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The people wander'd through the gloomy mart;
Their footsteps travers’d each unheeded part; Despair was yielding fast to apathy
They were prepar'd to die,--and every heart
Whence the sound came and then from man to man, Throughout the full and spacious market-place,
A sudden, cold, electric shudder ran;
As if the working of his thought to scan,-
A low and gathering murmur in the crowd,
Cast by the shadow of a thunder-cloud :
On through the multitude-yet grows not loud-
At deepest midnight silence so profound;
It seem'd as Death had swallow'd all around :
In Oriental Tales, where all were bound
In her lone chamber? Silent did she kneel,
Of Heaven, in dumb, yet eloquent appeal.
Till o'er her sorrows peace began to steal,
all radiant with celestial fire,
So calmly heavenward did her thoughts aspire. A moment's pause--and then she deeply blush'd,
As, trembling, she unclasp'd her rich attire,
The fillet from her brow the dame unbound,
Flow down in wavy lightness to the ground,
In dark and shadowy beauty floating round,
She stood in the deep silence of her bower,
Save One unknown, supreme, eternal Power. She dar'd not raise her meek eyes, trembling one,
Again from earth; she could have wish'd that hour Rather in view of thousands to have stood, Than in that still and awful solitude.
Through many a long and echoing room she stole; No voice arrests her ear, no human face
Bursts on the dreamy wildness of her soul. All silent now is that proud dwelling-place,
On-on she presses till she reach the goal ;
The freedom of the land will soon be won:
Rejoice!—for your deliverance is begun. It's full five minutes since Godiva started,
She'll be among you before half-past one;
Each in his dwelling's innermost recess :
To gaze upon her dazzling loveliness.
And prick'd his ears—as if he would express
With ladies very frequently the case,
That horses' backs are not their proper place.
Not leaping gates, or galloping a race ;
Burst on Godiva's ear ;-she started, and
Shaded his dim eyes with his trembling hand.
To see her pass, and there had ta'en his stand;
If so, you'll own the punishment was just ;
His prying temper, or unbridled lust.
He was a tinker-but his tools might rust,
And fed him.-Reader, now my tale is told;
And laugh’d, and blest their Countess—young and old. That night Godiva very soundly slept
I grieve to add she caught a trifling cold ;
Pull'd down, of late, by order of the Mayor,
And 'twould be too expensive to repair ;
Beneath them grav'd, in letters large and fair,
Both make henceforth fair Coventry toll free.
And still a sham Godiva, every year,
In grand procession—and the mob get beer.
Which being over, I must leave you here ; And for Godiva-hope you'll decent think her, Laugh at her husband, and forgive the tinker.