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“What hast thou?" she of the child did ask,
“ Most holy abbess, some oil in a flask.”
Then Geneviève raised her saintly hand,
The bottle in pieces smash'd,
The fluid spilt on the thirsty sand,
And the fiend flew off abash'd ;
Then merely by words the potent Saint
Restored the vessel whole,
Refill'd and blest, lest the evil taint
Might peril the bearer's soul;
(How many of us unknowing carry,
How few can behold, and resist, Old Harry!)
And thus, the Evil One's game to spoil,
St. G., with opportune blow, struck oil.
When in her honour they erected
The church that still upholds the name
Of Geneviève, an unexpected
Misfortune on the builders came-
Their liquor fail'd. What could they do?
For labour ever is athirst,
And in such daily workers' view
Drought is of evils far the worst.
They came to HER; she pray'd and tapp'd
A huge jar with her fingers fine,
And lo! “ane merveillous thynge there happ'd ;"
The vase at once was fill'd with wine!
And till the fane was rear'd aloft,
That blessed “ tap” was never out;
The workmen drank" as much and oft
As they inclined." I greatly doubt
If such a plan would prosper here
With British workmen and their beer.
X. But ’midst her many miracles of mercy and of might The saving of her chosen town shines out with brightest light. When dreadful Attila the Hun, with all his savage clan, Who call'd himself the “ Scourge of God," and was the scourge of man, Swoop'd like a vulture down on Gaul, and murder'd, robb’d, and sack'd, Poor Paris very naturally fear'd to be attack’d. A panic seized the city, and its burgesses resolved, By timely fleeing, to avoid the ruin thus involved. But earnestly their patroness restrain'd and calm'd their fears, And bade them soften Heaven's wrath with penitential tears ; And tho' the Devil stirr'd them up to murmur and oppose, Aid',even threaten her with death, she triumph'd o'er all foes ;
Her prayers prevail'd, the city 'scaped a climax so distressful,
Whilst in the other parts of Gaul the Huns were huns-successful :
Altho' their numbers seem'd to give their opponents no chance,
The Romans, Franks, and Visigoths expell’d them all from France;
To Geneviève, 'twas very plain, this miracle was owing,
It set the flower of her fame “ a-blowing and a-growing."
Five years of safety pass'd, and then
King Merovée, with all his men,
Long down before Lutetia sate,
And nought could now avert her fate;
For she was doom'd, by Heaven's decree,
The world's “
gay capital” to be.
So Paris fell, but Geneviève
Still like an angel did behave;
She could not save it from the Franks,
But she could earn a nation's thanks
And blessings, by her pious deeds
Of ministration to their needs.
Fell Famine, with its grisly touch,
Soon thinn'el the population much,
So off she started up the Seine,
In neighbouring parts to gather grain,
And here a miracle befell
Which briefly I proceed to tell.
Beneath the stream there grew a tree
(How it came there perplexeth me),
And on its branches gnarl'd and jagg'd,
Unlucky boats were often “snagg’d,"
And all their passengers and freight
Involved in one destructive fate.
The Saint, whose vessel near'd the spot,
Was threaten'd with the common lot;
Two hideous heads of giant size
Sudden from out the waves did rise.
Such Spirits then were strong in water,
These in their clutches nearly caught her,
But she, defying their attacks,
Pray'd and commanded that the axe
Should to the tree's foul roots be laid.
'Twas done; the monsters fled dismay'd,
And from that day the stream was clear;
Nor did the spirits re-appear.
(P.S.—This miracle, as some maintain,
Occurrd upon the coast of Spain.)
Soon back in triumph Geneviève was borne,
Bringing eleven boats well cramm'd with corn;
To her it was enjoyment most intense
This food to starving sufferers to dispense ;
She even baked the bread herself, and drew
Some out half-baked to feed the weaker few
(Under the rose); yet, when the batch was finish'd
'Twas found the tale of loaves was undiminish'd.
One other wondrous deed will I detail,
Then haste to close, for space begins to fail.
King Chilpóric 'twas vain to seek,
For none knew where to find him,
From Paris gay he had sneak'd away,
And shut the gates behind him.
That king had doom'd twelve men to die
We do not know exactly why-
But France had then a full supply
Of crime and immorality.
The monarch had preferr'd to leave,
Lest Geneviève (or “ Jenny Veeve")
Should come and beg for a reprieve,
Averting the fatality.
She learnt the fact, and quickly went,
The king's design to circumvent,
And triumph in the good intent
She carried out so trustily.
She reach'd the gate, St. Martin hight,
But there the warder impolite
Her plea refused, still kept it tight,
And growl'd at her most crustily.
But soon that warder changed his tone,
When wide the gate was open thrown,
And unseen angels laid him prone,
And made him bellow lustily.
With mighty helpers such as these,
What needed she the aid of keys ?
St. Geneviève released with ease
The culprits from their durance,
And then she sought and found the king,
And managed him to terms to bring,
And give consent to everything
That wrought their lives' insurance.
No saint in all the calendar
Carried her healing powers so far
As Geneviève, tho' no degree
She held of surgeon or M.D.
She cured the blind, as we have told,
And ailments half a lifetime old,
And madness nothing could withstand,
All melted 'neath her gentle hand.
Those “shocks to which the flesh is heir"
She never look'd on with despair.
A child, who once to see her came,
Was deaf, and dumb, and blind, and lame,
And “past all surgery," one would think,
Yet did the patroness not shrink
From such a case; her prayers were heard,
Her sacred oil administer'd,
And soon the child began to talk,
To hear, and see, and jump, and walk;
Nay, Geneviève, 'tis even said,
Could raise up those already dead,
As instanced by a child who fell
With fatal force into a well,
But whom the Saint's all-healing power
Restored to life in half an hour.
The virgin Saint was now grown rather passee
(Most ladies are at eighty-three or so), And had she deign'd to stand before a glass, a
Reflection sad that glass had had to show; For beans and bread, and vigils, tears, and fasting
Are apt to fail—if beauty be their goal, But they develop what is far more lasting-
A starving body makes a fatted soul.
No wonder she was very often ailing,
When we observe how all her life she cried ;
Her own and other people's sins bewailing,
It seems no wonder that at last she died.
For she was ever prone to weep,
And weep with right goodwill ;
Awake, she cried with sadness deep ;
Asleep, she sorrow'd still:
Her chamber-floor was like a sea,
Its boards her tears did drench,
She was a second Niubé
Translated into French.
It could not, could not last,
Such anguish unremitting,
Her sainted spirit pass'd
To regions more befitting.
She died, and then-O dear!
What sorrow was created,
The town went mad with sheer
It was about the year of grace 500
Her soul from clayey tenement was sunder'd; Her heavenly passport was made out and sign'd Ere in the tomb her body was enshrined,
But miracles began almost before
Her soul had time to knock at Peter's door;
Cured were the mad and sick, and blind and lame,
All other physic quite a "drug" became,
And those who tried the panacea were fain
To own that now "physicians were in vain."
The wealth upon her shrine exceeds belief,
Until it was annex'd" by midnight thief.
Upon the tomb, where lies this best of women,