The Saint's Tragedy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 146 pages of information about The Saint's Tragedy.

Con.  ’Twas but a dream.

Eliz.  ’Twas more! ’twas more!  I’ve tests: 
From youth I have lived in two alternate worlds,
And night is live like day.  This was no goblin! 
’Twas a true vision, and my mother’s soul
Is freed by my poor prayers from penal files,
And waits for me in bliss.

Con.  Well—­be it so then. 
Thou seest herein what prize obedience merits. 
Now to press forwards:  I require your presence
Within the square, at noon, to witness there
The fiery doom—­most just and righteous doom—­
Of two convicted and malignant heretics,
Who at the stake shall expiate their crime,
And pacify God’s wrath against this land.

Eliz.  No! no!  I will not go!

Con.  What’s here?  Thou wilt not? 
I’ll drive thee there with blows.

Eliz.  Then I will bear them,
Even as I bore the last, with thankful thoughts
Upon those stripes my Lord endured for me. 
Oh, spare them, sir! poor blindfold sons of men! 
No saint but daily errs,—­and must they burn,
Ah, God! for an opinion?

Con.  Fool! opinions? 
Who cares for their opinions?  ’Tis rebellion
Against the system which upholds the world
For which they die:  so, lest the infection spread,
We must cut off the members, whose disease
We’d pardon, could they keep it to themselves.

[Elizabeth weeps.]

Well, I’ll not urge it,—­Thou hast other work—­
But for thy petulant words do thou this penance: 
I do forbid thee here, to give henceforth
Food, coin, or clothes, to any living soul. 
Thy thriftless waste doth scandalise the elect,
And maim thine usefulness:  thou dost elude
My wise restrictions still:  ’Tis great, to live
Poor, among riches; when thy wealth is spent,
Want is not merit, but necessity.

Eliz.  Oh, let me give! 
That only pleasure have I left on earth!

Con.  And for that very cause thou must forego it,
And so be perfect.  She who lives in pleasure
Is dead, while yet she lives; grace brings no merit
When ’tis the express of our own self-will. 
To shrink from what we practise; do God’s work
In spite of loathings; that’s the path of saints. 
I have said. [Exit with the women.]

Eliz.  Well!  I am freezing fast—­I have grown of late
Too weak to nurse my sick; and now this outlet,
This one last thawing spring of fellow-feeling,
Is choked with ice—­Come, Lord, and set me free. 
Think me not hasty! measure not mine age,
O Lord, by these my four-and-twenty winters. 
I have lived three lives—­three lives. 
For fourteen years I was an idiot girl: 
Then I was born again; and for five years,
I lived!  I lived! and then I died once more;—­
One day when many knights came marching by,
And stole away—­we’ll talk no more of that. 
And so these four years since, I have been dead,
And all my life is hid with Christ in God. 
Nunc igitur dimittas, Domine, servam tuam.

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The Saint's Tragedy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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