NOW lay your hand across my throat,
And bid the drowsy pulse farewell.
Down in the wood the furtive stoat Slinks down the ditch through crisping leaves;
The small sounds wake; the wether’s bell Tinkles the meadow; in the eaves Patter the birds.
Speak one farewell.
“Speak one farewell for all the sighs Wrenched from the pain of love you taught;
And see the dawn within my eyes Lighten again, and all for naught.
Lover, speak one farewell, and kill,
Taking your name on my last breath,
But bring to death the skill you brought To teach me love; the self-same skill As showed me life must show me death.
“I would not die so willingly Young as I am, and fair, and sweet,
Did death not come so properly,
Inevitable, sure, and meet.
I take it at your hands;
I took Love at your hands, an unknown gift.
Lover, my life runs out; the brook Runs in the wood; my shortened shrift Runs to its end; my senses drift.
“Oh Love, we loved! What should I fear? Murder is simple in the wood.
This natural death of mine is near Allied to murder understood.
None blames the beasts at kill, nor I Do blame you with my dying word.
I sink beneath your hands and die,
And send my soul into a bird.
“Lover, if you should live to know That you had killed me in an hour Of madness, then I pray you go About the woods when thoughts devour.
There you will find my living soul In birds, in trees, in squirrels’ dreys,—
But oh, alas,
I know your whole Passionate heart would come my ways To follow me in death as well And clasp me on the edge of Hell.”