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Or ass o'erladen! Must I rate man less
Than dog or ass, in holy selfishness?
Methinks (Lord, pardon, if the thought be sin!)
The world of pain were better, if therein
One's heart might still be human, and desires
Of natural pity drop upon its fires
Some cooling tears.”
Thereat the pale monk crossed
His brow, and, muttering, ‘Madman! thou art lost!’
Took up his pyx and fled; and, left alone,
The sick man closed his eyes with a great groan
That sank into a prayer, ‘Thy will be done!’
Then was he made aware, by soul or ear,
Of somewhat pure and holy bending o'er him,
And of a voice like that of her who bore him,
Tender and most compassionate: “Never fear!
For heaven is love, as God himself is love;
Thy work below shall be thy work above.”
And when he looked, lo! in the stern monk's place
He saw the shining of an angel's face!
1864. The Traveller broke the pause. “I've seen
The Brothers down the long street steal,
Black, silent, masked, the crowd between,
And felt to doff my hat and kneel
With heart, if not with knee, in prayer,
For blessings on their pious care.”
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