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“ I saw their little winning ways

Their grandsire's love engage; Methought they were the pride, the joy,

The crown of his old age.

- When from the Vision I awoke,

A voice was in my ear, A waking voice, .. I heard it twice;

No human tongue was near ;

“ No human utterance so could reach The secret soul, no human speech

So make the soul rejoice;
In hearing it I felt and knew

It was an Angel's voice !

" And thus in words distinct it said,

• So, Cyra, must it be !
The duties of a wedded life
Hath Heaven ordain'd for thee.''

Her cheek was like the new-blown rose,

While thus she told her tale;
Proterius listened earnestly,
And as he heard grew pale.

For he, too, in the dreams of night,
At the altar had seem'd to stand,
And to Eleëmon his freedman
Had given his daughter's hand.

Their offspring, courting his caress,
About his knees had throng'd ;

A lovely progeny, in whom,
When he was in the silent tomb,

His line should be prolong'd.

And he had heard a waking voice,

Which said it so must be,
Pronouncing upon Cyra's name

A holiest eulogy :

- Her shall her husband praise, and her

Her children blest shall call ; Many daughters have done virtuously,

But thine excelleth them all ! ”

No marvel if his heart were moved ;

The dream he saw was one; He kiss'd his trembling child, and said,

66 The will of Heaven be done!”

Little did child or sire in this

The work of sorcery fear;

As little did Eleëmon think That the hand of Heaven was here.

IV.

From house to house, from street to street

The rapid rumour flies ;
Incredulous ears it found, and hands

Are lifted in surprise ;
And tongues through all the astonish'd town

Are busier now than eyes.

66 So sudden and so strange a change !

A Freedman, too, the choice! The shame, . . the scandal, . . and for what ?

A vision and a voice!

“ Had she not chosen the strait gate, .. The narrow way, .. the holy state, ..

The Sanctuary's abode ?
Would Heaven call back its votary
To the broad and beaten road ?

6 To carnal wishes would it turn

The mortified intent?
For this are miracles vouchsafed ?

For this are Angels sent ?

“ A plain collusion! a device

Between the girl and youth !
Good easy man must the Father be,

To take such tale for truth!”

So judged the acrid and the austere,

And they whose evil heart Inclines them, in whate'er betides,

To take the evil part.

But others, whom a kindlier frame

To better thoughts inclined, Preserved, amid their wonderment,

An equitable mind.

They would not of Proterius thus

Injuriously misdeem,.. A grave good man, and with the wise

For wisdom in esteem.

No easy ear, or vain belief, Would he to falsehood lend; Nor ever might light motive him From well-weigh'd purpose bend.

And surely on his pious child,
The gentle Cyra, meek and mild,

Could no suspicion rest;
For in this daughter he had been

Above all fathers blest.

As dutiful as beautiful, Her praise was widely known, Being one who, as she grew in years,

Had still in goodness grown.

And what though Eleëmon were

A man of lowly birth?
Enough it was if Nature had
Ennobled him with worth.

- This was no doubtful thing," they said, “ For he had in the house been bred,

Nor e'er from thence removed ; But there from childhood had been known,

And trusted and approved.

“Such as he was his qualities

Might to the world excuse The Maid and Father for their choice, Without the vision and the voice, Had they been free to choose.

“ But Heaven by miracle had made

Its pleasure manifest;
That manifested will must set

All doubtful thoughts to rest.
Mysterious tho' they be, the ways

Of Providence are best.”

The wondering City thus discoursed ;

To Abibas alone
The secret truth, and even to him
But half the truth, was known.

Meantime the Church hath been prepared

For spousal celebration ;
The Sisters to their cells retire,

Amazed at such mutation.

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