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A sound which seemed of all sad things to tell,
As of a lost soul crying out of hell.
Thereat the Abbot paused; the chain whereby
His thoughts went upward broken by that cry;
And, looking from the casement, saw below
A wretched woman, with gray hair a-flow,
And withered hands held up to him, who cried
For alms as one who might not be denied.
She cried, “For the dear love of Him who gave
His life for ours, my child from bondage save,—
My beautiful, brave first-born, chained with slaves
In the Moor's galley, where the sun-smit waves
Lap the white walls of Tunis! ‘—’ What I can
I give,‘Tritemius said,’ my prayers.‘—’ O man
Of God!” she cried, for grief had made her bold,
“Mock me not thus; I ask not prayers, but gold.
Words will not serve me, alms alone suffice;
Even while I speak perchance my first-born dies.”
‘Woman!’ Tritemius answered, “from our door
None go unfed, hence are we always poor;
A single soldo is our only store.
Thou hast our prayers;—what can we give thee more?”
‘Give me,’ she said, “the silver candlesticks
On either side of the great crucifix.
God well may spare them on His errands sped,
Or He can give you golden ones instead.”
Then spake Tritemius, “Even as thy word,
Woman, so be it! (Our most gracious Lord,
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