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By Burke Johnston
The power-maddened beast with bloody claw
Ready to pluck out Gloucester’s other eye
Paused, startled that a slave should dare defy
His fury and appeal to higher law.
Horror is kept at bay by twin-flamed light
Held in the godlike maker’s shaping hand.
One flame the servant’s sacrificial stand,
And one the blinded Gloucester’s inner sight.
The servant drained the cup of bitter wine,
Giving prime life to set and old man free:
Of some three thousand lines allotted nine
To speak for mankind against cruelty,
Transfigured from the nameless to divine,
He makes the dunghill kindred to the tree.
Source: College English, Vol. 16, No. 1 (Oct., 1954), p. 24 []