He handed his life a poisoned draught,
With a scornful smile and a cold, cold glance,
And the merry bystanders loudly laughed
(For the rollicking world was gay!).
He thought she knew not the juice, perchance;
But her tears fell down to her sobbing lips
While the merry-makers turned to the dance
(The world was mocking fate that day!).
To his life he kissed his finger-tips:
"Drink deep the beaker, and so farewell!"
Then slowly the poisoned draught she sips
(How they laugh at her meek dismay!).
He sprang to her arm, which loosely fell,
Crying: "No! not yet that dire eclipse!"
Now loud laughed the dancers, and whirled pell-mell
(While the echoes hurried away!).
The mad world clustered, it seemed, around.
"Farewell!" she sighed, sinking; then from afar
Flowed the pealing laughter and wassail's sound
(For the dead the world will not stay!).