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The merry seamen laugh’d, to see
Their gallant ship so lustily

Furrow the green-sea foam.
Much joy'd they in their honour'd freight;
For, on the deck, in chair of state,
The Abbess of Saint Hilda placed,
With five fair nuns, the galley graced.

II.

WAS sweet to see these holy maids,

Like birds escaped to green-wood shades,
'Their first flight from the cage,
How timid and how curious too,
For all to them was strange and new,
And all the common sights they view,

Their wonderment engage.
One eyed the shrouds and swelling sail,

With many a benedicite;
One at the rippling surge grew pale,

And would for terror pray ;
Then shriek’d, because the sea-dog, nigh,
His round black head, and sparkling eye,

Rear'd o'er the foaming spray ;
And one would still adjust her veil,

Disorder'd by the summer gale,
Perchance, lest some more worldly eye
Her dedicated charms might spy
Perchance, because such action graced
Her fair-turn'd arm and slender waist.
Light was each simple bosom there,
Save two, who ill might pleasure share,—
The Abbess, and the Novice Clare.

III.

HE Abbess was of noble blood,

But early took the veil and hood, Ere upon life she cast a look, Or knew the world that she forsook. Fair too she was, and kind had been As she was fair, but ne'er had seen For her a timid lover sigh, Nor knew the influence of her eye. Love, to her ear, was but a name, Combined with vanity and shame ; Her hopes, her fears, her joys, were all Bounded within the cloister wall : The deadliest sin her mind could reach, Was of monastic rule the breach ;

And her ambition's highest aim
To emulate Saint Hilda's fame,
For this she gave her ample dower,
To raise the convent's eastern tower ;
For this, with carving rare and quaint,
She deck'd the chapel of the saint,
And gave

the relic-shrine of cost,
With ivory and gems emboss'd.
The poor her Convent's bounty blest,
The pilgrim in its halls found rest.

IV.

LACK was her garb, her rigid rule

Reform’d on Benedictine school ; Her cheek was pale, her form was spare ; Vigils, and penitence austere, Had early quench'd the light of youth, But gentle was the dame, in sooth; Though vain of her religious sway, She loved to see her maids obey, Yet nothing stern was she in cell, And the nuns loved their Abbess well. Sad was this voyage to the dame Summon'd to Lindisfarne, she came,

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There, with Saint Cuthbert's Abbot old,
And Tynemouth's Prioress, to hold
A chapter of Saint Benedict,
For inquisition stern and strict,
On two apostates from the faith,
And, if need were, to doom to death.

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OUGHT

say

I here of Sister Clare, Save this, that she was young and fair ; As yet a novice unprofess'd, Lovely and gentle, but distress'd. She was betroth'd to one now dead, Or worse, who had dishonour'd fled. Her kinsmen bade her give her hand To one, who loved her for her land : Herself, almost heart-broken now, Was bent to take the vestal vow, And shroud, within Saint Hilda's gloom, Her blasted hopes and wither'd bloom.

VI.

MHE sate upon the galley's prow,

And seem'd to mark the waves below; Nay, seem'd, so fix'd her look and eye,

To count them as they glided by.
She saw them not—'twas seeming all-
Far other scene her thoughts recall, - ,
A sun-scorch'd desert, waste and bare,
Nor waves, nor breezes, murmur'd there ;
There saw she, where some careless hand
O’er a dead corpse had heap'd the sand,
To hide it till the jackals come,
To tear it from the scanty tomb.-
See what a woful look was given,
As she raised up her eyes to heaven !

VII.

OVELY, and gentle, and distress'd-
These charms might tame the fiercest

breast :
Harpers have sung, and poets told,
That he, in fury uncontrolld,
The shaggy monarch of the wood,
Before a virgin, fair and good,
Hath pacified his savage mood.
But passions in the human frame,
Oft put the lion's rage to shame :
And jealousy, by dark intrigue,

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