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VIII

Who was it but the darling of his heart,
His Flora, who to greet him swiftly ran,
To tell him that the Prince forthwith would star
To come in state and crown each toiling man,
And celebrate their triumph over Hell ?
Manol the architect was crazed with fear,
And in his ears one phrase rang like a bell
That mourner at a funeral doth hear,-
"Then from thy true love shalt thou surely part !

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IX

6

O Lord my God, send down a mighty rain!'
He cried, and fell upon his trembling knees.
Send deluges abroad along the plain,
Let showers beat the leaves from off the trees;
Let torrents rise and inundate the path
Where Flora treads ; let shepherds flee in fright!
O manifest thy great mysterious wrath !
Make human beings falter at the sight,-
But force my Flora to go back again !'

X

The tempest came in answer to his prayer ;
The flood-gates of the sky were opened wide,
And blinding sheets of rain filled all the air.
The rivers roared ; the angry thunder cried

D

And trumpeted ; and man and beast stood still,
Subdued and frightened ; but through dense array
Of roaring elements that came to thrill
The solid earth, fair Flora seemed to fray
Securest passage, nor for storm to care.

XI

O Lord my God, resistless winds unchain,
To twist the sycamore and strip the fir !
Uproot the fields of shifty waving grain,
And with thy hand the giant mountains stir !
Unloose the lightning, rend the stoutest rocks,
Make fields unsteady 'neath us as the wave :
With multitudinous and vasty shocks
O’erturn the towns, and open every grave !
But force my Flora to go back again !'

XII

Down swept upon the patient earth a blast
That cracked the ancient trees like slender reeds :
The sky with murky clouds was overcast ;
And lightning worked a thousand prankish deeds :
But ever onward Flora held her way,
Fleet-footed, merry, eager to arrive ;
She seemed to move in floods of sunshine gay,
Nor with the rain or tempest had to strive
Until Manol's great wall she neared at last.

XIII

Now knew he that by Fate her doom was sealed :
She was the first that fatal morn to come.
The purport of his dream was now revealed :
He tried to pray, but was with anguish dumb:
And, as she beckoned to him from below,
He rose, and, climbing down the scaffolding,
He found the nine companions in a row,
And eyeing Flora like a doomed thing.
Then all the blood about his heart congealed.

XIV

6

Sweet master of my life, the charm is o'er !! She cried with joyous accents. "In the town The priests announce that Satan nevermore Will come to throw these walls and towers down ! Thy night of prayer hath wrought this wondrous

change. Now may'st thou build in peace from year to year, And give thy noble genius ample range. So drink confusion to the fiend, nor fear To taunt him as thou ne'er hast done before!'

XV

Manol the tiny earthen jar of wine
Took from her hands, and kissed her on her brow :

Then, turning to the grim companions nine,
He whispered softly, Hold me to my vow !
And thou, my love,' he said, 'art thou not faint
And weary after striving with the storm ?
And yet thou art not drenched, nor any plaint
Dost make !''A storm ?' cried Flora. “Nay, 'tis

warm,
And merrily the pleasant sun doth shine!

XVI

'Be of good cheer, beloved one; the day
Is fair as is our future. Thou art pale
And feeble, but the Prince will come to pay
With honours him who knew not how to fail !'
Then said Manol, 'Thy speech my heart makes glad,
More glad than wine or laurels e'er could do :
So will I flout the fiend! I have been mad,
With grief and dread, but now my soul shall woo
Delight, and as of old be frankly gay !

XVII

Come hither, gentle Flora, to the wall,
And note how rapidly the church will rise
Since we upon the saints and martyrs call,
Since Heaven deigns to hear our prayers and cries.
Nay, here against this stained and frowning stone
Methought last night I saw the foul fiend lean :

About him hovered imps with prank and moan,
And hundred fires, yellow, red, and green,
Danced round his form, my senses to appal.

XVIII

Now stand thou there, and let thy smile light up
The shadow whence the fiend for e'er has fled ;
And fill with rosy wine a brimming cup,
That I may pledge him shame upon his head !'
Fair Flora smiled, and kissed the cup she gave,
And poured the wine with deft and dimpled hands
And whispered to him, “Thy rejoicings save
For nobler company. The Prince commands
To-night thy presence, at his board to sup.'

XIX

Then from the troubled artisans came one
Who, speaking, faltered, and was very pale ;
And said, “Manol, 'twere well the thing were done.
Far off the sheen of plumes and gleam of mail
Betray the Prince's coming.'

It is well,'
Said sad Manol ; 'but build ye here a seat
Where Flora, perched on high, may watch, and tell
Approaching people all the Prince to greet,
And to and fro with joyous cries to run !'

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