These prison-walls are bleak and drear;
Who would have thought I'd enter here.
They say four men will die to-day;
My blood, also, will ebb away.
Ah, well! 'tis sweet to die for love,
That sacred essence from above.
That wretch which spoke my darling's name
With free license in homes of shame,
Deserved to die, just as he did.
I killed him,--though the law forbid;
24The slaughter of man's fellow-man.
His blood o'er heath and flower ran.
I hear a step. who may it be!
Some friend who comes to pity me.
A comely youth, his face is hid
His eyes are drooped beneath their lid.
The jailer locks and bars the door,
I see the light of day no more.
Who is this form that o'er me bends,
And rapture to my spirit lends?
"What! Imogene, who brings
To this bleak prison, dark and drear?
Why weepest thou? 'Tis for the best,
Why does she hold her kerchief near
My nostrils? Sure, she is sincere!
A stupor deadens limb and will.
My brain receives impressions still,--
But Oh, a deadness grips my heart;
Can it be true from life I part?
I see her change
garb for mine,--
I watch her scrawl a single line,
I hear her cry, "Yes, love, I sigh
That I but once for thee can die;
25Far better had'st thou never seen
The proud, but faithful Imogene."
I hear her fall upon the ground.
The jailor enters at the sound,
And bears me from the darkened cell.
And Imogene,--how can I tell
The madness of that dreadful hour!
To save my love, I'd
I knew no more, my senses slept.
Of brain, of mind I was bereft.
When reason cleared the dark away,
I hastened where my darling lay.
With maddened speech I neared the spot,
But there my Imogene was not
Too late! My God! I see my love!
O angels from the choir above,
Oh, stay that hand that deals the blow!
Oh, raise that arm that trembles so!
My God! Too late! The last I've seen
Of her I love, lost Imogene.