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Were some strange joy for us. Death,
Come, obscure | O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade Justice to break her sword! One more, one
And wind me in thine all-embracing arms!
Like a fond mother hide me in thy bosom,
And rock me to the sleep from which none wake.
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
FROM "OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE."
O, NOW, forever
Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content!
Farewell the pluméd troop, and the big wars,
That make ambition virtue! O, farewell!
Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!
And, O you mortal engines, whose rude throats
The immortal Jove's dread clamors counterfeit,
Farewell! Othello's occupation 's gone!
Had it pleased Heaven
To try me with affliction; had he rained
All kinds of sores, and shames, on my bare head;
Steeped me in poverty to the very lips;
Given to captivity me and my utmost hopes;
I should have found in some part of my soul
A drop of patience: but, alas, to make me
A fixed figure, for the time of scorn
To point his slow unmoving finger at !-
Yet could I bear that too; well, very well:
But there, where I have garnered up my heart,
Where either I must live, or bear no life,
The fountain from the which my current runs,
Or else dries up; to be discarded thence!
It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul,
Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars!
It is the cause. Yet I'll not shed her blood;
Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow,
And smooth as monumental alabaster.
Yet she must die, else she 'll betray more men.
Put out the light, and then - Put out the light!
If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,
I can again thy former light restore,
Should I repent me:- but once put out thy light,
Thou cunning'st pattern of excelling nature,
I know not where is that Promethean heat,
That can thy light relume. When I have plucked
I cannot give it vital growth again,
It needs must wither:- I'll smell it on the tree. [Kissing her.
Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,
And love thee after:-one more, and this the last:
So sweet was ne'er so fatal. I must weep,
But they are cruel tears: this sorrow's heavenly:
It strikes, where it doth love.
Behold, I have a weapon;
A better never did itself sustain
Upon a soldier's thigh: I have seen the day,
That, with this little arm and this good sword,
I have made my way through more impediments
Than twenty times your stop: -but, O vain boast!
Who can control his fate? 't is not so now. —
Be not afraid, though you do see me weaponed;
Here is my journey's end, here is my butt,
And very sea-mark of my utmost sail.
Do you go back dismayed? 't is a lost fear;
Man but a rush against Othello's breast,
And he retires: - where should Othello go?-
Now, how dost thou look now? Oill-starred wench!
Pale as thy smock! when we shall meet at compt,
This look of thine will hurl my soul from heaven,
And fiends will snatch at it. Cold, cold, my girl!
Even like thy chastity.
O cursed, cursed slave! Whip me, ye devils,
From the possession of this heavenly sight!
Blow me about in winds! roast me in sulphur!
Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire!
O Desdemona! Desdemona! dead! Oh! Oh! Oh!
THE DREAM OF EUGENE ARAM.
'T WAS in the prime of summer time, An evening calm and cool,
And four-and-twenty happy boys
Came bounding out of school;
There were some that ran, and some that leapt Like troutlets in a pool.
Away they sped with gamesome minds
And souls untouched by sin;
To a level mead they came, and there
They drave the wickets in:
Pleasantly shone the setting sun
Over the town of Lynn.
Like sportive deer they coursed about,
And shouted as they ran,
Turning to mirth all things of earth
As only boyhood can;
But the usher sat remote from all,
A melancholy man!
His hat was off, his vest apart,
To catch heaven's blessed breeze;
For a burning thought was in his brow,
And his bosom ill at ease;
So he leaned his head on his hands, and read
The book between his knees.
Leaf after leaf he turned it o'er,
Nor ever glanced aside,
For the peace of his soul he read that book
In the golden eventide ;
Much study had made him very lean,
And pale, and leaden-eyed.
At last he shut the ponderous tome;
With a fast and fervent grasp
He strained the dusky covers close,
And fixed the brazen hasp:
"O God! could I so close my mind,
And clasp it with a clasp !"
Then leaping on his feet upright,
Some moody turns he took,
Now up the mead, then down the mead,
And past a shady nook,
And, long since then, of bloody men,
Whose deeds tradition saves ;
And lonely folk cut off unseen,
And hid in sudden graves;
And horrid stabs, in groves forlorn ;
And murders done in caves;
And how the sprites of injured men
Shriek upward from the sod;
Ay, how the ghostly hand will point
To show the burial clod;
And unknown facts of guilty acts
Are seen in dreams from God.
He told how murderers walk the earth
Beneath the curse of Cain,
With crimson clouds before their eyes,
And flames about their brain;
For blood has left upon their souls
Its everlasting stain !
"And well," quoth he, "I know for truth Their pangs must be extreme
Woe, woe, unutterable woe!
Who spill life's sacred stream.
For why? Methought, last night I wrought A murder, in a dream!
"One that had never done me wrong,
A feeble man and old;
I led him to a lonely field,
The moon shone clear and cold: Now here, said I, this man shall die, And I will have his gold!
"Two sudden blows with a ragged stick,
And one with a heavy stone,
One hurried gash with a hasty knife,
And then the deed was done :
There was nothing lying at my feet
But lifeless flesh and bone !
"Nothing but lifeless flesh and bone,
That could not do me ill;
And yet I feared him all the more
For lying there so still :
There was a manhood in his look
That murder could not kill!
"And, lo! the universal air
Seemed lit with ghastly flame,
Ten thousand thousand dreadful eyes
Were looking down in blame;
I took the dead man by his hand,
And called upon his name.
"O God! it made me quake to see
Such sense within the slain;
But, when I touched the lifeless clay,
The blood gushed out amain! For every clot a burning spot
Was scorching in my brain!
"All night I lay in agony,
In anguish dark and deep;
My fevered eyes I dared not close,
But stared aghast at Sleep;
For Sin had rendered unto her
The keys of hell to keep! "All night I lay in agony,
From weary chime to chime; With one besetting horrid hint
That racked me all the time, A mighty yearning, like the first Fierce impulse unto crime, "One stern tyrannic thought, that made All other thoughts its slave! Stronger and stronger every pulse
Did that temptation crave, Still urging me to go and see The dead man in his grave!
Man wants but little here below.
"For wants that little, Long?
Iis not with me exactly so:
But 'tis so, in the song.
My wants are many, and if told
Would muster many a score:
And ware each wish a mint of gold
I still should long for
Washington 21. August 1841.