Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LEPER OF LONDON, by HERMAN GEORGE SCHEFFAUER

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE LEPER OF LONDON, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: In euston road in london town
Last Line: The realms of after-hell.
Subject(s): Leprosy; London; Pain; Lepers; Suffering; Misery

In Euston Road in London Town,
I saw and felt and wrote this down.

Her cheek was pale, her form was gaunt;
She seemed so strangely thin,
Thin as the shrouded ghosts that haunt
Scenes of their earthly sin.

She clutched my arm; with mordant words
Assailed my quailing ear—
Her face was like a starvéd bird's;
Such speech do devils hear.

Her hands were clinging claws that burned
Through skin and flesh and bone,
While Sorrow seared those eyes she turned
Like dead stars on my own.

That voice rose whirling to my brain
And sought to shatter it;
I know to demons its refrain
Is torment in the pit.

She seemed of equal age with me,
Yet blithe and fresh was I;
And she was like some blasted tree
The bolts had doomed to die.

She stood enwrapped with charnel air
And pestilence's breath;
Harmattan winds had whipped her bare,
And given her to Death.

It seemed his voice of doom and blight
Rang round her like a dirge;
And from her face, like spectral light,
Gleamed forth the Great White Scourge.

I looked upon a world of woes
And peered through Horror's land;
Then in mine eyes the waters rose,
And gold fell from my hand.

I shook and drew my arm away
And through the night I fled
From deeper night that knew no day
Save of the living dead.

I felt the curse of human things—
Man, Law, the strife of Earth:
I felt the thrice curst fate that brings
Woe to the babe at birth—

And those remorseless rods that fall
From palaces and domes
On worms that perish as they crawl
Athwart a nation's homes.

One blessing mounted from the thought
And o'er my spirit fell—
That figure dread had dashed to naught
The realms of After-hell.

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