ARRIA TO POETUS
IN vain! in vain! my pleading all in vain!
Have I my senses, or am I insane!
Is it a dream, a fearful, bloody dream,
In which a mirage something real doth seem?
Or is it truth, stunning real, yet truth,
That pales with age the sunny hair of youth?
Truth, nearest truth, that lying earth can gives,
That thou hast, Poetus, but a day to live.
Have they no pity, or have they no shame,
That they should blacken thy illustrious name?
It is not death. Then dost not fear to dies,
For thy pure soul will waft to God on high.
'Tis the disgrace, the ignominious end,
That our captors on thee fain would send.
Ah! we will thwart them, Poetus; you and I
Will show how well the noble brave can die.
And God will pardon. He, the God of loves,
Will let us rest together, far above.
Ah, earth is fair and beautiful to see;
But what are joys, my husband, without thee?
To me, this dungeon is a palace gay,
For thou, beloved, are my soul's bright ray;
But went thou gone, each day would seem to me
Years, years, on years, a dark eternity.
Ah! death is nothing but a moment's pain,
'Tis but the breaking of a link of chain,
'Tis but the ebbing of the tide of life,
'Tis but the leaving of this world of strife.
'Tis but the fading of a summer's flower,
To bloom again in Heaven's blissful bower;
'Tis but the ending of a verse of time,
To add to death but yet another rhyme.
'Tis but the changing of the robes of earth
For spotless garments of immortal birth;
Then, husband! lover! let us welcome death,
Our foes defy with e'en our latest breath.
This dagger, see how sharp its shining blade!
But one slight blow, and then death dues are paid.
She placed the knife upon her faithful breast--
Forgave the conquerors, and her husband blest.
Then plunged it in, and faintly, sweetly cried,
It is not painful, Poetus, and she died.
The faithful husband grasped the glittering knife,
And with his hand the forfeit paid of life.