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At length, after long travel past,
She came as it grew late,
To a vast city gate.
Rose dome, and tower, and spire,
Like glittering points of fire.
Whose thronging multitude
Strong as the ocean-flood.
Toil, pleasure, pain, delight,
Ceased not by day or night.
Passed ever, never spent ; A busy mingling human tide
of those who came and went. 'T was a proud city and a rich ;
A city fair and old ; Filled with the world's most costly things, –
of precious stones and gold ; of silks, fine woods, and spiceries ;
And all that's bought and sold.
Came there as it grew late,
Unto the city gate.
Returning from his trade,
Her weary form surveyed.
Shalt go: and of my bread,
Her weary steps he led.
'Mong dwellings of the poor He brought her; bade her welcome thrice
Unto his lowly door.
" And though our fare is scant, Fear not,” she said, “ whilst we have food
It is not thou shalt want !"
In the great city, cherished so,
Nor would they let her go.
And that while their abode
Was blessed exceedingly; their store
Grew daily, weekly, more and more;
The Paradise of God.
'T was she soothed all their cares; They knew not that they entertained
An angel unawares.
They of the Saviour heard;
Believed and blessed each word.
With plenteous food was spread;
The famished thousands fed.
Their kindling bosoms bumed,
To teach what they had learned.
The sinner vile, was sent;
A weeping penitent.
Unjudged before his face;
Repentant to his place ;
He said, thou art forgiven,
In the paradise of Heaven.
Turned from their evil ways,
And Christian hymns of praise.
And to the proud, 't was told,
Lived like the saints of old.
And how poor craftsmen vile,
The gospel preached the while. 'T was told of Marien; how she came
A wanderer none knew whence;
A child in innocence;
But others took offence. “Why,” said they, “ should this simple child,
These men of low degree, Thus preach and practise? what new faith Is there, or need there be ?
“ Bishops have taught a thousand years,
And learned men are they ;
Devised to lead astray."
To a full synod brought,
And for the faith they taught.
To see them fearless stand,
And language at command.
They answered, “ let alone All pride of rank ; Christ chose the poor,
To make his gospel known.
For whom Christ's blood was shed;
As God shall judge the dead!"
By sophistries perplexed;
Their simple souls be vexed.
As taught the holy book ;
Upon its page to look.
And they were judged blasphemers dire, And doomed, their daring heresies
To expiate in fire.
Throughout the city rang the tale
Of this divinest child ;
Many were reconciled.
And here let her be brought,
" And suffer as she ought." As Christ among the doctors stood,
So she among these men,
In parchment and in pen;
Reviling not again.
Rather of love than lore,
Pled youthful tongue before.
And straightway spoke each one Unto his neighbour, " Through this child
May mighty things be done !" Then threatening words anon grew soft,
" And thou with us shalt go," They said, “and with the poor and vile,
No longer suffer woe. “Thou shalt be clothed in purple robes,
In gold and linen fine ; Shalt eat the daintiest food; shalt drink
The spirit-gladdening wine. “And with us in proud palaces
A crowned queen shalt be; Leave but these men, for they are poor,
And can do nought for thee! “ Behold the stake at which they bum
The iron-rack behold -
With silver and with gold ?
And in our places high,
Will deck thee royally!" “ Nay," said sweet Marien, "as a queen
It is not I may bide;
Nor aught of human pride.
Will clothe me, even as they ;
Will feed me day by day!"
And “Come away,” they said,
With royal pomp was led. They showed her all that palace proud;
They showed her store of gold; They iold her of a hundred realms, And wealth a hundred-fold.
So perished for their faith in Christ,
This righteous couple ; for their foes Beseeching pardon; blessing God
That they were reckoned among those Worthy to die for Christ, whose place Is with the Holiest face to face. Beside the pile stood Marien
Weeping sad human tears,
And soothing all their fears.
With heavenly lustre beamed,
Celestial beauty streamed. Men looked on her with wondering awe,
As on an angel's face, And pity, and love, and sweet remorse,
In every heart had place.
Racked, prisoned, poor, and miserable,
Thou shalt be, even as they!" Down on the floor sank Marien,
And, “Oh, dear Lord," she cried, “Assist thy poor and trembling one
This awful hour to bide ;
Like him who bowed, and died !"
The secrets who may say ? Racked, fettered, captived, in their power,
The gentle Marien lay; Captive within their torture-halls
A long night and a day!
And all this shall be thine," they said,
* All this be thine, and more, So thou wilt bind thyself to us,
And leave the weak and poor! “Thou that art weak and poor thyself,
A crowned queen shalt be!" Said Marien, “In the wilderness
The Tempter came, and he Offered to Jesus Christ such gifts
As now ye offer me!" Those rugged brows grew dark. “Come now
With us," they fiercely said, * And see what never daylight saw,
The halls of dool and dread!"
Mysterious, far from view,
The knotted cord, the screw,
Whose dark ensanguined hue Told of their purpose, “These," said they, "Many strange wonders do! " Look well; could'st thou endure these things ?
Strong men have died ere now
A little child art thou !"
God suffereth you to dare,
Will strengthen me to bear!"
Damp, broken stairs they went ; Down, down to hidden vaults of stone,
Through vapours pestilent. And then with sullen iron keys
They opened doors of stone ;
They showed her, one by one.
That had been strong of limb;
Like spectres worn and dim.
Ne'er lifted up the head ;Heart-broken victims of long pain,
Whose very hope was dead. Others with feverish restlessness
Sprang up, and with quick cry,
And her conductors spake,
The rack, the cord, the stake.
If thou our will gainsay;
Or, on this very day,
THEN forth they brought her; gave her wine
And pleasant food to eat;
Sung syren voices sweet.
Thy fainting soul with wine ;
And make all pleasure thine !" “Tempt me not !" said the feeble child,
“ Take hence your spicèd bowl ; Is 't not enough to rack my limbs,
But you must vex my soul ?
Look at your bloody rack;
To my own people back.
A bruised and broken reed;
Let me go hence with speed."
But those remorseless men,
Unto their prion-den.
With iron-doors made fast, 'Mong felons and 'mong murderers,
Was gentle Marien cast. Upon the hard, cold prison-floor
Sick unto death she lay,
For many a weary day.
And of those creatures small,
That came unto her call.
And of the forest-grange ; of the delicious life she led, With liberty to range.
Thus, amid blessings, prayers, and tears
About the break of day,
Upon her unknown way.
And as she thought, even as a child's,
The ceaseless tears did flow, For torturing pain and misery
Had brought her spirit low.
Came softly to her side,
With pitying voice, he cried.
My softened heart doth burn, And the gone tenderness of youth
Doth to my soul return.
Like unto days of heaven;
And pray to be forgiven!"
And rose up from the floor; "I was not hither brought in vain!
His mercy I adore, Who out of darkness brought forth light!"
And thus she wept no more. But ever of the Saviour taught;
How he came down to win,
The sinner from his sin.
He came, nor to the wise,
And those whom men despise.
Goes yet a louder praise
From his unrighteous ways,
Who sin not all their days. Thus with the felons she abode,
And that barred prison rude Was as if angels dwelt therein,
And not fierce men of blood; For God had her captivity
Turned into means of good.
Who in the town remained,
Her freedom should be gained.
With labour long and great;
Unto the city-gate.
Weeping with friendly woe,
And then to bid her go.
Nor once more see her face;
To some more friendly place.
A BOW-SHOT from the city-gate
Turned Marien from the plain,
The mountain-land to gain.
Over the moorland fells;
And crimson heather-bells.
Still onward yet, and higher;
As if she could not tire.
Among the breezy hills,
Unto the singing rills. The days of her captivity,
The days of fear and pain, Were past, and now through shade and shine,
She wandered free again.
Free, like the waters wild;
Went on the blessed child.
Some wanderer of the hill
And bade her eat her fill.
For He who fed by Cherith-brook
The prophet in his need,
Unceasingly had heed.
Some little cove she found,
As angels girt it round.
Alone, yet wanting nought,
For her no longer sought. Then forth she journeyed. Soon the hills
Were of more smooth descent; And downward now, and onward still, Toward the sea she went,
Toward the great sea for many days;
And now she heard its mar; Had sunlit glimpses of it now,
And now she trod the shore. A rugged shore of broken cliffs,
And barren wave-washed sand,
By patches on the strand.
Beside the booming sea,
Throughout the day saw she.
And as the day declined
Arose a stormy wind.
With the strong coming tide;
Closed in on every side.
With bare, unsandaled feet;
The raging tempest beat.
"In tempest, and in night:” She cried, “Oh Lord, I trust in thee,
And thou wilt lead me right!" Now underneath a shelving bank
Of sea-driven sand, there stood A miserable hut, the home
of a poor fisher good,
Died in his arms, and he,
Casting his nets at sea.
And would be back, he said,
Arose that tempest dread.
Wherein the man was set,
With many a laden net. “Oh sorrow, sorrow !" groaned he forth,
As rose the sudden squall, Thinking upon the mother dead,
And on his children small. "Oh sorrow, sorrow!" loud he cried,
As the helm flew from his hand, And he knew the boat was sinking
But half a league from land.
Was still his wailing cry;
Now all this while the children small
Kept in their dreary place, Troubled and sad, and half afear'd
Of their dead mother's face. And when, to while the time, they played
With shells beside the door, They found they had not hearts for mirth,
And so they played no more. Yet keeping up with forced content
Their hearts as best they might,
And it was only night.
And the night tempest black
The father came not back;
To see their looks of fear -
Of counsel small to hear.
And then with better wit,
A fire of wood they lit,
And steer his boat by it.
And ere her weary feet
With eager arms to meet
And give him welcome sweet.
Had run his mortal race;
To fill his earthly place.
WOE's me, what secret tears are shed,
What wounded spirits bleed; What loving hearts are sundered,
And yet man takes no heed! He goeth on his daily course,
Made fat with oil and wine,
That in his bondage pine ;
That delve for him the mine.
In noisy factories dim,
Do heavy lasks for him!
Beneath his feet that lie: