The Maiden and the Leper.

Down the green valley, on her ass,1
Rideth the maiden Zanitas,2
Dews are falling, song birds sing,3
’Tis a Christian evening :4
Lower, slower, sinks the sun,5
The white stars glimmer, one by one.6
Who sitteth musing at his door ?7
Silas the leper, gaunt and hoar ;8
Tho’ he is curst in every limb,9
Full whitely Time hath snow’d on him.10
Dews are falling, song birds sing,11
’Tis a Christian evening :12
The Leper, drinking in the air,13
Sits like a beast with idiot stare.14
How pale ! how-wondrous ! she doth pass,15
The heavenly maiden Zanitas !16
She looks—she seeth—she shuddereth,17
She passeth on with bated breath.18
Dews are falling, song birds sing,19
’Tis a Christian evening :20
His mind is like a stagnant pool,21
She passeth o’er it, beautiful !22
Brighter, whiter, in the skies23
Open innumerable eyes ;24
The Leper looketh up and sees,25
His bitter heart is soothed by these.26
Dews are falling, song birds sing,27
’Tis a Christian evening :28
He looketh up with heart astir,29
And every star hath eyes like her.30
Onward on her milk-white ass31
Rideth the maiden Zanitas,32
The boughs are sweet, the grass is pearl’d,33
But ’tis a miserable world.34
Dews are falling, song birds sing,35
’Tis a Christian evening :36
All over heaven her eyes can see37
The glittering spots of Leprosy !38