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Words will not serve me, alıns alone suffice;
“Woman!” Tritemius answered, “ from our door
None go unfed; hence are we always poor: 25 A single soldo is our only store. Thou hast our prayers; — what can we give thec
“ Give me," she said, “ the silver candlesticks
God well may spare them on His errands sped, 30 Or He can give you golden ones instead.”
Then spake Tritemius, “ Even as thy word,
Pardon me if a human soul I prize
Take what thou askest, and redeem thy child."
But his hand trembled as the holy alms
And as she vanished down the linden shade,
So the day passed, and when the twilight came
THE BROTHER OF MERCY.
Piero Luca, known of all the town
Sick and in dolor, waited to lay down
The barefoot monk of La Certosa sat.
square and blossoming garden drifted, Soft sunset lights through green Val d'Arno sifted;
Unheard, below the living shuttles shifted 10 Backward and forth, and wove, in love or strife,
In mirth or pain, the mottled web of life:
The sick man started, strove to rise in vain, 15 Sinking back heavily with a moan of pain.
And the monk said, “'T is but the Brotherhood
Of Mercy going on some errand good : 6. The monastery of La Certosa is about four miles distant from Florence, the scene of this little poem.
8. The Val d'Arno is the valley of the river Arno, upon which Florence lies.
16. The Brethren of the Misericordia, an association which tad its origin in the thirteenth century, is composed mainly of the wealthy and prosperous, whose duty it is to nurse the sick, to aid those who have been injured by accident, and to secure decent burial to the poor and friendless. They are summoned by the sound of a bell, and, when it is heard, the member slips away from ball-room, or dinner party, or wherever he may be puts on the black robe and hood, entirely concealing his face, slit openings being provided for the eyes, and performs the
Their black masks by the palace-wall I see.”
Piero answered faintly, “ Woe is me!
In vain the bell hath sounded in my ears,
Of love or pity, — haply from the street 25 To bear a wretch plague-stricken, or, with feet
Hushed to the quickened ear and feverish brain,
Midst tossing arms and faces full of pain. 30 I loved the work: it was its own reward.
I never counted on it to offset
But somehow, father, it has come to be
I should not know myself, if lacking it,
Joyful or sad, — what matters, if not I? 40 And now all 's over. Woe is me!”
No toil, no tears, no sorrow for the lost 45 Shall mar thy perfect bliss. Thou shalt sit down
Clad in white robes, and wear a golden crown
I am too poor for such grand company; duty assigned to him. This perfect concealment is to 2.d in securing the perfect equality enjoined by the Order.
50 The crown would be too heavy for this gray
Old head; and God forgive me if I say
I'm dull at prayers: I could not keep awake,
And if one goes to heaven without a heart, 60 God knows he leaves behind his better part.
I love my fellow-men: the worst I know
Turning a deaf ear to the sore complaints 65 Of souls that suffer? Why, I never yet
Left a poor dog in the strada hard beset,
Methinks (Lord, pardon, if the thought be sin !) 70 The world of pain were better, if therein
One's heart might still be human, and desires
Thereat the pale monk crossed
lost!" 75 Took up his pyx and fled; and, left alone,
The sick man closed his eyes with a gr groan
That sank into a prayer, " Thy will be done !" 53. The Tribune is a ball in the Uffizi Palace in Florence xhere are assembled some of the most world-renowned statues including the Venus de' Meclici.
66. Strada, street.
Then was he made aware, by soul or ear,
Tender and most compassionate: “Never fear!
And when he looked, lol in the stern monk's place 85 He saw the shining of an angel's face!
The Traveller broke the pause. “I've seen
The Brothers down the long street steal,
And felt to doff my hat and kneel
For blessings on their pious care."
THE PROPHECY OF SAMUEL SEWALL.
[SAMUEL SEWALL was one of a family notable in New England annals, and himself an eminent man in his generation. He was born in England in 1652, and was brought by his father to this country in 1661; but his father and grandfather
86. The poem of The Brother of Mercy forms a part of The Tent on the Beach, in which Whittier pictures himself, the Trav. uller (Bayard Taylor), the Man of Books (J. T. Fields), camping npon Salisbury beach and telling stories.