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Plodded the German farmer, with flowers and fruits for the market, Met he that meek, pale face, returning home from its watchings.
Then it came to pass that a pestilence fell on the city,
Presaged by wondrous signs, and mostly by flocks of wild pigeons, Darkening the sun in their flight, with naught in their craws but
And, as the tides of the sea arise in the month of September, Flooding some silver stream, till it spreads to a lake in the
So death flooded life, and, o'erflowing its natural margin,
Now the city surrounds it; but still, with its gateway and wicket
Thither, by night and by day, came the Sister of Mercy. The dying
Thus, on a Sabbath morn, through the streets, deserted and silent,
Wending her quiet way, she entered the door of the almshouse.
Sweet on the summer air was the odour of flowers in the garden; And she paused on her way to gather the fairest among them, That the dying once more might rejoice in their fragrance and beauty.
Then, as she mounted the stairs to the corridors, cooled by the east wind,
Distant and soft on her ear fell the chimes from the belfry of Christ Church,
While, intermingled with these, across the meadows were wafted Sounds of psalms, that were sung by the Swedes in their church at Wicaco.
Soft as descending wings fell the calm of the hour on her spirit; Something within her said," At length thy trials are ended;" And, with light in her looks, she entered the chambers of sickness. Noiselessly moved about the assiduous, careful attendants, Moistening the feverish lip, and the aching brow, and in silence Closing the sightless eyes of the dead, and concealing their faces, Where on their pallets they lay, like drifts of snow by the roadside.
Many a languid head, upraised as Evangeline entered,
Turned on its pillow of pain to gaze while she passed, for her
Fell on their hearts like a ray of the sun on the walls of a prison.
Suddenly, as if arrested by fear or a feeling of wonder,
Still she stood, with her colourless lips apart, while a shudder Ran through her frame, and, forgotten, the flowerets dropped from her fingers,
And from her eyes and cheeks the light and bloom of the morning.
Then there escaped from her lips a cry of such terrible anguish,
Darkness of slumber and death, for ever sinking and sinking.
Then he beheld, in a dream, once more the home of his childhood;
As in the days of her youth, Evangeline rose in his vision.
Vainly he strove to rise; and Evangeline, kneeling beside him,
Sweet was the light of his eyes; but it suddenly sank into darkness,
As when a lamp is blown out by a gust of wind at a casement.
All was ended now, the hope, and the fear, and the sorrow, All the aching of heart, the restless, unsatisfied longing,
All the dull, deep pain, and constant anguish of patience!
STILL stands the forest primeval; but far away from its shadow,
Thousands of aching brains, where theirs no longer are busy, Thousands of toiling hands, where theirs have ceased from their
Thousands of weary feet, where theirs have completed their journey!
Still stands the forest primeval; but under the shade of its branches
Dwells another race, with other customs and language.
And by the evening fire repeat Evangeline's story,
While from its rocky caverns the deep-voiced, neighbouring ocean Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.