when thy tired limbs were fain to keep The purple cerements
of sleep, Thy dim beloved form Passed from the sunshine warm, From the corrupting earth, that sought to hold Its beauty, to the essence of pure gold.
"'T was something like the burst from death to life; From the grave's cerements
to the robes of heaven; From sin's dominion, and from passion's strife, To the pure freedom of a soul forgiven; Where all the bonds of death and hell are riven, And mortal puts on immortality, When Mercy's hand hath turned the golden key, And Mercy's voice hath said, Rejoice, thy soul is free."
Then, summoning the wild courage of despair, a throng of the revellers at once threw themselves into the black apartment, and, seizing the mummer, whose tall figure stood erect and motionless within the shadow of the ebony clock, gasped in unutterable horror at finding the grave cerements
and corpse-like mask, which they handled with so violent a rudeness, untenanted by any tangible form.
The ghost of Athelstane himself would burst his bloody cerements
and stand before us to forbid such dishonour to his memory.''
The figure stopped, and at the moment a ray of moonlight fell upon the masses of driving clouds, and showed in startling prominence a dark-haired woman, dressed in the cerements
of the grave.
The coffin was forced, the cerements
torn, and the melancholy relics, clad in sackcloth, after being rattled for hours on moonless byways, were at length exposed to uttermost indignities before a class of gaping boys.
Look at her garments Clinging like cerements
; Whilst the wave constantly Drips from her clothing; Take her up instantly, Loving not loathing.
The pair slip into unconsciousness in the snow, and when they are discovered, Iras has undergone a startling transformation, now nothing more than "the mummy of a woman; a thing swathed and bandaged in cerements
and dry as a stick, which had been dead for hundreds--nay, thousands--of years" (Douglas, 1896: 219).
The speaker also evokes Christ's resurrection from the grave to imagine Love's triumph over grief: "Death leaves but empty cerements
in a heap,/And Love for love still rolls away the stone" (11.
Our latest recollections are of sickly gleams of the fire among the trees, a doleful moaning among the branches overhead, and the gloomy tower of the castle all wrapped in wind-trailed cerements
Say there were two or three inches of hard old snow on the ground, with earth here and there oozing through the broken places, and that there was warmth in the sunlight, when the wind did not blow it all away, and say she stooped breathlessly in her corset to lift up a sodden sheet by its hems, and say that when she had pinned three corners to the lines it began to billow and leap in her hands, to flutter and tremble, and to glare with the light, and that the throes of the thing were as gleeful and strong as if a spirit were dancing in its cerements
. That wind!
But the Gospel misses a great dramatic opportunity to describe how Lazarus felt when he came back from the dead --bound up with cerements
like a mummy and with a piece of cloth to keep his mouth clamped shut.