Page images

And thought upon his home — his boys— his flock ;-
And then — just at that time—his Tempters shrewd
Stepped in. With altered, gentle, smiling miens,
And words of tenderest pity, now they came ;
And Aatteries tuned too sweetly to the heart.
Would he recant? Oh! would he but renounce
A few of his most glaring errors

A light obedience unto Holy Church -
All were forgiven! Ah! my friend, how

How weak a thing, is the most valiant man!
At words like these he sate upon the ground,
And in his heart a desperate conflict grew,
Of fears and fond desires. This moment came
Before him, death — horrible fire: and then,
His home—his boys— life- liberty— repose !
Oh! 'twas too much for feeble man he fell !
Then was he led into a fair room ; cheered
With wine and food, and kindly-tonëd words :
But oh! his wretched soul! man could not then
Bring light, bring comfort. Left unto himself,
Upon the ground he rolled, and cursed his day;
And dared not lift up eye or heart to God,
Writhing in anguish, and in bitterest shame.

Morn came; and forth they brought him to the hall, To testify his act, and to be free. Grief! Grief! what power is thine! There did he sit, His eyes cast down-his locks, but yester-eve

Jet black, white as the snow ; his bowëd frame
Trembling from head to foot; and when they called,
He heard, or seemed to hear not— till, at length,
His body quivering like the aspen tree,
The tears gushed forth in torrents, and he rose,
Sobbing and sighing, and with many a groan,
Did curse his act,- pour shame upon his head
For his base weakness,- and, from less to more
Growing, did scatter forth such sounds of power-
Of cutting, melting, all-subduing grief,
Such strictures on weak man—such vehement praise
Of God - his Christ- his everlasting grace
And all the marvellous doings of high heaven,-
That scarce were ever such o'erwhelming words
Heard since the world began. All stood amazed ;
And even the eyes of his implacable foes

Wept pity's tears for once.

Poor man! poor man!
Surely in this last hour he will not fail !
Lol. No fear of that! Last night, while thou and I

Did stretch our limbs upon our pleasant beds,
His did they stretch upon the hideous rack.
While we did breathe in a most balmy peace,
Him did they tear with whips and iron screws,
For hours, like busy, hot, and bloodless fiends;
Dragging forth sighs, and groans, and feeble cries,
But not a recreant word! Thou simple man!
Oh! hast thou walked along the cheerful streets

Of this proud city, and didst never think
Of deeds done in its darkness - in its dens-
Where cruel hands are armed with cruel power,
And wretched things abide, that think of earth
And of its sunshine, as thou dost of heaven?

Thou know'st not this, but he hath known it all! Count. Peace! peace! I cannot bear it! Hark! that

shoutLol. They come! they come! see, see that moving


Once more,

There, be thou sure, he is. Oh! let us pray
That God may strengthen and sustain him now !
[Sheriff and men advance, beating back the people with

their halberts). Sher. Men. Make way! make way!

[The prisoner is seen at the stake. A monk approaches him). Monk.

Thou poor, misguided man,

I do conjure thee, save thy life.
Be wise accept the church's offered mercy.
MART. No! no! her mercies I have felt too well!

Witness this stake -- these faggots! Witness these
My miserable, mangled, shattered limbs !
Witness your midnight tortures, taught of hell !
No! Do! There lacks no mercy of the church
But fire, that speedily will waste this frame,
And send me where tormentors never come.
And ye, good people, mark what is your

doom If ye should dare to worship God, and not

Worship as well the mammon of the church.
Look on these deeds, and judge of those who do them!
And when ye see stars brighter than the moon;
And when, in spite of myriad feet that tread
And crush its bosom, shall the ground refuse
To send forth grass, flowers and abundant fruit,
Then be ye sure that cruelty is truth,
And these its ministers. God bless you

all !

[The pile is lit) Count. Off! off! Let us be gone !- this is too much

For mortal flesh to bear. LoL.

Nay, nay-stand still, And steel thyself to see the power of God. SPEC. Well! doubt ye that the fire will conquer him? 2nd Spec. Methinks, although he is a desperate man,

’T will quail him. 3rd SPEC.

May God pardon him, if wrong ! But if he should be right—and right he is

In heart, if not in head 1st SPEC.

What! say'st thou so? 3rd Spec. I say, I wish we all were good as he ! Lol. Hark! hark ! how cheerfully he sings aloud,

Amid the smoke and flame. Hark! hark! again,

How he doth pray, and bless his enemies!
Count. Off! off! Let us be gone! I cannot stand !

My brain swims round ! my limbs are weak as grass !
Oh! what a memory to my dying day
Shall I bear with me! Oh! that voice! that voice!




If minds were moulded of the elements,
Some, we might think, were formed in cloudy tents
Of rattling thunders; while the lightning 's stream
Baptized them at their birth, so much they seem
Creatures of storm and fire. Still blazing on
Wherever strife stirred and honour won,
They peal above the factions of this world
Like thunder among Alpine summits hurled.
But the beloved Seer, whose even mind
In loving Christ had learned to love mankind,
Why was he named of Thunder ? * Storms of life
Ne'er roused his gentle spirit into strife,
But as a lake, around whose margin rise
Tall woods and cliffs, that seem to touch the skies ;-
Fenced from intrusive winds, serenely blue,
Takes from the sky its deepest, purest hue,
And lies so still, a child his skiff might guide,
E'en in his mother's sight, across its tide,-
So in his soul such love and peace combined,
Learnt from his Lord, that not a holy mind

* See Mark iii. 17.

« EelmineJätka »