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Chapter 8: “divers good causes” 1890-1896; aet. 71-77

A dream of the Hearthstone

A figure by my fireside stayed,
Plain was her garb, and veiled her face;
A presence mystical she made,
Nor changed her attitude, nor place.

Did I neglect my household ways
For pleasure, wrought of pen or book?
She sighed a murmur of dispraise,
At which, methought, the rafters shook. ...

“Now, who art thou that didst not smile
When I my maddest jest devised?
Who art thou, stark and grim the while
That men my time and measure prized?”

Without her pilgrim staff she rose,
Her weeds of darkness cast aside;
More dazzling than Olympian snows
The beauty that those weeds did hide.

Most like a solemn symphony
That lifts the heart from lowly things,
The voice with which she spake to me
Did loose contrition at its springs.

Oh, Duty! Visitor Divine,
Take all the wealth my house affords,
But make thy holy methods mine;
Speak to me thy surpassing words!

“Neglected once and undiscerned,
I pour my homage at thy feet.
Till I thy sacred law have learned
Nor joy, nor life can be complete.”

J. W. H.

In the closing decade of the nineteenth century a new growth of “causes” claimed her time and sympathy.

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