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And the cloud of her soul was lifted,
A beam of the slant west sunshine
She kissed it on lip and forehead,
O, fair on her bridal morning
Was the maid who blushed and smiled,
But fairer to Ezra Dalton
Looked the mother of his child.
With more than a lover's fondness
"Blessed be God!" he murmured.
"Now mount and ride, my goodman,
His horse he saddled and bridled,
He rode through the silent clearings,
And thrice he called to the boatman
He set his horse to the river,
He swam to Newbury town, And he called up Justice Sewall In his nightcap and his gown.
And the grave and worshipful justice
Then through the night the hoof-beats
TILL sits the school-house by the road,
And blackberry vines are running.
Within, the master's desk is seen,
The charcoal frescos on its wall;
Long years ago a winter sun
It touched the tangled golden curls,
For near her stood the little boy
His cap pulled low upon a face
Where pride and shame were mingled.
Pushing with restless feet the snow
To right and left, he lingered;
As restlessly her tiny hands
The blue-checked apron fingered.
He saw her lift her eyes; he felt
"I'm sorry that I spelt the word:
HE robins sang in the orchard, the buds into blossoms grew;
Little of human sorrow the buds and the robins knew!
Sick, in an alien household, the poor French neutral lay;
Through the dusty window, curtained by the spider's warp and woof,
The bedquilt's faded patchwork, the teacups on the stand,
What to her was the song of the robin, or warm morning light,
Done was the work of her hands, she had eaten her bitter bread;
But her soul went back to its childtime; she saw the sun o'erflow
The low, bare flats at ebb-tide, the rush of the sea at flood,
The gulls in the red of morning, the fish-hawk's rise and fall,
She saw the face of her mother, she heard the song she sang;
By her bed the hard-faced mistress sat, smoothing the wrinkled sheet,
With a vague remorse atoning for her greed and long abuse,
Up the stairs of the garret softly the son of the mistress stepped,
"Be she Papist or beggar who lies here, I know and God knows
"Oh mother! that sweet face came pleading, for love so athirst. You saw but the town-charge; I knew her God's angel at first."
Shaking her gray head, the mistress hushed down a bitter cry;
She murmured a psalm of the Bible; but closer the young girl pressed, With the last of her life in her fingers, the cross to her breast.
"My son, come away," cried the mother, her voice cruel grown.
But he knelt with his hand on her forehead, his lips to her ear,
She paused on the threshold of heaven; love, pity, surprise,
With his heart on his lips he kissed her, but never her cheek grew red, And the words the living long for he spake in the ear of the dead.
And the robins sang in the orchard, where buds to blossoms grew;