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Others might plough, and reap, and sow,
Delve in the sunshine, spin in snow,
Make sweet love in a shelter sweet,

Or trundle their dead in a winding-sheet;

But he, through rapture, and pain, and wrong,
Kept singing his one monotonous song,

Ave Maria!


When thunder growled from the ravelled wrack, And ocean to welkin bellowed back,

And the lightning sprang from its cloudy sheath, And tore through the forest with jagged teeth, Then leaped and laughed o'er the havoc wreaked, The idiot clapped with his hands, and shrieked, Ave Maria!


Children mocked, and mimicked his feet,
As he slouched or sidled along the street;
Maidens shrank as he passed them by,
And mothers with child eschewed his eye;
And half in pity, half scorn, the folk
Christened him, from the words he spoke,

Ave Maria.


One year when the harvest feasts were done,
And the mending of tattered nets begun,
And the kittiwake's scream took a weirder key
From the wailing wind and the moaning sea,
He was found, at morn, on the fresh-strewn snow,
Frozen, and faint, and crooning low,

Ave Maria!


They stirred up the ashes between the dogs,
And warmed his limbs by the blazing logs,
Chafed his puckered and bloodless skin,
And strove to quiet his chattering chin;
But, ebbing with unreturning tide,
He kept on murmuring till he died,

Ave Maria!


Idiot, soulless, brute from birth,

He could not be buried in sacred earth ;
So they laid him afar, apart, alone,
Without or a cross, or turf, or stone,
Senseless clay unto senseless clay,

To which none ever came nigh to say,

Ave Maria!


When the meads grew saffron, the hawthorns white,
And the lark bore his music out of sight,

And the swallow outraced the racing wave,
Up from the lonely, outcast grave

Sprouted a lily, straight and high,

Such as She bears to whom men cry,

Ave Maria!


None had planted it, no one knew
How it had come there, why it grew;
Grew up strong, till its stately stem

Was crowned with a snow-white diadem,-
One pure lily, round which, behold!

Was written by God in veins of gold,


"Ave Maria!"

Over the lily they built a shrine,

Where are mingled the mystic bread and wine ;
Shrine you may see in the little town

That is snugly nestled 'twixt deep and down.
Through the Breton land it hath wondrous fame,
And it bears the unshriven idiot's name,

Ave Maria.


Hunchbacked, gibbering, blear-eyed, halt,
From forehead to footstep one foul fault,
Crazy, contorted, mindless-born,

The gentle's pity, the cruel's scorn,
Who shall bar you the gates of Day,
So you have simple faith to say,

Ave Maria?





WHILE Oswald went


about the streets so lightly, and thought so pleasantly of his prospects, another mind, still more agitated than that of Cara, was turning over and over all he had done for the last five or six weeks, and all that he might be about to do in the future. nes in her convent, with all her routine of duties -with the little tinkling bell continually calling her to one thing or another, to matins or evensong, to "meditation," to this service or that, to choir practice, to dinner and tea and recreationcarried a tumult of fancies

about with her, which no one, except perhaps Sister Mary Jane, guessed. Oswald would have stood aghast could he have seen into that little ocean of excited feeling, where the waves rose higher and higher as the hours went on, and sometimes a swelling tide almost swept the thinker herself away-though indeed he would have been so unable to understand it that the inspection would probably have taught him little. How easily he took all this, which was so tremendous to her! and that not only because of the difference betwen man and woman, but because of the fundamental difference in temperament, which was greater still. Agnes had known but little that was lovely or pleasant in her life. Her rectory-home was neither; her father and (mother and brothers and sisters were all vulgar and common place, struggling for existence,



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