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But alas! the summer's blight,
The dread disease that none can stay,
All at the father’s stern command was changed; Their peace was gone, but not their love estranged. “'earied at home , ere long the lover fled ;
Returned but three short (lays ago,
The golden chain they round him throw,
He is enticed, and onward led
To marry An gels, and yet
Is thinking ever of Margaret.
Then suddenly a maiden cried, “Anna, Theresa, Mary, Kate! Here comes the cripple Jane !” And by a fountain's side A woman, bent and gray with years, Under the mulberry-trees appears, And all towards her run , as fleet As had they wings upon their feet.
It is that Jane , the cripple Jane,
She telleth fortunes , and none complain.
And the bride a lovely boy straightway.
But for this once the village seer
And from beneath her eyebrows thin and white
Changing color, as well he might, \Vhen the beldame wrinkled and gray Takes the young bride by the hand, And, with the tip of her reedy wand Making the sign of the cross, doth say: — “Thoughtless Angela, beware! Lest, when thou weddest this false bridegroom, Thou diggest for thyself a tomb!” And she was silent; and the maidens fair Saw from each eye escape a swollen tear; But on a little streamlet silver-clear, What are two drops of turbid rain? Saddened a moment, the bridal train Resumed the dance and song again; The bridegroom only was pale with fear; -— \ And down green alleys Of verdurous valleys, With merry sallies, They sang the refrain: —
“The roads should blossom, the roads should bloom, So fair a bride shall leave her home!
Should blossom and bloom with garlands gay,
So fair a bride shall pass to-day!”
And by suffering worn and weary, But beautiful as some fair angel yet,
Thus lamented Margaret,
In her cottage lone and dreary: —
“He has arrivedl arrived at last!
Yet ane has named him not these three days past;
And knows that of my night he is the star!
Knows that long months I wait alone, benighted,
For ever night! for ever night!
No more of grief! no more of lassitude!
But when alone, remember all!
Where is Baptiste? he hears not when I call!
“Who kno'ws? perhaps I am forsaken! Ah! woe is me! then hear me to my grave!
O God! what thoughts within me waken! Away! he will return! I do but rave!
He will return! I need not fear!
He swore it by our Saviour dear;
He could not come at his own will;
Is weary, or perhaps is ill! ,
Perhaps his heart, in this disguise,
Prepares for me some sweet surprise! But some one comes! Though blind, my heart can see! And that deceives me not! ’t is he! ’t is he!”
And the door ajar is set,
And poor, confiding Margaret Rises, with outstretched arms, but sightless eyes; ’T is only Paul, her brother, who thus cries: -—
“Angela the bride has passed!
Tell me, my sister, why were we not asked?
“Angela married! and not send
To tell her secret unto me! ~
0, speak, who may the bridegroom be?"
A cry the blind girl gave , but nothing said;
A milky whiteness spreads upon her cheeks;
Upon her heart, that has ceased to beat,
At length, the bridal song again
“Hark! the joyous airs are ringing!
Whom the vision, with aspect black as jet,
Mastered again; and its hand of ice
Held her heart crushed, as in a vice !
“ Holy Virgin! what dreadful heat!
I am faint, and weary, and out of breath!
“Nothing! I heard them singing home the bride;
I thought my turn would come ere long,
Thy cards forsooth can never lie,
To me such joy they prophesy,
Thy skill shall be vaunted far and wide
And poor Baptiste, what sayest thou?
It must seem long to him; — methinks I see him now!"
We must not trust too much to happiness; ~—
Go, pray to God, that thou mayst love him less!"
“The more I pray, the more I love!
It is no sin, for God is on my side!”
It was enough; and Jane no more replied.
Now to all hope her heart is barred and cold;