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CHAPTER XXI.


IN EXPECTATIONE.


I HAD left my lodging and gone to occupy Falconer's till his return. There, on a side-table among other papers, I found the following verses. The manuscript was much scored and interlined, but more than decipherable, for he always wrote plainly. I copied them out fair, and here they are for the reader that loves him.


Twilight is near, and the day grows old;

  The spiders of care are weaving their net;

All night 'twill be blowing and rainy and cold;

  I cower at his door from the wind and wet.


He sent me out the world to see,

  Drest for the road in a garment new;

It is clotted with clay, and worn beggarly--

  The porter will hardly let me through!


I bring in my hand a few dusty ears--

  Once I thought them a tribute meet!

I bring in my heart a few unshed tears:

  Which is my harvest--the pain or the wheat?


A broken man, at the door of his hall

  I listen, and hear it go merry within;

The sounds are of birthday-festival!

  Hark to the trumpet! the violin!


I know the bench where the shadowed folk

  Sit 'neath the music-loft--there none upbraids!

They will make me room who bear the same yoke,

  Dear publicans, sinners, and foolish maids!


An ear has been hearing my heart forlorn!

  A step comes soft through the dancing-din!

Oh Love eternal! oh woman-born!

  Son of my Father to take me in!


One moment, low at our Father's feet

  Loving I lie in a self-lost trance;

Then walk away to the sinners' seat,

  With them, at midnight, to rise and dance!





THE END



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