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looked down in mercy on that lingering pain
and labor to depart: from realms divine
she sent the goddess of the rainbow wing,
Iris, to set the struggling spirit free
and loose its fleshly coil. For since the end
came not by destiny, nor was the doom
of guilty deed, but of a hapless wight
to sudden madness stung, ere ripe to die,
therefore the Queen of Hades had not shorn
the fair tress from her forehead, nor assigned
that soul to Stygian dark. So Iris came
on dewy, saffron pinions down from heaven,
a thousand colors on her radiant way,
from the opposing sun. She stayed her flight
above that pallid brow: “I come with power
to make this gift to Death. I set thee free
from thy frail body's bound.” With her right hand
she cut the tress: then through its every limb
the sinking form grew cold; the vital breath
fled forth, departing on the viewless air.
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