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The Death of Cleopatra

Poems: Descriptive, Dramatic, Legendary, and Contemplative (New York: Redfield, 1853), Volume II


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332 THE DEATH OF CLEOPATRA

No writhed muscle--no distorted cheek— Deform'd the beautiful picture of repose, Or spoke the unequal struggle, when fond life Strives with its dread antipathy. Her limbs Lay pliant, with composure, on the couch, Whose draperies loosely fell about her form, With gentle flow, and natural fold on fold, Proof of no difficult conflict. There had been, Perchance, one pang of terror, when she gave Free scams to her terrible enemy ; Or, in the moment when the venomous gall Went sudden to her heart ; for, from her neck, The silken robes had parted. The white bast Lay half revealed, save where the affluent hair Stream'd over it in thick dishevell'd folds, That ask'd not further cae. Oh! to behold, With eye still piercing to the sweet recess, Where rose each gentle slope, that seem'd to swell Beneath mine eye, as conscious of my gaze, And throbbing with emotion soft as strange, Of love skin to fear! Thus swelling still, Like little billows on some happy sea, They sudden seem'd to freeze, as if the life Grew cold when all was loveliest. One blue vein Skirted the white curl of each heaving wave, A tint from some sweet sunbow, such as life Flings ever on the cold domain of death ; And, at their equal heights, two ruby crests— Two yet unopen'd buds from the same flower— Borne upward by the billows rising yet, Grew into petrified gems l--with each an eye Eloquent pleading to the passionate heart, For all of love it knows ! Alas ! the mock! That Death should mask himself with loveliness,



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