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Poem by Menella Bute Smedley
When midnight flung o'er earth and sea Her solemn veil of gloom, All fearless and alone was she, The Lady Grizzel Hume,— Lighted beneath that sable sky By her young heart's fidelity. With eyes of hope, and peace, and truth,— Violets half hid in snow; Wearing the glory of her youth Upon a cloudless brow; Oh, seldom hath the silent night Look'd down upon so fair a sight! She glides along the shadowy copse, By field, and hill, and tree, Light as the noiseless dew, that drops When none can hear nor see; Before her home at last she stands, And lifts the latch with trembling hands. “Oh, speak, my child, the night is dark, Thou comest pale and fast!” “I heard the startled watchdog's bark As his lonely lair I past, And hurried on, in fear lest he Should rouse some lurking enemy.” “And couldst thou pass the churchyard drear, Nor pause in chilly dread?” “Nay, mother, wherefore should I fear The mute and peaceful dead? I only thought, how calm they sleep Who neither feel, nor fear, nor weep.” “Did not thy weary footsteps stray? The path was dark and long.” “Oh, God was with me on my way, And so my heart was strong; I ever thought the stars did shed A gracious blessing on my head.” “And didst thou see thy father's face?”— (But here she paused to weep.) “Ah, mother, yes! I pray for grace His sweet behest to keep; He bade me labour still to make Thy spirit happy, for his sake.” “Bless thee, my comfort and my child!— What said he further?—speak!” “He parted back my hair, and smiled, And kiss'd my burning cheek, And said I bravely did, and well, To visit his forsaken cell.” “And look'd he pale?” “Ay, somewhat pale, But firm and blithe of cheer, Like one whose heart could never fail, Whose spirit never fear; And calm and stedfastly he spake Of things whereat my heart must break. Yes, changeless was his aspect when He said that he might die; But he murmur'd Monmouth's name, and then A tear was in his eye, And he brake off, as though in fear That sound of woe to speak or hear. He bade me pray at morn and eve That God would make him strong Calmly to die, but never leave The right, nor love the wrong. I pray,—sweet mother, join me thus,— God give my father back to us!” Mother and child knelt mutely there,— A sight that angels love; The incense of their tearful prayer Rose to the heavens above; And softer sleep, and hopes more bright, Came to their troubled hearts that night. Full oft, when fairer days were come, Beside a peaceful hearth That father bless'd his God for home,— The happiest place on earth; And bent his head, and smiled to see His daughter's first-born climb his knee. Then as the wondering child would gaze Into the old man's face, He told of dark and troublous days, Defeat, despair, disgrace; Of Sedgemoor's field — oh, bitter word! And lone Inchinnan's fatal ford. And how, through many a weary day, In want, and woe, and gloom, A hunted fugitive he lay The tenant of a tomb, With one weak girl, so pale and fair, His ministering spirit there; How that bold heart and childlike form Night after night would brave The blast, the darkness, and the storm, To seek his lonely cave— He paused, to shew with grateful pride The blushing matron at his side.
Menella Bute Smedley
Menella Bute Smedley's other poems:
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