The Bridge of Sighs
One more Unfortunate, Weary of breath, Rashly importunate, Gone to her death! Take her up tenderly, Lift her with care; Fashion'd so slenderly Young, and so fair! Look at her garments Clinging like cerements; Whilst the wave constantly Drips from her clothing; Take her up instantly, Loving, not loathing. Touch her not scornfully; Think of her mournfully, Gently and humanly; Not of the stains of her, All that remains of her Now is pure womanly. Make no deep scrutiny Into her mutiny Rash and undutiful: Past all dishonour, Death has left on her Only the beautiful. Still, for all slips of hers, One of Eve's family— Wipe those poor lips of hers Oozing so clammily. Loop up her tresses Escaped from the comb, Her fair auburn tresses; Whilst wonderment guesses Where was her home? Who was her father? Who was her mother? Had she a sister? Had she a brother? Or was there a dearer one Still, and a nearer one Yet, than all other? Alas! for the rarity Of Christian charity Under the sun! O, it was pitiful! Near a whole city full, Home she had none. Sisterly, brotherly, Fatherly, motherly Feelings had changed: Love, by harsh evidence, Thrown from its eminence; Even God's providence Seeming estranged. Where the lamps quiver So far in the river, With many a light From window and casement, From garret to basement, She stood, with amazement, Houseless by night. The bleak wind of March Made her tremble and shiver; But not the dark arch, Or the black flowing river: Mad from life's history, Glad to death's mystery, Swift to be hurl'd— Anywhere, anywhere Out of the world! In she plunged boldly— No matter how coldly The rough river ran— Over the brink of it, Picture it—think of it, Dissolute Man! Lave in it, drink of it, Then, if you can! Take her up tenderly, Lift her with care; Fashion'd so slenderly, Young, and so fair! Ere her limbs frigidly Stiffen too rigidly, Decently, kindly, Smooth and compose them; And her eyes, close them, Staring so blindly! Dreadfully staring Thro' muddy impurity, As when with the daring Last look of despairing Fix'd on futurity. Perishing gloomily, Spurr'd by contumely, Cold inhumanity, Burning insanity, Into her rest.— Cross her hands humbly As if praying dumbly, Over her breast! Owning her weakness, Her evil behaviour, And leaving, with meekness, Her sins to her Saviour!
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