Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

So beautiful, so filled with life,

So doomed, she passed along
Above the sense, the sound of strife,

Alone in the vast throng.
Some with mute reverence lowly bowed,

As thus the victim went;
And some outpouring hatred loud,

The air with curses rent.

Without one tint of fresh youth paled,

Without one quivering breath,
Without one step that weakly failed,

That maiden sped to death;
And with her lips yet glowing red,

And bright her beaming eyes,
To the sharp axe she bowed her head,

And closed her sacrifice. Yet two more female figures, embodying a stern lesson.

THE TWO MAUDES.

Broidered robe, bespangled vest,
Raiment for a palace guest,

Wears proud Maude to-night ;
And her haughty smile is gay,
As shines forth that rich

array
In the mirror bright.

Now, with triumph on her cheek,
And with looks that conquest speak,

See her pass along;
Listen to the murmured praise,
Mark the fixed admiring gaze

Of the courtly throng!

Now she joins the stately dance,
And her tutored grace enchants,

Faultless is her mien;
And of all the lovely crowd
She can hear it whispered loud

She to-night is queen.

And of all the vestments there
Hers is richest and most rare,

Wondrous is its cost;
With apparel of less pride,
Where so many shone beside

She had triumph lost.

Therefore 'twas she

gave comm

amand, When the courtly ball was planned,

That her robe should be, Though the time for toil was brief, With the choicest flower and leaf

Rich in broidery.

If for this be weary sighs,
If for this be sleepless eyes,

She no less will shine ;
Unimpaired her bloom shall be,
And from care her bosom free,

In her vesture fine.

*

Broidered robe, bespangled vest,
Raiment for a palace guest,

Maude the poor hath wrought;

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

You with jewels overdone,
Her have robbed who had but one

Of a priceless gem!

No words of mine could add to the force and eloquence of this pleading—I had almost said of this fulmination. What, I would add, should go rather in mitigation of the crime imputed to the courtly beauty. Selfish as vanity is—dangerous as leading to all the sins that follow upon frivolity, I have a true faith in the general kindliness and the general good-training of our young countrywomen, whether of the village green, or of the palace circle. I do not believe that any English lady would knowingly purchase a splendid dress at the cost of health to the artificer. Let them once think

- let them once be brought to think whether they can reasonably expect their orders to be executed within a given time, and what may be the amount of suffering caused by such execution, and, my life upon it, our Lady Maudes would give up their furbelows, and their embroideries, and trust to their native charms of grace and modesty to win as much admiration as they know what to do with. But then they must be taught to think ; and in all matters of humanity, they could hardly find finer precepts than in the poems of Miss Day.

These lady poets are all my friends : I add yet another, personally a stranger, but still a friend, to the list-Mrs. Robert Dering.

« AnteriorContinuar »