O wretch without a tear, without
Save joy above the ruin thou hast wrought!
The time shall come, nor long remote, when thou
Shalt feel far more than thou inflictest now,—
Feel for thy vile self-loving self in vain,
And turn thee howling in unpitied pain.
May the strong curse of crushed affections light
Back on thy bosom with reflected blight,
And make thee, in thy leprosy of mind,
As loathsome to thyself as to mankind,
Till all thy self-thoughts curdle into hate
Black as thy will for others would create:
Till thy hard heart be calcined into dust,
And thy soul welter in its hideous crust!
Oh, may thy grave be sleepless as the bed,
The widowed couch of fire, that thou hast spread!
Then, when thou fain wouldst weary Heaven with prayer,
Look on thine earthly victims, and despair!
Down to the dust! and, as thou rott’st away,
Even worms shall perish on thy poisonous clay.
But for the love I bore, and still must bear,
To her thy malice from all ties would tear,
Thy name, thy human name, to every eye
The climax of all scorn, should hang on high,
Exalted o’er thy less abhorred compeers,
And festering in the infamy of years.
And thou wert sad, yet I was not
And thou wert sick, and yet I was not near!
Methought that joy and health alone could be
Where I was not, and pain and sorrow here.
And is it thus? It is as I foretold,
And shall be more so; for the mind recoils
Upon itself, and the wrecked heart lies cold,
While heaviness collects the shattered spoils.
It is not in the storm nor in the strife
We feel benumbed, and wish to be no more,
But in the after-silence on the shore,
When all is lost except a little life.
I am too well avenged! But ’twas my right:
Whate’er my sins might be, thou wert not sent
To be the Nemesis who should requite;
Nor did Heaven choose so near an instrument.
Mercy is for the merciful!—if thou
Hast been of such, ’twill be accorded now.
Thy nights are banished from the realms of sleep!
Yes! they may flatter thee; but thou shalt feel
A hollow agony which will not heal;
For thou art pillowed on a curse too deep:
Thou hast sown in my sorrow, and must reap
The bitter harvest in a woe as real!
I have had many foes, but none like thee;
For ’gainst the rest myself I could defend,
And be avenged, or turn them into friend;
But thou in safe implacability
Hadst nought to dread, in thy own weakness shielded;
And in my love, which hath but too much yielded,
And spared, for thy sake, some I should not spare.