Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1193. Were-Wolf
 
By Julian Hawthorne
 
 
RUNS the wind along the waste,
Run the clouds across the moon,
Ghastly shadows run in haste
From snowy dune to dune—
Blue shadows o’er the ghastly white        5
Spectral gleaming in the night.
But ghastlier, more spectral still,
What fearful thing speeds hither,
Running, running, running
Swifter than cloud or wind?        10
What omen of nameless ill,
Whence coming, speeding whither,
Running, running, running,
Leaves all save fear behind?
 
Leaning, leaning in the race,        15
Breath keen-drawn through nostrils tense,
Fell eyes in ruthless face,
What goblin of malevolence
Runs through the frozen night
In superhuman flight?        20
See it run, run, run,
Outstripping the shadows that fly!
Hear the fiend’s heart beat, beat,
Beat, beat, beat in its breast!
Running, running, running on        25
Under the frozen sky,
Fleet, so fearfully fleet,
Pausing never to rest.
 
Clutched—what is clutched so tight
In its lean, cold hands as it speeds?        30
Something soft, something white,
Something human, that bleeds?
Is it an infant’s curly head,
And innocent limbs, gnawed and red?
Fleeter and yet more fleet        35
It leans, leans and runs;
Dabbled with blood are its awful lips,
Grinning in horrible glee.
The wolves that follow with scurrying feet,
Sniffing that goblin scent, at once        40
Scatter in terror, while it slips
 
Away, to the shore of the frozen sea.
Away! is it man? is it woman,
On such dread meat to feed?
Away! is it beast? is it human?        45
Or is it a fiend indeed?
Fiend from human loins begotten,
Hell-inspired, God-forgotten!
Now the midnight hour draws on:
Human form no fiend may keep        50
Or ever that mystic hour is told.
Lower, lower, lower it bends.
Midnight is come—is come and gone!
Down on all fours see it plunge and leap!
A human yell in a wolf’s howl ends!…        55
What gaunt, gray thing gallops on o’er the world?
 

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