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The Death of Cleopatra

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


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THE DEATH OF CLEOPATRA. 333

And Beauty have no voice, in such an hour, To warn its eager worshipper. I saw— And straight forgot, in joy of what I saw, What still I knew—that Death was in my sight,— And what was seeming beautiful, was but The twilight—the brief interval betwixt The glorious day and darkness. I had kiss'd The wooing bliss before me ; but, even then, Crawl'd forth the venomous reptile from the folds Where still it harbor'd—crawl'd across that shrine Of Beauty's best perfections, which, meseem'd, To shrink and shudder 'neath its loathly march, Instinct, with all the horrors at my heart.

AUGUSTUS. Thus Guilt and Shame deform the Beautiful!



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