Though I be dead, a body in the ground,
A putrid corpse imprisoned in this cask,
Yet I will dance at my beloved's masque,
Once more to view her gorgeously engowned.
For on the night of Halloween, the dead
Awake and walk beneath October's moon....
O heart that beats defying death's black swoon,
Soon we will quit this sable satin bed....
A crimson plague-mask and a matching cloak
Will serve to veil the dreadful form of death;
A crown of roses, herbs of healthful breath,
Will mask the stench till midnight's fateful stroke.
Thus I will dance away that dreamful night
With my belovèd, in one timeless waltz,
Recalling romance from evanished vaults
That Time had shut forever in his flight.
The orchestra with rich, nocturnal airs,
Will lavish us with song of violins,
And all the masquers, costumed like strange sins,
Will watch us with grotesque, fantastic stares....
But ere the clock strike twelve I must depart,
Slipping betwixt the scarlet drapes unseen,
Into the night, unkissed by my one queen—
For at that hour, my corpse must drag my heart
Back to the grave to pass a twelvemonth more
Pining for her, imprisoned in the dark.
—I only hope her mourning heart will mark
A passing shadow from the days of yore.
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by KA Opperman