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LA SOEUR DE CHARITÉ.
Whence art thou, being of seraphic mould,
With thy calm brow and deep religious eye, And arms thus folded on thy breast,
Thy mission truly cometh from the sky
What love divine, what charity sublime,
Didst nerve thy purpose and inflame thy will, The high resolves borne in that sainted face,
An added zeal in every breast instil ?
Did'st thou not leave in some bright happy home,
A father's blessing and a mother's voice, A sister's twining arms, a brother's love,
Whose coming made thy heart rejoice?
Do not dear memories of that happy band,
Darken the sunshine of thy placid brow, Those gentle visitants of by-gone hours,
With their soft pleadings, musical and low?
I know thou'rt human, for I've seen thee weep,
When bending o'er the sufferer's couch of pain, Until thy pity waked some gentle chord,
Soft tuned with confidence and trust again.
I know thou’rt loving, for I've seen thee fold
The helpless orphan in thy shielding arm, Hush her low sobbings into peaceful rest,
And shield her innocence from guilt or harm.
But some there are who knew thee when
Genius and fortune bent the knee, And worshipped at thy beauty's shrine,
With love, almost idolatry.
In scenes of pleasure, pomp and pride,
Thy gentle spirit could not rest, For thoughts of Jesus crucified,
Were ever burning in thy breast.
And when the tones of mirth flashed high,
And music thrilled its sweetest lay, A whisper low had pierced thy heart,
Which called thee hence, away! away!
Responsive to that holy call,
All lesser love is now forgot,
Her prayers are heard, she recks it not.
The costly gem is laid aside,
The curls are severed from her brow, Madonna-like, a simple veil,
Half hides its classic beauty now.
Let's follow her to scenes of woe,
The hireling nurse has fled with fear, But still her place is not bereft,
A gentler form is hovering near.
Oh! listen, listen to her prayer,
Can Heaven withstand that sweet appeal Oh! no, for down those faded cheeks,
The thickly coursing tear-drops steal!
And here we leave her 'mid those scenes,
And dangers which might well appal, With angels for her guardian shield,
The dauntless child of Vincent Paul.
Clasped within our heart of hearts,
As the petals of the rose Fold the golden pollen close,
Tender in its warm repose.
So our Grace,* our household treasure,
Fonder loved from day to day, Till our Father saw the measure,
Stole from Him our hearts away.
Then when day was closing o'er us,
In the shadowy evenfall, When the heart with love is tender,
When she dearest seemed to all
*"Our Graco" died April 9, 1864.