The Lovers in Shadows. A Ballad

"The lady once I lov'd hath gone,
She whom sun ne'er did see.
I now live, as she did, alone--
How came it so to be?

"'T was December: the bitter chill
Clung to the earth early.
And I was lost among the frost
And unable to see.

"The chill cared not for travellers,
Such as I, seeking rest:
The little warmth had been dispers'd,
The cold clung to my chest.

"Snow-blind, snow-deaf, I stumbl'd on,
Nor spoke, nor hardly breath'd,
And I was petrified as one
With hellish scenes conciev'd.

"I'd lost the path that once I sought--
Who knows how long ago?
I walk'd no more as all was sore
Yet still the cold did grow.

"Alone and lost, and lost and cold,
I had found no shelter.
My inner self fill'd with forbode
And thought death'd be better:

"Better than the torment I found
Trying to stay alive.
I believ'd that I'd liv'd my round,
Those twenty years and five.

"I let the harsh winds pull me down
Onto the bed of snow:
In final hours beneath the bowers
I thought I felt time slow.

"All vision seem'd a blanket white:
I saw and felt nothing.
My eyes frozen were half-open
But no sight did they bring.

"I pass'd out for a length of time
That I cannot measure.
Then slumber was broke by sweet rhyme;
A slow, haunting treasure.

"The sun had left the sky, and I
Was 'neath a shack forlorn.
Through rotting timbers wind did sigh
A slow breath, full of mourn.

"And infront of he was a fire,
And warm cloths wrapp'd round me.
And singing gently with a lyre
Sat one stunning to see:

"A lady beautiful and pale,
Almost chalk-white was she.
She'd taken me from snow and hale,
'T was she who had sav'd me.

" 'Traveller, thou art safe,' quoth'd she,
'Pray, stay at the fire-side,
For beyond this shack thou shalt see
That snow falls still outside'.

"Still more the weather, cold and harsh,
Was comig to it's head.
I fear'd she chill'd and so I will'd
Her to that humble bed.

"And there we lay, and lov'd, and vow'd
To never be parted.
But something within me was cow'd
When first our love started.

"That night I had no trace of rest,
For thoughts I could not think
Went on and on like saga-song
'Til I flet my mind sink.

"There my love, my sweet Sarah, rose,
Sensing something was ill
Which she dismiss'd: my neck she kiss'd,
Raising passionate will.

"She renew'd her promise, as dear
As when it first started.
'Nor death,' she whisper'd in my ear,
'Shall e'er have us parted.'

"My neck she kiss'd once more, then bit--
Oh, the pain that there grew!
A bite so deep I felt there seep
My crimson blood it drew.

"I grew faint and swoon'd down anew;
I had no chance to act.
And Sarah had scarr'd me there to
Fulfill our lover's pact.

"Dazed I awoke when the morn did:
The winter's bleak sun-light
Had been betray'd by warmth, and made
The earth a pallid sight.

"I saw Sarah in the dimness,
Fatigued, tired and drawn.
It seem'd she did not wake and dress
Alongside with the dawn.

"I ask'd her how she slept that night,
That frozen night now done.
What she replied show'd my thought right:
'I sleep not with the sun.'

"My memories of the night were--
Despite the vicious bite
That still stung deep--were all a blur;
That dark, that fateful night.

"Though the sun was dim, I wanted
To get out of the dark,
For us to rove--so thus I strove
For us both to embark.

"But pale Sarah would not allow
Me outside to the light,
Though no man on earth could avow
It was a pleasant sight.

"Panic'd she seem'd, and stood afront
To block me, shelter'd tight.
I went to stand: she stepp'd, tripp'd and
Fell into the sun-light.

"Oh, I have been a haunted man
Since that terrible day.
What happen'd then I try to pen,
It hurts still so to say.

"As soon as shadows she was out,
A horrifying sight
Came forth that sent my heart in rout,
When Sarah felt the light.

"Her skin, chalk-white, burn'd in the sun
And boil'd violent!
Her scream pierc'd my heart as my one
True love to Hell was sent.

"Her whole being had burn'd away
In seconds--as I sate,
I something learn'd when my love burn'd:
I realised my fate.

"In terror then I touch'd the skin
Where the bite-wound was keen:
I knew that I was curs'd within
By whom my love had been.

"Derang'd, distraught, I drew my knife,
Cut, and tore my throat through!
With nought to heed I let it bleed
Profusely and anew.

"I tried to bleed my life away:
For my love I did cry.
I stabb'd and twisted; blood did spray,
And yet I did not die.

"The bite looks now a stab-wound raw
And I hide from the sun,
For I wish not to evermore
Be more like my lov'd one.

"I am a lingerer now in
The shadows, as was she,
And pray that there shall be a day
When from shadows I'm free."

The End

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