Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BETHULIA'S GATE, FR. JUDITH, by THOMAS STURGE MOORE

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BETHULIA'S GATE, FR. JUDITH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: What have you in your apron wrapped?
Last Line: Hold holofernes' head.
Alternate Author Name(s): Moore, T. Sturge
Subject(s): Judith (bible); Women In The Bible

WHAT have you in your apron wrapped?
Your face is fell with fright;
Your shadow hurries to catch you up,
Across the blank moonlight.

Why is your maid so white and wan?
What makes her so alert?
Why with her hands does she fumble thus
And wipe them on her skirt?

Ill to be borne your burden seems,
You fetch your breath so short;
Why do your eyes shine brighter far
Than, for the moon, they ought?

You take less heed of what you pass
Than one who walks in a dream;
The thing you hide so fills you out,
A woman with child you seem.

You take a turn, the town you see,
Your feet to run begin;
Is yours the strength which makes so strong
The supple thews of sin?

Why beat you now with naked hands?
On the gate they make no sound;
Your knuckles bleed; ah! your force fails;
You drop upon the ground.

Now you are raised upon your feet
And pulled within the town;
Wild light from flickering flames falls full
Upon your bloody gown;

Your throat is thrilled, your tongue is thick,
And triumph turns your lip;
As men tumultuous throng you round,
Each girds a sword to his hip:

But now by your imperious cries
Were they roused up from bed;
Now, high above your head, your hands
Hold Holofernes' head.

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