Page:The Hundred Best Poems (lyrical) in the English language - second series.djvu/95

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The singing men and women sang that night as usual,

The dancers danced in pairs and sets, but music had a fall,

A melancholy windy fall as at a funeral.

Amid the toss of torches to my chamber back we swept ;

My ladies loosed my golden chain ; meantime I could have wept

To think of some in galling chains whether they waked or slept.

I took my bath of scented milk, delicately waited on:

They burned sweet things for my delight, cedar and cinnamon,

They lit my shaded silver lamp, and left me there alone.

A day went by, a week went by. One day I heard it said:

"Men are clamouring, women, children, clamour- ing to be fed ;

Men like famished dogs are howling in the streets for bread."

So two whispered by my door, not thinking I could hear,

Vulgar naked truth, ungarnished for a royal ear ;

Fit for cooping in the background, not to stalk so near.