The Death-Wake eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 90 pages of information about The Death-Wake.

    Why comest thou, with feelings bound
    On thy birth-shore, the long unenter’d ground? 
    To visit where thy being first,
    Through the pale shell of embryo nothing, burst? 
      Or, on celestial errand bent,
    To win to faith a sin enraptured son,
      And point the angel lineament
    Of mercy on a cross,—­the Bleeding One?

    Spirit!  I breathe no sad adieu: 
    The altars where thou bendest never knew
    Sigh, tear, or sorrow, and the night
    No chariot drives behind the wheel of light;
      Where every seraph is a sun,
    And every soul an everlasting star.—­
      Go to thy home, thou peerless one! 
    Where glory and the Great Immortal are!


    Her life is in the marble! yet a fall
    Of sleep lies on the heart’s fair arsenal,
    Like new shower’d snow.  You hear no whisper through
    Those love-divided lips; no pearly dew
    Trembles on her pale orbs, that seem to be
    Bent on a dream of immortality!

    She sleeps:  her life is sleep,—­a holy rest! 
    Like that of wing-borne cloud, that, in the west
    Laves his aerial image, till afar
    The sunlight leaves him, melting into star. 
    Did Phidias from her brow the veil remove,
    Uncurtaining the peerless queen of love? 
    The fluent stone in marble waves recoil’d,
    Touch’d by his hand, and left the wondrous child,
    A Venus of the foam!  How softly fair
    The dove-like passion on the sacred air
    Floats round her, nesting in her wreathed hair,
    That tells, though shadeless, of its auburn hue,
    Bathed in a hoar of diamond-dropping dew!

    How beautiful!—­Was this not one of eld,
    That Chaos on his boundless bosom held,
    Till Earth came forward in a rush of storm,
    Closing his ribs upon her wingless form? 
    How beautiful!—­The very lips do speak
    Of love, and bid us worship:  the pale cheek
    Seems blushing through the marble—­through the snow! 
    And the undrap’ried bosom feels a flow
    Of fever on its brightness; every vein
    At the blue pulse swells softly, like a chain
    Of gentle hills.  I would not fling a wreath
    Of jewels on that brow, to flash beneath
    Those queenly tresses; for itself is more
    Than sea-born pearl of some Elysian shore!

    Such, with a heart like woman!  I would cast
    Life at her foot, and, as she glided past,
    Would bid her trample on the slavish thing—­
    Tell her, I’d rather feel me withering
    Under her step, than be unknown for aye: 
      And, when her pride had crush’d me, she might see
    A love-wing’d spirit glide in glory by
      Striking the tent of its mortality!


    Trembler! a month is past, and thou
      Wert singing on the thorn,
    And shaking dew-drops from the bough
      In the golden haze of morn!

Project Gutenberg
The Death-Wake from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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