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There was Lorenzo slain and buried in,
There in that forest did his great love cease;
Ah! when a soul doth thus its freedom win,
As the break-covert blood-hounds of such sin:
They dipp'd their swords in the water, and did tease
Their horses homeward, with convulsed spur,
Each richer by his being a murderer.
They told their sister how, with sudden speed,
Because of some great urgency and need
Poor girl! put on thy stifling widow's weed,
To-day thou wilt not see him, nor to-morrow, q
And the next day will be a day of sorrow.
She weeps alone for pleasures not to be;
Sorely she wept until the night came on, And then, instead of love, O misery!
She brooded o'er the luxury alone: His image in the dusk she seem'd to see,
And to the silence, made a gentle moan, Spreading her perfect arms upon the air, And on her couch low murmuring, " Where? O where V
But Selfishness, Love's cousin, held not long
Its fiery vigil in her single breast;
Upon the time with feverish unrest—
Of higher occupants, a richer zest, Came tragic; passion not to be subdued, And sorrow for her love in travels rude. XXXII.
In the mid days of autumn, on their eves
And the sick west continually bereaves
Of death among the bushes and the leaves,
From his north cavern. So sweet Isabel
By gradual decay from beauty fell,
Because Lorenzo came not. Oftentimes
Striving to be itself, what dungeon climes
Could keep him off so long? They spake a tale
Time after time, to quiet her. Their crimes
And every night in dreams they groan'd aloud,
To see their sister in her snowy shroud.
And she had died in drowsy ignorance,
It came like a fierce potion, drunk by chance,
For some few gasping moments; like a lance,
With cruel pierce, and bringing him again
Sense of the gnawing fire at heart and brain.
It was a vision. In the drowsy gloom,
Lorenzo stood, and wept: the forest tomb
Had marr'd his glossy hair which once could shoot
Lustre into the sun, and put cold doom
From his lorn voice, and past his loamed ears
Had made a miry channel for his tears.
Strange sound it was, when the pale shadow spake 5
To speak as when on earth it was awake,
Languor there was in it, and tremulous shake,
And through it moan'd a ghostly under-song,
Like hoarse night-gusts sepulchral briars among.
Its eyes, though wild, were still all dewy bright
From the poor girl by magic of their light,
Of the late darken'd time—the murderous spite
In the forest—and the sodden turfed dell,
Where, without any word, from stabs he fell.
Saying moreover, " Isabel, my sweet!
Red whortle-berries droop above my head, And a large flint-stone weighs upon my feet;
Around me beeches and high chesnuts shed Their leaves and prickly nuts; a sheep-fold bleat
Comes from beyond the river to my bed: Go, shed one tear upon my heather-bloom, And it shall comfort me within the tomb.
"I am a shadow now, alas! alas!
Upon the skirts of human nature dwelling Alone: I chant alone the holy mass,
While little sounds of life are round me knelling, And glossy bees at noon do fieldward pass,
And many a chapel bell the hour is telling, Paining me through: those sounds grow strange to me, And thou art distant in Humanity.
"I know what was, I feel full well what is, And I should rage, if spirits could go mad;
Though I forget the taste of earthly bliss,
That paleness warms my grave, as though I had
A seraph chosen from the bright abyss
Thy beauty grows upon me, and I feel
A greater love through all my essence steal."
The Spirit mourn'd " Adieu!"—dissolved, and left
As when of healthful midnight sleep bereft,
We put our eyes into a pillowy cleft,
And see the spangly gloom froth up and boil:
It made sad Isabella's eyelids ache,
And in the dawn she started up awake;
"Ha! ha !" said she, " I knew not this hard life, I thought the worst was simple misery;
I thought some Fate with pleasure or with strife
But there is crime—a brother's bloody knife!
I'll visit thee for this, and kiss thine eyes,
And greet thee morn and even in the skies."
When the full morning came, she had devised
How she might find the clay, so dearly prized,
How her short absence might be unsurmised,
Resolved, she took with her an aged nurse,
And went into that dismal forest-hearse.
See, as they creep along the river side,
And, after looking round the champaign wide,
Burns in thee, child ?—what good can thee betide,
And they had found Lorenzo's earthy bed ;
The flint was there, the berries at his head.
Who hath not loiter'd in a green church-yard,
Work through the clayey soil and gravel hard,
Pitying each form that hungry Death hath marr'd,
Ah ! this is holiday to what was felt
When Isabella by Lorenzo knelt.
She gazed into the fresh-thrown mould, as though
Clearly she saw, as other eyes would know
Upon the murderous spot she seem'd to grow,
Then with her knife, all sudden she began
To dig more fervently than misers can.
Soon she turn'd up a soiled glove, whereon
She kiss'd it with a lip more chill than stone,
And freezes utterly unto the bone
Those dainties made to still an infant's cries:
Then 'gan she work again ; nor stay'd her care,
But to throw back at times her veiling hair.