THE MANIAC

I saw them sitting in the shade;
   The long green vines hung over
But could not hide the gold-haired maid
   And Earl--my blue-eyed lover.
His arm was clasped so close, so close,
   Her eyes were softly lifted,
While his eyes drank the cheek of rose,
   And breast like snow-flakes drifted.

A strange noise sounded in my brain;
   I was a guest unbidden.
I stole away--but came again
   With two steels snugly hidden.
I stood behind them; close they kissed
   While eye to eye was speaking.
I aimed my steels, and neither missed
   The heart I sent it seeking.

There were two death shrieks, mingled so
   It seemed like one voice crying.
I laughed. it was such bliss, you know,
   To hear, and see them dying.
I laughed and shouted, while I stood
   Above the lovers, gazing
Upon the little rills of blood,
   And in the eyes fast glazing.

It was such joy to see the rose
   Fade from her cheek forever;
To know the lips he kissed so close
   Could answer never--never.
To see his arm grow stiff and cold,
   And know it could not fold her;
To know that while the world grew old,
   His eyes could not behold her.

A crowd of people thronged about,
   Brought thither by my laughter;
I gave one last triumphant shout--
   Then darkness followed after.
That was a thousand years ago--
   Each hour I live it over,
For there, just out of reach, you know,
   She lies, with Earl, my lover.

They lie there, staring, staring so,
   With great glazed eyes, to taunt me.
Will no one bury them down low
   Where they shall cease to haunt me?
He kissed her lips, not mine.  The flowers
   And vines hung all around them.
Sometimes I sit and laugh for hours,
   To think just how I found them.

And then sometimes I stand and shriek
   In agony of terror,
I see the red warms in her cheek--
   Then laugh loud at my error.
My cheek was all too pale, he thought;
   He deemed hers far the brightest;
Ha! but my dagger touched a spot
   That made her cheek the whitest.

Maurine by Ella Wheeler
Milwaukee: Cramer, Aikens & Cramer, 1876.


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