For trust in trial, for work in woe, for comfort and care in sorrow,
The wives of the world are its strength to-day, the daughters it’s
A COUNTRY STORY.
(Founded on an old Legend.)
BY ALFRED H. MILES.
At the little town of Norton, in a famous western
There dwelt a sightless maiden with her venerated sire.
To him she was the legacy her mother had bequeathed;
To her he was the very sun that warmed the air she breathed.
Old Alec was a carter, and he moved from town to town,
Taking parcels from the “The Wheatsheaf” to “The Mitre” or “The
And on festival occasions would the sightless maiden ride
To the old cathedral city by the honest carter’s side.
Ere he tended to his duty at the market or the fair
He would seek the lofty Gothic pile, and leave the maiden there,
That the choir’s joyous singing and the organ’s solemn strain
Might beguile her simple fancy till he journeyed home again.
On the fair autumnal evening of a bright September
She had heard the choir singing, she had heard the canons pray;
And the good old dean was preaching with simple words and wise
Of Him who gave the maiden life and touched the poor man’s eyes.
And her tears fell fast and thickly as the good old
That even now He cures the blind and raises up the dead;
And he aptly went on speaking of the blinding death of sin,
And urged them to be seeking for life and light within.
’Mid the mighty organ’s pealing in the
Through the fine oak-panelled ceiling went the maiden’s broken
That she might but for a moment be allowed to have her sight,
To see old Alec’s honest face that tranquil autumn night.
That He of old who sweetly upon Bartimeus smiled
Would gaze in like compassion on an English peasant child:
That He who once in pity stood beside the maiden’s bed,
Would take her hand within His own and raise her from the dead.
The maiden’s small petition, and the choir’s
Reached the shining gates of heaven, ’mid the sun’s declining rays,
And the King who heard the praises, turned to listen to the prayer,
With a smile that shone more brightly than the richest jewel there.
And before the organ ended, ay, before the prayer
An angel guard came flying through “the kingdom of the sun,”
From the land of lofty praises to which God’s elect aspire
To the old cathedral city of that famous western shire.
And the maiden’s prayer was answered; she gazed
with eager sight
At the tesselated pavement, at the window’s painted light;
And her heart beat fast and wildly as she realized the scene,
With the choir’s slow procession, and the old white-headed dean.