Fytte the Third: shewing how His
Majesty the King came at last to sleep
in a Happy Man his Shirt.
Each day to the King the reports came in
Of his unsuccessful spies,
And the sad panorama of human woes
Passed daily under his eyes.
And he grew ashamed of his useless life,
And his maladies hatched in gloom;
He opened his windows and let the air
Of the free heaven into his room.
And out he went in the world and toiled
In his own appointed way;
And the people blessed him, the land was glad,
And the King was well and gay.
A sentinel angel sitting high in glory
Heard this shrill wail ring out from Purgatory:
“Have mercy, mighty angel, hear my story!
“I loved,—and, blind with passionate
love, I fell.
Love brought me down to death, and death to Hell.
For God is just, and death for sin is well.
“I do not rage against his high decree,
Nor for myself do ask that grace shall be;
But for my love on earth who mourns for me.
“Great Spirit! Let me see my love again;
And comfort him one hour, and I were fain
To pay a thousand years of fire and pain.”
Then said the pitying angel, “Nay, repent
That wild vow! Look, the dial-finger’s bent
Down to the last hour of thy punishment!”
But still she wailed, “I pray thee, let me go!
I cannot rise to peace and leave him so.
O, let me soothe him in his bitter woe!”
The brazen gates ground sullenly ajar,
And upward, joyous, like a rising star,
She rose and vanished in the ether far.
But soon adown the dying sunset sailing,
And like a wounded bird her pinions trailing,
She fluttered back, with broken-hearted wailing.
She sobbed, “I found him by the summer sea
Reclined, his head upon a maiden’s knee,—
She curled his hair and kissed him. Woe is me!”
She wept, “Now let my punishment begin!
I have been fond and foolish. Let me in
To expiate my sorrow and my sin.”
The angel answered, “Nay, sad soul, go higher!
To be deceived in your true heart’s desire
Was bitterer than a thousand years of fire!”
I stood on the top of Pitz Languard,
And heard three voices whispering low,
Where the Alpine birds in their circling ward
Made swift dark shadows upon the snow.
I loved a girl with truth and pain,
She loved me not. When she said good by
She gave me a kiss to sting and stain
My broken life to a rosy dye.
I loved a woman with love well tried,—
And I swear I believe she loves me still.
But it was not I who stood by her side
When she answered the priest and said “I will.”