To Monica Thought Dying
You, O the piteous you! Who all the long night through Anticipatedly Disclose yourself to me Already in the ways Beyond our human comfortable days; How can you deem what Death Impitiably saith To me, who listening wake For your poor sake? When a grown woman dies You know we think unceasingly What things she said, how sweet, how wise; And these do make our misery. But you were (you to me The dead anticipatedly!) You--eleven years, was't not, or so? - Were just a child, you know; And so you never said Things sweet immeditatably and wise To interdict from closure my wet eyes: But foolish things, my dead, my dead! Little and laughable, Your age that fitted well. And was it such things all unmemorable, Was it such things could make Me sob all night for your implacable sake? Yet, as you said to me, In pretty make-believe of revelry, So the night long said Death With his magniloquent breath; (And that remembered laughter Which in our daily uses followed after, Was all untuned to pity and to awe): 'A cup of chocolate, One farthing is the rate, You drink it through a straw.' How could I know, how know Those laughing words when drenched with sobbing so? Another voice than yours, than yours, he hath! My dear, was't worth his breath, His mighty utterance?--yet he saith, and saith! This dreadful Death to his own dreadfulness Doth dreadful wrong, This dreadful childish babble on his tongue! That iron tongue made to speak sentences, And wisdom insupportably complete, Why should it only say the long night through, In mimicry of you, - 'A cup of chocolate, One farthing is the rate, You drink it through a straw, a straw, a straw!' Oh, of all sentences, Piercingly incomplete! Why did you teach that fatal mouth to draw, Child, impermissible awe, From your old trivialness? Why have you done me this Most unsustainable wrong, And into Death's control Betrayed the secret places of my soul? Teaching him that his lips, Uttering their native earthquake and eclipse, Could never so avail To rend from hem to hem the ultimate veil Of this most desolate Spirit, and leave it stripped and desecrate, - Nay, never so have wrung From eyes and speech weakness unmanned, unmeet; As when his terrible dotage to repeat Its little lesson learneth at your feet; As when he sits among His sepulchres, to play With broken toys your hand has cast away, With derelict trinkets of the darling young. Why have you taught--that he might so complete His awful panoply From your cast playthings--why, This dreadful childish babble to his tongue, Dreadful and sweet?
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