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The City Dead-House


BY the City Dead-House, by the gate, As idly sauntering, wending my way from the clangor, I curious pause—for lo! an outcast form, a poor dead  
 prostitute brought;
Her corpse they deposit unclaim'd, it lies on the  
 damp brick pavement;
The divine woman, her body—I see the Body—I look  
 on it alone,
That house once full of passion and beauty—all else I  
 notice not;
Nor stillness so cold, nor running water from faucet,  
 nor odors morbific impress me;
But the house alone—that wondrous house—that de- 
 licate fair house—that ruin!
That immortal house, more than all the rows of dwel- 
 lings ever built!
Or white-domed Capitol itself, with magestic figure sur- 
 mounted—or all the old high-spired cathedrals,
That little house alone, more than them all—poor,  
 desperate house!
Fair, fearful wreck! tenement of a Soul! itself a Soul! Unclaim'd, avoided house! take one breath from my  
 tremulous lips;
Take one tear, dropt aside as I go, for thought of you, Dead house of love! house of madness and sin, crum- 
 bled! crush'd!
House of life—erewhile talking and laughing—but  
 ah, poor house! dead, even then;
Months, years, an echoing, garnish'd house—but  
 dead, dead, dead.
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