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51. Her feet
the crescent Moon were set,
And, moving in their order round her head,
The Stars compose her sparkling coronet.
There at her breast the Virgin Mother fed
A Babe divine, who was to judge the dead,
Such power the Spirit gave this aweful Child;
Severe he was, and in his anger dread,
Yet alway at his Mother's will grew mild,
So well did he obey that Maiden undefiled.
Sometimes she had descended from above
To visit her true votaries, and requite
Such as had served her well. And for her love,
These bearded men, forsaking all delight,
With labour long and dangers infinite,
Across the great blue waters came, and sought
The Red-Men here, to win them, if they might,
From bloody ways, rejoiced to profit aught
Even when with theirown lives the benefit was bought.
For trusting in this heavenly Maiden's grace,
It was for them a joyful thing to die,
As men who went to have their happy place
With her, and with that Holy Child, on high,
In fields of bliss above the starry sky,
In glory, at the Virgin Mother's feet:
And all who kept their lessons faithfully
An everlasting guerdon there would meet,
When Death had led their souls to that celestial seat.
54. On earth they offer'd, too, an easy life To those who their mild lessons would obey, Exempt from want, from danger, and from strife; And from the forest leading them away, They placed them underneath this Virgin's sway, A numerous fellowship, in peace to dwell ; Their high and happy office there to pay
Devotions due, which she requited well, Their heavenly Guardian she in whatsoe'er befell.
55. Thus, Monnema remember'd, it was told By one who in his hot and headstrong youth Had left her happy service; but when old Lamented oft with unavailing ruth, And thoughts which sharper than a serpent's tooth Pierced him, that he had changed that peaceful place For the fierce freedom and the ways uncouth
Of their wild life, and lost that Lady's grace, Wherefore he had no hope to see in Heaven her face.
And she remember'd too when first they fled
For safety to the farthest solitude
Before their cruel foes, and lived in dread
That thither too their steps might be pursued
By those old enemies athirst for blood;
How some among them hoped to see the day
When these beloved messengers of good
To that lone hiding place might find the way,
And them to their abode of blessedness convey.
Such tales excited in Yeruti's heart
A stirring hope that haply he might meet
Some minister of Heaven; and many a part
Untrod before of that wild wood retreat,
Did he with indefatigable feet
Explore ; yet ever from the fruitless quest
Return'd at evening to his native seat
By daily disappointment undeprest, .
So buoyant was the hope that fill'd his youthful breast.
At length the hour approach'd that should fulfil
His harmless heart's desire, when they shall see
Their fellow-kind, and take for good or ill
The fearful chance, for such it needs must be,
Of change from that entire simplicity.
Yet wherefore should the thought of change appal ?
Grief it perhaps might bring, and injury,
And death;... but evil never can befall
The virtuous, for the Eye of Heaven is over all.