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Now rings the bell, nine times reverberating, And the white daybreak, stealing up the sky, Sees in two cottages two maidens waiting,

How differently !

Queen of a day, by flatterers caressed,

The one puts on her cross and crown,
Decks with a huge bouquet her breast,
And flaunting, fluttering up and down,
Looks at herself, and cannot rest.

The other, blind, within her little room,

Has neither crown nor flower's perfume ;
But in their stead for something gropes apart

That in a drawer's recess doth lie,
And, 'neath her boddice of bright scarlet dye,

Convulsive clasps it to her heart.

The one, fantastic, light as air,

'Mid kisses ringing,

And joyous singing,
Forgets to say her morning prayer !

Joins her two hands, and kneels upon the floor, And whispers, as her brother opes the door,

“O God ! forgive me now!"

And then the orphan, young and blind,
Conducted by her brother's hand,
Towards the church, through paths unscanned,

With tranquil air, her way doth wind.
Odors of laurel, making her faint and pale,

Round her at times exhale,
And in the sky as yet no sunny ray,

But brumal vapors gray.

Near that castle, fair to see,
Crowded with sculptures old, in every part,

Marvels of nature and of art,

And proud of its name of high degree,
A little chapel, almost bare
At the base of the rock, is builded there ;
All glorious that it lifts aloof,

Above each jealous cottage roof,
Its sacred summit, swept by autumn gales,

And its blackened steeple high in air,
Round which the osprey screams and sails.


“Paul, lay thy noisy rattle by!” Thus Margaret said. “Where are we? we ascend !”

“Yes; seest thou not our journey's end ? Hearest not the osprey from the belfry cry? The hideous bird, that brings ill luck, we know ! Dost thou remember when our father said,

The night we watched beside his bed,

"O daughter, I am weak and low; Take care of Paul; I feel that I am dying !' And thou, and he, and I, all fell to crying? Then on the roof the osprey screamed aloud ; And here they brought our father in his shroud., There is his grave; there stands the cross we set ; Why dost thou clasp me so, dear Margaret ?

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Come in! The bride will be here soon : Thou tremblest! O my God! thou art going to swoon !" She could no more,—the blind girl, weak and weary ! A voice seemed crying from that grave so dreary, “What wouldst thou do, my daughter ?” — and she started;

And quick recoiled, aghast, faint-hearted;
But Paul, impatient, urges ever more

Her steps towards the open door ;
And when, beneath her feet, the unhappy maid
Crushes the laurel near the house immortal,
And with her head, as Paul talks on again,

Touches the crown of filigrane
Suspended from the low-arched portal,
No more restrained, no more afraid,

She walks, as for a feast arrayed,
And in the ancient chapel's sombre night

They both are lost to sight.

At length the bell,
With booming sound,

Sends forth, resounding round,
Its hymeneal peal o'er rock and down the dell.

It is broad day, with sunshine and with rain ;

And yet the guests delay not long,
For soon arrives the bridal train,
And with it brings the village throng.

In sooth, deceit maketh no mortal gay,
For lo! Baptiste on this triumphant day,
Mute as an idiot, sad as yester-morning,
Thinks only of the beldame's words of warning.

And Angela thinks of her cross, I wis ;
To be a bride is all! The pretty lisper
Feels her heart swell to hear all round her whisper,
“ How beautiful ! how beautiful she is !”

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But she must calm that giddy head,
For already the Mass is said ;

At the holy table stands the priest ;
The wedding ring is blessed ; Baptiste receives it ;
Ere on the finger of the bride he leaves it,

He must pronounce one word at least ! 'Tis spoken; and sudden at the groomsman's side “ 'Tis he !” a well-known voice has cried. And while the wedding guests all hold their breath, Opes the confessional, and the blind girl, see ! “ Baptiste,” she said, "since thou hast wished my death, As holy water be my blood for thee !" And calmly in the air a knife suspended ! Doubtless her guardian angel near attended,

For anguish did its work so well,
That, ere the fatal stroke descended,

Lifeless she fell !

At eve, instead of bridal verse,
The De Profundis filled the air ;
Decked with flowers a single hearse
To the church-yard forth they bear ;
Village girls in robes of snow
Follow, weeping as they go ;

Nowhere was a smile that day,
No, ah no! for each one seemed to say :-

“ The roads should mourn and be veiled in gloom,
So fair a corpse shall leave its home!
Should mourn and should weep, ah, well-away!
So fair a corpse shall pass to-day!”

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