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Her place is empty, and another comes)
In anguish, in the ghastliness of death ;
Hers nevermore to leave those mournful walls,
Even on her bier.
'Tis over; and the rite,
With all its pomp and harmony, is now
Floating before her. She arose at home,
To be the show, the idol of the day :
Her vesture gorgeous, and her starry head, –
No rocket, bursting in the midnight sky,
So dazzling. When to-morrow she awakes,
She will awake as though she still was there,
Still in her father's house; and lo, a cell
Narrow and dark, naught through the gloom
Naught save the crucifix and rosary,
And the gray habit lying by to shroud
Her beauty and grace.
When on her knees she fell,
Entering the solemn place of consecration,
And from the latticed gallery came a chant
Of psalms, most saint-like, most angelical,
Verse after verse sung out, how holily
The strain returning, and still, still returning,
Methought it acted like a spell upon her,
And she was casting off her earthly dross;
Yet was it sad and sweet, and, ere it closed,
Came like a dirge. When her fair head was shorn,
And the long tresses in her hands were laid,
That she might fling them from her, saying, —
Thus I renounce the world and worldly things"
When, as she stood, her bridal ornaments
Were one by one removed, even to the last,
That she might say, flinging them from her, —
Thus I renounce the world !”
And as a nun in homeliest guise she knelt,
Weiled in her veil, crowned with her silver crown,
Her crown of lilies as the spouse of Christ,
Wellmightherstrength forsake her, and her knees
Fail in that hour ! Well might the holy man,
He at whose foot she knelt, give as by stealth
('Twas in her utmost need ; nor, while she lives,
Will it go from her, fleeting as it was)
That faint but fatherly smile, that smile of love
IPHIGENEIA, when she heard her doom
At Aulis, and when all beside the king
Had gone away, took his right hand, and said:
“O father I am young and very happy.
I do not think the pious Calchas heard
Distinctly what the goddess spake ; old age
Obscures the senses. If my nurse, who knew
My voice so well, sometimes misunderstood,
While I was resting on her knee both arms,
And hitting it to make her mind my words,
And looking in her face, and she in mine,
Might not he, also, hear one word amiss,
Spoken from so far off, even from Olympus "
The father placed his cheek upon her head.
And tears dropt down it; but the king of men
Replied not. Then the maiden spake once more:
“O father sayest thou nothing? Hearest thou
Me, whom thou over hast, until this hour.
Listened to fondly, and awakened me
To hear my voice amid the voice of birds,
When it was inarticulate as theirs,
And the down deadened it within the nest ?"
He moved her gently from him, silent still ;
And this, and this alone, brought tears from her,
Although she saw fate nearer. Then with sighs:
“I thought to have laid down my hair before
Benignant Artemis, and not dimmed
Her polished altar with my virgin blood;
I thought to have selected the white flowers
To please the nymphs, and to have asked of each
By name, and with no sorrowful regret,
Whether, since both my parents willed the change.
I might at Hymen's feet bend my clipt brow ;
And (after these who mind us girls the most)
Adore our own Athene, that she would
Regard me mildly with her azure eyes, –
But, father, to see you no more, and see
Your love, O father go ere I am gone ""
Gently he moved her off, and drew her back,
Bending his lofty head far over hers;
And the dark depths of nature heaved and burst.
He turned away, - not far, but silent still.
She now first shuddered; for in him, so nigh,