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You think Priests just and holy men !
Before they put me in this den,
I was a human creature too,
With flesh and blood like one of you,
A girl that laughed in beauty's pride
Like lilies in your world outside.
I had a lover, — shame avaunt !
This poor wrenched body, grim and gaunt,
Was kissed all over till it burned,
By lips the truest, love e'er turned
His heart's own tint: one night they kissed
My soul out in a burning mist.
So, next day when the accustomed train
Of things grew round my sense again,
“ That is a sin,” I said, - and slow
With downcast eyes to church I go,
And pass to the confession-chair,
And tell the old mild father there.
But when I falter Beltran's name,
“ Ha?” quoth the father; “much I blame
The sin ; yet wherefore idly grieve?
Despair not, - strenuously retrieve !
Nay, I will turn this love of thine
To lawful love, almost divine.
“ For he is young, and led astray,
This Beltran, and he schemes, men say,
To change the laws of church and state;
So, thine shall be an angel's fate,
Who, ere the thunder breaks, should roll
Its cloud away and save his soul.
“ For, when he lies upon thy breast,
Thou mayst demand and be possessed
Of all his plans, and next day steal
To me, and all those plans reveal,
That I and every priest, to purge
His soul, may fast and use the scourge.”
That father's beard was long and white,
With love and truth his brow seemed bright;
I went back, all on fire with joy,
And, that same evening, bade the boy,
Tell me, as lovers should, heart-free,
Something to prove his love of me.
He told me what he would not tell
For hope of Heaven or fear of Hell ;
And I lay listening in such pride,
And, soon as he had left my side,
Tripped to the church by morning-light
To save his soul in his despite.
I told the father all his schemes,
Who were his comrades, what their dreams,
“ And now make haste," I said,
The one spot from his soul away :
To-night he comes, but not the same
Will look!” At night he never came.
Nor next night: on the after-morn,
I went forth with a strength new-born :
The church was 'empty; something drew
My steps into the street; I knew
It led me to the market-place,
Where, lo!- on high — the father's face !
That horrible black scaffold drest,
The stapled block . . . God sink the rest!
That head strapped back, that blinding vest,
Those knotted hands and naked breast,
Till near one busy hangman pressed,
And on the neck these arms caressed. ...
No part in aught they hope or fear!
No Heaven with them, no Hell, - and here,
No Earth, not so much space as pens
My body in their worst of dens
But shall bear God and Man my cry,-
Lies, – lies, again, - and still, they lie !
LL June I bound the rose in sheaves.
Now, rose by rose, I strip the leaves, And strew them where Pauline may pass. She will not turn aside ? Alas ! Let them lie. Suppose they die ? The chance was they might take her eye.
How many a month I strove to suit
These stubborn fingers to the lute !
To-day I venture all I know.
She will not hear my music? So!
Break the string, fold music's wing.
Suppose Pauline had bade me sing!
My whole life long I learned to love.
This hour my utmost art I prove
And speak nty passion. — Heaven or hell ?
She will not give me heaven? 'T is well !
Lose who may, I still can say,
Those who win heaven, blest are they.*
And the best of her roses
Had yet to blow,
When a man I know (But shall not discover,
Since ears are dull,
And time discloses)
Turned him and said, with a man's true air,
Half sighing a smile in a yawn, as 't were,
“ If I tire of your June, will she greatly care ?”
Well, Dear, in-doors with you !
True, serene deadness
Tries a man's temper.
What's in the blossom
June wears on her bosom?
Can it clear scores with you ?
Sweetness and redness,
Eadem semper ! Go, let me care for it greatly or slightly ! If June mends her bowers now, your hand left unsightly By plucking their roses, - my June will do rightly.
And after, for pastime,
If June be refulgent
With flowers in completeness,
All petals, no prickles,
Delicious as trickles
Of wine poured at mass-time,
And choose One indulgent
To redness and sweetness : Or if, with experience of man and of spider, She use my June-lightning, the strong insect-ridder, To stop the fresh spinning, — why, June will consider.