The croak of a raven hoar!
A dog's howl, kennel-tied!
Loud shuts the carriage-door:
The two are away on their ghastly ride
To Death's salt shore!
Where are the love and the grace?
The bridegroom is thirsty and cold!
The bride's skull sharpens her face!
But the coachman is driving, jubilant, bold,
The devil's pace.
The horses shivered and shook
Waiting gaunt and haggard
With sorry and evil look;
But swift as a drunken wind they staggered
'Longst Lethe brook.
Long since, they ran no more;
Heavily pulling they died
On the sand of the hopeless shore
Where never swelled or sank a tide,
And the salt burns sore.
Flat their skeletons lie,
White shadows on shining sand;
The crusted reins go high
To the crumbling coachman's bony hand
On his knees awry.
Side by side, jarring no more,
Day and night side by side,
Each by a doorless door,
Motionless sit the bridegroom and bride
On the Dead-Sea-shore.
A Mammon-Marriage. by George MacDonald