THE WIDOW OF NAIN.
Forth from the city, with the load
That makes the trampling low,
They walk along the dreary road
That dust and ashes go.
- other way, toward the gate Their trampling strong and loud,
With hope of liberty elate,
Comes on another crowd.
Nearer and nearer draw the twain--
One with a wailing cry!
- could the Life let such a train Of death and tears go by!
"Weep not," he said, and touched the bier:
They stand, the dead who bear;
- mother knows nor hope nor fear-- He waits not for her prayer.
"Young man, I say to thee, arise."
Who hears, he must obey:
Up starts the body; wide the eyes
Flash wonder and dismay.
- lips would speak, as if they caught Some converse sudden broke
When the great word the dead man sought,
And Hades' silence woke.
- lips would speak: the eyes' wild stare Gives place to ordered sight;
- murmur dies upon the air; The soul is dumb with light.
He brings no news; he has forgot,
Or saw with vision weak:
Thou sees! all our unseen lot,
And yet thou dost not speak.
Hold'st thou the news, as parent might
A too good gift, away,
Lest we should neither sleep at night,
Nor do our work by day?
- mother leaves us not a spark Of her triumph over grief;
- tears alone have left their mark Upon the holy leaf:
- gratitude will thanks benumb, Joy will our laughter quell:
- not Eternity be dumb
With things too good to tell?
- straining arms her lost one hold; Question she asketh none;
- trusts for all he leaves untold; Enough, to clasp her son!
- ebb is checked, the flow begun, Sent rushing to the gate:
Death turns him backward to the sun,
And life is yet our fate!