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26

ONE BY ONE.

But one by one, we come
To the Gate of the heavenly home :

That all the powers of Heaven

May shout aloud to God,
As each new robe of life is given,

Bought by the Master's Blood,
And the heavenly raptures dawn
On the pilgrims, one by one:

That to each the voice of the Father

May thrill in welcome sweet;
And round each the angels gather,

With songs, on the shining street;
As, one by one, we go
To the glory none may know.

B. M.

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HAD a vision of the night.

It seem'd There was a long red tract of barren land, Blockt in by black hills, where a half moor dream'd Of morn, and whiten'd.

Drifts of dry brown sand, This way and that, were heapt below: and flats Of water :--glaring shallows, where strange bats Came and went, and moths flicker'd.

To the right,
A dusty road that crept along the waste
Like a white snake: and, farther

I traced
The shadow of a great house, far in sight :
A hundred casements all ablaze with light,
And forms that flit athwart them as in haste

up,

28

THE TEN VIRGINS.

And a slow music, such as sometimes kings
Command at mighty revels, softly sent
From viol, and flute, and tabor, and the strings
Of many a sweet and slumbrous instrument,
That wound into the mute heart of the night
Out of that distance.

Then I could perceive
A glory pouring through an open door,
And in the light five women.

I believe
They wore white vestments, all of them. They were
Quite calm ; and each still face unearthly fair,
Unearthly quiet. So like statues all,
Waiting they stood without that lighted hall ;
And in their hands, like a blue star, they held
Each one a silver lamp.

Then I beheld
A shadow in the doorway. And one came
Crown'd for a feast. I could not see the Face.

The Form was not all human. As the flame

Stream'd over it, a presence took the place
With awe.

He, turning, took them by the hand, And led them each up the white stairway, and The door closed.

THE TEN VIRGINS.

29

At that moment the moon dipp’d Behind a rag of purple vapour, ript Off a great cloud, some dead wind, ere it spent Its last breath, had blown open, and so rent. You saw behind blue pools of light, and there A wild star swimming in the lurid air. The dream was darken'd, and a sense of loss Fell like a nightmare on the land: because The moon yet linger'd in her cloud eclipse.

Then, in the dark, swell’d suddenly across
The waste a wail of women.

Her blue lips
The moon drew up out of a cloud.

Again I had a vision on that midnight plain.

Five women : and the beauty of despair
Upon their faces : locks of wild wet hair,
Clammy with anguish, wander'd low and loose
O'er their bare breasts, that seem'd too filed with

trouble To feel the damp crawl of the midnight dews That trickled down them. One was bent half double,

30

THE TEN VIRGINS.

A dismay'd heap, that hung o'er the last spark
Of a lamp slowly dying. As she blew
The dull light redder, and the dry wick flew
In crumbling sparkles all about the dark,
I saw a light of horror in her eyes ;
A wild light on her flusht cheeks; a wild white
On her dry lips; an agony of surprise
Fearfully fair.

The lamp dropp'd. From my sight She fell into the dark.

Beside her, sat
One without motion : and her stern face flat
Against the dark sky.

One as still as death,
Hollow'd her hands about her lamp, for fear
Some motion of the midnight, or her breath,
Should fan out the last flicker. Rosy-clear
The light oozed, thro' her fingers, o'er her face.
There was a ruin'd beauty hovering there
Over deep pain, and dasht with lurid grace
A waning bloom.

The light grew dim and blear: And she, too, slowly darken'd in her place.

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