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Lucretia Maria Davidson

(1808-1825 / the USA)

The Yellow Fever

(Written in her sixteenth year.)

The sky is pure, the clouds are light,
The moonbeams glitter cold and bright;
O'er the wide landscape breathes no sigh;
The sea reflects the star-gemm'd sky,
And every beam of Heav'n's broad brow
Glows brightly on the world below.
But ah! the wing of death is spread;
I hear the midnight murd'rers tread; —
I hear the Plague that walks at night,
I mark its pestilential blight;
I feel its hot and with'ring breath,
It is the messenger of death! —
And can a scene so pure and fair
Slumber beneath a baleful air?
And can the stealing form of death
Here wither with its blighting breath?
Yes; and the slumb'rer feels its power
At midnight's dark and silent hour;
He feels the wild fire thro' his brain;
He wakes; his frame is rack'd with pain;
His eye half closed; his lip is dark;
The sword of death hath done his work;
That sallow cheek, that fever'd lip,
That eye which burns but cannot sleep,
That black parch'd tongue, that raging brain,
All mark the monarch's baleful reign!

Oh! for one pure, one balmy breath,
To cool the sufferer's brow in death;
Oh! for one wand'ring breeze of Heav'n;
Oh that one moment's rest were giv'n!
'T is past; — and hush'd the victim's prayer;
The spirit was — but is not there!

Submitted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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