Ah, who was ever conquering Love but I!
Who else did ever throne in heart of man I To visible being, with a gladsome cry Waking, life's tremor through me throbbing ran I'
A strange, repulsive feline wail arose somewhere in the room. I started up on my elbow and stared about me, but could see nothing.
Mr. Raven turned several leaves, and went on:—
Sudden I woke, nor knew the ghastly fear
That held me—not like serpent coiled about, But like a vapour moist, corrupt, and drear,
Filling heart, soul, and breast and brain throughout;
My being lay motionless in sickening doubt, Nor dared to ask how came the horror here.
' My past entire I knew, but not my now;
I understood nor what I was, nor where ; I knew what I had been : still on my brow
I felt the touch of what no more was there t
I was a fainting, dead, yet live Despair; A life that flouted life with mop and mow I
' That I was once a queen I knew right well, And sometimes wore a splendour on my head
Whose flashing even dead darkness could not quell— The like on neck and arms and girdle-stead ; And men declared a light my closed eyes shed
That killed the diamond in its silver cell.'
Again I heard the ugly cry of feline pain. Again I looked, but saw neither shape nor motion. Mr. Raven seemed to listen a moment, but again turned several pages, and resumed :—
' Hideously wet, my hair of golden hue
Fouled my fair hands : to have it swiftly shorn
I had given my rubies, all for me dug new— No eyes had seen, and such no waist had worn ! For a draught of water from a drinking horn,
For one blue breath, I had given my sapphires blue !