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Wailing for mercy. In the end he died.
I'll greet my nephews as they gather here, He was dead, certès. Then, as in a wood Weeping, to take part in my obsequies, The little nests are resonant of joy
And bid them fly my falcons for their sport. When down the wind fierce squalls have swept Then I'll regale them with a luscious feast the hawk,
Worthy your bishops, and dismiss them all So the poor people this departure hailed
Rollicking drunk!” With shouted plaudits. Bonfires were lit up;
Thrice the Monk crossed himselfAnd round about the gallows hand in hand On breast, mouth, forehead. Then he slowly rose, Danced the glad peasants. In the castle-walls And, drawing nearer the depraved old man, The soldiers listened to the festive din
In voice still trembling with emotion, said: Borne on the night wind, or with anxious watch “ List to me, Margrave! Scarce an hour ago, Pried through the loopholes. Fronting the dead I on my knees was praying by your corpse; man
Praying, because 'tis terrible to see
One full of years and lord of high estate
Thus was it that with fervor and apart
I prayed. We are living in an age, my lord, Swayed to and fro; or, with unconscious stare, Gloomy and harsh. The times are all awry. Traced the receding pillars of the room.
Rulers, alas ! are ignorant of the ills He was alone. At times, in hardy jet,
Endured by those beneath them. · Men-at-arms The bonfires' glow flamed on the window-panes; Have trampled under foot this German soil And louder, clearer, rose upon the air
So long, so deeply, that not any crop The vassals' voices lifted in great glee.
Rests on its surface. For the reaper's hand Anon, still motionless and rapt in thought, There is no work. Soon will the smith alone Psalms and the Miserere in low tone
Be called to labor. Piteous 'tis to see Fell from his lips. Sudden, his countenance The corn down-trodden and the rotted rye. Took on a ghostly pallor, and his eyes
Eagles and vultures gather to their feasts— In fear and blank amazement opened wide, They, and they only, feeding now on flesh. And his lank fingers tightly clutched his chair. Beggars around the monasteries throng. Awe-struck he was and petrified, for, lo! Bread is high-priced. Hamlet and town alike The dead man sitting up, veiled, all in white, Hunger; and milk in mothers' breasts is dry! Wrestling, with frantic gestures, from his head Care for all this you know not, nor remorse, To throw the overwrapping sheet—the corpse, You puissant lords. And I, who here below That had been counted on as food for worms, Ought to be chiefly praying for the dead, Alive, and gazing with bewildered look
Pray rather for the mighty and the rich, On Monk, and lights, and ebony crucifix, Seeing around me vassals all in tears, And holy-water vessel! Speech at length
Fields all awaste, and swinging in the breeze, The Margrave found :
Pendent from forest-branches, human forms. " Where am I? Did I dream? Then I remember, Margrave, the decrees Or was I dead? Monk! have my nephews laid, Of everlasting Justice, and how souls Already laid, rash hands on my demesne, Are in strict balance weighed; and to mine ear Tearing the red flag from the belfry down ? Comes the exulting crackle of the fire Am I defunct, or am I master yet
Stirred by the devil with his monstrous fork!” Under mine own roof? Answer me! and then, Peals of loud laughter from the Margrave broke. As my wits wander still, on yonder press “Truly your sermon," said he, “is sublime ! Look for my chiseled cup, and pour me out And you conclude” A brimming draught of wine!"
“ That, if tenacious death “Almighty God!" Spares you, the awful menace yet remains, Murmured the Monk, “ he has come back to The Almighty's warning; that ere many days * life!"
Your coffin o'er the threshold must be borne;
And that God grants you, Gottlob, a brief spell "Come back to life! Then was I truly dead! Meet for repentance !” But by my ancestors I swear, at dawn
“You perceive," said Gottlob, I'll have the windows all decked out with flags, “That I have listened with attentive ear And stepping forth upon the balcony
To your discourse, being merry and well pleased
Not to be wearing now, by way of shirt,
Thou hast to-day, it seems, no thought; but God,
The Monk, Over the portal of thy donjon-keep,
They ripped his belly open; and therein Outstretched, his hands went trembling in the Thou thy cold feet didst warm! Thy lances air;
made While from the overshadowing cowl his eyes Black silence round thee; but whoever sought Peering transfixed the Margrave.
To follow in thy footsteps might have tracked
“Oh, repent, Thy course in blood, while peasants clinched Old man !” he answered; "and, ere going down their fists Into thy grave, soil thy white hair with ashes! In desolate homesteads! Thou didst doom to Put on, like us, the hair-cloth and the frock!
death Bruise thy weak knees upon the altar-steps ! Thy pregnant sister! By thy men-at-arms, Chant the responses ! kiss the cloister-stones! Even in the suburbs, was the traveler robbed ; And in a coffin lay thee down at night!
And, when a citizen held back his tithe, The scourge with knotted points that eat the Thou didst parade him on a hog, astride, flesh,
Facing the tail! I pass by much. At last The greasy, grimy stairway, the long fast, Thou diest, stained with all these crimes; and Black bread, with water from the pitcher gulpedThese, for a sinner who so tardily
The Almighty, as it were amazed to meet Repents him, are most sweet."
Such monster, deems thee all too black for hell, “Hold !" Gottlob cried, And spurns thee with his foot to earth again, “ Preposterous quack! and, in the first place, And grants thee time forgiveness to implore, know
Proud and defiant, thou dost still rebel ! That one garb only fits me, and that one Now learn the plain truth! Ah, thou holdest Is my fine coat of mail, forged ring by ring,
cheap Wherein nor kings nor princes punched a hole, The priest as judge! Look, then, at yonder glow When with the Duke Rudolph the Third I Flushing the windows! Hark, what shouts of served,
joy! Holding the lists for the good Emperor Charles, List ! recollecting how, from times remote, I, Gottlob, Lord of Ruhn, with whom you When wolf or bear or any noxious beast speak!
Makes havoc in our woods, but in the end · Know furthermore that knights who bear great Is by the boar-spear slain, on the hillsides names,
Bonfires at night are lighted, and around them And carry on their pennons Latin words
Huntsmen and peasants all rejoicing dance, 'Broidered in gold that valor breathe and pride, Thus to this day our Saxon usage holds. Can not beneath an organ bawl out psalms. Margrave, 'tis thus upon thy dying day! Their music is the jingle of their spurs,
Thou, too, art rated as some noxious beast !” The clarion's shrill and spirit-stirring note, The roll of drum, the joyous clash of sword “Peace! peace !” cried Gottlob, with a fearHammering on brazen armor. Furthermore,
ful laugh. Know that I hate all priestlings and poltroons Then from his pillow on his hands upheld, Who in dull cloisters hide themselves away, Livid with scorn and rage, he hissed aloud: Nor ever wash their hands, save when they dip “Yes, wretches, yes, the wood-piles are alight! Fingers in holy-water. Thus, good brother, You are burning up my maples and my pines, Silence; and do my bidding quick!”
Wherewith your gibbets I was wont to frame.
The Monk Had I not waked, to-morrow might, perchance, Advanced two steps nearer the old man's bed. For the diversion of your rabble rout, “ Bow down before the God who passeth now, Have seen a Margrave's effigy in straw But passeth nevermore! Still is there time Amid my gray elms blazing! Ha! in sport To save thy soul. Margrave, thou hast been vile, You for your fagots cut my old oaks down Inhuman, infamous; and of thy crimes
That the Goths planted! Well, well; be it so!
Since my good people love a fire that flares, With spiders' webs inwoven. But it hung
Beyond his grasp; so, rising, put he forth Casque on my head and lance upon my thigh- His old man's shanks, shriveled and horrible. If it is vivid and intense enough,
Haggard before him stood the Monk. “Then When fed on bumpkins' grease. Flame and live perish, coal
Impenitent blasphemer, in thy sins!” I would compare them !".
He spoke; and, covering at a single bound
“Gottlob! Satan, too, The intervening space, with eyes that burned, Makes hot his furnaces. Think of the flame Gleaming deep-set below his tonsured crown Reddening volcanic mouths ! Think of the As coals upon a forge, cool, resolute, damned
Grappling the Margrave by the throat, despite Writhing and suffocating in the pit,
His shrieks of “Help” and “Murder !” and deOr under horrid portals burning ever,
spite As though eternal torches! Marquis, think His white locks o'er the pillow streaming loose, That above us there is a God! Remember Strangled him—these the only added words: That thou wilt die soon; that thy gibbets all, “ Die, Margrave, die ! this time without reWith single arms outstretched, are pointing thee prieve !" The downward road! Ay, Margrave! after death,
Then, calm and grave, he reverently bends Thou, who wert brave and well born, and for Over the corpse, and readjusts the sheet, crest
As might a mother o'er her sleeping babe ; Didst bear a hydra blazoned, thou wilt be Lifts and relights a lamp thrown down; and, Naked and helpless as a dunghill worm!
kneeling Then to the fire that dies not hurried on,
As was his wont in hallowed precinct, folds Bleeding from prick of demons' pointed wings, His hands, and meekly mutters, “ Before God Hands bound, feet chained, and prodded by their Do I confess myself !"
forks, Vainly thy crippled limbs would hold thee back; Hell gapeth for thee! Thou art forward thrust,
THE BENEDICTION. Thy white beard singed in the all-devouring heat !”
It was in eighteen hundred-yes—and nine, “ Amen!" replied the Margrave. “Monk, go That we took Saragossa. What a day forth,
Of untold horrors! I was sergeant then. Offering thy keys of paradise, I tell thee, The city carried, we laid siege to houses, To yonder boors so busy with their chants; All shut up close, and with a treacherous look Thanks to the sword, there's more than one of Raining down shots upon us from the windows. them
“ 'Tis the priests' doing !” was the word passed Will need anon that heaven its gates unclose!
round; As to my own account-Satan is prince,
So that although since daybreak under arms— I marquis; and on equal terms alone
Our eyes with powder smarting, and our mouths Will I confront him, seeing that we are
Bitter with kissing cartridge-ends-piff ! paff! Gentlemen both of us, of lineage both
Rattled the musketry with ready aim, Most ancient and most lofty. Also, there If shovel-hat and long black cloak were seen Down in his hell shall I again encounter
Flying in the distance. Up a narrow street Comrades, my best and bravest of old days,
My company worked on. I kept an eye Who in the battle's whirlwind fell by steel; On every house-top right and left, and saw And tourneys will we interchange and fêtes ! From many a roof flames suddenly burst forth Meantime for you, my minions, you who dance Coloring the sky, as from the chimney-tops And light up bonfires and are all elate,
Among the forges. Low our fellows stooped, I have imagined such a jubilee
Entering the low - pitched dens. When they Such rich repast for my pet carrion-birds
came out, That, centuries hence, your sons will doff their With bayonets dripping red, their bloody fingers hats,
Signed crosses on the wall ; for we were bound Passing within the shadow of my tomb!” In such a dangerous defile not to leave
And Gottlob, panting as the maniac pants, Foes lurking in our rear. There was no drumTurned his black looks to a panoply of arms,
beat, Where swords a score in iron posy ranged No ordered march. Our officers looked grave; Blossomed portentous, shimmering hard and The rank and file uneasy, jogging elbows bright,
As do recruits when flinching.
All at once, His lifted arms seemed as the spread of wings; Rounding a corner, we are hailed in French And as he raised the pyx, and in the air With cries for help. At double-quick we join W ith it described the Cross, each man of us Our hard-pressed comrades. They were grena. Fell back, aware the priest no more was tremdiers,
bling A gallant company, but beaten back
Than if before him the devout were ranged. Inglorious from the raised and flag-paved square But when, intoned with clear and mellow voice, Fronting a convent. Twenty stalwart monks The words came to usDefended it-black demons with shaved crowns,
“ Vos benedicat The Cross in white embroidered on their frocks, Deus Omnipotens !”. Barefoot, their sleeves tucked up, their only
The captain's order weapons
Rang out again and sharply, “ Shoot him down, Enormous crucifixes, so well brandished
Or I shall swear!” Then one of ours, a dastard, Our men went down before them. By platoons Leveled his gun and fired. Upstanding still, Firing, we swept the place; in fact, we slaugh- The priest changed color, though with steadfast tered
look This terrible group of heroes, no more soul Set upward, and indomitably stern. Being in us than in executioners.
“ Pater et Filius !" The foul deed done-deliberately done
Came the words. What frenzy, And, the thick smoke rolling away, we noted
What maddening thirst for blood, sent from our Under the huddled masses of the dead
ranks Rivulets of blood run trickling down the steps; Ano
Another shot, I know not; but 'twas done. While in the background solemnly the church
The monk with one hand on the altar's Loomed up, its doors wide open. We went in.
ledge It was a desert. Lighted tapers starred
Held himself up; and, strenuous to complete The inner gloom with points of gold. The in
His benediction, in the other raised cense
The consecrated host. For the third time Gave out its perfume. At the upper end,
Tracing in air the symbol of forgiveness, Turned to the altar as though unconcerned
With eyes closed, and in tones exceeding low, In the fierce battle that had raged, a priest,
But in the general hush distinctly heard-
he said; and, ending
The golden pyx Making the red blood on the pavement steam; Rolled bounding on the floor. Then, as we And there, framed in by the low porch, the stood, priest;
Even the old troopers, with our muskets groundAnd there the altar brilliant as a shrine; And here ourselves, all halting, hesitating, And choking horror in our hearts, at sight Almost afraid.
Of such a shameless murder and at sight
Of such a martyr, with a chuckling laugh-
Drawled out a drummer-boy.
FROM “ LA VEII.LEE."
“Shoot him!” our captain cried. Not a soul budged. The priest beyond all doubt Soon as her lover to the war had gone, Heard, but as though he heard not. Turning Without or tears or commonplace despair, round,
Irene de Grandfief, a maiden pure He faced us, with the elevated host,
And noble-minded, reassumed the garb Having that period of the service reached That at the convent she had worn-black dress When on the faithful benediction falls.
With narrow pelerine—and the small cross
In silver at her breast. Her piano closed, She would be brave as Roger. So she blushed Her jewels put away-all save one ring,
At her own momentary fear; then, calm
As though the incident a trifle were,
Down to the drawing-room as usual went, .
It had indeed When he learned Been a merę skirmish—that, and nothing more. Our first defeat, the Viscount, as a man
Thrown out as scouts, a few Bavarian soldiers Smitten when joyous at high festival,
Had been abruptly by our Franc-Tireurs Groaned; but his action gallant was and prompt. Surprised and driven off. The distant glades Bidding farewell, and from Irene's brow
Resumed their wonted silence. Culling one silken tress, that he might wear it
“'Twould be well,” In gold medallion close upon his heart,
Remarked Irene, “that an ambulance Without delay or hindrance, in the ranks
Were posted here." He took a private's place. What that war was
In fact, they had picked up Too well is known.
Just at that moment, where the fight had been, Impassible, and speaking A wounded officer-Bavarian was he--Seldom as might be of her absent lover, Shot through the neck. And, when they brought Irene daily, at a certain hour,
him in, Watched at her window till the postman came That tall young man, all pale, eyes closed, and Down o'er the hill along the public road,
bleeding, His mail-bag at his back. If he passed by, Stretched on a mattress, without sigh or shudder Nor any letter left, she turned away,
Irene had him carefully borne up Stifling a long-drawn sigh; and that was all. Into the room by Roger occupied
When he came wooing there. Then, while they But Roger wrote; nor were Irene's fears,
put Up to mid-August, unendurable.
The wounded man to bed, she carried out He with the army was in fact at Metz
Herself his vest and cloak all black with blood; Blocked in. Then, gathering from a fugitive
Bade the old valet wear an air less glum, Who had fled thence that Roger had survived
And stir himself with more alacrity; The earlier battles, she in sight of all
And, when the doctor dressed the wound, lent aid, Held back her rebel tears, and bravely strove
As of the Sisterhood of Charity, To live debarred of tidings. She became
With her own hands. The officer at last, More pious, passing many an hour at church.
Wonder and gratitude upon his face, Often she visited the village poor,
Sank down among the pillows deftly laid. Freest of converse, liberal most, in homes
Then by that drowsy head she took a seat, Whence by the war the sons had been with. As
vitn- Asked for what linen rags might be at hand, drawn.
And wrought them into lint. Irene thus
Bringing the doctor. When he saw his patient, Drew near Irene's château. Uhlans foraged. A strange expression flitted o'er his face, The country round. But all in vain the priest As to himself he muttered : “Yes ; flushed cheek; And the old doctor, in their evening talk
Pulse beating much too high. Phew! a bad Grouped with the family around the hearth,
night; Death for their constant theme before her took. Fever, delirium, and the rest that follows !"No sad foreboding could that young heart know. “But will he die ?" with tremor on her lip Roger at Metz was with his regiment, safe, Irene asked. At the last date unwounded. He was living;
“Who knows? If possible, He must be living; she was sure of that.
I must arrest the fever. This prescription Thus by her faith in faithful love sustained, Often succeeds. But some one must take note Counting her beads, she waited, waited on.
Of the oncoming fits ; must watch till morn,
And tend him closely.” 11.
"Doctor, I am here." Wakened, one morning, with a start, she heard In the far copses of the park shots fired
“ Not you, young lady! Service such as this In quick succession. 'Twas the enemy ! One of your valets can—"