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But what!—nay, nay: without adieu
Of vital word, dear presence true,
Part shall I?—break away from love?
But think: the circumstances move,
And warrant it. Shouldst thou abide,
Cut off yet wert thou from her side
For time: tho' she be sore distressed,
Herself would whisper: “Go—'tis best.”
Unstable! It was in a street,
Half vault, where few or none do greet,
He paced. Anon, encaved in wall
A fount arrests him, sculpture wrought
After a Saracen design—
Ruinous now and arid all
Save dusty weeds which trail or twine.
While lingering in way that brought
The memory of the Golden Bowl
And Pitcher broken, music rose—
Young voices; a procession shows:
A litter rich, with flowery wreath,
Singers and censers, and a veil.
She comes, the bride; but, ah, how pale:
Her groom that Blue-Beard, cruel Death,


Wedding his millionth maid to-day;
She, stretched on that Armenian bier,
Leaves home and each familiar way—
Quits all for him. Nearer, more near—
Till now the ineffectual flame
Of burning tapers borne he saw:
The westering sun puts these to shame.
But, hark: responsive marching choirs,
Robed men and boys, in rhythmic law
A contest undetermined keep:
Ay, as the bass in dolings deep
The serious, solemn thought inspires—
In unconcern of rallying sort
The urchin-treble shrills retort;
But, true to part imposed, again
The beards dirge out. And so they wind
Till thro' the city gate the train
Files forth to sepulcher.
Left in his hermitage of mind,
What troubles Clarel? See him there
As if admonishment in air
He heard. Can love be fearful so?
Jealous of fate? the future? all
Reverse—mischance? nay, even the pall
And pit?—No, I'll not leave her: no,
'Tis fixed; I waver now no more.—
But yet again he thought it o'er,
And self-rebukeful, and with mock:
Thou superstitious doubter—own,
Biers need be borne; why such a shock
When passes this Armenian one?
The word's dispatched, and wouldst recall?
'Tis but for fleeting interval.