Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Vampire by Rosa Vertner Johnson 1859

THE VAMPIRE By Rosa Vertner Johnson 1859

IN a grand and gorgeous chamber,
Where from lamps of purest amber
Perfumed light, serene and tender,
Stole athwart the purple gloom,
Lady Clara, with the splendor
Of her beauty, lit the room.

For, behold! the golden glimmer
Of the amber lamps seemed dimmer,
WVhen like showers of light around her
All her shining tresses fell
Past the glittering zone that bound her,
While the proud and graceful swell

Of her bosom's perfect whiteness
Rivalled e'en the polished brightness
Of the alabaster vases,
And her dark eyes' witching raye,
And her thousand nameless graces,
Made the mirror seem ablaze

With her beauty on it beaming;
While the lady stood there, dreaming
Love's sweet dream, its bliss revealing
On her cheek, where blushes stole
Like warm, rosy clouds of feeling
From the summer of her soul.

To old age and wealth united,
In her youth, all hope was blighted,
Every cord of feeling severed
Like the strings of some sweet lute,
Till when love's warm pulses quivered,
All grew desolate and mute.

But death came,-in mercy breaking
Those cold ties,-when gently making
Love's wild notes again vibrating
Stirred her womanhood's full prime,
All its perfectness dilating
As a rose in summer-time,

Stirred by the passionate thrilling
Of the bul-bul's music, filling
All its crimson leaves,-whose flushing
Seems to steepen as they move,
Like the lady Clara, blushing
At the fullness of her love.

Round her white brow, proud and queenly,
Bridal pearls now hung serenely,
As the dew about a lily,
While glad thoughts lit up her eyes,
Till their depths, so blue aud stilly,
Shone like constellated skies.

Through the silken curtains streaming,
Crept that amber light-where, dreaming,
Lady Clara smiled-revealing
Inward rapture, through her dream,
As from deep, still waters stealing,
Warm, reflected light will beam.

O'er the white arms(fondly twining
Round her mate) fell, softly ehining,
Many a tress-their glory flinging
On his broad and sinewy breast,
Even as golden vapors clinging
Round some mountain's granite crest.

But a shadow seemed to hover
O'er the lady and her lover,
As o'er mated doves in summer
Broods the dreary thunder-cloud;
Yet from dreamland came no murmur
Of a coffin, or a shroud.

Morning dawned-but in that chamber
All was hushed-the lamps of amber,
'Neath the garish sunlight paling,
Burned with sad, uncertain flame,
And lone echoes back went wailing
As they shrieked the lady's name.

But no answer thence returning,
When the mid-day sun was burning,
Quick the massive doors they shivered,
Whence, as eager friends stole through,
While the purple curtains quivered,
Forth a bloated vampire flew.

On that bridal morn so cheerless,
There they found her, pure and peerlees,
On her lover's breast reclining,
As on storm-rent oaks we see
Rose, as passion-flower twining,
Where it perished with the tree.

Then the old lord's coffin seeking,
Lo! they found him red and reeking,
With fresh blood his eyes dilated,
Drops of gore on beard and breast,
For his demon soul was sated,
And the Vampire was at rest.

LEXINGTON, Ky., Dec. 1859.

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