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in. The voice that had been so strong
To bid the snare depart, The true and earnest will,
The calm and steadfast heart, Were now weighed down by sorrow,
Were quivering now with pain; The clear path now seemed clouded,
And all her grief in vain.
Duty, Right, Truth, who promised
To help and save their own, Seemed spreading wide their pinions
To leave her there alone. So, turning from the Present
To well-known days of yore, She called on them to strengthen
And guard her soul once more.
v. She thought how in her girlhood Her life was given away, The solemn promise spoken She kept so well to-day;
How to her brother Herbert
She had been help and guide, And how his artist nature
On her calm strength relied.
VI. How through life's fret and turmoil
The passion and fire of art
By her true sister heart;
Been for his sake alone;
Possessed her as its own?
Her home—each flower that breathed there,
The wind's sigh, soft and low, Each trembling spray of ivy,
The river's murmuring flow, The shadow of the forest,
Sunset, or twilight dim— Dear as they were, were dearer
By leaving them for him.
And each year as it found her
In the dull, feverish town, Saw self still more forgotten,
And selfish care kept down By the calm joy of evening .
That brought him to her side, To warn him with wise counsel,
Or praise with tender pride.
IX. Her heart, her life, her future,
Her genius, only meant Another thing to give him,
And be therewith content. To-day, what words had stirred her,
Her soul could not forget? What dream had filled her spirit
With strange and wild regret?
Could it indeed be so?
To bid this vision go?
Was this her faith? Was Herbert The second in her heart?
And yet, within her spirit
A far-off land was seen, A home, which might have held her,
A love, which might have been,
Of daily ebb and flow,
And she had let it go!
Within her heart there echoed
Again the well-known tone That promised this bright future,
And asked her for her own: Then words of sorrow, broken
By half-reproachful pain; And then a farewell, spoken
In words of cold disdain.
Where now was the stern purpose
That nerved her soul so long? Whence came the words she uttered,
So hard, so cold, so strong? What right had she to banish
A hope that God had given? Why must she choose earth's portion,
And turn aside from Heaven?
To-day! Was it this morning?
If this long, fearful strife Was but the work of hours,
What would be years of life? Why did a cruel Heaven
For such great suffering call? And why—Oh, still more cruel!—
Must her own words do all?
Why do we linger still
And do thy gentle will?