By the city dead-house by the gate,
As idly sauntering wending my way from the clangor,
I curious pause, for lo, an outcast form, a poor dead prostitute brought,
Her corpse they deposit unclaim’d, it lies on the damp brick pavement,
The divine woman, her body, I see the body, I look on it alone,
That house once full of passion and beauty, all else I notice not,
Nor stillness so cold, nor running water from faucet, nor odors morbific impress me,
But the house alone — that wondrous house — that delicate fair house — that ruin!
That immortal house more than all the rows of dwellings ever built!
Or white-domed capitol with majestic figure surmounted, or all the old high-spired
That little house alone more than them all — poor, desperate house!
Fair, fearful wreck — tenement of a soul — itself a soul,
Unclaim’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, crush’d,
House of life, erewhile talking and laughing — but ah, poor house, dead even then,
Months, years, an echoing, garnish’d house — but dead, dead, dead.