The Mad Lover
a poem by Washington Allston
At the Grave of his Mistress
Stay, gentle Stranger, softly tread!
Oh, trouble not this hallow’d heap.
Vile Envy says my Julia’s dead;
But Envy thus Will never sleep.
Ye creeping Zephyrs, hist you, pray,
Nor press so hard yon wither’d leaves;
For Julia sleeps beneath this clay-
Nay, feel it, how her bosom heaves!
Oh, she was purer than the stream
That saw the first created morn;
Her words were like a sick man’s dream
That nerves with health a heart forlorn.
And who their lot would hapless deem
Those lovely, speaking lips to view;
That light between like rays that beam
Through sister clouds of rosy hue?
Yet these were to her fairer soul
But, as yon op’ning clouds on high
To glorious worlds that o’er them roll,
The portals to a brighter sky.
And shall the glutton worm defile
This spotless tenement of love,
That like a playful infant’s smile
Seem’d born of purest light above?
And yet I saw the sable pall
Dark-trailing o’er the broken ground-
The earth did on her coffin fall-
I heard the heavy, hollow sound
Avaunt, thou Fiend! nor tempt my brain
With thoughts of madness brought from Hell!
No wo like this of all her train
Has Mem’ry in her blackest cell.
‘Tis all a tale of fiendish art-
Thou com’st, my love, to prove it so!
I’ll press thy hand upon my heart-
It chills me like a hand of snow!
Thine eyes are glaz’d, thy cheeks are pale,
Thy lips are livid, and thy breath
Too truly tells the dreadful tale–
Thou comest from the house of death!
Oh, speak, Beloved! lest I rave;
The fatal truth I’ll bravely meet,
And I will follow to the grave,
And wrap me in thy winding sheet.
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