And she looked down the orchard path and the meadow’s
She stood by the stone-walled well that had mirrored her face
when a child,
She saw where the robins built, and her roses clambered wild,
And lingered lost in thought in each low and rustic room.
And she sat in the cottage door while the fair June
On a face as pure as its own, an innocent face, and sweet
As the roses wet with dew that grew so thick at her feet,
White, royal roses, fit for a monarch’s crown.
But at night, when silence and sleep on the lonely
Like a spirit clad in white through the graveyard gate
And the stars bent down to hear, “I have come to you, love,
While through the valley solemnly sounded the midnight bell.
And her southern birds will wait her coming in vain,
Their starry eyes impatiently pierce the palm-trees’ shade,
And her roses droop in their bowers, alone they’ll wither
Roses of June you are gone, but we know you will blossom again.
Who falsely called thee destroyer, still white Angel
Oh not a destroyer here, but a kind restorer, thou,
For the guilty look is gone, died out with her failing breath,
And the sinless peace of a babe has come to lip and brow.
Drowned in the heaving tide with her life, is her
burden of woe,
The dreary weight of sin, the woeful, troublesome years,
The cold pure touch of the water has washed the shame from her brow
Leaving a calm immortal, that looks like the chrism of peace.
I fancy her smile was like this, as she pulled at
her mother’s gown
Drawing her out with childish fingers to watch
the red of the skies
On the old brown doorstep of home, while the peaceful sun
With her mother’s hand on her brow, and the glow of the west
in her eyes.
“An outcast vile and lost,” you say, yes,
she went astray,
Astray, when the crimson wine of life ran fresh and wild,
With mother’s tender hand no more on her brow, put away
The grasses beneath, and she was alone and almost a child.
Like a kid decoyed to its death, the stealthy panther
Mocking the voice of its dam, thus he led the innocent child
Through her tenderness down to ruin, he is a friend of yours,
And admired by all; as you say, “men will be wild.”
But I wonder if God, so far above on His great white
The clanging tumult of trouble and doubt that mortals vex;
When the murmur of a crime sweeps up from earth with woeful moan,
If He pauses, ere He condemns, to ask the offender’s sex.
And if so, whether the weaker or stronger He blames
The tempter or tempted a tithe of His tender compassion claims,
Whether the selfish or too unselfish, those who through love
or lust are lost,
He in His infinite wisdom and mercy most condemns.