A plain blunt show of briefly-spoken seeming,
To hide her bloodless heart's soul-hardened scheming;60
A lip of lies; a face formed to conceal,
And, without feeling, mock at all who feel:
With a vile mask the Gorgon would disown,—
A cheek of parchment, and an eye of stone.
Mark, how the channels of her yellow blood
Ooze to her skin, and stagnate there to mud,
Cased like the centipede in saffron mail,
Or darker greenness of the scorpion's scale—
(For drawn from reptiles only may we trace
Congenial colours in that soul or face)—70
Look on her features! and behold her mind
As in a mirror of itself defined:
Look on the picture! deem it not o'ercharged—
There is no trait which might not be enlarged:
Yet true to "Nature's journeymen," who made
This monster when their mistress left off trade—
This female dog-star of her little sky,
Where all beneath her influence droop or die.
May the strong curse of crushed affections light
Oh! wretch without a tear—without a thought,
Save joy above the ruin thou hast wrought—80
The time shall come, nor long remote, when thou
Shalt feel far more than thou inflictest now;
Feel for thy vile self-loving self in vain,
And turn thee howling in unpitied pain.
- Lines 65-66 were added April 2, 1816.
- The parenthesis was added April 2, 1816.
- Look on her body ——.—[MS. M.]
- [See Hamlet, act iii. sc. 2, line 31.]
- Where all that gaze upon her droop or die.—[MS. altered April 2, 1816.]
- [Lines 85-91 were added April 2, 1816, on a page endorsed, "Quick—quick—quick—quick."]