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With hand upraised, with quick-drawn breath,
She meets that ghastly sign of death.
In one long, glassy, spectral stare
The enlarging eye is fastened there,
As if that mesh of pale brown hair
Had power to change at sight alone,
Even as the fearful locks which wound
Medusa's fatal forehead round,
The gazer into stone.
With such a look Herodias read
The features of the bleeding head,
So looked the mad Moor on his dead,
Or the young Cenci as she stood,
O'er-dabbled with a father's blood!
Look!—feeling melts that frozen glance,
It moves that marble countenance,
As if at once within her strove
Pity with shame, and hate with love.
The Past recalls its joy and pain,
Old memories rise before her brain,—
The lips which love's embraces met,
The hand her tears of parting wet,
The voice whose pleading tones beguiled
The pleased ear of the forest-child,—
And tears she may no more repress
Reveal her lingering tenderness.
Oh, woman wronged can cherish hate
More deep and dark than manhood may;
But when the mockery of Fate
Hath left Revenge its chosen way,
And the fell curse, which years have nursed,
Full on the spoiler's head hath burst,—
When all her wrong, and shame, and pain,
Burns fiercely on his heart and brain,—
Still lingers something of the spell
Which bound her to the traitor's bosom,—
Still, midst the vengeful fires of hell,
Some flowers of old affection blossom.
John Boniton's eyebrows together are drawn
With a fierce expression of wrath and scorn,—
He hoarsely whispers, “Ruth, beware!
Is this the time to be playing the fool,—
Crying over a paltry lock of hair,
Like a love-sick girl at school?—
Curse on it!--an Indian can see and hear:
Away,—and prepare our evening cheer!”
How keenly the Indian is watching now
Her tearful eye and her varying brow,—
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