Two long years did intervene
Since they’d either of them seen,
Or, by letter, any word
Of their old companion heard,—
When, upon a day, once walking,
Of indifferent matters talking,
They a female figure met;—
Martha said to Margaret,
“That young maid in face does carry
A resemblance strong of Mary.”
Margaret, at nearer sight,
Own’d her observation right:
But they did not far proceed
Ere they knew ’twas she indeed.
She—but ah! how chang’d they view her
From that person which they knew her!
Her fine face disease had scarr’d,
And its matchless beauty marr’d:—
But enough was left to trace
Mary’s sweetness—Mary’s grace.
When her eye did first behold them,
How they blush’d!—but, when she told them
How on a sick bed she lay
Months, while they had kept away,
And had no inquiries made
If she were alive or dead;—
How, for want of a true friend,
She was brought near to her end,
And was like so to have died,
With no friend at her bed-side;—
How the constant irritation,
Caus’d by fruitless expectation
Of their coming, had extended
The illness, when she might have mended,—
Then, O then, how did reflection
Come on them with recollection!
All that she had done for them,
How it did their fault condemn!
But sweet Mary, still the
Kindly eas’d them of their shame;
Spoke to them with accents bland,
Took them friendly by the hand;
Bound them both with promise fast,
Not to speak of troubles past;
Made them on the spot declare
A new league of friendship there;
Which, without a word of strife,
Lasted thenceforth long as life.
Martha now and Margaret
Strove who most should pay the debt
Which they ow’d her, nor did vary
Ever after from their Mary.
I have taught your young lips the good
words to say over,
Which form the petition we call the Lord’s Pray’r,
And now let me help my dear child to discover
The meaning of all the good words that are there.
“Our Father,” the same appellation is given
To a parent on earth, and the parent of all—
O gracious permission, the God that’s in heaven
Allows his poor creatures him Father to call.
To “hallow his name,” is to
think with devotion
Of it, and with reverence mention the same;
Though you are so young, you should strive for some notion
Of the awe we should feel at the Holy One’s name.
His “will done on earth, as it is
done in heaven,”
Is a wish and a hope we are suffer’d to breathe,
That such grace and favour to us may be given,
Like good angels on high we may live here beneath.