Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BRIGHT ASSASSIN, by WILLIAM ROSE BENET

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE BRIGHT ASSASSIN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I closed with pain. I slew distress
Last Line: Thou shalt be slain by happiness!
Subject(s): Happiness; Joy; Delight

I closed with pain. I slew distress.
And I am slain by happiness!

Fear and despair no longer lurk
On thought's night-road, my woe to work.

Since last cold steel our claims discussed
Their broken daggers gather rust.

Their dark cloaks shroud them for a blot.
They lie face downward, moving not.

I looked and marked my work well done,
And took the turning toward the sun.

Into new morning I had wrought
I laid the journey of my thought.

And straight I stumbled on the boy
In green and gold, whose name is Joy.

Into his songs I stumbled straight
And hailed him for my proper mate.

Then the horizon shook with mirth
And dizzy sunshine thralled the earth.

And chargers rich-caparisoned
We spurred to ride to bliss beyond.

This side or that we turned our way,
City and countryside made gay.

And on my pillion rode the love
My heart is never weary of;

Her soft cheek pressed to mine aglow,
Our laughing murmurs very low.

Oh, then I boasted of my slain,
And Joy drew poniard like to pain;

Pierced me with pangs that ache and ache
Until I think my heart will break.

My heart for fulness yearns for drouth.
Words for my joy choke up my mouth.

I writhe upon a rack of bliss,
And Joy my fell Procrustes is.

Strange seems such wisdom to confess:
Yet,—thwart thou pain, and slay distress,—
Thou shalt be slain by happiness!

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