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Revenge (2)

Charles Johnston

Spirit of evil, with which earth is rife,
Revenge, revenge! thee all abjure and blame,
Yet when their hour is come invoke thy name;
Base men for thee in secret bare the knife;

The brave partake the peril and the strife;
The weak, the sword more sure of justice claim;
The strong, when they have blasted power and fame,
Give to their foe in scorn the curse of life,

The keenest, bitterest vengeance... for these all
Are only shapes thou takest to goad the mind,
Turning the heart's pure generous blood to gall;
And thus, revenge, thou stalkst through all the kind

Till mighty nations madden at thy call,
And earth is waste and seas incarnadined.

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