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The Duties of Affection, Terminated

“All this beauty did but conceal malice.”

Still he moved, and called loudly,
the infirm voice of inward disease.

“Here am I,” rich and youthful
deep purple, crimson perfumes,
a sculptured portal.

The figure, young, arrayed with much richness,
the bloom so deep, and redundant with life,
pressed, girdled in their luxuriance:
a virgin fancy grown morbid down in the garden.

Press on, fair stranger,
upon another flower, the richest of them,
To be touched only with a glove, approached with a mask.

Many needful offices require our chief treasure.

Life might pay the penalty,
consigned to undertake the rich magnificent splendor,
to nurse and serve.
Reward with thy breath of life,
all the tenderness so striking.

The duties of affection, terminated.
His labors in the garden,
that watchful eye,
retired.

Night was closing in,
oppressive past the open window.


original text from “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
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