The rain set early in to-night,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore past Elm Drive pre-game lights,
And did its worst to vex the Lake:
I listen’d with heart fit to break
Within the dim foyer of Tow’r,
‘Round which in woe and shame I paced.
‘Twas still the bottom of the hour
And no-one else now tour’d the place:
No Beast flow’d yet, and in the space
Where, later, Man would face ‘gainst Man,
The gauntlet thrown: ambrosial Beer
The armament, and other plans
When stumbled in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And rose and threw the cheerless grate
Her coat aside: and of her form
I drank my fill; my face went warm.
She toss’d her rain-damp’d head and down
Into the tap-room descended.
I stayed and pondered: should I drown
My unmatched worship in splendid
Free booze? But that would never end it,
The stares across the lecture hall,
My timid orbit ‘round her sphere
Of friends, night after night: where all
I want is there to see: but fear
Again keeps me from drawing near
To tell to her my love divine.
And so I watch her lusting not
For me but for another. Pine
I do, for days! I never thought
She’d go for me: she likes them hot.
And so it was tonight: her sway
Betray’d a pregame or twenty.
She drifted past, so flush’d, so gay,
Right through the crowd—she could have any
Of them she wanted; she’d had plenty.
But now she moved toward me! She took
My hand in hers; without a sound
She led me up, and in a nook
Her face she drew to mine: I wound
My arms ‘round her; her lips I found.
Be sure I look’d up at her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria wanted me; surprise
Made my cock swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and then and there
I bade her to my room come ‘round
To spend the night in joy unbound.
Then she—she, whose vermilion lips
Hang in my dreams and burn all night;
As the bright moon does stars eclipse,
They drown my thoughts in crimson light
And haunt my sleep—she said, “All right!”
But then with two slow, wary blinks
I clear’d my sight, and saw before
Me not Porphyria; oh, the drink
Had blinded me. On the dance floor
With me, grin wide, was Eleanor.
My love Porphyria I saw near:
Her shoulders with a sleeveless arm
Were girdled ‘round, and it was clear
That yet again I would not charm
Her to-night, taste not her lips warm.
And at the sight I turned and left:
I shook off Eleanor and fled
Once more a night of love bereft:
It pierced my soul, my heart fell dead:
Porphyria lost, those lips so red!
Porphyria’s love: I guess not how
My darling one wish will be heard.
And thus I sit in my room now,
My thoughts for her still undeterr’d,
She, to whom I’ve not said a word!
– AKS ’15, with sincerest apologies to Robert Browning