Lake Lyrics and Other Poems

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

KEZIAH


 

"KEZIAH! Keziah!" The blue lake is rocking,
Out over its bosom the white gulls are flocking,
Far down in the west the dim islands are lying,
While through the hushed vapors the shores are replying:
"Keziah! Keziah!"

A vine-clambered cabin with blue skies that bound it,

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Wild glamor of forest, lake, shoreland around it;
Far calling of birds, mists rising and falling,
While through the hushed silence a weird voice is calling:
"Keziah! Keziah!"

She went down the shore-path her dark eyes were dreaming,

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The sheen of her hair in the sunlight was gleaming,
The snow of her neck like the lake’s snowy foaming,
And a man’s promise met her down there in the gloaming:
"Keziah! Keziah!"

She went in her girlhood, her innocent sweetness,

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She went in her trusting glad woman’s completeness,
She went with a hope and returned with a sorrow,
A horrible dread of the coming to-morrow:
"Keziah! Keziah!"

The old woman moaneth, her meagre form swayeth,

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"God’s curse of all curses on him who betrayeth,"
O poor foolish girl-heart, dead, past our reproving,
God’s hate on the base heart that played with her loving.
"Keziah! Keziah!"

O never, O never, while human hearts falter

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Weak penitent prayers at the foot of God’s altar,
Nor man’s choking creeds nor heaven’s dread thunder,
Can wipe out the curse from the lives that sleep under.
"Keziah! Keziah!"

The girl like a flower caught late in life’s snowing

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Too full of love’s summer for October’s blowing,
Died quick in her shame, the mother her sadness,
Wore out into bitterness, sorrow, then madness.
"Keziah! Keziah!"

Years after she’d sit by the hut door at even,

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When vapors were soft over lake shore and heaven,
And dream in her madness a girl-figure coming,
With youth’s dreamy beauty in out of the gloaming.
"Keziah! Keziah!"

Dead, gone, these long years by the hut-side she’s sleeping,

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Where over it’s dead walls the red vines are creeping,
But the fisher-folk say that at summer eves falling,
In out of the stillness they hear a voice calling:
"Keziah! Keziah!"

And over the lake with its glamor of vapors,

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Through which the faint stars soon will glimmer like tapers,
From the dim islands lit with the purpled day’s dying,
Like a far, caverned echo a faint voice replying:
"Keziah! Keziah!"