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“Lo here with us the seat,” they cry,
“For him who mocked at poverty
And bade intruding conscience fly
Far from his palace door.”
JOURNEYING IN THE DESERT.
As long as you are journeying in the interior of the desert you have no particular point to make for as your resting-place. The endless sands yielding nothing but small stunted shrubs—even these fail after the first two or three days, and from that time you pass over broad plains—you pass over newly-reared hills—you pass through valleys that the storm of the last week has dug; and the hills and the valleys are sand, sand, sand, still sand, and only sand, and sand, and sand again. The earth is so samely, that your eyes turn towards heaven-towards heaven, I mean, in the sense of sky. You look to the sun, for he is your taskmaster, and by him you know the measure of the work that you have done, and the measure of the work that remains for you to do; he comes when you strike your tent in the early morning, and then, for the first hour of the day, as you move forward on your camel, he stands at your near side, and makes you know that the whole day's toil is before you—then for a while,
and for a long while, you see him no more—for you are veiled and shrouded, and dare not look upon the greatness of his glory; but you know where he strides over head by the touch of his flaming sword. No words are spoken; but your Arabs moan, your camels sigh, your skin glows, your shoulders ache; and for sights you see the pattern and the web of the silk that veils your eyes, and the glare of the outer light. Time labours on your skin glows, and your shoulders ache, your Arabs moan, your camels sigh, and you see the same pattern in the silk, and the same glare of light beyond; but conquering Time marches on, and byand-by the descending sun has compassed the heaven, and now softly touches your right arm, and throws your lank shadow over the sand, right along on the way for Persia; then again you look upon his face, fo his power is all veiled in his beauty, and the redness of flames has become the redness of roses—the fair wavy cloud that fled in the morning now comes to his sight once more comes blushing, yet still comes on
-comes burning with blushes, yet hastens, and clings to his side.
'Tis over; and her lovely cheek is now
On her hard pillow-there, alas, to be
Nightly, through many and many a dreary hour,
Wan, often wet with tears, and (ere at length
Her place is empty, and another comes)
In anguish, in the ghastliness of death;
Her's never more to leave those mournful walls,
Even on her bier.
'Tis over; and the rite,
With all its pomp and harmony, is now
Floating before her. She arose at home,
To be the show, the idol of the day;
Her vesture gorgeous, and her starry head-
No rocket, bursting in the midnight sky,
So dazzling. When to-morrow she awakes,
She will awake as though she still was there,
Still in her father's house; and lo, a cell
Narrow and dark, nought through the gloom discerned,
Nought save the crucifix, the rosary,
And the gray habit lying by to shroud
Her beauty and grace.
When on her knees she fell, Entering the solemn place of consecration, And from the latticed gallery came a chant Of psalms, most saint-like, most angelical, Verse after verse sung out how holily,
The strain returning, and still, still returning,
Methought it acted like a spell upon her,
And she was casting off her earthly dross ;
Yet was it sad as sweet, and, ere it closed,
Came like a dirge. When her fair head was shorn,
And the long tresses in her hands were laid,
That she might Aling them from her, saying, “Thus,
Thus I renounce the world and worldly things !"
When, as she stood, her bridal ornaments
Were, one by one, removed, even to the last,
That she might say, flinging them from her, “ Thus,
Thus I renounce the world !" when all was changed,
And, as a nun, in homeliest guise she knelt,
Veiled in her veil, crowned with her silver crown,
Her crown of lilies as the spouse of Christ,
Well might her strength forsake her, and her knees
Fail in that hour! Well might the holy man,
He, at whose feet she knelt, give as by stealth
('Twas in her utmost need; nor, while she lives,
Will it go from her, fleeting as it was)
That faint but fatherly smile, that smile of love
Like a dream the whole is filed;
And they, that came in idleness to gaze
Upon the victim dressed for sacrifice,
Are mingling in the world; thou in thy cell
Forgot, TERESA. Yet, among them all,
None were so formed to love and to be loved,
None to delight, adorn; and on thee now
A curtain, blacker than the night is dropped
For ever! In thy gentle bosom sleep
Feelings, affections, destined now to die,
To wither like the blossom in the bud,
Those of a wife, a mother; leaving there
A cheerless void, a chill as of the grave,
A languor and a lethargy of soul,
Death-like, and gathering more and more, till Death
Comes to release thee. Ah, what now to thee,
What now to thee the treasures of thy Youth ?
As nothing !
But thou canst not yet reflect
Calmly; so many things, strange and perverse,
That meet, recoil, and go but to return,
The monstrous birth of one eventful day,
Troubling thy spirit—from the first, at dawn,
The rich arraying for the nuptial feast,
To the black pall, the requiem.
All in turn
Revisit thee, and round thy lowly bed
Hover, uncalled. Thy young and innocent heart,
How is it beating! Has it no regrets?
Discoverest thou no weakness lurking there?
But thine exhausted frame has sunk to rest.
Peace to thy slumbers !