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'Twas but a breath--
And yet the fair, good name was wilted;
And friends once fond grew cold and stilted,
And life was worse than death.

One venomed word,
That struck its coward, poisoned blow,
In craven whispers, hushed and low--
And yet the wide world heard.

'Twas but one whisper--one,
That muttered low, for very shame,
The thing the slanderer dared not name--
And yet its work was done.

A hint so slight,
And yet so mighty in its power,
A human soul in one short hour
Lies crushed beneath its blight.

© Anonymous