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The moonlight falls upon her face,

Upraised in fervour meek,
While peaceful tears of piety
Are stealing down her cheek.

That duty done, the harmless maid

Disposed herself to rest ;
No sin, no sorrow in her soul,

No trouble in her breast.

But when upon the pillow then,

Composed, she laid her head, She little thought what unseen Powers

Kept watch beside her bed.

A double ward had she that night,

When evil near her drew;
Her own Good Angel guarding her,

And Eleëmon's too.

Their charge it was to keep her safe

From all unholy things; And o'er her while she slept, they spread

The shadow of their wings.

So when an Evil Dream drew nigh

They barr’d him from access, Nor suffer'd him to reach her with

A breath of sinfulness.

But with his instigations they

A hallowing influence blent,
And made his fiendish ministry

Subserve to their intent.

Thus while in troubled sleep she lay,

Strange impulses were given,
Emotions earthly and of earth,
With heavenly ones of Heaven.

And now the nightingale hath ceased

Her strain, who all night long
Hath in the garden rosier trill’d

A rich and rapturous song.

The storks on roof and dome and tower

Forbear their clattering din,
As now the motions and the sounds

Of daily life begin.

Then as from dreams that seem'd no dreams

The wondering Maid awoke,
A low sweet voice was in her ear;
Such as we might expect to hear

If some Good Angel spoke.

According with her dreams, it said,

“So, Cyra, must it be;
The duties of a wedded life
Hath Heaven ordain’d for thee.”

This was no dream full well she knew;

For open-eyed she lay, Conscious of thought and wakefulness,

And in the light of day; And twice it spake, if doubt had been,

To do all doubt away.

Alas! but how shall she make known

This late and sudden change ?
Or how obtain belief for what
Even to herself is strange ?

How will her Father brook a turn

That must to all seem shame? How bear to think that vulgar tongues

Are busy with her name?

That she should for a voice, a dream, .

Expose herself to be the theme

Of wonder and of scorn; . .
Public as her intent had been,
And this the appointed morn!

The Nuns even now are all alert;

The altar hath been drest,
The scissars that should clip her hair
Provided, and the black hood there,

And there the sable vest.

M 3

And there the Priests are robing now;

The Singers in their station ;
Hark! in the city she can hear

The stir of expectation!

Thro' every gate the people pour, And guests on roof and porch and tower

Expectant take their place; The streets are swarming, and the church

Already fills apace.

Speak, then, she must: her heart she felt

This night had changed its choice;

Nor dared the Maiden disobey, Nor did she wish to (sooth to say),

That sweet and welcome voice.

Her Father comes : she studies not

For gloss, or for pretence; The plain straight course will Cyra take, (Which none without remorse forsake,)

Of truth and innocence.

“O Father, hear me patiently !”

The blushing Maiden said ;
“I tremble, Father, while I speak,

But surely not for dread;

“If all my wishes have till now

Found favour in thy sight,
And ever to perform thy will

Hath been my best delight,
Why should I fear to tell thee now

The visions of this night ?

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“I stood in a dream at the altar, .
But it was as an earthly Bride ;

And Eleëmon thy freedman
Was the Bridegroom at my side.

“ Thou, Father, gavest me to him,

With thy free and full consent; And, .. why should I dissemble it? ..

Methought I was content.

“ Months then and years were crowded

In the course of that busy night;

I claspt a baby to my breart,
And, oh! with what delight!

“ Yea, I was fruitful as a vine; Our heavenly Parent me and mine

In all things seem'd to bless ; Our ways were ways of peace, our paths

Were paths of pleasantness.

“ When I taught lisping lips to pray

The joy it was to me,
O Father, thus to train these plants

For immortality!

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