David Lewis Paget
Death Whispers In My Ear - Poem by David Lewis Paget
The doctors said: ‘Take her away,
There's nothing we can do,
The life is seeping from her blood
Her soul is weeping too,
But keep her in a darkened room
And hidden from the light,
Perhaps you'll gain a week or two
Before her soul takes flight! '
I drove her to ‘The Grange' at that,
Post haste, in coach and four,
I veiled her in black crepe and lace,
She fainted at the door.
I carried her, she was so slight
I feared she might be dead,
And laid her on the davenport
A pillow at her head.
I covered her with red damask
And drew the velvet drapes,
There'd be no light for her again
This side of heaven's gates,
She stirred in her delirium
And sighed with every tear,
‘Once you were mine, but now I find
Death whispers in my ear! '
I lit a single candle, and
The beam fell on her face,
Though she was in extremis she
Had lost but little grace,
If only she had looked at me
To whisper words of love,
But he was near, Sir Ralph de Vere,
And ruled her from above.
He'd lured her from our marriage bed
And had his way with her,
He'd dazzled her with sweet perfumes
And trinkets by the score,
He'd danced her off her pretty feet
And turned her face from me,
And like a fool, I fought a duel
Two pistols primed, he turned and fired
But most erratically,
His Second begged to cease it there
But I aimed carefully,
My first had pinged his shoulder
But he stood his ground, and stared,
The second bullet, true and straight
Left Ralph de Vere quite dead!
The Seconds swore it legal when
The Magistrate was called,
But not so my Elizabeth;
No! - She was quite appalled.
She sank into a stupor there
Of shock and binding grief,
‘You've taken all my love, ' she cried,
‘You're just a petty thief! '
A week she lay within these walls
A week of no respite,
I heard some ghostly mutterings
Around The Grange at night,
And then an apparition formed
Beside that davenport,
That wraithlike Peer, Sir Ralph de Vere
That I had set at naught.
The wraith leant over where she lay,
Held out a bony hand,
She rose up from the davenport
And laughed that she could stand,
They drifted from that hateful room,
Where I would have to stay,
Her body on the davenport
They faded both away.
I paced about that fateful night
And raged there in the gloom,
Her stolen soul had taken flight
From dearth, within that room.
And now I find my nightly plight
Is worse than dreamless fear,
Its bony hands caught at my throat,
Death whispers in my ear!
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