Within the ashes of his cheek burned red
A long-shut rose of youth, as to the goal
Of death he sped, as once to love's own tryst he stole.
He caught a sound as of a rose's breath,
He caught another breath of deeper lung,
Rose-leaves and oak-leaves on the wind of death;
He drew aside the arras where they clung
In the dim light, so lovely and so young--
They lay in sin as in a cradle there,
Twin babes that in one bosom nestling hung:
Even Lanciotto paused, ah, will he spare?
Who could not quite forgive a wrong that is so fair!
The grave old clock ticked somewhere in the gloom,
A dozen waiting seconds rose and fell
Ere his pale dagger flickered in the room,
Then quenched its corpse-light in their bosoms' swell-- 'Thus, dears, I mate you evermore in hell.'
Their blood ran warm about them and they sighed
For the mad smiter did his work too well,
Just drew together softly and