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"From thee in all their vigour came 290
"My arm of strength, my soul of flame—
"Thou didst not give me life alone,
"But all that made me more thine own.
"See what thy guilty love hath done!
u Repaid thee with too like a son! 295
"I am no bastard in my soul,
"For that, like thine, abhorred controul:
"And for my breath, that hasty boon
"Thou gav'st and wilt resume so soon,
"I valued it no more than thou, 300
"When rose thy casque above thy brow,
"And we, all side by side, have striven,
"And o'er the dead our coursers driven:
"The past is nothing—and at last
"The future can but be the past; 305
"Yet would I that I then had died:
"For though thou work'dst my mother's ill,
"And made thy own my destined bride,
"I feel thou art my father still;
"And, harsh as sounds thy hard decree, 310
"Tis not unjust, although from thee.
"Begot in sin, to die in shame,
"My life begun and ends the same:
"As erred the sire, so erred the son—
He ceased—and stood with folded arms,
On which the circling fetters sounded;
And not an ear but felt as wounded,
Of all the chiefs that there were ranked,
When those dull chains in meeting clanked :
Till Parisina's fatal charms
Again attracted every eye—
Would she thus hear him doomed to die!
She stood, I said, all pale and still,
The living cause of Hugo's ill:
Her eyes unmoved, but full and wide,
Not once had turned to either side—
Nor once did those sweet eyelids close,
Or shade the glance o'er which they rose,
But round their orbs of deepest blue
The circling white dilated grew—
And there with glassy gaze she stood
As ice were in her curdled blood;
But every now and then a tear
So large and slowly gathered slid
From the long dark fringe of that fair lid,
It was a thing to see, not hear!
And those who saw, it did surprise, 'MO
Such drops could fall from human eyes.
To speak she thought—the imperfect note
Was choked within her swelling throat,
Yet seemed in that low hollow groan
Her whole heart gushing in the tone. 345
It ceased—again she thought to speak,
Then burst her voice in one long shriek,
And to the earth she fell like stone
Or statue from its base o'erthrown,
More like a thing that ne'er had life,— 350
A monument of Azo's wife,—
Than her, that living guilty thing,
Whose every passion was a sting,
Which urged to guilt, but could not bear
That guilt's detection and despair. 335
But yet she lived, —and all too soon
Recovered from that death-like swoon—
But scarce to reason—every sense
Had been o'erstrung by pangs intense;
And each frail fibre ofher brain
(As bow-strings, when relaxed by rain,
The erring arrow launch aside)
Sent forth her thoughts all wild and wide—
The past a blank, the future black,
With glimpses of a dreary track,
Like lightning on the desart path,
When midnight storms are mustering wrath.
She feared—she felt that something ill
Lay on her soul, so deep and chill—
That there was sin and shame she knew;
That some one was to die—but who?
She had forgotten :—did she breathe?
Could this be still the earth beneath?
The sky above, and men around;
Or were they fiends who now so frowned
On one, before whose eyes each eye
Till then had smiled in sympathy?
All was confused and undefined,
To her all-jarred and wandering mind;
A chaos of wild hopes and fears:
And now in laughter, now in tears,
But madly still in each extreme,
She strove with that convulsive dream;
For so it seemed on her to break:
Oh! vainly must she strive to wake! 385
The Convent bells are ringing,
But mournfully and slow;
With a deep sound, to and fro.
Hark! the hymn is singing— The song for the dead below,
Or the living who shortly shall be so!
Kneeling at the Friar's knee;
While the crowd in a speechless circle gather 405