Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
The Wife of Loki
 
Lady Charlotte Elliot (b. 183–)
 
 
CURSED by the gods and crowned with shame,
  Fell father of a direful brood,
Whose crimes have filled the heaven with flame
  And drenched the earth with blood;
 
Loki, the guileful Loki, stands        5
  Within a rocky mountain-gorge;
Chains gird his body, feet, and hands,
  Wrought in no mortal forge.
 
Coiled on the rock, a mighty snake
  Above him, day and night, is hung,        10
With dull malignant eyes awake,
  And poison-dropping tongue.
 
Drop follows drop in ceaseless flow,
  Each falling where the other fell,
To lay upon his blistered brow        15
  The liquid fire of hell.
 
But lo, beside the howling wretch
  A woman stands, devoid of dread,
And one pale arm is seen to stretch
  Above his tortured head!        20
 
All through the day is lifted up,
  And all the weary night-time through,
One patient hand that holds a cup
  To catch the poison-dew.
 
Sometimes the venom overfills        25
  The cup, and she must pour it forth;
With Loki’s curses then the hills
  Are rent from south to north.
 
But she in answer only sighs,
  And lays her lips upon his face,        30
And, with love’s anguish in her eyes,
  Resumes her constant place.
 

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