Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Last Days of Pompeii

8. Chapter VIII (continued)

A third band now approached with brimming cups, which they poured in libation upon that strange altar; and once more, slow and solemn, rose the changeful melody:


        Thou art welcome, Guest of gloom,
           From the far and fearful sea!
         When the last rose sheds its bloom,
           Our board shall be spread with thee!
              All hail, dark Guest!
           Who hath so fair a plea
           Our welcome Guest to be,
           As thou, whose solemn hall
           At last shall feast us all
           In the dim and dismal coast?
           Long yet be we the Host!
           And thou, Dead Shadow, thou,
           All joyless though thy brow,
               Thou--but our passing GUEST!

At this moment, she who sat beside Apaecides suddenly took up the song:


        Happy is yet our doom,
           The earth and the sun are ours!
         And far from the dreary tomb
           Speed the wings of the rosy Hours--
          Sweet is for thee the bowl,
              Sweet are thy looks, my love;
           I fly to thy tender soul,
              As bird to its mated dove!
                Take me, ah, take!
           Clasp'd to thy guardian breast,
           Soft let me sink to rest:
                But wake me--ah, wake!
           And tell me with words and sighs,
           But more with thy melting eyes,
                That my sun is not set--
         That the Torch is not quench'd at the Urn
           That we love, and we breathe, and burn,
                Tell me--thou lov'st me yet!

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