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Thursday, 31 March 2016

The Black Death.

Poem of the Day

The Black Death.

WHAT is it? a speck in the distance,
A rumour that flies in the air,
Too faint to be met by resistance,
Too strong to be braved by despair.
Just whispered about the street-corners,
Just traced by the timorous pen;
Like some scandal breathed out by suborners,
Which poisons the spirit of men.
Where is it? but yesterday even
A man galloped in from the plain,
His eyes were a terrible leaven
Of horror, suspicion, and pain.
He galloped straight up to the Town House,
And none heard the news which he said;
Thank God for the miles he had ridden,
For the horse which he rode dropped dead!
The rumour grows darker and darker,
Each moment the agony swells;
Some say, ''Tis the trade of the doctors;'
And some, 'They have poisoned the wells.'
A threatening doom o'er the city,
It hangs like a terrible sword;
No man for his fellow has pity,
When both dread the curse of the Lord.
To-night there's a crowd in the market,
But scattered like leaves on the blast;
A moment may drive them asunder--
For whom will this night be the last?
No wonder they start in their slumbers,
Or count every tremulous breath;
Alas! who can reckon the numbers
To be reaped in the harvest of Death,
When the fear that now floats like a vapour,
So shadowy, formless, and vague,
Is wrought up to a terrible presence,
And named, not in whispers, The Plague?

Bessie Rayner Parkes

16 June 1829 - 23 March 1925

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