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And in a trice, ere Flora could retire,
Huge blocks of stone were ranged on either side :
In front, behind, they rose, each moment higher,
Compact, with smooth cement solidified.
Nay, I might think ye mean to wall me in,'
She cried, and, smiling, stretched she forth her arm
To poor Manol, who on his brow the sin
Felt burning, yet who feared the demons' charm,
And thousand hellish machinations dire.
To wall thee in ?' he stammered; "aye, to make Thee fear a moment ; it is but a jest.' Then hurriedly she saw her husband break A cruel stone, and heap it on the rest. Her brain was wild with terror ; like a bird Of woodland free caught suddenly in snare She trembled. But Manol said not a word. He placed another stone,-and light and air Of Flora strove their last farewell to take.
With frenzied eagerness the builders ten
Toiled at the walls of Flora's living tomb ;
With agony Manol urged on the men
To seal the vow and execute the doom :
Then, clambering the topmost stone to place,
To shut his wife for ever from his gaze,
In one heart-breaking glimpse he saw her face,
White, beautiful, celestial, as in days
When first he met her in her father's glen.
And to his ear came up the feeble cry
Manol, Manol, sweet master, hear thy wife ;
The wall encircles me—my senses fly-
And with me dies the life within
At thought of which invading joy once rushed
Into thy tender eyes,
My fainting voice will soon for e'er be hushed.
I pray thee hear me ; if to save thy soul
I die, then, sweetest love, content I die !'
With bleeding hands the stone he fastened down :
Shut out from life his love ; from peace his heart :
Nor could he ever hope his grief to drown
By casting all his soul upon his art.
Descending from the wall, he knelt in prayer.
His arms the awful tomb strove to enfold ;
The Prince, amazed and frightened, found him there
With anguish on his features wan and cold,
And wept with him whom he had come to crown.
I am a Greek of Thessaly. One day
I met a monk upon a sun-swept hill,
A melancholy monk in tattered gown,
Bent earthward by the basket on his back.
Before he saw my shadow, I had seized
His lean and withered throat, and held him fast.
He trembled like a leaflet when the wind
Roars down the slopes of vast Olympus, yet
Clung to his little store of fruit and oil
Until I shook him from it.
Then he turned
A meek, reproachful gaze upon my face-
It cut me as an arrow cuts the air-
And, as I let him breathe anew, he said :
'Thou art a brigand, and dost linger here,
Watching the glitter of thy baleful arms,
And pillaging the passing men of God !
Alas for thee ! my son ! alas for thee !'
I would have smitten him, but on his brow
A tender and a sweet humility
Shone like a star.
I could not see to strike ;
And so I set him on his weary legs,
The tumbled olives packed within his hoard,
And bade him vanish ere my knife were bare.
He laid his feeble hand upon my sleeve,
And with a smile as sweet as one that plays
Upon the features of a pictured saint,
He said, “My son, thy limbs are strong, and brave
Thy heart is, if the gleam within thine eyes
Belies thee not.
Submit to me, and come Where duty calls thee. I will find thee work Fit for thy sword, and for the soul of man.' I know not why, but I obeyed the monk, And followed, meekly as a hound in leash, Along the mighty hill, and down across The wooded, stony, brown Thessalian vales, And through a waste where not a blossom grew, And stood at last before the lofty crag Crowned by Saint Stephen's monastery walls.
A HUNGRY brigand might wander years
At the base of old Saint Stephen's rock,
But the monks would sleep secure from fears,
With their gold and silver under lock,
And their saints enshrined in filagree
Watching and guarding the chapel door,
For the monastery's solid floor
Is hundreds of feet above the plain,
And he must angel or demon be
Whoever the topmost crag could gain,
Unless in a basket hoisted up
By the brawny arms of the monks themselves.
If they ask you there to dine or sup
You must leave your arms behind, nor dare
When once you have mounted through the air,
And stand by the creaking windlass' side,
about you too eager eyed.