Poem of the Day.
A DIALOGUE. [Published (without title) by Hogg, "Life of Shelley", 1858; dated 1809. Included in the Esdaile manuscript book.] DEATH: For my dagger is bathed in the blood of the brave, I come, care-worn tenant of life, from the grave, Where Innocence sleeps 'neath the peace-giving sod, And the good cease to tremble at Tyranny's nod; I offer a calm habitation to thee,-- _5 Say, victim of grief, wilt thou slumber with me? My mansion is damp, cold silence is there, But it lulls in oblivion the fiends of despair; Not a groan of regret, not a sigh, not a breath, Dares dispute with grim Silence the empire of Death. _10 I offer a calm habitation to thee,-- Say, victim of grief, wilt thou slumber with me? MORTAL: Mine eyelids are heavy; my soul seeks repose, It longs in thy cells to embosom its woes, It longs in thy cells to deposit its load, _15 Where no longer the scorpions of Perfidy goad,-- Where the phantoms of Prejudice vanish away, And Bigotry's bloodhounds lose scent of their prey. Yet tell me, dark Death, when thine empire is o'er, What awaits on Futurity's mist-covered shore? _20 DEATH: Cease, cease, wayward Mortal! I dare not unveil The shadows that float o'er Eternity's vale; Nought waits for the good but a spirit of Love, That will hail their blest advent to regions above. For Love, Mortal, gleams through the gloom of my sway, _25 And the shades which surround me fly fast at its ray. Hast thou loved?--Then depart from these regions of hate, And in slumber with me blunt the arrows of fate. I offer a calm habitation to thee.-- Say, victim of grief, wilt thou slumber with me? _30 MORTAL: Oh! sweet is thy slumber! oh! sweet is the ray Which after thy night introduces the day; How concealed, how persuasive, self-interest's breath, Though it floats to mine ear from the bosom of Death! I hoped that I quite was forgotten by all, _35 Yet a lingering friend might be grieved at my fall, And duty forbids, though I languish to die, When departure might heave Virtue's breast with a sigh. O Death! O my friend! snatch this form to thy shrine, And I fear, dear destroyer, I shall not repine. _40 NOTE: _22 o'er Esdaile manuscript; on 1858.
(Thursday, 25 May, 2017.)