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A. D. 1207.

amidst Thuringia's wooded hills she dwelt,
     A high-born princess, servant of the poor,
Sweetening with gracious words the food she dealt
     To starving throngs at Wartburg's blazoned door.

[410] A blinded zealot held her soul in chains,
     Cramped the sweet nature that he could not kill,
Scarred her fair body with his penance-pains,
     And gauged her conscience by his narrow will.

God gave her gifts of beauty and of grace,
     With fast and vigil she denied them all;
Unquestioning, with sad, pathetic face,
     She followed meekly at her stern guide's call.

So drooped and died her home-blown rose of bliss
     In the chill rigor of a discipline
That turned her fond lips from her children's kiss,
     And made her joy of motherhood a sin.

To their sad level by compassion led,
     One with the low and vile herself she made,
While thankless misery mocked the hand that fed,
     And laughed to scorn her piteous masquerade.

But still, with patience that outwearied hate,
     She gave her all while yet she had to give;
And then her empty hands, importunate,
     In prayer she lifted that the poor might live.

Sore pressed by grief, and wrongs more hard to bear,
     And dwarfed and stifled by a harsh control,
She kept life fragrant with good deeds and prayer,
     And fresh and pure the white flower of her soul.

Death found her busy at her task: one word
     Alone she uttered as she paused to die, [411]
‘Silence!’ —then listened even as one who heard
     With song and wing the angels drawing nigh!

Now Fra Angelico's roses fill her hands,
     And, on Murillo's canvas, Want and Pain
Kneel at her feet. Her marble image stands
     Worshipped and crowned in Marburg's holy fane.

Yea, wheresoe'er her Church its cross uprears,
     Wide as the world her story still is told;
In manhood's reverence, woman's prayers and tears,
     She lives again whose grave is centuries old.

And still, despite the weakness or the blame
     Of blind submission to the blind, she hath
A tender place in hearts of every name,
     And more than Rome owns Saint Elizabeth!

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1207 AD (1)
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