The south-wind strengthens to a gale, Across the moon the clouds fly fast, The house is smitten as with a flail, The chimney shudders to the blast. On such a night, when Air has loosed Its guardian grasp on blood and brain, Old terrors then of god or ghost Creep from their caves to life again; And Reason kens he herits in A haunted house. Tenants unknown Assert their squalid lease of sin With earlier title than his own. Unbodied presences, the pack'd Pollution and remorse of Time, Slipp'd from oblivion reënact The horrors of unhouseld crime. Some men would quell the thing with prayer Whose sightless footsteps pad the floor, Whose fearful trespass mounts the stair Or burts the lock'd forbidden door. Some have seen corpses long interr'd Escape from hallowing control, Pale charnel forms—nay ev'n have heard The shrilling of a troubled soul, That wanders till the dawn hath cross'd The dolorous dark, or Earth hath wound Closer her storm-spredd cloke, and thrust The baleful phantoms underground.
This poem is in the public domain.