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The Dream Of Eugene Aram
by [?]


“And, lo! the universal air
Seemed lit with ghastly flame;–
Ten thousand thousand dreadful eyes
Were looking down in blame:
I took the dead man by his hand,
And called upon his name!”


“Oh, God! it made me quake to see
Such sense within the slain!
But when I touched the lifeless clay,
The blood gush’d out amain!
For every clot, a burning spot
Was scorching in my brain!”


“My head was like an ardent coal,
My heart as solid ice:
My wretched, wretched soul, I knew,
Was at the Devil’s price:
A dozen times I groan’d the dead
Had never groan’d but twice!”


And now, from forth the frowning sky,
From the Heaven’s topmost height,
I heard a voice–the awful voice
Of the blood-avenging Sprite:–
“Thou guilty man! take up thy dead
And hide it from my sight!”


“I took the dreary body up,
And cast it in a stream,–
A sluggish water, black as ink,
The depth was so extreme:–
My gentle Boy, remember this
Is nothing but a dream!”


“Down went the corse with a hollow plunge,
And vanish’d in the pool;
Anon I cleansed my bloody hands,
And wash’d my forehead cool,
And sat among the urchins young,
That evening in the school.”


“Oh, Heaven! to think of their white souls,
And mine so black and grim!
I could not share in childish prayer,
Nor join in Evening Hymn:
Like a Devil of the Pit I seem’d,
‘Mid holy Cherubim!”


“And peace went with them, one and all,
And each calm pillow spread:
But Guilt was my grim Chamberlain
That lighted me to bed;
And drew my midnight curtains round,
With fingers bloody red!”


“All night I lay in agony,
In anguish dark and deep;
My fever’d eyes I dared not close,
But stared aghast at Sleep:
For Sin had render’d unto her
The keys of Hell to keep!”


“All night I lay in agony,
From weary chime to chime,
With one besetting horrid hint,
That rack’d me all the time;
A mighty yearning, like the first
Fierce impulse unto crime!”


“One stern tyrannic thought, that made
All other thoughts its slave;
Stronger and stronger every pulse
Did that temptation crave,–
Still urging me to go and see
The Dead Man in his grave!”


“Heavily I rose up, as soon
As light was in the sky,
And sought the black accursed pool
With a wild misgiving eye;
And I saw the Dead in the river bed,
For the faithless stream was dry.”


“Merrily rose the lark, and shook
The dew-drop from its wing;
But I never mark’d its morning flight,
I never heard it sing:
For I was stooping once again
Under the horrid thing.”


“With breathless speed, like a soul in chase,
I took him up and ran;–
There was no time to dig a grave
Before the day began:
In a lonesome wood, with heaps of leaves,
I hid the murder’d man!”


“And all that day I read in school,
But my thought was other where;
As soon as the mid-day task was done,
In secret I was there:
And a mighty wind had swept the leaves,
And still the corse was bare!”


“Then down I cast me on my face,
And first began to weep,
For I knew my secret then was one
That earth refused to keep:
Or land or sea, though he should be
Ten thousand fathoms deep.”