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 dark-eyed lover.
His arm was clasped so close, so close,
   Her eyes were softly lifted,
While his eyes drank the cheek of rose
   And breasts like snowflakes drifted.

A strange noise sounded in my brain;
   I was a guest unbidden.
I stole away, but came again
   With two knives 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 trickling rills of blood
   And frightened 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 stark and cold,
   And know it could not hold 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 about them
Sometimes I sit and laugh for hours
   To think just how I found them.

And then I sometimes stand and shriek
   In agony of terror:
I see the red warm 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 face the whitest!

But oh, the days seem very long,
   Without my Earl, my lover;
And something in my head seems wrong
   The more I think it over.
Ah! look--she is not dead--look there!
   She's standing close beside me!
Her eyes are open--how they stare!
   Oh, hide me! hide me! hide me!

Kingdom of love and How Salvator won by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago, W.B. Conkey company [1902].


Back to Poem Index