Then to my couch I bent my weary way,
And deep in sage reflection sank my soul.
Striving in halting phrases still to pray.
Striving to purge my heart, my mind, my whole.
Sinuous seductive music charmed the air,
Sweet fragrance cast such perfume all around
That I was dazed, and seeking everywhere,
No trace or sign of ought was to be found.
Then in the pentiled garth in virent ramage clothed
Open to view when lying on my bed,
—A spot that in the sunlight much I loathed—
Transpired the vision of a lovely head.
Golden of hair with slanting eyes of green,
Sharp pearléd teeth, of glassy, milky sheen,
Red rounded lips, like cherry cut in twain,
Chiseled and shapely ears straight backward lain,
A nose that Venus, of the Greeks adored,
Would madly envy; e’en she could scarce afford
To match her perfect body with the limbs
That tardy came to view below the head.
And still my haunted memory dizzy swims
When’er I view in thought her glowing form.
Mutely voluptuous, standing by my bed,
Redolent of Eve! Scented like fragrant morn!
Those rounded breasts like snowy apple fruit
Culled from pomegranate tree with leaves of tourmaline
Not even Heaven could stand contented mute
If He beheld those arms so serpentine
Those humid lips, like plum blooms when the sun is warm,
Nude to the waist, there kirtled round
With Zone of silver, prank’d with palest grey,
Like misty fleeces which at dawn are found
Clinging round hills to greet the break of Day.
Then draperies of leaden hue
Veiled her legs and feet from view.
With supple motion, noble tread
Smiling she glided t’ward my bed;
And stretching forth her rippling arms
She bade me look upon her charms.
And forth from her lips this triplet came
“Ivan, Ivan, je t’aime, le t’aime.
Je te tiens et je te maintendrai
Je ne cherche qu’un et je l’ai merité”
Purling this triplet to a murmuring strain
A magic mean of pleasure and of pain
Languid toward my bed she came,
And my soul was burnt with a lusting flame.
Rising I seized her serpent hand, icy as Death it lay on my palm
As she kissed my lips, the winds’ wild band played through her hair the Marids psalm.
There ’twixt her naked bosoms swayed that awful leaden sign
Bearing that occult message, that terrible fateful line,
Lo! there trembled the leaden Tablet that hung on the Brazen tomb,
“Behold! thou vagrant pilgrim dark Morphia’s Hecatomb!”
With a howl of ghoulish laughter,
Like the noise of pouring water
She leapt into the air above me,
High into the air above me.
“Take me into thy arms and love me!
Or Burn till the crack of Doom!
Yea, I am the leaden tablet!
From the Night mare’s stable tomb
Forsake thou the eyes of thy Bridget!
The ebon eyes of thy Bridget!
And work with a sulphur digit
Through the weft of my firey loom.
Work on my loom of Passion
Where the threads of every fashion
That in Zamiel’s flax fields bloom.
Come twin-soul to my cavern!
Press firm thy lips against mine!
Drink from Love’s joyous tavern,
Drink deep of Passion’s wine!
And care no more and care no less
For the ebon eyes of thy pale Princess.
I will give you a golden promise of a pleasure that none have known,
And in mine own arms thou shalt learn it; just we two beings alone
Shall live in a world of Pleasure, in a Palace of utter Delight
Come sweet child, the love of my leisure, sleep in mine arms to-night.”
“Dost thou give me a golden promise of pleasure apart from pain?
Of a life that is always happy, of a rose-bed that none may gain,
Save we two being together, alone in a world of our own?
Take me, ‘my sacrifice,’ take me, to the Loom and the flaxen Zone.”
She lifted me into her bosom, caressing my hair the while,
And over her lips of crimson there played a terrible smile
“Yourself for the coming bridal, myself I will comely deck,”
And she fastened her teeth white and gleaming deep into the vein of my neck.
And I dreamed as ye dream with Morphia
Just a floating, fainting away;
A dream that is bought from Morphia
And Death is the price ye pay.
But horrid terror seized upon my heart
Bidding me fight.
So vainly struggling in unequal part
I fought for right.
Seeking by blows my ebbing life to save,
On through the night;
Fighting the fiend, who thirsting, tightly clave;
—A ghastly sight—
Teeth deep embedded, drinking from my vein;
Till morning light
Greeted by crowing cockerel, smiling came;
Then gripping tight,
I seized her gulping throat in clenching hands.
With all my might,
Thumbs fixed like iron bands.
Panting I crushed her skull,
Kneeling upon her breast.
Then with a vicious pull
I tore out her pulsing throat,
Leaving the quivering rest,
Eyes stagnant glazed and dull
Wrapped, morient in my coat.
Sweating and breathless, blindly I sought for water;
Prone to the floor I fell stumbling thwart Zamiel’s daughter.
Blood, from my aching wound, dripped to the floor;
Faint in a numbing swound I lay in my gore.
Then gentle hands poured cooling draught betwixt my parchéd lips
Forcing the elixir of life back in thirsty sips
And bending o’er my tumbled couch my azure pale Princess
Left on the Vampire’s burning wounds her cooling lips’ impress.