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PART V.

At length, after long travel past,

She came as it grew late,
Along a beaten road, that led

To a vast city gate.
A vast and populous city, where

Rose dome, and tower, and spire,
And many a gilded pinnacle,
Far-seen, as the bright sunset fell,

Like glittering points of fire.
A city vast and populous,

Whose thronging multitude
Sent forth a sound afar-off heard,

Strong as the ocean-flood.
A strong. deep sound of many sounds,

Toil, pleasure, pain, delight,
And traffic, myriad-wheeled, whose din

Ceased not by day or night.
And through the city gate a throng

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.
Thither came homeless Marien,

Came there as it grew late,
Foot-sore and weary, friendless, poor,

Unto the city gate.
There found her a poor carpenter

Returning from his trade,
And he, with pitying countenance,

Her weary form surveyed.
“Come!” said he, “thou unto my house,

Shalt go: and of my bread,
And of my cup, thou shalt partake ;
Shalt bide with me!" and as he spake

Her weary steps he led.
Unto an humble place that stood

'Mong dwellings of the poor He brought her; bade her welcome thrice

Unto his lowly door.
The good-wife met her with like cheer,

" And though our fare is scant, Fear not,” she said, “ whilst we have food

It is not thou shalt want !"
So dwelt she with this humble pair

In the great city, cherished so,
As parents cherish their first-born ;

Nor would they let her go.
Thus for a year she dwelt with them ;

And that while their abode

Was blessed exceedingly; their store

Grew daily, weekly, more and more;
And peace so multiplied around,
The very hearth seemed holy ground,
As if once more on earth was found

The Paradise of God.
"T was she that blessed the bread they ate,

'T was she soothed all their cares; They knew not that they entertained

An angel unawares.
With simple hearts that had no guile

They of the Saviour heard;
And, weeping tears of joyful faith,

Believed and blessed each word.
No more they marvelled how their board

With plenteous food was spread;
Five barley loaves dispensed by Christ

The famished thousands fed.
With love that would not be repressed,

Their kindling bosoms bumed,
And 'mong their neighbours poor they went

To teach what they had learned.
To teach how Christ unto the poor,

The sinner vile, was sent;
How Mary washed his feet with tears,
And wiped them with her golden hairs,

A weeping penitent.
And how the sinful woman stood

Unjudged before his face;
How the poor prodigal sped back

Repentant to his place ;
How to the thief upon the cross

He said, thou art forgiven,
And thou shalt be with me this day,

In the paradise of Heaven.
So preached the carpenter; and men

Turned from their evil ways,
And Christian prayer was heard around,

And Christian hymns of praise.
Strange seemed these things ; and to the rich,

And to the proud, 't was told,
How many of the meaner sort

Lived like the saints of old.
How holy, blameless, were their lives;

And how poor craftsmen vile,
Amid their fellows, tool in hand,

The gospel preached the while. 'T was told of Marien; how she came

A wanderer none knew whence;
Friendless and poor, of mind mature,

A child in innocence;
As thus 't was told, some blessed God,

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 ;
These are mad doctrines, false, unfit,

Devised to lead astray."
Therefore the simple people were

To a full synod brought,
To answer for their altered lives,

And for the faith they taught.
Much marvelled all those learned men

To see them fearless stand,
Calm, unabashed; with ready wit,

And language at command.
And to their taunts of low estate,

They answered, “ let alone All pride of rank ; Christ chose the poor,

To make his gospel known.
“ And what are we? - Immortal souls,

For whom Christ's blood was shed;
Children of one great sire, with ye,
Co-heirs of Immortality;
Alike you both in birth and death;
Alone our lot so differeth,

As God shall judge the dead!"
Then were they questioned of old creeds;

By sophistries perplexed;
So that their artless lore might fail,

Their simple souls be vexed.
But they were steadfast in the faith

As taught the holy book ;
And thence it was adjudged a crime

Upon its page to look.
And the grave synod rose in wrath,

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 ;
And for her sake unto her faith

Many were reconciled.
Unto the synod came these things;

And here let her be brought,
To answer for herself," they said,

" And suffer as she ought." As Christ among the doctors stood,

So she among these men,
Stern, rugged-browed, and deeply versed

In parchment and in pen;
Meekly she stood; when they reviled,

Reviling not again.
Yet with sweet words and argument,

Rather of love than lore,
She pleaded for the faith, as ne'er

Pled youthful tongue before.
All were amazed who heard her words;

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 -
Are these the men to make thee rich

With silver and with gold ?
“Come with us, glorious Marien,

And in our places high,
We will exalt thee as a queen,

Will deck thee royally!" “ Nay," said sweet Marien, "as a queen

It is not I may bide;
I am not won with power nor gold,

Nor aught of human pride.
“Who clothes the lilies of the field,

Will clothe me, even as they ;
Who hears the ravens when they cry,

Will feed me day by day!"
But still the tempters kept with her ;

And “Come away,” they said,
And she unto a sumptuous dome

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.

PART VI.

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,
Yet strengthening, comforting the while,

And soothing all their fears.
And as she spoke, her countenance

With heavenly lustre beamed,
And all around her youthful form

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 ;
Let me be strong to do thy will,

Like him who bowed, and died !"
They took her:- of that prison house,

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!

PART VII.

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!"
Then unto chambers hidden, vast,

Mysterious, far from view,
They led her; there was set the rack,

The knotted cord, the screw,
And many a horrid instrument,

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
Under their torment; men were they,

A little child art thou !"
Then Marien meekly answered, “ What

God suffereth you to dare,
He, to whom darkness is as light,

Will strengthen me to bear!"
"Come onward yet," they said; and down

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 ;
And heavy chainèd captives there

They showed her, one by one.
Old, white-haired men; men middle-aged,

That had been strong of limb;
But each, now pallid, hollow-eyed,

Like spectres worn and dim.
And many, as the dull door oped,

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,
That thrilled the hearer to the soul,

Demanded liberty.
With bleeding heart went Marien on;

And her conductors spake,
" These are our victims; these await

The rack, the cord, the stake.
" And as these are, so shalt thou be,

If thou our will gainsay;
Accept our service, pride, and power;

Or, on this very day,

THEN forth they brought her; gave her wine

And pleasant food to eat;
And “rest thee, Marien, in our arms,"

Sung syren voices sweet.
Rest thee within our arms; refresh

Thy fainting soul with wine ;
Eat and be glad ; forget the past,

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 my flesh, which ye have torn;

Look at your bloody rack;
Take hence your gifts, and let me go

To my own people back.
• To my own people let me go,

A bruised and broken reed;
I for your purpose am unmeet;

Let me go hence with speed."
So, in her weakness, prayed the child;

But those remorseless men,
More dead than living, bore her back

Unto their prion-den.
Into a noisome prison-house,

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,
As if God had forsaken her,

For many a weary day.
She thought of her sweet forest life,

And of those creatures small,
Weak, woodland creatures, tamed by love,

That came unto her call.
She thought of him, the forest-lord,

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,
She left the city, praising God
For her release ; and swiftly trod

Upon her unknown way.

PART VIII.

And as she thought, even as a child's,

The ceaseless tears did flow, For torturing pain and misery

Had brought her spirit low.
When one from out the felon-band

Came softly to her side,
And “ do not weep, thou little child !"

With pitying voice, he cried.
“At sight of thee, I know not why,

My softened heart doth burn, And the gone tenderness of youth

Doth to my soul return.
"I think upon my early days,

Like unto days of heaven;
And I, that have not wept for years,
Even as a child, shed ceaseless tears,

And pray to be forgiven!"
Blessèd be God!, said Marien,

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,
With love, and suffering manifold,

The sinner from his sin.
How, not to kings and mighty men

He came, nor to the wise,
But to the thief and murderer,

And those whom men despise.
And how, throughout the host of heaven

Goes yet a louder praise
O'er one poor sinner who doth turn

From his unrighteous ways,
Than o'er a hundred godly men,

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.
Now all this while sweet Marien's friends,

Who in the town remained,
Of her took painful thought, resolved

Her freedom should be gained.
And at the last they compassed it,

With labour long and great;
And through the night they burried her

Unto the city-gate.
There many a mother stood, and child,

Weeping with friendly woe,
Thus, thus to meet, as 'twere from death,

And then to bid her go.
To bid her go, whom so they loved,

Nor once more see her face;
To bid her go; to speed her forth

To some more friendly place.

A BOW-SHOT from the city-gate

Turned Marien from the plain,
Intent by unfrequented ways

The mountain-land to gain.
With bounding step she onward went,

Over the moorland fells;
O'er fragrant tracks of purple thyme,

And crimson heather-bells.
Joyful in her release she went,

Still onward yet, and higher;
Up many a mossy, stony steep,
Through many a flock of mountain sheep,
By the hill-tarns so dark and deep,

As if she could not tire.
Onward and upward still she went

Among the breezy hills,
Singing for very joyfulness

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 breezes of the hill,

Free, like the waters wild;
And in her fullness of delight,
Unceasingly from height to height

Went on the blessed child.
And ever when she needed food,

Some wanderer of the hill
Drew forth the morsel from his scrip,

And bade her eat her fill.

For He who fed by Cherith-brook

The prophet in his need,
Of this his wandering little one

Unceasingly had heed.
And ever when she needed rest,

Some little cove she found,
So green, so sheltered, and so still,
Upon the bosom of the hill,

As angels girt it round.
Thus hidden 'mong the quiet hills

Alone, yet wanting nought,
She dwelt secure, until her foes

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,
Where only the dry sea-wheat grew

By patches on the strand.
A weary way walked Marien

Beside the booming sea,
Nor boat, nor hut, nor fisherman

Throughout the day saw she.
A weary, solitary way;

And as the day declined
Over the dark and troubled sea

Arose a stormy wind.
The heavy waves came roaring in

With the strong coming tide;
The rain poured down, aud deep dark night

Closed in on every side.
There stood the homeless Marien

With bare, unsandaled feet;
And on her form, with pitiless force,

The raging tempest beat.
Clasping her hands, she stood forlorn,

"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,
Whose loving wife but yesternight

Died in his arms, and he,
Since that day's noon, alone had been

Casting his nets at sea.
At noon he kissed his little ones,

And would be back, he said,
Long ere night closed; but with the night

Arose that tempest dread.
It was an old and crazy boat,

Wherein the man was set,
And soon 't was laden heavily

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.
"Oh sorrow, sorrow!" as he sank

Was still his wailing cry;
And Marien heard amid the storm,
That voice of misery.

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,
Still wishing afternoon were gone,

And it was only night.
But when, hour after hour went on,

And the night tempest black
Raged o'er the stormy sea, and still

The father came not back;
It would have touched a heart of stone

To see their looks of fear -
So young and so forlorn; -- their words

Of counsel small to hear.
And now they shouted through the storm ;

And then with better wit,
As they had seen their mother do,

A fire of wood they lit,
That he might see the light afar

And steer his boat by it.
Unto this light came Marien;

And ere her weary feet
Had reached the floor, the children ran

With eager arms to meet
Their loving father, as they thought,

And give him welcome sweet.
Alas! the father even then

Had run his mortal race;
But God had sent his Comforter

To fill his earthly place.

PART IX.

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,
And pitieth not the weary souls

That in his bondage pine ;
That turn for him the mazy wheel;

That delve for him the mine.
And pitieth not the children small,

In noisy factories dim,
That all day long, lean, pale, and faint,

Do heavy lasks for him!
To him they are but as the stones

Beneath his feet that lie:
It entereth not his thoughts that they
From him claim sympathy.

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