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First Angel.

We may reprove

The world for this, not only her :

Let me approach to breathe away

This dust o' the heart with holy air.

Second Angel.

Stand off! She sleeps, and did not pray.

First Angel.

Did none pray for her?

Second Angel.

"Ay, a child,—

Who never, praying, wept before :

While, in a mother undefiled,

Prayer goeth on in sleep, as true

And pauseless as the pulses de

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Evil Spirit in a Nun's garb by the bed.

Forbear that dream-forbear that dream! too near to

heaven it leaned.

Onora, in sleep.

Nay, leave me this-but only this! 't is but a dream,

sweet fiend!

Evil Spirit. It is a thought.

Onora, in sleep.

A sleeping thought-most innocent of good: It doth the Devil no harm, sweet fiend! it cannot, if it


I say in it no holy hymn, I do no holy work,

I scarcely hear the sabbath-bell that chimeth from the kirk.

Evil Spirit.

Forbear that dream-forbear that dream!

Onora, in sleep?

Nay, let me dream at least.

That far-off bell, it may be took for viol at a feast :

I only walk among the fields, beneath the autumn-sun, With my dead father, hand in hand, as I have often done. Evil Spirit.

Forbear that dream-forbear that dream!

Onora, in sleep.

Nay, sweet fiend, let me go!

I never more can walk with him, oh, never more but so ! For they have tied my father's feet beneath the kirkyard


Oh, deep and straight, oh, very straight! they move at nights alone:

And then he calleth through my dreams, he calleth tenderly,

"Come forth, my daughter, my beloved, and walk the fields with me!"

Evil Spirit.

Forbear that dream, or else disprove its pureness by a sign.

Onora, in sleep.

Speak on, thou shalt be satisfied, my word shall answer


I heard a bird which used to sing when I a child was


I see the poppies in the corn I used to sport away in : What shall I do-tread down the dew and pull the blossoms blowing?

Or clap my wicked hands to fright the finches from the


Evil Spirit.

Thou shalt do something harder still. Stand up where thou dost stand

Among the fields of Dreamland with thy father hand in


And clear and slow repeat the vow, declare its cause and


Which not to break, in sleep or wake thou bearest on thy mind.

Onora, in sleep.

I bear a vow of sinful kind, a vow for mournful cause;
I vowed it deep, I vowed it strong, the spirits laughed

applause :

The spirits trailed alone the pines low laughter like a


While, high atween their swinging tops, the stars appeared to freeze.

Evil Spirit.

More calm and free, speak out to me why such a vow was made.

Onora, in sleep.

Because that God decreed my death and I shrank back


Have patience, O dead father mine! I did not fear to die

I wish I were a young dead child and had thy company! I wish I lay beside thy feet, a buried three-year child, And wearing only a kiss of thine upon my lips that


The linden-tree that covers thee might so have shadowed


For death itself I did not fear-'t is love that makes the

pain :

Love feareth death. I was no child, I was betrothed

that day;

I wore a troth-kiss on my lips I could not give away.

How could I bear to lie content and still beneath a stone, And feel mine own betrothed go by-alas! no more

mine own

Go leading by in wedding pomp some lovely lady brave, With cheeks that blushed as red as rose, while mine were white in grave?

How could I bear to sit in heaven, on e'er so high a


And hear him say to her to her! that else he loveth


Though e'er so high I sat above, though e'er so low he


As clear as thunder I should hear the new oath he might


That hers, forsooth, were heavenly eyes-ah me, while very dim

Some heavenly eyes (indeed of heaven !) would darken down to him!

Evil Spirit.

Who told thee thou wast called to death?

Onora, in sleep.

I sat all night beside thee;

The grey owl on the ruined wall shut both his eyes to

hide thee,

And ever he flapped his heavy wing all brokenly and


And the long grass waved against the sky, around his gasping beak.

I sat beside thee all the night, while the moonlight lay


Strewn round us like a dead world's shroud in ghastly fragments torn :

And through the night, and through the hush, and over the flapping wing,

We heard beside the Heavenly Gate the angels murmur

We heard them say, "Put day to day, and count the days

to seven,

And God will draw Onora up the golden stairs of heaven;

"And yet the Evil ones have leave that purpose to defer, For if she has no need of HIM, He has no need of her." Evil Spirit.

Speak out to me, speak bold and free.

Onora, in sleep.

And then I heard thee say—

"I count upon my rosary brown the hours thou hast to


Yet God permits us Evil ones to put by that decree,

Since if thou hast no need of HIM, He has no need of


And if thou wilt forego the sight of angels, verily

Thy true love gazing on thy face shall guess what angels


Nor bride shall pass, save thee". . . Alas!--my father's hand's a-cold,

The meadows seem

Evil Spirit.


Forbear the dream, or let the vow be told. Onora, in sleep.

I vowed upon thy rosary brown, this string of antique


By charnel lichens overgrown, and dank among the


This rosary brown which is thine own,-lost soul of buried nun!

Who, lost by vow, wouldst render now all souls alike undone,

I vowed upon thy rosary brown,-and, till such vow should break,

A pledge always of living days 't was hung around my


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