The Martyr

See, the sun hath risen!
Lead her from the prison;
She is young and tender, lead her tenderly:
May no fear subdue her,
Lest the Saints be fewer,
Lest her place in Heaven be lost eternally.

Forth she came, not trembling,
No, nor yet dissembling
An o'erwhelming terror weighing her down—down;
Little, little heeding
Earth, but inly pleading
For the strength to triumph and to win a crown.

All her might was rallied
To her heart; not pallid
Was her cheek, but glowing with a glorious red,
Glorious red and saintly,
Never paling faintly,
But still flushing, kindling still, without thought of dread.

On she went, on faster,
Trusting in her Master,
Feeling that His Eye watched o'er her lovingly;
He would prove and try her,
But would not deny her,
When her soul had pass'd, for His sake, patiently.

“Christ,” she said, “receive me,
Let no terrors grieve me,
Take my soul and guard it with Thy heavenly cares:
Take my soul and guard it,
Take it and reward it
With the Love Thou bearest for the love it bears.”

Quickened with a fire
Of sublime desire,
She looked up to Heaven, and she cried aloud,
“Death, I do entreat thee,
Come! I go to meet thee;
Wrap me in the whiteness of a virgin shroud.”

On she went, hope-laden;
Happy, happy maiden!
Never more to tremble, and to weep no more:
All her sins forgiven,
Straight the path to Heaven
Through the glowing fire lay her feet before.

On she went, on quickly,
And her breath came thickly,
With the longing to see God coming pantingly:
Now the fire is kindled,
And her flesh has dwindled
Unto dust;—her soul is mounting up on high:

Higher, higher mounting,
The swift moments counting,
Fear is left beneath her, and the chastening rod:
Tears no more shall blind her,
Trouble lies behind her,
Satisfied with hopeful rest, and replete with God.
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