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   Chapter 4 No.4

The Complete Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe / Including Essays on Poetry By Edgar Allan Poe Characters: 5238

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


The Gardens of a Palace-Moonlight. LALAGE and POLITIAN.

Lalage And dost thou speak of love

To me, Politian?-dost thou speak of love

To Lalage?-ah woe-ah woe is me!

This mockery is most cruel-most cruel indeed!

Politian Weep not! oh, sob not thus!-thy bitter tears

Will madden me. Oh, mourn not, Lalage-

Be comforted! I know-I know it all,

And still I speak of love. Look at me, brightest,

And beautiful Lalage!-turn here thine eyes!

Thou askest me if I could speak of love,

Knowing what I know, and seeing what I have seen

Thou askest me that-and thus I answer thee-

Thus on my bended knee I answer thee. [kneeling]

Sweet Lalage, I love thee-love thee-love thee;

Thro' good and ill-thro' weal and woe, I love thee.

Not mother, with her first-born on her knee,

Thrills with intenser love than I for thee.

Not on God's altar, in any time or clime,

Burned there a holier fire than burneth now

Within my spirit for thee. And do I love?

[arising]

Even for thy woes I love thee-even for thy woes-

Thy beauty and thy woes.

Lalage Alas, proud Earl,

Thou dost forget thyself, remembering me!

How, in thy father's halls, among the maidens

Pure and reproachless of thy princely line,

Could the dishonored Lalage abide?

Thy wife, and with a tainted memory-

My seared and blighted name, how would it tally

With the ancestral honors of thy house,

And with thy glory?

Politian Speak not to me of glory!

I hate-I loathe the name; I do abhor

The unsatisfactory and ideal thing.

Art thou not Lalage, and I Politian?

Do I not love-art thou not beautiful-

What need we more? Ha! glory! now speak not of it:

By all I hold most sacred and most solemn-

By all my wishes now-my fears hereafter-

By all I scorn on earth and hope in heaven-

There is no deed I would more glory in,

Than in thy cause to scoff at this same glory

And trample it under foot. What matters it-

What matters it, my fairest, and my best,

That we go down unhonored and forgotten

Into the dust-so we descend together?

Descend together-and then-and then perchance-

Lalage Why dost thou pause, Politian?

Politian And then perchance

Arise together, Lalage, and roam

The starry and quiet dwellings of the blest,

And still-

Lalage Why dost thou pause, Politian?

Politian And still together-together.

Lalage Now, Earl of Leicester!

Thou lovest me, and in my heart of hearts

I feel thou lovest me truly.

Politian O Lalage!

[throwing himself upon his knee.]

And lovest thou me?

Lalage Hist! hus

h! within the gloom

Of yonder trees methought a figure passed-

A spectral figure, solemn, and slow, and noiseless-

Like the grim shadow Conscience, solemn and noiseless.

[walks across and returns]

I was mistaken-'twas but a giant bough

Stirred by the autumn wind. Politian!

Politian My Lalage-my love! why art thou moved?

Why dost thou turn so pale? Not Conscience self,

Far less a shadow which thou likenest to it,

Should shake the firm spirit thus. But the night wind

Is chilly-and these melancholy boughs

Throw over all things a gloom.

Lalage Politian!

Thou speakest to me of love. Knowest thou the land

With which all tongues are busy-a land new found-

Miraculously found by one of Genoa-

A thousand leagues within the golden west?

A fairy land of flowers, and fruit, and sunshine,-

And crystal lakes, and over-arching forests,

And mountains, around whose towering summits the winds

Of Heaven untrammelled flow-which air to breathe

Is Happiness now, and will be Freedom hereafter

In days that are to come?

Politian Oh, wilt thou-wilt thou

Fly to that Paradise-my Lalage, wilt thou

Fly thither with me? There Care shall be forgotten,

And Sorrow shall be no more, and Eros be all.

And life shall then be mine, for I will live

For thee, and in thine eyes-and thou shalt be

No more a mourner-but the radiant Joys

Shall wait upon thee, and the angel Hope

Attend thee ever; and I will kneel to thee

And worship thee, and call thee my beloved,

My own, my beautiful, my love, my wife,

My all;-oh, wilt thou-wilt thou, Lalage,

Fly thither with me?

Lalage A deed is to be done-

Castiglione lives!

Politian And he shall die!

[Exit]

Lalage (after a pause) And-he-shall-die!-alas!

Castiglione die? Who spoke the words?

Where am I?-what was it he said?-Politian!

Thou art not gone-thou art not gone, Politian!

I feel thou art not gone-yet dare not look,

Lest I behold thee not-thou couldst not go

With those words upon thy lips-oh, speak to me!

And let me hear thy voice-one word-one word,

To say thou art not gone,-one little sentence,

To say how thou dost scorn-how thou dost hate

My womanly weakness. Ha! ha! thou art not gone-

Oh, speak to me! I knew thou wouldst not go!

I knew thou wouldst not, couldst not, durst not go.

Villain, thou art not gone-thou mockest me!

And thus I clutch thee-thus!-He is gone, he is gone-

Gone-gone. Where am I?-'tis well-'tis very well!

So that the blade be keen-the blow be sure,

'Tis well, 'tis very well-alas! alas!

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