The Damozel Of Doom
THAT dream came not again to me,
Nor any dream at all;
But well I knew, as the days went past,
There held me fast in thrall
A something of that shrouded thing
That wrapped me like a pall.
An aura drear that severed me
From men and the ways of men;
As some great evil I had done
My friends did shun me then;
I felt accurst, and kept apart,
And sought them not again.
But O how chill the World did grow!
And the Sun, as a thing unreal,
Did glare and glare through the vacant day,
And never a ray I'd feel
To warm my blood, the light fell thin
And gray as spectral steel.
A pale disease took hold on me,
And when the night would come
I had no rest, but sleepless lay
As stark as clay, and numb;
And could not stir till dawn would break
Nor gasp, for I was dumb.
And yet were times all faintly tinged
With a glimmering ecstasy;
Moments that lingered in their flight,
Trailing a light to me
Elusive and wan as the phosphor foam
That floats on the midnight sea.
And out of my stricken body then
My soul would seem to creep,
And over a sheer unfathomed brink
Of silence sink asleep,
Beyond the shadow and sound of dreams,
And deeper than Earth is deep.
Yet ever from those slumber spells,
That seemed like years, I'd start
Sudden awake, bewildered by
A presence nigh my heart,
As if a soul had stirred in me
That of me was no part.
And so three seasons passed away,
And the early summer came;
And still that weird fantasy
Enshrouded me the same;
But now it seemed as luminous
With some alchemic flame.
At length in a garden wide and old,
A garden all my own,
One afternoon I lay at ease
Under the trees alone,
While the fragrant day fell off in the West
Like a Titan rose o'erblown.
And lying there I dreamed once more,
And it seemed that a scarlet bird
Flew out of my heart with a joyous cry,
To the topmost sky, and I heard
Her song come echoing down to me,
Yearning word on word:
O moments–O ages slow!
But love shall be my own again–
Be it moments or ages slow!'