Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ELEGY: THE LAMENT OF EDWARD BLASTOCK; FOR RICHARD ROWLEY, by EDITH SITWELL



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ELEGY: THE LAMENT OF EDWARD BLASTOCK; FOR RICHARD ROWLEY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The pang of the long century of rains
Last Line: Could I but know she was not this, -- not this!
Subject(s): Betrayal; Blastock, Edward (D. 1738); Crime & Criminals


NOTE. -- I took this story from the "Newgate Calendar." Edward
Blastock suffered at Tyburn on the 26th of May, 1738. Being in
the direst want, and seeing his sister and her children in an equal
misery, he yielded to the solicitations of his sister's husband, and
joined with him in becoming highwaymen. They went so far as to
rob a gentleman of a few shillings. Then Edward Blastock, finding
a warrant was out against him, took refuge in his sister's house.
She betrayed him to his death.

THE pang of the long century of rains,
Melting the last flesh from the bone,
Cries to the heart: "At least the bone remains, --
If this alone."

My bone cries to my mother's womb:
Why were you not my tomb?
Why was I born from the same womb as she
Who sold my heart, my blood, who stole even my grave from me?

I crept to steal in the rich man's street
That my sister's starving babes might eat --

(Death, you have known such rags as hold
The starved man's heart together, -- Death, you have known such cold!)

I crept to hide in my sister's room,
And dreamed it safe as my mother's womb:

But there was a price upon the head
Of one who stole that her babes might feed,

So my sister said, "I must go to buy
Us bread with this pence. . . ." And, for this, I die
-- Beyond my Death . . . with no grave to lie

In, hide my heart deep down in that hole.
For my sister went to sell her soul

And my heart, and my life, and the love I gave. . . .
She went to rob me of my grave.

And I would, I would the heart I gave
Were dead and mouldering in that grave,

I would my name were quite forgot,
And my death dead beneath Death's rot.

But I'd give the last rag of my flesh
About my heart to the endless cold
Could I know again the childish kiss
My Judas gave of old --
Oh, Christ that hung between two men like me, --
Could I but know she was not this, -- not this!





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