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[124] Overhead, a roof of cloud
With its weight of thunder bowed;
Underneath, to left and right,
Blankness and abysmal night.

Here and there a wild-flower blushed,
Now and then a bird-song gushed;
Now and then, through rifts of shade,
Stars shone out, and sunbeams played.

But the goodly company,
Walking in that path with me,
One by one the brink o'erslid,
One by one the darkness hid.

Some with wailing and lament,
Some with cheerful courage went;
But, of all who smiled or mourned,
Never one to us returned.

Anxiously, with eye and ear,
Questioning that shadow drear,
Never hand in token stirred,
Never answering voice I heard!

Steeper, darker!—lo! I felt
From my feet the pathway melt.
Swallowed by the black despair,
And the hungry jaws of air,

Past the stony-throated caves,
Strangled by the wash of waves,
Past the splintered crags, I sank
On a green and flowery bank,—

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