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mother! And you, poor desolate father, and poor
me, The little senseless, worthless, wordless
babe, Saved when your life was wreck'd !
Desolate ? yes ! Desolate as that sailor whom the storm Had parted from his comrade in the boat, And dash'd half dead on barren sands,
Ay, poor Muriel, when you hear What follows! Miriam loved me from the
first, Not thro’ the ring; but on her marriageThis birthday, death-day, and betrotbal
ring, Laid on her table overnight, was gone; And after hours of search and doubt and
threats, And hubbub, Muriel enter'd with it,
• See ! Found in a chink of that old moulder'd
floor !' My Miriam nodded with a pitying smile, As who should say that those who lose
can find.' Then I and she were married for a year, One year without a storm, or even a cloud; And you, my Miriam, born within the
year; And she, my Miriam, dead within the
year. I sat beside her dying, and she gaspt: • The books, the miniature, the lace are
hers, My ring too when she comes of age, or
when She marries; you — you loved me, kept
Nay, you were my one solace; only - you Were always ailing. Muriel's mother,
sent, And sure am I, by Muriel, one day came And saw you, shook her head, and patted
yours, And smiled, and making with a kindly
pinch Each poor pale cheek a momentary rose – • That should be fix’d,' she said; your pretty
bud, So blighted here, would flower into full
health Among our heath and bracken. Let her
come! And we will feed her with our mountain
air, And send her home to you rejoicing.'
you, my girl, Rode on my shoulder home the tiny fist Had graspt a daisy from your mother's
grave By the lych-gate was Muriel. “Ay,' she
said, • Among the tombs in this damp vale of
yours ! You scorn my mother's warning, but the
cbild Is paler than before. We often walk In open sun, and see beneath our feet The mist of autumn gather from your lake, And shroud the tower; and once we only Your gilded vane,
a light above the mist
You love me still,
“ Io t'amo." — Muriel
Our old bright bird that still is veering And then the tear fell, the voice broke. there
Her heart ! Above his four gold letters —'and the light,' I gazed into the mirror, as a man She said, 'was like that light'- and there Who sees his face in water, and a stone, she paused,
That glances from the bottom of the pool, And long; till I, believing that the girl's Strike upward thro' the shadow; yet at Lean fancy, groping for it, could not find
last, One likeness, laugh'd a little and found her Gratitude - loneliness desire to keep two
So skilled a nurse about you always – • A warrior's crest above the cloud of war'
Some half remorseful kind of pity too A fiery phenix rising from the smoke, Well ! well, you know I married Muriel The pyre he burnt in.' — Nay,' she said,
Erne. the light
• I take thee Muriel for my wedded That glimmers on the marsh and on the
I had forgotten it was your birthday, And spoke no more, but turn’d and past
When all at once with some electric thrill Miriam, I am not surely one of those A cold air pass'd between us, and the Caught by the flower that closes on the
Fell from each other, and were join'd But after ten slow weeks her fix'd intent,
again. In aiming at an all but hopeless mark No second cloudless honeymoon was To strike it, struck. I took, I left you
For by and by she sicken'd of the farce, I came, I went, was happier day by day; She dropt the gracious mask of motherFor Muriel nursed you with a mother's
She came no more to meet me, carrying Till on that clear and heather - scented
Nor ever cared to set you on her knee, The rounder cheek had brighten’d into Nor ever let you gambol in her sight, bloom.
Nor ever cheer'd you with a kindly smile, She always came to meet me carrying you, Nor ever ceased to clamor for the ring; And all her talk was of the babe she Why had I sent the ring at first to her ? loved;
Why had I made her love me thro' the So, following her old pastime of the brook, ring, She threw the fly for me; but oftener left And then had changed ? so fickle are men That angling to the mother. • Muriel's
the best! health
Not she but now my love
was hers Had weaken’d, nursing little Miriam. again, Strange !
The ring by right, she said, was bers She used to shun the wailing babe, and again.
At times too shrilling in her angrier moods, On this of yours.' But when the matron • That weak and watery nature love you ?
No! That hinted love was only wasted bait, “ Io t'amo, Io t'amo”!' flung herself Not risen to, she was bolder. • Ever since Against my heart, but often while her lips You sent the fatal ring'— I told her ósent Were warm upon my cheek, an icy breath, To Miriam,' • Doubtless — ay, but ever As from the grating of a sepulchre, since
Past over both. I told her of my vow, In all the world my dear one sees but No pliable idiot I to break my vow; you
But still she made her outcry for the ring; In your sweet babe she finds but you she For one monotonous fancy madden'd her, makes
Till I myself was madden'd with her Her heart a mirror that reflects but you.'
And even that Io tamo,' those three Then, hurrying home, I found her not in sweet
bouse Italian words, became a weariness.
Or garden — up the tower— an icy air My people too were scared with eerie
Fled by me. There, the chest was open sounds,
- all A footstep, a low throbbing in the walls, The sacred relics tost about the floor A noise of falling weights that never fell, Among them Muriel lying on her face Weird whispers, bells that rang without a I raised her, callid her, Muriel, Muriel, hand,
wake!' Door handles turn'd when none was at the The fatal ring lay near her; the glazed door,
eye And bolted doors that open’d of themselves; Glared at me as in horror. Dead! I took And one betwixt the dark and light had seen And chafed the freezing hand. A red Her, bending by the cradle of her babe. 381
mark ran All round one finger pointed straight, the
rest And I remember once that being waked Were crumpled inwards. Dead !- and By noises in the house — and no
With some remorse, had stolen, worn the I cried for nurse, and felt a gentle hand
ring Fall on my forehead, and a sudden face Then torn it from her finger, or as if Look'd in upon me like gleam and pass'd, For never had I seen her show remorse And I was quieted, and slept again.
As if Or is it some half memory of a dream ?
those two ghost lovers — FATHER. Your fifth September birthday.
The hand, - my mother.
— but dead so long, gone up so far,
- a dearer ghost had
- wrench'd it away.
Miriam, on that day Two lovers parted by so scurrilous tale Mere want of gold -- and still for twenty
years Bound by the golden cord of their first
• With this ring,'
gone ! and gone in that em-
Well, no more! No bridal music this ! but fear not you ! You have the ring she guarded; that poor
In the night, 0, the night! O, the death watch beating !
With earth is broken, and has left her
free, Except that, still drawn downward for an
hour, Her spirit hovering by the church, where
she Was married too, may linger, till she sees Her maiden coming like a queen, who
leaves Some colder province in the North to gain Her capital city, where the loyal bells Clash welcome — linger, till her own, the
babe She lean'd to from her spiritual sphere, Her lonely maiden princess, crowned with
flowers, Has enter'd on the larger woman-world Of wives and mothers.
But the bridal veil Your nurse is waiting. Kiss me, child, and
There will come a witness soon
Hard to be confuted,
Scream you are polluted -
Fright and foul dissembling, Bantering bridesman, reddening priest, Tower
and altar trembling – In the night, O, the night, When the mind is failing !
Mother, dare you kill your child ?
How your hand is shaking !
What is this you 're taking ? -
.He is filed - I wish him dead
He that wrought my ruin O, the flattery and the craft Which were my undoing In the night, in the night, When the storms are blowing.
Dreadful ! bas it come to this,
O unhappy creature ?
For your gentle nature
II • Who was witness of the crime ?
Who shall now reveal it ?
Marriage will conceal it
Murder would not veil your sin,
Marriage will not hide it,
Wretch, you must abide it -
Catherine, Catherine, in the night,
What is this you 're dreaming ? There is laughter down in hell
At your simple scheming –
Up, get up, and tell him all,
Tell him you were lying !
You that know you ’re dying -
You to place a hand in his
Like an honest woman's, You that lie with wasted lungs
Waiting for your summons —
No — you will not die before,
Tho' you 'll ne'er be stronger;
Suggested by the quotation from an archæological letter by Rev. Bourchier James, ap- My warrior of the Holy Cross and of the pended to the poem by Tennyson.
more I bring you these. WAY wail you, pretty plover ? and what is No nearer ? do you scorn me when you tell it that you fear ?
me, O my lord, Is he sick, your mate, like mine? have You would not mar the beauty of your you lost him, is he fled ?
bride with your
disease. And there - the heron rises from his watch
beside the mere, And flies above the leper's hut, where You say your body is so foul then here lives the living-dead.
I stand apart,
your leprous breast. Come back, nor let me know it ! would he The leper plague may scale my skin, but live and die alone ?
never taint any heart; And has he not forgiven me yet, bis over- Your body is not foul to me, and body is jealous bride,
foul at best.