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6. What did the other do? You be judge !

Look at us, Edith! Here are we both ! Give him his six whole years : I grudge

None of the life with you, nay, I loathe
Myself that I grudged his start in advance

Of me who could overtake and pass.
But, as if he loved you! No, not he,
Nor
anyone

else in the world, 'tis plain : Who ever heard that another, free

As I, young, prosperous, sound and sane, Poured life out, proffered it—“ Half a glance

Of those eyes of yours and I drop the glass !”

1

7.

Handsome, were you ? 'Tis more than they held,

More than they said ; I was 'ware and watched : I was the 'scapegrace, this rat belled

The cat, this fool got his whiskers scratched : The others? No head that was turned, no heart

Broken, my lady, assure yourself! Each soon made his mind up; so and so

Married a dancer, such and such
Stole his friend's wife, stagnated slow,

Or maundered, unable to do as much,
And muttered of peace where he had no part:

While, hid in the closet, laid on the shelf,—

8.

On the whole, you were let alone, I think!

So, you looked to the other, who acquiesced ; My rival, the proud man,-prize your pink

Of poets ! A poet he was! I've guessed : He rhymed you his rubbish nobody read, Loved

you and doved you—did not I laugh! There was a prize! But we both were tried.

Oh, heart of mine, marked broad with her mark, Tekel, found wanting, set aside,

Scorned! See, I bleed these tears in the dark Till comfort come and the last be bled :

He? He is tagging your epitaph.

9.

If it would only come over again!

-Time to be patient with me, and probe This heart till you punctured the proper vein,

Just to learn what blood is : twitch the robe From that blank lay-figure your fancy draped,

Prick the leathern heart till the--verses spirt ! And late it was easy; late, you walked

Where a friend might meet you; Edith's name Arose to one's lip if one laughed or talked ;

If I heard good news, you heard the same; When I woke, I knew that your breath escaped ;

I could bide my time, keep alive, alert.

10. And alive I shall keep and long, you will see !

I knew a man, was kicked like a dog From gutter to cesspool ; what cared he

So long as he picked from the filth his prog? He saw youth, beauty, and genius die,

And jollily lived to his hundredth year.
But I will live otherwise : none of such life!

At once I begin as I mean to end.
Go on with the world, get gold in its strife,

Give your spouse the slip, and betray your friend! There are two who decline, a woman and I,

And enjoy our death in the darkness here.

11.

I liked that way you had with your curls

Wound to a ball in a net behind :
Your cheek was chaste as a quaker-girl's,

And your mouth—there was never, to my mind, Such a funny mouth, for it would not shut;

And the dented chin, too—what a chin! There were certain ways when you spoke, some words

That you know you never could pronounce : You were thin, however; like a bird's

Your hand seemed—some would say, the pounce Of a scaly-footed hawk-all but !

The world was right when it called you thin.

12.

But I turn my back on the world : I take

Your hand, and kneel, and lay to my lips. Bid me live, Edith! Let me slake

Thirst at your presence! Fear no slips ! 'Tis your slave shall pay, while his soul endures,

Full due, love's whole debt, summum jus. My queen shall have high observance, planned

Courtship made perfect, no least line Crossed without warrant. There you stand,

Warm too, and white too: would this wine Had washed all over that body of yours,

Ere I drank it, and you down with it, thus !

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