Worthy was I of purest love;
He loved me not at all.
His schemes wove tethers ‘round my wrists;
He watched my fences fall.
Drop by drop, he plied his pen
In lies yet unrevealed;
A spider weaving glit’ring web,
His stings were yet concealed.
In desperate straits, but steadfast still,
I could not but perceive;
My virtue lured him like a fly;
His web I could not leave.
To friends he painted fallacies,
Sincerity his guise;
‘Til silence, my worst enemy,
Convinced my soul to rise.
In vain I begged for mercy;
His coldness was as ice.
He had no conscience to restrain;
He made my love his vice.
The spider took the coward’s path,
He heeded not my cry.
He drained me of my last defense,
And forced my hope to die.
The door, it loomed like Cerberus;
I slipped away by night;
I climbed the steep Mount Tartarus,
And did not slow my flight.
My tired soul found haven:
A cell, a squalid shore,
Where I battled in reflection,
My fevered mind tried sore.
I searched; I found no comfort.
I slept; I found no rest.
I ate and took no pleasure in it.
My spirit sore oppressed.
I reached to enfold my loved ones,
A solace amidst my pain;
I grasped at salve for my malady,
To stand and live again.
But there was none would help me;
Both judge and friend drew near;
They praised the sinner, claimed him saint,
Denying I’d aught to fear.
They said if I would go to him…
They told me to forgive.
“This lord, this man of good rapport,
Commit to him and live.”
My spider had betrayed me
To mother, sister, friend.
Denied even by the bishop,
Who claimed hell was my end.
Hear the words, oh humanity;
Spoken from the Divine:
For God hears the cry of the innocent;
The Lord says, “Vengeance is Mine.”
*Inspired by Samuel Richard’s Clarissa Harlowe, or the Story of a Young Lady