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Once more the Rood had been upraised
“A shadow of such thought remains
"Hear then,' said he,' while I impart, My Son, the last wish of my heart.
– The Banner strive thou to regain; And, if the endeavour be not vain, Bear it — to whom if not to thee Shall I this lonely thought consign? — Bear it to Bolton Priory, And lay it on Saint Mary's shrine, To wither in the sun and breeze 'Mid those decaying Sanctities. There let at least the gift be laid, The testimony there displayed; Bold proof that with no selfish aim, But for lost Faith and Christ's dear name,
I helmeted a brow though white,
The name untouched, the tear unshed, -
“ Then Francis answered fervently, If God so will, the same shall be.'
“ Immediately, this solemn word Thus scarcely given, a noise was heard, And Officers appeared in state To lead the Prisoners to their fate. They rose, oh! wherefore should I fear To tell, or, Lady, you to hear ? They rose — embraces none were given They stood like trees when earth and heaven Are calm ; they knew each other's worth, And reverently the Band went forth : They met, when they had reached the door, The Banner, which a Soldier bore, One marshalled thus with base intent That he in scorn might go before, And, holding up this monument, Conduct them to their punishment; So cruel Sussex, unrestrained By human feeling, had ordained. The unhappy Banner Francis saw, And, with a look of calm command
Inspiring universal awe,
These things, which thus had in the sight And hearing passed of Him who stood With Emily, on the Watch-tower height, In Rylstone's woeful neighbourhood, He told ; and oftentimes with voice Of power to comfort or rejoice; For deepest sorrows that aspire, Go high, no transport ever higher. “ Yet, yet in this affliction,” said The old Man to the silent Maid, “ Yet, Lady! heaven is good — the night Shews yet a Star which is most bright; Your Brother lives — he lives is come Perhaps already to his home; Then let us leave this dreary place, She yielded, and with gentle pace, Though without one uplifted look, To Rylstone-hall her way she took.
Why comes not Francis ? - Joyful cheer
He marked not, heard not as he fled ;
He looked about like one betrayed : What hath he done? what promise made ? Oh weak, weak moment ! to what end Can such a vain oblation tend, And he the Bearer ? — Can he go Carrying this instrument of woe, And find, find any where, a right To excuse him in his country's sight? No, will not all Men deem the change A downward course, perverse and strange ? Here is it, — but how, when? must she, The unoffending Emily, Again this piteous object see ?
Such conflict long did he maintain Within himself, and found no rest; Calm liberty he could not gain; And yet the service was unblest. His own life into danger brought By this sad burden — even that thought, Exciting self-suspicion strong, Swayed the brave man to his wrong. And how, unless it were the sense Of all-disposing Providence,