Part 3

Devoted love, and gentle thought,
Are meetest for the saints on earth:
Good deeds are infinite in worth,
The tokens of that better birth,
By God's good Spirit in us wrought:
And if they fail to do their part,
On others their own charm impressing,
Surely, they come back to the heart
That gave them, with a double blessing.

The wild rose in the desert placed,
Unfolding all in vain the power
Of her sweet perfume to the waste,
Herself grows lovelier every hour.
The stream runs broader as it flows;
And kindlier, sweeter, meeker grows
Each day the child within the tower,
The Baron's solitary rose.

The Baron to the fight has gone,
Pain, sorrow, love are all forgot,
His helm is donn'd: who answers not,
When Conrad calls his own?

The fair child at her lonely sport
Has heard the heavy warriors tramp,
Has heard the eager chargers champ,
Beneath her in the castle court.

And hastily she climb'd into
The narrow casement, tall and high,
Thence look'd down with an eager eye,
And soon his stately form she knew,
Who never to that casement threw
The comfort of one kind adieu.

For the first ray of morning light
Was gleaming on his armour bright,
And she could trace on azure field
The grey goshawk that deck'd his shield;
And she could see on his helmèd head
The mingled plumes of white, and red,
Shake in the early air:
As slow the armèd train rode out,
With trumpet clang, and martial shout,
She watch'd them till her eyes grew dim,
Then soft she sang her morning hymn,
And pray'd her daily prayer.
“'Tis a good alms and sweetly given;
God bless the little lady's hand,
It is the smallest in the land,
That brings us home the gifts of Heaven.”
Thus the poor villagers would say,
When angel-like the blue-eyed maiden
Came gliding down the rugged way
From that old mountain fortress, laden
With simple things, that poor men know
Can lighten pain, or soften woe.

The gentle maiden, motherless,
They loved her, with the love that longs
Its kindly feelings to express;
And in their simple-heartedness
The good old dames would sing her songs,
And lull her in their arms to sleep.
And old men told her many a tale
Of wars, that made her cheek grow pale,
And woes that made her weep.

They told how wounded men had lain
Long nights upon the battle plain,
With festering flesh, and thirsty soul,
And none had brought the cooling bowl,
No loving wife, no duteous daughter;
And they had died with hearts on flame,
And parch'd lips, praying in God's Name
For one poor drop of water.

And when the lonely innocent
Back to her turret chamber went,
Oft would she sit and think
Of prayers breathed o'er and o'er again
By the parch'd lips of dying men,
That ask'd in vain to drink.

They little think, the high and great,
Who lead the war, or sway the state,
How much of safety and success,
To soft words breathed in gentleness
By simple lips are due,
And pleadings of the faithful soul;—
For God in Heaven will save the whole,
For the sake of the holy few:
And the spell of poor men's quiet prayers
Is brooding o'er them unawares.

Little he deem'd, that man of pride,
When oft the axe was turn'd aside,
And battle spear that might have sent
The sinner to his punishment,
Who pleaded for his grace;
Where little children's angels dwell,
In presence of the Invisible,
And see the Father's face.

The child sits in the turret tall,
She hears the warder pacing near,
And sometimes the old seneschal
Will come to question of her cheer.
She kneeleth low on bended knee,
“Good Christ, keep Thou my father dear,”
Thus meekly doth the maiden pray,
“And shield him in the battle day,
And make him to love me.”
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