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Blended with praise of that parental love,
Beneath whose watchful eye the Maiden grew
Pious and pure, modest and yet so brave,
Though young so wise, though meek so resolute—
Might carry to the clouds and to the stars,
Yea, to celestial Choirs, GRACE DARLING's name!




[EARLY in life this story had interested me, and I often thought it would make a pleasing subject for an opera or musical drama.]


ENOUGH of rose-bud lips, and eyes
Like harebells bathed in dew,

Of cheek that with carnation vies,

And veins of violet hue e;

Earth wants not beauty that may scorn

A likening to frail flowers;

Yea, to the stars, if they were born

For seasons and for hours.

Through Moscow's gates, with gold unbarred,

Stepped One at dead of night,

Whom such high beauty could not guard

From meditated blight;

By stealth she passed, and fled as fast

As doth the hunted fawn,

Nor stopped, till in the dappling east
Appeared unwelcome dawn.

Seven days she lurked in brake and field,
Seven nights her course renewed,
Sustained by what her scrip might yield,
Or berries of the wood;

At length, in darkness travelling on,
When lowly doors were shut,
The haven of her hope she won,
Her Foster-mother's hut.

"To put your love to dangerous proof
I come," said she, "from far;
For I have left my Father's roof,
In terror of the Czar."

No answer did the Matron give,
No second look she cast,
But hung upon the Fugitive,
Embracing and embraced.

She led the Lady to a seat
Beside the glimmering fire,

Bathed duteously her way worn feet,

Prevented each desire :

The cricket chirped, the house-dog aozed,

And on that simple bed,

Where she in childhood had reposed,

Now rests her weary head.

When she, whose couch had been the sod, Whose curtain, pine or thorn,

Had breathed a sigh of thanks to God,

Who comforts the forlorn;

While over her the Matron bent

Sleep sealed her eyes, and stole Feeling from limbs with travel spent, And trouble from the soul.

Refreshed, the Wanderer rose at morn,
And soon again was dight

In those unworthy vestments worn
Through long and perilous flight;
And "O beloved Nurse," she said,
"My thanks with silent tears
Have unto Heaven and You been paid:
Now listen to my fears!

"Have you forgot"—and here she smiled

"The babbling flatteries

You lavished on me when a child

Disporting round your knees? I was your lambkin, and your bird, Your star, your gem, your flower; Light words, that were more lightly heard In many a cloudless hour!

"The blossom you so fondly praised

Is come to bitter fruit;

A mighty One upon me gazed;

I spurned his lawless suit,

And must be hidden from his wrath:

You, Foster-father dear,

Will guide me in my forward path;

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"I cannot bring to utter woe

Your proved fidelity."

"Dear Child, sweet Mistress, say not so! For you we both would die.'

"Nay, nay, I come with semblance feigned And cheek embrowned by art;

Yet, being inwardly unstained,
With courage will depart."

"But whither would you, could you, flee?


poor Man's counsel take;

The Holy Virgin gives to me

A thought for your dear sake;
Rest, shielded by our Lady's grace,
And soon shall you be led
Forth to a safe abiding-place,

Where never foot doth tread."


THE dwelling of this faithful pair
In a straggling village stood,
For One who breathed unquiet air
A dangerous neighbourhood;
But wide around lay forest ground
With thickets rough and blind;
And pine-trees made a heavy shade
Impervious to the wind.

And there, sequestered from the sight, Was spread a treacherous swamp, On which the noonday sun shed light As from a lonely lamp;

And midway in the unsafe morass,

A single Island rose

Of firm dry ground, with healthful grass Adorned, and shady boughs.

The Woodman knew, for such the craft
This Russian vassal plied,

That never fowler's gun, nor shaft
Of archer, there was tried ;
A sanctuary seemed the spot

From all intrusion free;

And there he planned an artful Cot

For perfect secrecy.

With earnest pains unchecked by dread
Of Power's far-stretching hand,
The bold good Man his labour sped
At nature's pure command;
Heart-soothed, and busy as a wren,
While, in a hollow nook,
She moulds her sight-eluding den
Above a murmuring brook.

His task accomplished to his mind,
The twain ere break of day

Creep forth, and through the forest wind
Their solitary way;

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