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Racked, prisoned, poor, and miserable,

Thou shalt be, even as they !" Down on the floor sank Marien,

And, “Oh, dear Lord," she cried, " Assist thy poor and trembling one

This awful hour to bide ;
Let me be strong to do thy will,

Like him who bowed, and died !"
They took her:--of that prison house,

The secrets who may say ?Racked, fettered, captived, in their power,

The gentle Marien lay; Captive within their torture-halls

A long night and a day!


“And all this shall be thine," they said,

“All this be thine, and more, So thou wilt bind thyself to us,

And leave the weak and poor! “Thou that art weak and poor thyself,

A crowned queen shalt be!" Said Marien, “In the wilderness

The Tempter came, and he Offered to Jesus Christ such gifts

As now ye offer me!" Those rugged brows grew dark. “Come now

With us," they fiercely said, " And see what never daylight saw,

The halls of dool and dread!"
Then unto chambers hidden, vast,

Mysterious, far from view,
They led her; there was set the rack,

The knotted cord, the screw,
And many a horrid instrument,

Whose dark ensanguined hue Told of their purpose, “These,” said they, “Many strange wonders do! " Look well; could'st thou endure these things ?

Strong men have died ere now
Under their torment; men were they,

A little child art thou !"
Then Marien meekly answered, “What

God suffereth you to dare,
He, to whom darkness is as light,

Will strengthen me to bear!"
"Come onward yet,” they said ; and down

Damp, broken stairs they went; Down, down to hidden vaults of stone,

Through vapours pestilent. And then with sullen iron keys

They opened doors of stone;
And heavy chainèd captives there

They showed her, one by one.
Old, white-haired men; men middle-aged,

That had been strong of limb;
But each, now pallid, hollow-eyed,

Like spectres worn and dim.
And many, as the dull door oped,

Ne'er lifted up the head ;Heart-broken victims of long pain,

Whose very hope was dead. Others with feverish restlessness

Sprang up, and with quick cry,
That thrilled the hearer to the soul,

Demanded liberty.
With bleeding heart went Marien on;

And her conductors spake,
“ These are our victims; these await

The rack, the cord, the stake.
" And as these are, so shalt thou be,

If thou our will gainsay ;
Accept our service, pride, and power;

Or, on this very day,

THEN forth they brought her; gave her wine

And pleasant food to eat;
And “rest thee, Marien, in our arms,”

Sung syren voices sweet.
" Rest thee within our arms; refresh

Thy fainting soul with wine ; Eat and be glad ; forget the past,

And make all pleasure thine !" “Tempt me not!" said the feeble child,

“Take hence your spicèd bowl ; Is 't not enough to rack my limbs,

But you must vex my soul ?
“Look at my flesh, which ye have torn;

Look at your bloody rack;—
Take hence your gists, and let me go

To my own people back.
“To my own people let me go,

A bruised and broken reed;
I for your purpose am unmeet;

Let me go hence with speed."
So, in her weakness, prayed the child;

But those remorseless men,
More dead than living, bore her back

Unto their prison-den.
Into a noisome prison-house,

With iron-doors made fast, 'Mong felons and 'mong murderers,

Was gentle Marien cast. Upon the hard, cold prison-floor

Sick unto death she lay,
As if God had forsaken her,

For many a weary day.
She thought of her sweet forest life,

And of those creatures small,
Weak, woodland creatures, tamed by love

That came unto her call.
She thought of him, the forest-lord,

And of the forest-grange;
Of the delicious life she led,
With liberty to range.

Thus, amid blessings, prayers, and tears

About the break of day,
She left the city, praising God
For her release; and swiftly trod

Upon her unknown way.


And as she thought, even as a child's,

The ceaseless tears did flow, For torturing pain and misery

llad brought her spirit low, When one from out the felon-band

Came sofily to her side,
And“ do not weep, thou little child !"

With pitying voice, he cried.
“At sight of thee, I know not why,

My softened heart doth burn, And the gone tenderness of youth

Doth to my soul return.
“I think upon my early days,

Like unto days of heaven;
And I, that have not wept for years,
Even as a child, shed ceaseless tears,

And pray to be forgiven!"
“ Blessèd be God!” said Marien,

And rose up from the floor; "I was not hither brought in vain!

His mercy I adore, Who out of darkness brought forth light!"

And thus she wept no more. But ever of the Saviour taught;

How he came down to win,
With love, and suffering manifold,

The sinner from his sin.
How, not to kings and mighty men

He came, nor to the wise,
But to the thief and murderer,

And those whom men despise.
And how, throughout the host of heaven

Goes yet a louder praise
O'er one poor sinner who doth turn

From his unrighteous ways,
Than o'er a hundred godly men,

Who sin not all their days. Thus with the felons she abode,

And that barred prison rude Was as if angels dwelt therein,

And not fierce men of blood; For God had her captivity

Turned into means of good. Now all this while sweet Marien's friends,

Who in the town remained, or her took painful thought, resolved

Her freedom should be gained.
And at the last they compassed it,

With labour long and great;
And through the night they hurried her

Unto the city-gate.
There many a mother stood, and child,

Weeping with friendly woe,
Thus, thus to meet, as 'twere from death,

And then to bid her go.
To bid her go, whom so they loved,

Nor once more see her face;
To bid her go; to speed her forth

To some more friendly place.

A BOW-Shot from the city.gate

Turned Marien from the plain,
Intent by unfrequented ways

The mountain-land to gain.
With bounding step she onward went,

Over the moorland fells;
O'er fragrant tracks of purple thyme,

And crimson heather-bells.
Joyful in her release she went,

Still onward yet, and higher;
Up many a mossy, stony steep,
Through many a flock of mountain sheep,
By the hill-tarns so dark and deep,

As if she could not tire.
Onward and upward still she went

Among the breezy hills,
Singing for very joyfulness

Unto the singing rills. The days of her captivity,

The days of fear and pain, Were past, and now through shade and shine

She wandered free again.
Free, like the breezes of the hill,

Free, like the waters wild ;
And in her fullness of delight,
Unceasingly from height to height

Went on the blessed child.

And ever when she needed food,

Some wanderer of the hill Drew forth the morsel from his scrip,

And bade her eat her fill.

For He who fed by Cherith-brook

The prophet in his need,
Of this his wandering little one

Unceasingly had heed.
And ever when she needed rest,

Some little cove she found,
So green, so sheltered, and so still,
Upon the bosom of the hill,

As angels girt it round.
Thus hidden 'mong the quiet hills

Alone, yet wanting nought,
She dwelt secure, until her foes

For her no longer sought. Then forth she journeyed. Soon the hills

Were of more smooth descent; And downward now, and onward still, Toward the sea she went,

Toward the great sea for many days;

And now she heard its roar;
Had sunlit glimpses of it now,

And now she trod the shore.
A rugged shore of broken cliffs,

And barren wave-washed sand,
Where only the dry sea-wheat grew

By patches on the strand.
A weary way walked Marien

Beside the booming sea,
Nor boat, nor hut, nor fisherman

Throughout the day saw she.
A weary, solitary way;

And as the day declined
Over the dark and troubled sea

A rose a stormy wind.
The heavy waves came roaring in

With the strong coming tide;
The rain poured down, aud deep dark night

Closed in on every side.
There stood the homeless Marien

With bare, unsandaled feet;
And on her form, with pitiless force,

The raging tempest beat.
Clasping her hands, she stood forlorn,

"In tempest, and in night:" She cried, “ Oh Lord, I trust in thee,

And thou wilt lead me right!" Now underneath a shelving bank

Of sea-driven sand, there stood
A miserable hut, the home

Of a poor fisher good,
Whose loving wife but yesternight

Died in his arms, and he,
Since that day's noon, alone had been

Casting his nets at sea.
At noon he kissed his little ones,

And would be back, he said,
Long ere night closed ; but with the night

Arose that tempest dread.
It was an old and crazy boat,

Wherein the man was set,
And soon 't was laden heavily

With many a laden net. "Oh sorrow, sorrow!" groaned he forth,

As rose the sudden squall, Thinking upon the mother dead,

And on his children small. "Oh sorrow, sorrow!" loud he cried,

As the helm flew from his hand, And he knew the boat was sinking

But half a league from land.
« Oh sorrow, sorrow!" as he sank

Was still his wailing cry;
And Marien heard amid the storm,
That voice of misery.


Now all this while the children small

Kept in their dreary place, Troubled and sad, and half afear'd

Of their dead mother's face. And when, to while the time, they played

With shells beside the door, They found they had not hearts for mirth,

And so they played no more. Yet keeping up with forced content

Their hearts as best they might,
Still wishing afternoon were gone,

And it was only night.
But when, hour after hour went on,

And the night tempest black
Raged o'er the stormy sea, and still

The father came not back;
It would have touched a heart of stone

To see their looks of fear -
So young and so forlorn; - their words

Of counsel small to hear.
And now they shouted through the storm ;

And then with better wit,
As they had seen their mother do,

A fire of wood they lit,
That he might see the light afar

And steer his boat by it.
Unto this light came Marien;

And ere her weary feet
Had reached the floor, the children ran

With eager arms to meet
Their loving father, as they thought,

And give him welcome sweet.
Alas! the father even then

Had run his mortal race ;
But God had sent his Comforter

To fill his earthly place.


Woe's me, what secret tears are shed,

What wounded spirits bleed ; What loving hearts are sundered,

And yet man takes no heed! He goeth on his daily course,

Made fat with oil and wine,
And pitieth not the weary souls

That in his bondage pine ;
That turn for him the mazy wheel;

That delve for him the mine.
And pitieth not the children small,

In noisy factories dim,
That all day long, lean, pale, and faint,

Do heavy tasks for him!
To him they are but as the stones

Beneath his feet that lie:
It entereth not his thoughts that they
From him claim sympathy.

And everywhere kind Christian folks

They found, as Marien said, Who gave them lodging for the night,

And gave them daily bread.

It entereth not his thoughts that God

Heareth the sufferer's groan, That in his righteous eye, their life

Is precious as his own.
This moves him not. But let us now

Unto the fisher's shed,
Where sat his weeping little ones

Three days beside the dead.
It was a solitary waste

Of barren sand, which bore
No sign of human dwelling-place

For miles along the shore.
Yet to the scattered dwellers there

Sped Marien, and besought
That of the living and the dead

They would take Christian thought. So in the churchyard by the sea.

The senseless dead was laid : “And now what will become of us !"

The weeping children said.

“For who will give us bread to eat?

The neighbours are so poor! And he, our kinsman in the town,

Would drive us from his door.

And thus they pilgrimed, day by day,

Alone yet not cast down,
Strengthened by Marien's company,

Unto the sea-port town.
A busy town beside the sea,

Where men were all astir,
Buying and selling; eager-eyed,
Two different races, yet allied, -

Merchant and mariner.
A place of ships, whose name was known

Far off, beyond the main;
A busy place of trade, where nought

Was in repute but gain.
Thither they came, those children poor,

About the eventide ;
And where dwelt he, their kinsman rich,

They asked on every side.
After long asking, one they found,

An old man and a poor,
Who undertook to lead them straight

Unto the kinsman's door.
But ever as he went along

He to himself did say,
Low broken sentences, as thus,

“Their kinsman !- well-a-way!" All through a labyrinth of walls

Blackened with cloudy smoke, He led them, where was heard the forge

And the strong hammer's stroke. And beneath lofty windows dim

In many a doleful row, Whence came the jangle of quick looms,

Down to the courts below. Still on the children, terrified,

With wildered spirits passed ; Until of these great mammon halls,

They reached the heart at last, A little chamber hot and dim,

With iron bars made fast.

" For he is rich and pitiless,

With heart as cold as stone! Who will be parents to us now

That ours are dead and gone ?" “ Weep not,” said faithful Marien,

“Man's heart is not so hard, But it your friendless misery

Will tenderly regard ! “And I with you will still abide

Your friendless souls to cheer, Be father and mother both to you;

for this God sent me here.
“ And to your kinsman in the town,

Who hath such store of gold,
I will convey you: God can change

His spirit stern and cold.
“ And ye, like angels of sweet love,

From earth his soul may win.
Fear not; and we with morning light

The journey will begin."
They took their little worldly store ;

And at the break of day,
Leaving the lonesome sea-side shed,

Set out upon their way. 'Mong sandy hills their way they wound;

O'er sea-grass dusk and harsh ;
By many a land-mark lone and still ;

Through many a salt sea-marsh.
And thus for twice seven days they went

A little loving band,
Walking along their weary way ;

Like angels, hand in hand.

There sate the kinsman, shrunk and lean,

And leaden-eyed and old, Busied before a lighted lamp

In sealing bags of gold.

The moment that they entered in,

He clutched with pallid fear His heavy bags, as if he thought

That sudden thieves were near. « Rich man!” said Marien, “ope thy bags

And of thy gold be free, Make gladsome cheer, for Heaven hath sent

A blessing unto thee!" “What !" said the miser, " is there news Of my lost argosy ?"

"Better than gold, or merchant-ships,

Is that which thou shalt win," Said Marien, “ thine immortal soul

From its black load of sin." " Look at these children, thine own blood,"

And then their name she told;
"Open thine heart to do them good,

To love them more than gold;-
And what thou givest will come back

To thee, a thousand-fold !"
" Ah," said the miser, “even these

Some gainful work may do,
My looms stand still; of youthful hands

I have not half enow;
I shall have profit in their toil;

Yes, child, thy words are true!"
" Thou fool!" said Marien, “still for gain,

To cast thy soul away!
The Lord be judge 'twixt these and thee

Upon his reckoning day!
“These little ones are fatherless,

He sees them day and night; And as thou doest unto them,

On thee he will requite!" “Gave I not alms upon a time?"

Said he, with anger thrilled ; " And when I die, give I not gold,

A stately church to build ? “What wouldst thou more ? my flesh and blood

I seek not to gainsay.
But what I give, is it unmeet

Their labour should repay !"
So saying, in an iron chest,

He locked his bags of gold,
And bade the children follow him,

In accents harsh and cold.

And the sweet memory of the past,

The white sands stretching wide;
Their father's boat wherein they played,

Upon the rocking tide ;
The sandy shells; the sea-mew's scream;

The ocean's ceaseless boom;
Came to them like a troubling dream,

Within the noisy loom.
Wo-worth those children, hard bested,

A weary life they knew;
Their hands were thin; their cheeks were pale

That were of rosy hue.
The miser kinsman in and out

Passed ever and anon;
Nor ever did he speak a word,

Except to urge them on.
Wo-worth those children, hard bested,

They worked the livelong day;
Nor was there one, save Marien,

A soothing word to say :-
So, amid toil and pain of heart,

The long months wore away.
The long, the weary months passed on,

And the hard kinsman told
Over his profits; every loom

Increased the board of gold;
“ 'Tis well!” said he, “ let more be spun

That more may yet be sold !"
So passed the time; and with the toil

Of children weak and poor,
The sordid kinsman's treasure-hoards

Increased more and more.
But ere a year was come and gone,

The spirit of the boy
Was changed; with natures fierce and rudo

He found his chiefest joy.



On leave us not sweet Marien !''

The little children spake ; For if thou leave us here, alone,

Our wretched hearts will break.” She left them not — kind Marien!

And in a noisome room, Day after day, week after week,

They laboured at the loom. The while they thought with longing souls

Upon the breezy strand, The flying shuttles, to and fro,

Passed through each little hand. The while they thought with aching hearts,

Upon their parents dear, The growing web was watered,

With many a bitter tear.

The hardness of the kinsman's soul

Wrought on him like a spell, Exciting in his outraged heart,

Revenge and hatred fell; The will impatient to control;

The spirit to rebel. Hence was there warfare 'twixt the two,

The weak against the strong;
A hopeless, miserable strife

That could not last for long :
How can the young, the poor, contend

Against the rich man's wrong!
The tender trouble of his eye,

Was gone ; his brow was cold;
His speech, like that of desperate men

Was reckless, fierce, and bold.
No more he kissed his sister's cheek;

Nor soothed her as she wept;
No more he said at Marien's knee
His prayers before he slept

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