IX. Is there no help--none anywhere,
Under the earth, or above the air?
--Come, come, sad woman, whose tender throat
Has a red-lipped mouth that can sing no note!
Child, whose midwife, the third grim Fate,
Shears in hand, thy coming did wait!
Father, with blood-bedabbled hair!
Mother, all withered with love's despair!
Come, broken heart, whatever thou be,
Hasten to help this misery!
Thou wast only murdered, or left forlorn;
He is a horror, a hate, a scorn!
Come, if out of the holiest blue
That the sapphire throne shines through;
For pity come, though thy fair feet stand
Next to the elder-band;
Fling thy harp on the hyaline,
Hurry thee down the spheres divine;
Come, and drive those ravens away;
Cover his eyes from the pitiless moon;
Shadow his brain from her stinging spray;
Droop around him, a tent of love,
An odour of grace, a fanning dove;
Walk through the house with the healing tune
Of gentle footsteps; banish the shape
Remorse calls up, thyself to ape;
Comfort him, dear, with pardon sweet;
Cool his heart from its burning heat
With the water of life that lakes the feet
Of the throne of God, and the holy street.
X. O God, he is but a living blot,
Yet he lives by thee--for if thou wast not,
They would vanish together, self-forgot,
He and his crime:--one breathing blown
Stronger than anguish, deeper than sin?
XI. Why do I tremble, a creature at bay!
'Tis but a dream--I drive it away.
Back comes my breath, and my heart again
Pumps the red blood to my fainting brain
Released from the nightmare's nine-fold train;
God is in heaven--yes, everywhere;
And Love, the all-shining, will kill Despair.
To the wall's blank eyeless space
I turn the picture's face.
XII. But why is the moon so bare, up there?
And why is she so white?
And why does the moon so stare, up there--
Strangely stare, out of the night?
Why stand up the poplars
That still way?
And why do those two of them
And out of the black why hangs the gray?
W hy does it hang down so, I say,
Over what house, like a fringed pall
Where the dead goes by in a funeral?
--Soul of mine,
Thou the reason canst divine:--
Into thee the moon doth stare
With pallid, terror-smitten air:
Thou, and the Horror lonely-stark,
Outcast of eternal dark,
Are in nature same and one,
And thy story is not done!
So let the picture face thee from the wall,
And let its white moon stare.
from "The Haunted House" by George MacDonald