by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Ah! quit me not yet, for the wind whistles shrill, --
Its blast wanders mournfully over the hill,
The thunder's wild voice rattles madly above,
You will not then, cannot then, leave me, my love.
I must, dearest Agnes, the night is far gone --
I must wander this evening to Strasburg alone,
I must seek the drear tomb of my ancestors' bones,
And must dig their remains from beneath the cold stones.
For the spirit of Conrad there meets me this night, --
And we quit not the tomb 'till dawn of the light,
And Conrad's been dead just a month and a day!
So farewell, dearest Agnes, for I must away.
He bid me bring with me what most I held dear,
Or a month from that time should I lie on my bier,
And I'd sooner resign this false fluttering breath,
Than my Agnes should dread either danger or death.
And I love you to madness, my Agnes I love, --
My constant affection this night will I prove,
This night will I go to the sepulchre's jaw,
Alone will I glut its all conquering maw
No, no! loved Adolphus, thy Agnes will share --
In the tomb all the dangers that wait for you there,
I fear not the spirit, -- I fear not the grave,
My dearest Adolphus I'd perish to save
Nay seek not to say that thy love shall not go, --
But spare me those ages of horror and woe,
For I swear to thee here that I'll perish ere day,
If you go unattended by Agnes away.
The night it was bleak the fierce storm raged around,
The lightning's blue fire-light flashed on the ground,
Strange forms seemed to flit, -- and howl tidings of fate,
As Agnes advanced to the sepulchre gate. --
The youth struck the portal, -- the echoing sound
Was fearfully rolled midst the tombstones around,
The blue lightning gleamed o'er the dark chapel spire,
And tinged were the storm clouds with sulphurous fire.
Still they gazed on the tombstone where Conrad reclined,
Yet they shrank at the cold chilling blast of the wind,
When a strange silver brilliance pervaded the scene,
And a figure advanced -- tall in form -- fierce in mien.
A mantle encircled his shadowy form,
As light as a gossamer borne on the storm,
Celestial terror sat throned in his gaze,
Like the midnight pestiferous meteor's blaze. --
Thy father, Adolphus! was false, false as hell,
And Conrad has cause to remember it well,
He ruined my Mother, despised me, his son,
I quitted the world ere my vengeance was done.
I was nearly expiring -- 'twas close of the day, --
A demon advanced to the bed where I lay,
He gave me the power from whence I was hurled,
To return to revenge, to return to the world, --
Now Adolphus, I'll seize thy best loved in my arms,
I'll drag her to Hades all blooming in charms,
On the black whirlwind's thundering pinion I'll ride,
And fierce yelling fiends shall exult o'er thy bride.
He spoke, and extending his ghastly arms wide,
Majestic advanced with a swift noiseless stride,
He clasped the fair Agnes -- he raised her on high,
And cleaving the roof sped his way to the sky --
All was now silent, -- and over the tomb,
Thicker, deeper, was swiftly extended a gloom,
Adolphus in horror sank down on the stone,
And his fleeting soul fled with a harrowing groan.
Source:The Lyrics and Shorter Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley
Copyright 1907, reprinted 1913
London: J.M. Dent and Sons, Ltd.
New York: E.P. Dutton and Co.