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HOLY THURSDAY

'T was on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two, in red and blue and

green;

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Grey-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow;

Till into the high dome of Paul's they like Thames' waters flow.

Oh what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London
town!

Seated in companies, they sit with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent
hands.

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,

Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among. 10 Beneath them sit the agèd men, wise guardians of the poor; Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.

1789.

A DREAM

Once a dream did weave a shade
O'er my angel-guarded bed,
That an emmet lost its way
Where on grass methought I lay.
Troubled, 'wildered, and forlorn,
Dark, benighted, travel-worn,
Over many a tangled spray,
All heart-broke, I heard her say:
"Oh my children! do they cry,
Do they hear their father sigh?
Now they look abroad to see,
Now return and weep for me."

Pitying, I dropped a tear;
But I saw a glow-worm near,
Who replied: "What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night?

"I am set to light the ground,
While the beetle goes his round:
Follow now the beetle's hum;
Little wanderer, hie thee home!"

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THE BOOK OF THEL

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The daughters of the seraphim led round their sunny flocks,—
All but the youngest; she in paleness sought the secret air,
To fade away like morning beauty from her mortal day.
Down by the river of Adona her soft voice is heard,
And thus her gentle lamentation falls like morning dew:
"O life of this our spring, why fades the lotus of the water?
Why fade these children of the spring, born but to smile and
fall?

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Ah, Thel is like a watery bow, and like a parting cloud,
Like a reflection in a glass, like shadows in the water,
Like dreams of infants, like a smile upon an infant's face,
Like the dove's voice, like transient day, like music in the air.
Ah, gentle may I lay me down, and gentle rest my head,
And gentle sleep the sleep of death, and gentle hear the voice
Of Him That walketh in the garden in the evening time!"
The lily of the valley, breathing in the humble grass,
Answered the lovely maid, and said: "I am a watery weed,
And I am very small, and love to dwell in lowly vales;
So weak the gilded butterfly scarce perches on my head.
Yet I am visited from heaven; and He That smiles on all
Walks in the valley, and each morn over me spreads His hand, 20
Saying, 'Rejoice, thou humble grass, thou new-born lily-flower,
Thou gentle maid of silent valleys and of modest brooks;
For thou shalt be clothed in light, and fed with morning manna,
Till summer's heat melts thee beside the fountains and the
springs,

To flourish in eternal vales.' Then why should Thel complain? 25
Why should the mistress of the vales of Har utter a sigh?"
She ceased, and smiled in tears, then sat down in her silver

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shrine.

The answered: "O thou little virgin of the peaceful valley, Giving to those that cannot crave, the voiceless, the o'ertired, Thy breath doth nourish the innocent lamb; he smells thy milky garments,

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He crops thy flowers, while thou sittest smiling in his face,
Wiping his mild and meekin mouth from all contagious taints.
Thy wine doth purify the golden honey; thy perfume,
Which thou dost scatter on every little blade of grass that

springs,

Revives the milkèd cow, and tames the fire-breathing steed. 35 But Thel is like a faint cloud kindled at the rising sun:

I vanish from my pearly throne, and who shall find my place?"
"Queen of the vales," the lily answered, "ask the tender cloud,
And it shall tell thee why it glitters in the morning sky,
And why it scatters its bright beauty through the humid air. 40
Descend, O little cloud, and hover before the eyes of Thel."
The cloud descended; and the lily bowed her modest head,
And went to mind her numerous charge among the verdant
grass.

II

"O little cloud," the virgin said, "I charge thee tell to me
Why thou complainest not, when in one hour thou fad'st away; 45
Then we shall seek thee, but not find. Ah, Thel is like to thee:
I pass away; yet I complain, and no one hears my voice."
The cloud then showed his golden head, and his bright form

emerged,

Hovering and glittering on the air, before the face of Thel. "O virgin, know'st thou not our steeds drink of the golden springs

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Where Luvah doth renew his horses? Look'st thou on my

youth,

And fearest thou because I vanish and am seen no more?
Nothing remains. O maid, I tell thee, when I pass away,
It is to tenfold life, to love, to peace, and raptures holy.
Unseen, descending, weigh my light wings upon balmy flowers, 55
And court the fair-eyed Dew to take me to her shining tent:
The weeping virgin, trembling, kneels before the risen sun,
Till we arise, linked in a golden band, and never part,

But walk united, bearing food to all our tender flowers."
"Dost thou, O little cloud? I fear that I am not like thee:
For I walk through the vales of Har, and smell the sweetest
flowers,

But I feed not the little flowers; I hear the warbling birds, But I feed not the warbling birds-they fly and seek their food. But Thel delights in these no more, because I fade away, And all shall say, 'Without a use this shining woman lived, Or did she only live to be at death the food of worms?" " The cloud reclined upon his airy throne, and answered thus: "Then if thou art the food of worms, O virgin of the skies,

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How great thy use, how great thy blessing! Everything that lives

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Lives not alone nor for itself. Fear not, and I will call
The weak worm from its lowly bed, and thou shalt hear its
voice.

Come forth, worm of the silent valley, to thy pensive queen!"
The helpless worm arose, and sat upon the lily's leaf,
And the bright cloud sailed on to find his partner in the vale.

III

Then Thel, astonished, viewed the worm upon its dewy bed.
"Art thou a worm, image of weakness? art thou but a worm?
I see thee, like an infant, wrapped in the lily's leaf.

Ah, weep not, little voice! thou canst not speak, but thou canst

weep.

Is this a worm? I see thee lie helpless and naked, weeping,
And none to answer, none to cherish thee with mother's smiles." 80
The clod of clay heard the worm's voice, and raised her pitying

head;

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She bowed over the weeping infant, and her life exhaled
In milky fondness; then on Thel she fixed her humble eyes:
"O beauty of the vales of Har! we live not for ourselves.
Thou seest me, the meanest thing, and so I am indeed.
My bosom of itself is cold, and of itself is dark;
But He That loves the lowly pours His oil upon my head,
And kisses me, and binds His nuptial bands around my breast,
And says, 'Thou mother of my children, I have loved thee,
And I have given thee a crown that none can take away.'
But how this is, sweet maid, I know not, and I cannot know;
I ponder, and I cannot ponder; yet I live and love!"
The daughter of beauty wiped her pitying tears with her white

veil,

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And said: "Alas! I knew not this, and therefore did I weep.
That God would love a worm I knew, and punish the evil foot 95
That wilful bruised its helpless form; but that He cherished it
With milk and oil, I never knew, and therefore did I weep.
And I complained in the mild air, because I fade away,
And lay me down in thy cold bed, and leave my shining lot."
"Queen of the vales," the matron clay answered, "I heard thy
sighs,

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