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[27] And then he reads from paper and book,
     In a low and husky asthmatic tone,
With the stolid sameness of posture and look
     Of one who reads to himself alone;
And hour after hour on my senses come
     That husky wheeze and that dolorous hum.

The price of stocks, the auction sales,
     The poet's song and the lover's glee,
The horrible murders, the seaboard gales,
     The marriage list, and thejeu d'esprit,
All reach my ear in the self-same tone,—
     I shudder at each, but the fiend reads on!

Oh, sweet as the lapse of water at noon
     O'er the mossy roots of some forest tree,
The sigh of the wind in the woods of June,
     Or sound of flutes o'er a moonlight sea,
Or the low soft music, perchance, which seems
     To float through the slumbering singer's dreams,

So sweet, so dear is the silvery tone,
     Of her in whose features I sometimes look,
As I sit at eve by her side alone,
     And we read by turns, from the self-same book,
Some tale perhaps of the olden time,
     Some lover's romance or quaint old rhyme.

Then when the story is one of woe,—
     Some prisoner's plaint through his dungeon-bar,
Her blue eye glistens with tears, and low
     Her voice sinks down like a moan afar;
And I seem to hear that prisoner's wail,
     And his face looks on me worn and pale.

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