Vain Death

ALL the first night she might not weep
 But watched till morning came,
And when she slept at dawn, she heard
 The dead man call her name.
The second night she watched and wept
 And called on death for grace,
And when she slept before the dawn
 She saw the dead man’s face.
The third night through she laughed as one
 That knows her way to bliss,
And in the instant ere she slept
 She felt the dead man’s kiss.
She rose and faced the flickering fire
 (And oh, but she was fair!),
Like a wild witch behind her danced
 The shadow of her hair.
She took her penknife from its sheath,
 The tender blade she kissed,
And by the firelight’s dying leap
 She bared her little wrist.
And where the vein ran large and blue
 She cut, once and again,
Yet ere she swooned from life, she knew
 Her death had been in vain.
For while life thundered in her ears,
 Ere yet her pulse might fail,
Far off across the kindless night
 She heard the dead man’s wail,
And knew her doom was one with theirs
 That kill the life God gave,
And that she might not leave this earth
 Her soul alive to save,
But ay must dwell within that house
 As in a living grave,
While he for whom she died might ne’er
 Win to her in that place,
But must for ever make his moan
Ranging in agony alone
 The trackless void of space

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:15 min read

Archibald Thomas Strong

Sir Archibald Thomas Strong was an Australian scholar and poet.  more…

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    "Vain Death" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 17 Jan. 2021. <>.

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