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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
Which flits athwart our musings, but can find
. It were A cruel punishment for one most cruel If such can love, to make that love the fuel Of the mind's hell; hate, scorn, remorse, despair :
- whose heart a stranger's tear might wear As water-drops the sandy fountain-stone, Who loved and pitied all things, and could moan For woes which others hear not, and could see The absent with the glance of phantasy, And with the poor and trampled sit and weep, Following the captive to his dungeon deep; Me — who am as a nerve o'er which do creep The else unfelt oppressions of this earth, And was to thee the flame upon thy hearth, When all beside was cold that thou on me Shouldst rain these plagues of blistering agony
Such curses are from lips once eloquent
“Thou wilt tell With the grimace of hate how horrible It was to meet my love when thine grew less; Thou wilt admire how I could e'er address Such features to love's work ... this taunt, tho' true, (For indeed nature nor in form nor hue Bestowed on me her choicest workmanship) Shall not be thy defence ... for since thy lip Met mine first, years long past, since thine eye kindled With soft fire under mine, I have not dwindled Nor changed in mind or body, or in aught But as love changes what it loveth not After long years
And from my pen the words flow as I write,
• Those who inflict must suffer, for they see The work of their own hearts and this must be Our chastisement or recompense — O child ! I would that thine were like to be more mild For both our wretched sakes ... for thine the most Who feelest already all that thou hast lost Without the power to wish it thine again ; And as slow years pass, a funereal train Each with the ghost of some lost hope or friend Following it like its shadow, wilt thou bend No thought on my dead memory?
Alas, love! Fear me not ... against thee I would not move A finger in despite. Do I not live That thou mayst have less bitter cause to grieve ? I give thee tears for scorn and love for hate ; And that thy lot may be less desolate Than his on whom thou tramplest, I refrain From that sweet sleep which medicines all pain.
Then, when thou speakest of me, never say
He ceased, and overcome leant back awhile, Then rising, with a melancholy smile Went to a sofa, and lay down, and slept A heavy sleep, and in his dreams he wept And muttered some familiar name, and we Wept without shame in his society. I think I never was impressed so much; The man who were not, must have lacked a touch Of human nature ... then we lingered not, Although our argument was quite forgot, But calling the attendants, went to dine At Maddalo's; yet neither cheer nor wine Could give us spirits, for we talked of him And nothing else, till daylight made stars dim;