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Thou look’d'st on me all yesternight,
Thine eyes were blue, thy hair was bright
As when we murmured our trothplight
Beneath the thick stars, Rosaline !
Thy hair was braided on thy head,
As on the day we two were wed,
Mine eyes scarce knew if thou wert dead, -
my shrunk heart knew, Rosaline !
The deathwatch ticked behind the wall,
The blackness rustled like a pall,
The moaning wind did rise and fall
Among the bleak pines, Rosaline !
My heart beat thickly in mine ears :
The lids may shut out fleshly fears,
But still the spirit sees and hears, –
Its eyes are lidless, Rosaline !
A wildness rushing suddenly,
A knowing some ill shape is nigh,
A wish for death, a fear to die,
Is not this vengeance, Rosaline ?
A loneliness that is not lone,
A love quite withered up
gone, A strong soul trampled from its throne, What wouldst thou further, Rosaline ?
'Tis drear such moonless nights as these,
Strange sounds are out upon the breeze,
And the leaves shiver in the trees,
And then thou comest, Rosaline !
I seem to hear the mourners go,
With long black garments trailing slow,
And plumes anodding to and fro,
As once I heard them, Rosaline !
Thy shroud is all of snowy white,
And, in the middle of the night,
Thou standest moveless and upright,
Gazing upon me, Rosaline !
There is no sorrow in thine eyes,
But evermore that meek surprise, –
O, God! thy gentle spirit tries
To deem me guiltless, Rosaline !
Above thy grave the robin sings,
And swarms of bright and happy things.
Flit all about with sunlit wings,
But I am cheerless, Rosaline !
The violets on the hillock toss,
The gravestone is o’ergrown with moss ;
For nature feels not any loss,
But I am cheerless, Rosaline !
Ah! why wast thou so lowly bred ? Why was my pride galled on to wed Her who brought lands and gold, instead Of thy heart's treasure, Rosaline ?
Why did I fear to let thee stay
To look on me and pass away
Forgivingly, as in its May
A broken flower, Rosaline?
I thought not, when my dagger strook,
Of thy blue eyes ;
I could not brook
The past all pleading in one look
Of utter sorrow, Rosaline !
I did not know when thou wast dead ;
A blackbird whistling overhead
Thrilled through my brain ; I would have fled,
But dared not leave thee, Rosaline !
A low, low moan, a light twig stirred
By the upspringing of a bird,
A drip of blood, were all I heard, -
Then deathly stillness, Rosaline!
The sun rolled down, and very soon,
Like a great fire, the awful moon
Rose, stained with blood, and then a swoon
Crept chilly o’er me, Rosaline !
The stars came out; and, one by one,
Each angel from his silver throne
Looked down and saw what I had done :
I dared not hide me, Rosaline !
I crouched; I feared thy corpse would cry
Against me to God's quiet sky,
I thought I saw the blue lips try
To utter something, Rosaline !
I waited with a maddened grin
To hear that voice all icy thin
Slide forth and tell my deadly sin
To hell and heaven, Rosaline !
But no voice came, and then it seemed,
That, if the very corpse had screamed,
The sound like sunshine glad had streamed
Through that dark stillness, Rosaline !
Dreams of old quiet glimmered by,
And faces loved in infancy
Came and looked on me mournfully,
Till my heart melted, Rosaline !