They set him labouring, who meant
all strength of his to faint and kneel;
but he endured, because she leant
her own smooth body to the wheel.

They stripped him naked, and they bound
with holly-branches every limb:
sure comfort against cold and wound,
her nakedness lay over him.

They held away all food and drink
but poison, tempting him towards death:
how should his resolution sink.
who lived upon her touch and breath?

They tied a rat upon his breast
for torment, having not foreseen
to whose pain he must yield at last,
her own breast offered in between.

They took her from him, and the cell
they shut him in was dark and sour:
she was: and this dissolved the wall,
and lit a candle every hour.

They quarried selfhood from his skull,
humanity from flesh and face:
still she stole back to him, to call
the ruined house her dwelling-place.