Thou’st made for me an atmosphere of life;
The very air is brighter from thine eyes,
They are so soft and beautiful, and rife
With all we can imagine of the skies.
O woman, where is they resistless power;
I swore the livery of Heaven to grace,
Yet stand, to-day, a sacrilegious tower,
Perjured by the witchery of thy face.
Then, love, I’ll give thee back thy perjured
I would not hold thee with one pleading breath;
It may be best to leave the pathway now,
That can but lead to death.
I’ll crush the agonies that burning swell,
And say farewell.
“Farewell?” No, not farewell, I’ll
Thy form divine.
No death’s despair, no voice of doom shall sever
My heart from thine.
Thou’st crowned me with they love and bade me
I kiss the shrine.
I will not give thee up, nay, here I swear it,
That thou art mine.
* * * * * * * * * *
A desecrated holiness is o’er me,
I’ve held the Thyrsus cup;
I’ve dared the thunderbolts of Heaven for thee,
I will not give up.
And thou pale tape light, by whose fast-dying flame I write
these words—the last my hand shall pen—farewell! What is’t to die? To be shut in a dungeon’s walls and starved to death? She knows, and soon will I. She sought to learn of me, and I to teach to her, the mystery of life. Ha, ha! Who claimed her by the church’s law has given us both to learn the mystery of death. What was’t I loved? The eyes that thrilled me through and through with their magnetic subtlety? They’re there, set on my face; but where’s their lifened light? What was’t I loved? The mouth whose coral redness I have buried in my own? ’Tis there, shrunk ’gainst two rows of dead pale pearls, and cold and colorless as lip of statue carved of marble. Was it the form whose perfect outline stamped it with divinity? It’s there, but ’reft of all its winsome roundness, and stiffening in the chill of death. It makes me cold to look upon its rigidness. But just this hour the breath went out; was’t that I loved? ’Twas this I clasped and kissed. What is it that we’ve christened love, that glamours men to madness, and stains with falsehood virgin purity? It made this grewsome charnel vault a part of Heaven—the graves there of those murdered knaves made rests of roses for our heads; it made him spring the bolt and lock us in. Where is the creed’s foundation? I’ve shrived a thousand souls—I cannot now absolve my own. To quench this awful thirst,