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For her the Fates, severely kind, ordain

A cool suspense from pleasure and from pain;
Her life a long dead calm of fixed repose,

No pulse that riots and no blood that glows.



ON Santa Croce's golden-pillared shrine,
A thousand tapers pour their blended rays
In one rich tide of radiance.—Like a pine,
Lifting its lofty head amid the blaze

Of sunlit snows, stands forward to the
Of the assembled throng, the Priest supreme,

In full pontificals. His hand he lays

Upon a gorgeous crucifix, the theme

Of the oracular words from his pale lips that stream.



Upon his open brow a dignity


That well beseems his office is enthroned;

And if the brightness of his coal-black eye
Is something tamed by Time, it must be owned,
It hath a chastened lustre far beyond
The fire of youthful glances;—and if care,
With lines of premature decay hath crowned
His thoughtful forehead, as in fervent prayer

He bends, unfailing faith, hope, peace, are beaming



The chancel-portals, with a crash, unfold,

And a long train of close-veiled nuns pour in,
And gather round the palisades of gold
That gird that glorious shriving-place for sin.
The stately Abbess enters :-then begin
Sweet far-off voices on the ear to steal
With dim, delicious melodies, that win

Their way to the deep heart,-till bursts the swell From organ, harp, voice, lute, in one magnificent peal!


The chaunt hath ended ;-and throughout the throng
Heart-hushing silence reigns, and every brow
Is raised in keen expectancy.-Ere long,
Once more the Pontiff at the shrine doth bow
Before the golden crucifix; and now

Calls on the fated victim.-She attends

The awful summons, and with footstep slow Draws near ;-the altar's marble stair ascends ;And on the velvet pall, with knee submissive, bends.


Then pours the man of God, in eloquent strain,
The pious exhortation ;—he dilates

Upon the wild variety of pain

Which, in each labyrinth of life, awaits

'The world's tired denizen ;'-pourtrays their fates Whom Pleasure 'witches with her syren charms ; And promises to her who dedicates

Her youth to God,-from Passion's vain alarms A shield, and sure repose in mild Religion's arms!

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