It was high noontide when I woke again,
To hear fierce voices wrangling by my bed,—
My father’s and my husband’s; for, with dawn,
Gathering up valor, they had sought the tomb,
Had found me gone, and tracked my bleeding feet
Over the pavement to Antonio’s door.
Dead, they cared nothing: living, I was, theirs.
Hot raged the quarrel; then came Justice in,
And to the court we swept—I in my shroud—
To try the cause.
This was the verdict given:
“A woman who has been to burial borne,
Made fast and left and locked in with the dead;
Who at her husband’s door has stood and plead
For entrance, and has heard her prayer denied;
Who from her father’s house is urged and chased,
Must be adjudged as dead in law and fact.
The Court pronounces the defendant—dead!
She can resume her former ties at will,
Or may renounce them, if such be her will.
She is no more a daughter, or a spouse,
Unless she choose, and is set free to form
New ties, if so she choose.”
O, blessed words!
That very day we knelt before the priest,
My love and I, were wed, and life began.
Child of my child, child of Antonio’s child,
Bend down and let me kiss your wondering face.
’Tis a strange tale to tell a rose like you.
But time is brief, and, had I told you not,
Haply the story would have met your ears
From them, the Amieri, my own blood,
Now turned to gall, whose foul and bitter lips
Will wag with lies when once my lips are dumb.
(Pardon me, Virgin. I was gentle once,
And thou hast seen my wrongs. Thou wilt forgive.)
Now go, my dearest. When they wake thee up,
To tell thee I am dead, be not too sad.
I, who have died once, do not fear to die.
Sweet was that waking, sweeter will be this.
Close to Heaven’s gate my own Antonio sits
Waiting, and, spite of all the Frati say,
I know I shall not stand long at that gate,
Or knock and be refused an entrance there,
For he will start up when lie hears my voice,
The saints will smile, and he will open quick.
Only a night to part me from that joy.
Jesu Maria! let the dawning come.
Darlings of June and brides of summer sun,
Chill pipes the stormy wind, the skies are drear;
Dull and despoiled the gardens every one:
What do you here?
We looked to see your gracious blooms arise
Mid soft and wooing airs in gardens green,
Where venturesome brown bees and butterflies
Should hail you queen.
Here is no bee nor glancing butterfly;
They fled on rapid wings before the snow:
Your sister lilies laid them down to die,
Long, long ago.
And here, amid the slowly dropping rain,
We keep our Easter feast, with hearts whose care
Mars the high cadence of each lofty strain,
Each thankful prayer.