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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,
The other, blind, within her little room,
Has neither crown nor flower's perfume ;
That in a drawer's recess doth lie,
Convulsive clasps it to her heart.
The one, fantastic, light as air,
'Mid kisses ringing,
And joyous singing,
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,
With tranquil air, her way doth wind.
Round her at times exhale,
But brumal vapors gray.
Near that castle, fair to see,
Marvels of nature and of art,
And proud of its name of high degree,
Above each jealous cottage roof,
And its blackened steeple high in air,
“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 ?
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;
Her steps towards the open door ;
Touches the crown of filigrane
She walks, as for a feast arrayed,
They both are lost to sight.
At length the bell,
Sends forth, resounding round,
It is broad day, with sunshine and with rain ;
And yet the guests delay not long,
In sooth, deceit maketh no mortal gay,
And Angela thinks of her cross, I wis ;
But she must calm that giddy head,
At the holy table stands the priest ;
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,
Lifeless she fell !
At eve, instead of bridal verse,
Nowhere was a smile that day,
“ The roads should mourn and be veiled in gloom,