THANK Heaven! the crisis— The danger is past, And the lingering illness Is over at last— And the fever called 'Living' Is conquer'd at last. Sadly, I know I am shorn of my strength, And no muscle I move As I lie at full length: But no matter—I feel I am better at length. And I rest so composedly Now, in my bed, That any beholder Might fancy me dead— Might start at beholding me, Thinking me dead. The moaning and groaning, The sighing and sobbing, Are quieted now, With that horrible throbbing At heart—ah, that horrible, Horrible throbbing! The sickness—the nausea— The pitiless pain— Have ceased, with the fever That madden'd my brain— With the fever called 'Living' That burn'd in my brain. And O! of all tortures That torture the worst Has abated—the terrible Torture of thirst For the naphthaline river Of Passion accurst— I have drunk of a water That quenches all thirst. —Of a water that flows, With a lullaby sound, From a spring but a very few Feet under ground— From a cavern not very far Down under ground. And ah! let it never Be foolishly said That my room it is gloomy, And narrow my bed; For man never slept In a different bed— And, to sleep, you must slumber In just such a bed. My tantalized spirit Here blandly reposes, Forgetting, or never Regretting its roses— Its old agitations Of myrtles and roses: For now, while so quietly Lying, it fancies A holier odour About it, of pansies— A rosemary odour, Commingled with pansies— With rue and the beautiful Puritan pansies. And so it lies happily, Bathing in many A dream of the truth And the beauty of Annie— Drown'd in a bath Of the tresses of Annie. She tenderly kiss'd me, She fondly caress'd, And then I fell gently To sleep on her breast— Deeply to sleep From the heaven of her breast. When the light was extinguish'd, She cover'd me warm, And she pray'd to the angels To keep me from harm— To the queen of the angels To shield me from harm. And I lie so composedly, Now, in my bed (Knowing her love), That you fancy me dead— And I rest so contentedly, Now, in my bed (With her love at my breast), That you fancy me dead— That you shudder to look at me, Thinking me dead. But my heart it is brighter Than all of the many Stars in the sky, For it sparkles with Annie— It glows with the light Of the love of my Annie— With the thought of the light Of the eyes of my Annie.
This poem is featured in our selection of 100 Great Poems.