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Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Poetical Works eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 182 pages of information about Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Poetical Works.

(While she speaks, a monk enters her apartment and approaches unobserved)

Monk.  Refuge thou hast,
                  Sweet daughter! in Heaven.  Think of eternal things! 
                  Give up thy soul to penitence, and pray!

(arising hurriedly
).  I cannot pray!—­My soul is at war with God! 
                  The frightful sounds of merriment below;
                  Disturb my senses—­go!  I cannot pray—­
                  The sweet airs from the garden worry me! 
                  Thy presence grieves me—­go!—­thy priestly raiment
                  Fills me with dread—­thy ebony crucifix
                  With horror and awe!

Monk.  Think of thy precious soul!

Lal.  Think of my early days!—­think of my father
                  And mother in Heaven! think of our quiet home,
                  And the rivulet that ran before the door! 
                  Think of my little sisters!—­think of them! 
                  And think of me!—­think of my trusting love
                  And confidence—­his vows—­my ruin—­think—­think
                  Of my unspeakable misery!——­begone! 
                  Yet stay! yet stay!—­what was it thou saidst of prayer
                  And penitence?  Didst thou not speak of faith
                  And vows before the throne?

Monk.  I did.

Lal.  ’Tis well. 
                  There is a vow ’twere fitting should be made—­
                  A sacred vow, imperative and urgent,
                  A solemn vow!

Monk.  Daughter, this zeal is well!

Lal.  Father, this zeal is anything but well! 
                  Hast thou a crucifix fit for this thing? 
                  A crucifix whereon to register
                  This sacred vow? (he hands her his own.)
                  Not that—­Oh! no!—­no!—­no (shuddering.)
                  Not that!  Not that!—­I tell thee, holy man,
                  Thy raiments and thy ebony cross affright me! 
                  Stand back!  I have a crucifix myself,—­
                  I have a crucifix!  Methinks ’twere fitting
                  The deed—­the vow—­the symbol of the deed—­
                  And the deed’s register should tally, father!
         (draws a cross-handled dagger and raises it on high.)
                  Behold the cross wherewith a vow like mine
                  Is written in heaven!

Monk.  Thy words are madness, daughter,
                  And speak a purpose unholy—­thy lips are livid—­
                  Thine eyes are wild—­tempt not the wrath divine! 
                  Pause ere too late!—­oh, be not—­be not rash! 
                  Swear not the oath—­oh, swear it not!

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