Through stark he lieth and cold in clay,1
Though he utters neither good nor ill,2
There is that which my dagger could not kill3
A haunting horror night and day,4
That makes my blood stand still5
That makes my spirit shrink and shiver,6
That dwells within me for ever and ever,7
A dark and terrible dream, wherewith I cannot away !8
Nightly and daily I die with fear,9
Lest the breeze, as it wanders far and near,10
Should speak my story in mortal ear ;11
Or the Hand that writes in letters of fire,12
When the raving clouds contend in heaven,13
Should flash my name in the wild far-gleaming levin,14
And the pattering rain should conspire,15
With ever-heedful tones, as it fell,16
This bloody rumour that cries from hell,17
Slowly to shape and syllable.18
Suddenly in a frenzied fright,19
With cold damp brow, and stiffened hair,20
And lips that trembled in vain for a prayer,21
I started from my bed,22
In the deep heart of the silent night23
For there grew in the dark a lurid light,24
And my eyes were chained to a ghastly sight,25
The white weird face of the dead ;26
And I saw the blood of the red wound drip,27
And the wasted finger laid on the lip28
O for darkness of eyes, darkness of mind !29
Great God, let the heat of thine anger strike me blind !30
The very breath I breathe is a secret strife,31
And might well make a coward of the brave.32
I shudder to see the light of life ;33
But death with a hundred hells is rife,34
And I dare not lift the poison or knife,35
And suddenly seek the grave.36
There is rest for all, but not for me ;37
I discern not any term or scope,38
But a ghastly hope, which is not a hope,39
For an end which is never to be.40
And still the Angel claims the price of guilt ;41
Still the Voice haunts me through the weary years,42
Full of anguish, full of fears,43
Seeming to search the distant spheres,44
And to whisper the tale in a thousand ears,45
How the crimson river of life was spilt ;46
And in the desert gloom of my breast47
So long this fiery curse I bear,48
That to me now, in my mad despair,49
Change of pain would be almost as sweet as rest !50