Back on thy bosom with reflected blight!
And make thee in thy leprosy of mind
As loathsome to thyself as to mankind!
Till all thy self-thoughts curdle into hate,
Black—as thy will for others would create:90
Till thy hard heart be calcined into dust,
And thy soul welter in its hideous crust.
Oh, may thy grave be sleepless as the bed,
The widowed couch of fire, that thou hast spread!
Then, when thou fain wouldst weary Heaven with prayer,
Look on thine earthly victims—and despair!
Down to the dust!—and, as thou rott'st away,
Even worms shall perish on thy poisonous clay.
But for the love I bore, and still must bear,
To her thy malice from all ties would tear—100
Thy name—thy human name—to every eye
The climax of all scorn should hang on high,
Exalted o'er thy less abhorred compeers—
And festering in the infamy of years.
[First draft, March 29, 1816.
First printed as published, April 4, 1816.]
STANZAS TO AUGUSTA.
When all around grew drear and dark,
- —— in thy poisoned clay.—[MS. M. erased.]
- ["I doubt about 'weltering' but the dictionary should decide—look at it. We say 'weltering in blood'—but do they not also use 'weltering in the wind' 'weltering on a gibbet'?—there is no dictionary, so look or ask. In the meantime, I have put 'festering,' which perhaps in any case is the best word of the two.—P.S. Be quick. Shakespeare has it often and I do not think it too strong for the figure in this thing."—Letter to Murray, April 2.]
- And weltering in the infamy of years.—[MS. M.]
- [His sister, the Honourable Mrs. Leigh.—These stanzas—the
- —— grew waste and dark.—[MS. M.]