A poem by John Milton Hay

As I lay at your feet that afternoon,
Little we spoke, - you sat and mused,
Humming a sweet old-fashioned tune,

And I worshipped you, with a sense confused
Of the good time gone and the bad on the way,
While my hungry eyes your face perused,

To catch and brand on my soul for aye
The subtle smile which had grown my doom.
Drinking sweet poison hushed I lay

Till the sunset shimmered athwart the room.
I rose to go. You stood so fair
And dim in the dead day's tender gloom:

All at once, or ever I was aware,
Flashed from you on me a warm strong wave
Of passion and power; in the silence there

I fell on my knees, like a lover, or slave,
With my wild hands clasping your slender waist;
And my lips, with a sudden frenzy brave,

A madman's kiss on your girdle pressed,
And I felt your calm heart's quickening beat,
And your soft hands on me one instant rest.

And if God had loved me, how endlessly sweet
Had He let my heart in its rapture burst,
And throb its last at your firm small feet!

And when I was forth, I shuddered at first
At my imminent bliss. As a soul in pain,
Treading his desolate path accursed,

Looks back and dreams through his tears' dim rain
That by Heaven's wide gate the angels smile,
Relenting, and beckon him back again,

And goes on, thrice damned by that devil's wile, -
So sometimes burns in my weary brain
The thought that you loved me all the while.

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