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Now felt the Queen the sharp, slow-gathering pangs
of love; and out of every pulsing vein
nourished the wound and fed its viewless fire.
Her hero's virtues and his lordly line
keep calling to her soul; his words, his glance,
cling to her heart like lingering, barbed steel,
and rest and peace from her vexed body fly.
A new day's dawn with Phoebus' lamp divine
lit up all lands, and from the vaulted heaven
Aurora had dispelled the dark and dew;
when thus unto the ever-answering heart
of her dear sister spoke the stricken Queen:

“Anna, my sister, what disturbing dreams
perplex me and alarm? What guest is this
new-welcomed to our house? How proud his mien!
What dauntless courage and exploits of war!
Sooth, I receive it for no idle tale
that of the gods he sprang. 'T is cowardice
betrays the base-born soul. Ah me! How fate
has smitten him with storms! What dire extremes
of war and horror in his tale he told!
O, were it not immutably resolved
in my fixed heart, that to no shape of man
I would be wed again (since my first love
left me by death abandoned and betrayed);
loathed I not so the marriage torch and train,
I could—who knows?—to this one weakness yield.
Anna, I hide it not! But since the doom
of my ill-starred Sichaeus, when our shrines
were by a brother's murder dabbled o'er,
this man alone has moved me; he alone
has shaken my weak will. I seem to feel
the motions of love's lost, familiar fire.
But may the earth gape open where I tread,
and may almighty Jove with thunder-scourge
hurl me to Erebus' abysmal shade,
to pallid ghosts and midnight fathomless,
before, O Chastity! I shall offend
thy holy power, or cast thy bonds away!
He who first mingled his dear life with mine
took with him all my heart. 'T is his alone —
o, let it rest beside him in the grave!”
She spoke: the bursting tears her breast o'erflowed.

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