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A DEWDROP FALLING.

51

A GENIAL MOMENT OFT HAS GIVEN. - Trenck.

A GENIAL moment oft has given
What
years

of toil and pain,
Of long industrious toil, have striven

To win, and all in vain.

Yet count not, when thine end is won,

That labor merely lost ;
Nor
say

it had been wiser done
To spare the painful cost.

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When heaped upon the altar lie

All things to feed the fire,
One spark alighting from on high, -

The flames at once aspire.

But those sweet gums and fragrant woods,

Its rich materials rare,
By tedious quest o'er lands and floods

Had first been gathered there.

A DEWDROP FALLING. - Trench.

A DEWDROP, falling on the wild sea wave,
Exclaimed in fear,- I perish in this grave!
But, in a shell received, that drop of dew
Unto a pearl of marvellous beauty grew;
And, happy now, the grace did magnify
Which thrust it forth, as it had feared, to die;

Until again," I perish quite,” it said,
Torn by rude diver from its ocean bed;
O unbelieving ! - so it came to gleam
Chief jewel in a monarch's diadem.

THE SEED MUST DIE. – Trench.

The seed must die, before the corn appears
Out of the ground, in blade and fruitful ears.
Low must those ears by sickle's edge be lain,
Ere thou canst treasure up the golden grain.
The grain is crushed before the bread is made,
And the bread broke ere life to man conveyed.
O, be content to die, to be laid low,
And to be crushed, and to be broken so ;
If thou upon God's table may'st be bread,
Life-giving food for souls an hungered !

THE PRIORESS'S TALE.

Chaucer.

There was in Asia, in a great city,

Amongès Christian folk a Jewery, Sustained by a lord of that country,

For foul usure and lucre of villainy,

Hateful to Christ and to his company; And through the street men mighten ride and wend, For it was free, and open at either end.

A little school of Christian folk there stood

Down at the further end, in which there were Children a heape comen of Christian blood,

THE PRIORESS'S TALE.

53

That learned in that schoolè year by year

Such manner doctrine as men usèd there ;
This is to say, to singen and to read,
As smallè children do in their childhede.

Among these children was a widow's son,

A little clergion, seven years of age, That day by day to schoolè was his won 2 ;

And eke also, whereas he saw the image

Of Christès mother, had he in usage,
As him was taught, to kneel adown, and say,
Ave Maria, as he go'th by the way.

Thus hath this widow her little son ytaught

Our blissful Lady, Christès mother dear,
To worship aye, and he forgot it nought;

For sely 3 childè will alway soon lere ; 4
But
aye

when I remember on this mattère,
Saint Nicholas stant 5 ever in my presènce,
For he so young to Christ did reverence.
This little child his little book learning,

As he sat in the school at his primère, He Alma Redemptoris heardè sing,

As children learned their antiphonere ;

And as he durst, he drew him near and near, And hearkened aye the wordès and the note, Till he the firstè verse could all by rote.

6

Nought wist? he what this Latin was to say,

For he so young and tender was of age ; But on a day his fellow 'gan to pray

1 Young clerk. 5 Standeth.

Knew.

2 Custom. 3 Simple.

4 Learn. 6 Chanting alternate verses of the Psalms.

T'expounden him this song in his language,

Or tell him why this song was in usage; This pray'd he him to construe and declare, Full often time upon his kneès bare.

His fellow, which that elder was than he,

Answered him thus: “ This song, I have heard say, Was makèd of our blissful Lady free, 1

Her to salue, 2 and eke her for to pray

To be our help and succour when we dey.3
I can no more expound in this mattère :
I learné song ; I can + but small grammère."

“And is this song makèd in reverence

Of Christès mother?” said this innocent : “ Now certès I will do my diligence

To conn 5 it all ere Christèmas be went,

Though that I for my primer shall be shent,
And shall be beaten thriès in an hour,
I will it conn our Lady for thonòur.'

His fellow taught him homeward privily

From day to day till he could it by rote, And then he sang it well and boldèly

From word to word according with the note :

Twiès a day it passed through his throat, To schoolward and homeward when he went ; On Christès mother set was his intent.

As I have said, throughout the Jewery

This little child, as he came to and fro, Full merrily then would he sing and cry,

3 Die.

1 Bountiful.

2 Praise. 4 Know.

5 Learn. Punished, — the strict meaning is ruined.

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THE PRIORESS'S TALE.

55

O Alma Redemptoris ! ever mo.

The sweetness hath his heartè piercèd so
Of Christès mother, that to her to pray
He cannot stint of singing by the way.
Our firstè foe, the serpent Sathanas,

That hath in Jewès heart his waspès nest,
Up swelled and said : “ O Ebraike people, alas!
Is this to you a thing that is honest,

That such a boy shall walken as him lest
In your despite, and sing of such sentènce,
Which is against our lawès reverence ?
From thennèsforth the Jewès have conspired

This innocent out of this world to chase :
A homicidè thereto have they hired,

That in an alley had a private place,

And as the child 'gan forth by for to pace,
This cursed Jew him hent 2 and held him fast,
And cut his throat, and in a pit him cast.
I say that in a wardrope 3 they him threw,

Where as these Jewès casten their offàle.
O cursèd folk ! of Herodès all-new, 4

What may your evil intente you avail ?

Murder will out, certain it will not fail ; And namely there the honour of God shall spread The blood out crieth on your cursèd deed. This poorè widow waiteth all that night

After her little child, and he came nought ;
For which, as soon as it was dayès light,

With facè pale of dread and busy thought,
She hath at school and ellèswhere him sought,

i Cease.
3 Drain, common sewer.

? Caught.
4 Fresh-revived.

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