Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE REVENGE; FROM A FACT, ATTESTED BY THE SPANISH HISTORIANS, by HELEN LEIGH



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THE REVENGE; FROM A FACT, ATTESTED BY THE SPANISH HISTORIANS, by            
First Line: Twas night -- and darkness all around
Last Line: To end her wretched days.
Subject(s): Ghosts; Graves; Murder; Supernatural; Tombs; Tombstones


'Twas night—and darkness all around,
Her sable curtain spread,
When Claudio sought—and seeking found,
The mansions of the dead:

For having, in his own defence
Slain his invet'rate foe,
Ere he cou'd prove his innocence,
Elsewhere 'twas death to go.

A church's sacred portal gain'd,
He lean'd against the door—
Surpriz'd!—the door on which he lean'd
Flew open;—but what more

The wretched wanderer did affright,
Within the hallow'd dome,
He saw a pale and glimmering light,
As issuing from a tomb:

Yet still had courage to draw near,
When, dreadful to behold!
He saw, what chill'd his heart with fear,
What made his blood run cold—

A beauteous Lady, clad in white,
With wild and frantic look,
Rose from the grave;—while, at the sight,
His frame with horror shook:

Who stepping, with a threat'ning tone,
And with a bloody knife,
To Claudio, almost turn'd to stone,
Almost bereft of life;

Demanded, what had brought him there,
At such an hour of night?
The tim'rous youth, benumb'd with fear,
And thinking her a sprite,

The truth, without reserve, confest,
And why he thither fled—
"Art thou, indeed, so much distrest?"
The beauteous phantom said.

"Tis true, thou'rt in my pow'r," she cry'd,
"But fear no harm from me;
"I am—and own the deed with pride—
"A murderer like thee.

"A Lady of a noble race,
"By perjur'd man betray'd;
"And doom'd to mis'ry and disgrace,
"Tho' late a spotless maid.

"The wretch who won my virgin heart,
"Soon triumph'd o'er my fame;
"Acted the treacherous villain's part,
"And boasted of my shame.

"I hir'd a ruffian—had him slain—
"But not with that content,
"Still greater vengeance to obtain,
"I to the Sexton went;

"And purchas'd, with a purse of gold,
"Permission to explore
"His grave;—and here that heart behold,
"The perjur'd villain wore.

"From his vile breast, these hands have torn
"This heart—Revenge how sweet!"
She said—and with a look of scorn,
Stamp'd on it with her feet.

"Be this," she cry'd, "each traitor's doom
"Who our weak sex betrays";
Then turn'd—and sought the Convent's gloom,
To end her wretched days.





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