BY the City Dead-House, by the gate, As idly sauntering, wending my way from the clangor, I curious pauseâ€”for lo! an outcast form, a poor dead prostitute brought; Her corpse they deposit unclaimâ€™dâ€”it lies on the damp brick pavement; The divine woman, her bodyâ€”I see the Bodyâ€”I look on it alone, That house once full of passion and beautyâ€”all else I notice not; Nor stillness so cold, nor running water from faucet, nor odors morbific impress me; But the house aloneâ€”that wondrous houseâ€”that delicate fair houseâ€”that ruin!
That immortal house, more than all the rows of dwellings ever built! Or white-domed Capitol itself, with majestic figure surmountedâ€”or all the old high-spired cathedrals; That little house alone, more than them allâ€”poor, desperate house! Fair, fearful wreck! tenement of a Soul! itself a Soul! Unclaimâ€™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, crumbled! crushâ€™d! House of lifeâ€”erewhile talking and laughingâ€”but ah, poor house! dead, even then;
Months, years, an echoing, garnishâ€™d houseâ€”but dead, dead, dead.