himself before, as I have done ! Even the instinctive worm on which we tread Turns, tho' it wound not- then with prostrate head Sinks in the dust and writhes like me and dies? No: wears a living death of agonies ! As the slow shadows of the pointed grass Mark the eternal periods, his pangs pass Slow, ever-moving, - making moments be As mine seem -each an immortality!
"That you had never seen me
- never heard My voice, and more than all had ne'er endured The deep pollution of my loathed embrace That your eyes ne'er had lied love in faceThat, like some maniac monk, I had torn out The nerves of manhood by their bleeding root With mine own quivering fingers, so that ne'er Our hearts had for a moment mingled there To disunite in horror these were not With thee, like some suppressed and hideous thought