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If there be one-one only-who might share

This sanctifying week-day adoration,

Were but our churches open to his prayer,

Why-I demand with earnest iteration

Why are they shut?


They warned me by all that affection could urge,

To repel his advances, and fly from his sight,

They call’d him a fiend, a destroyer, a scourge,

And whisper'd his name with a shudder of fright.

They said that disease went as herald before,

While sorrow and severance followed his track,

They besought me if ever I came to his door,

Not a moment to pause, but turn instantly back.

“ His breath,” they exclaim'd, “is a pestilence foul,


His aspect more hateful than language can tell,

“His touch is pollution,--no Gorgon or Ghoul

“ In appearance and deeds is more loathsome and fell.”

Such stern prohibitions, descriptions so dire,

By which the most dauntless might well be dismay'd, In me only waken’d a deeper desire

To gaze on the monster so darkly portray'd.

I sought him—I saw him-he stood by a marsh,

Where henbane and hemlock with poppies entwined;

He was pale, he was grave, but no feature was harsh,

His eye was serene, his expression was kind.

“This stigmatized being," I cried in surprise,

“Wears a face most benignant; but looks are not facts,

Physiognomy often abuses our eyes ;
“I'll follow his footsteps and judge by his acts.

There came from a cottage a cry of alarm,

An infant was writhing in agonies sore,

His hand rock'd the cradle, its touch was a charm,

The babe fell asleep, and its anguish was o’er.

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He reach'd a proud mansion where, worn by the woe

Of consumption, a Beauty lay wither'd, in bed,

Her pulse he compress'd with his finger, and lo!

The complaint of long years in a moment had fled !

He paused where he heard the disconsolate groan

Of a widow with manifold miseries crush’d;

Where a pauper was left in his sickness to groan,

Both were heal’d at his sight, and their sorrows were


He sped where a king, sorely smitten with age,

In vain sought relief from the pangs he endured ;

“I come,” said the stranger,

'your woes to assuage ;"

He spoke, and the monarch was instantly cured.

Astounded by deeds which appear’d to bespeak

In the fiend a benevolent friend of mankind,

From himself I resolved a solution to seek

Of the strange contradictions that puzzled my mind. “Chase, mystical being," I cried, “this suspense;

“How comes it thou’rt blacken'd by every tongue,

“When in truth thou’rt the champion, the hope, the defence

“Of the king and the beggar, the old and the young?”

“ Thou hast witness’d”—he answer'd-(his voice and his


Were all that is musical, bland, and benign),

“Not a tithe of the blessings I shed on the race

" Who my form and my attributes daily malign. .

“ All distinctions of fortune, of birth, of degree,

Disappear where my levelling banner I wave;

“ From his desolate dungeon the captive I free;

“ His fetters I loose from the suffering slave.

“ And when from their stormy probation on earth,

“ The just and the righteous in peace I dismiss, “I give them a new and more glorious birth In regions of pure and perennial bliss.”

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