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And thus was she buried, inviolate
Of body and soul, in the very space By the altar; keeping saintly state
In Pornic church, for her pride of race, Pure life, and piteous fate.
12. And in after-time would your fresh tear fall,
Though your mouth might twitch with a dubious smile, As they told you of gold both robe and pall,
How she prayed them leave it alone awhile, So it never was touched at all.
13. Years flew; this legend grew at last
The life of the lady; all she had done, All been, in the memories fading fast
Of lover and friend, was summed in one Sentence survivors passed :
To wit, she was meant for Heaven, not earth;
Had turned an angel before the time:
Of frailty, all you could count a crime
At little pleasant Pornic church,
It chanced, the pavement wanted repair, Was taken to pieces : left in the lurch,
A certain sacred space lay bare, And the boys began research.
A benefactor,—a bishop, suppose;
A dame with chased ring and jewelled rose,
17. So we come to find them in after-days
When the corpse is presumed to have done with gauds Of use to the living, in many ways;
For the boys get pelf, and the town applauds, And the church deserves the praise.
They grubbed with a will: and at length— cor
Humanum, pectora cæca, and the rest ! They found—no gauds they were prying for,
No ring, no rose, but—who would have guessed ?A double Louis-d'or!
Here was a case for the priest: he heard,
Marked, inwardly digested, laid Finger on nose, smiled, “ A little bird
Chirps in my ear:" then, “ Bring a spade, Dig deeper!"—he gave the word.
20. And lo! when they came to the coffin-lid,
Or the rotten planks which composed it once, Why, there lay the girl's skull wedged amid
A mint of money, it served for the nonce To hold in its hair-heaps hid.
Louis-d’ors, some six times five;
And duly double, every piece.
With parents preventing her soul's release
With Heaven's gold gates about to ope,
With friends' praise, gold-like, lingering still, What instinct had bidden the girl's hand grope
For gold, the true sort—“Gold in Heaven, I hope; But I keep earth's, if God will !"
23. Enough! The priest took the grave's grim yield:
The parents, they eyed that price of sin As if thirty pieces lay revealed
On the place to bury strangers in, The hideous Potter's Field.
But the priest bethought him: “« Milk that's spilt'
-You know the adage! Watch and pray! Saints tumble to earth with so slight a tilt !
It would build a new altar; that, we may!” And the altar therewith was built.
25. Why I deliver this horrible verse ?
As the text of a sermon, which now I preach : Evil or good may be better or worse
In the human heart, but the mixture of each Is a marvel and a curse.
26. The candid incline to surmise of late
That the Christian faith may be false, I find; For our Essays-and-Reviews' debate
Begins to tell on the public mind, And Colenso's words have weight: