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GOLD HAIR:

A LEGEND OF PORNIC.

1.

Oh, the beautiful girl, too white,

Who lived at Pornic, down by the sea, Just where the sea and the Loire unite!

And a boasted name in Brittany She bore, which I will not write.

Too white, for the flower of life is red;

Her flesh was the soft, seraphic screen Of a soul that is meant (her parents said)

To just see earth, and hardly be seen, And blossom in Heaven instead.

3.

Yet earth saw one thing, one how fair !

One grace that grew to its full on earth: Smiles might be sparse on her cheek so spare,

And her waist want half a girdle’s girth, But she had her great gold hair.

Hair, such a wonder of flix and floss,

Freshness and fragrance-floods of it, too! Gold, did I say? Nay, gold 's mere dross :

Here, Life smiled, " Think what I meant to do !” And Love sighed, “Fancy my loss !"

5. So, when she died, it was scarce more strange

Than that, when some delicate evening dies And you follow its spent sun's pallid range,

There's a shoot of colour startles the skies With sudden, violent change,

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That, while the breath was nearly to seek,

As they put the little cross to her lips, She changed; a spot came out on her cheek,

A spark from her eye in mid-eclipse, And she broke forth, “I must speak!"

“ Not my hair!" made the girl her moan

“ All the rest is gone or to go; But the last, last grace, my all, my own,

Let it stay in the grave, that the ghosts may know ! Leave my poor gold hair alone !”

8. The passion thus vented, dead lay she; · Her parents sobbed their worst on that, All friends joined in, nor observed degree:

For indeed the hair was to wonder at, As it spread—not flowing free,

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But curled around her brow, like a crown,

And coiled beside her cheeks, like a cap, And calmed about her neck—ay, down

To her breast, pressed flat, without a gap I' the gold, it reached her gown.

10. All kissed that face, like a silver wedge

Mid the yellow wealth, nor disturbed its hair; E’en the priest allowed death's privilege,

As he planted the crucifix with care On her breast, ’twixt edge and edge.

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