Demeter, and Other Poems


Alfred Tennyson

‘HE is fled—I wish him dead—
    He that wrought my ruin—
O the flattery and the craft
    Which were my undoing . . . 
    In the night, in the night,
    When the storms are blowing.

Who was witness of the crime?
    Who shall now reveal it?
He is fled, or he is dead,
    Marriage will conceal it . . . 
    In the night, in the night,
    While the gloom is growing.’

Catherine, Catherine, in the night,
    What is this you’re dreaming?
There is laughter down in Hell
    At your simple scheming . . . 
    In the night, in the night,
    When the ghosts are fleeting.

You to place a hand in his
    Like an honest woman’s,
You that lie with wasted lungs
    Waiting for your summons . . . 
    In the night, O the night!
    O the deathwatch beating!

There will come a witness soon
    Hard to be confuted,
All the world will hear a voice
    Scream you are polluted . . . 
    In the night! O the night,
    When the owls are wailing!

Shame and marriage, Shame and marriage,
    Fright and foul dissembling,
Bantering bridesman, reddening priest,
    Tower and altar trembling . . . 
    In the night, O the night,
    When the mind is failing!

Mother, dare you kill your child?
    How your hand is shaking!
Daughter of the seed of Cain,
    What is this you’re taking? . . . 
    In the night, O the night,
    While the house is sleeping.

Dreadful! has it come to this,
    O unhappy creature?
You that would not tread on a worm
    For your gentle nature . . . 
    In the night, O the night,
    O the night of weeping!

Murder would not veil your sin,
    Marriage will not hide it,
Earth and Hell will brand your name,
    Wretch you must abide it . . . 
    In the night, O the night,
    Long before the dawning.

Up, get up, and tell him all,
    Tell him you were lying!
Do not die with a lie in your mouth,
    You that know you’re dying . . . 
    In the night, O the night,
    While the grave is yawning.

No—you will not die before,
    Tho’ you’ll ne’er be stronger;
You will live till that is born,
    Then a little longer . . . 
    In the night, O the night,
    While the Fiend is prowling.

Death and marriage, Death and marriage!
    Funeral hearses rolling!
Black with bridal favours mixt!
    Bridal bells with tolling! . . . 
    In the night, O the night,
When the wolves are howling.

Up, get up, the time is short,
    Tell him now or never!
Tell him all before you die,
    Lest you die for ever . . . 
    In the night, O the night,
    Where there’s no forgetting.

Up she got, and wrote him all,
    All her tale of sadness,
Blister’d every word with tears,
    And eased her heart of madness . . . 
    In the night, and nigh the dawn,
    And while the moon was setting.

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