An immense weight has begun to settle on my chest, gradually at first. Gradually, gradually, so ever slight that at first I never felt it. Then, more it weighed on me, ’till now I am carrying within my bosom a pound of lead where heart once was.
Still, the heaviness is not sharp, or even painful. I t is like the weight of many blankets on a very chill night, and I feel protected from the howling, biting elements. No, cold joy, icy sorrow cannot come at me here; and the only companion I’ll take is one not to cast the weight away, but one to find shelter Ñ as I do Ñ beneath its solemn presence.
Many there are who would take from me my covering. Indeed, one already did, but I now have at long last won it back that I thought forever lost. For if my leaden cloak is torn from me, what is there left but my own bare wretchedness of cold? Before a fire wond’rous warm would I willingly lay my garment by; but such a fire, an it were kindled by embers from Tophet, would not keep me near as warm as I am kept, nor would it ever satiate me, I think. For already I dwell in Satis House, and a drear abode it is; here I found my beloved cloak of lead. Bossed on the hem of it, gold threads mingled with those silky leaden, were the words,
“Whoso don this cloak shall never more want, for wanting.”;
Yes, it keeps me warm, in its own chill way, and I’ll take no one who’ll not wear it proudly with me. One heart beneath this cloak must surely be warmer than two without.