A Cloister Legend.

A monk, to meditation given1
And holy communings with heaven,2
Had long and most devoutly pray’d3
Feeling such boon his faith would aid4
That Heaven would unto him accord5
An actual vision of the Lord.6
At last Heaven heard him ; for one day7
While in his lonely cell he lay,8
Heavy of heart, because afraid9
He had presumptuously pray’d,10
His cell flash’d up with sudden light,11
And shew’d to his astonish’d sight12
A glorious Presence, who with smile13
Most winning greeted him, and, while14
He shrunk abash’d, said graciously,15
Why art thou troubled ?  It is I !16
But hark !  there is the convent-bell17
Pealing the hour, when from his cell18
The monk must go to serve and bless19
The sons and duaghters of distress,20
Who, every day at noontide, wait21
For alms before the convent-gate22
Untimely summons !  Shall he stay23
T’ enjoy the vision, or obey24
The call which bids him haste to glad25
The poor with benison and bread ?26
He hesitates—he fain would stay,27
But conscience beckons him away,28
Reminding him that unto men29
Duty comes first, and pleasure then ;30
And so, though not without regret31
And the desire to linger yet,32
He quits the Presence, and repairs33
To where the poor await his cares.34
A monk kneels in a darkened room with his hands raised above his head below the illuminated figure of Jesus Christ. Jesus raises his left hand towards the man and his right hand bears the stigmata. 1/2 page.
This duty done, he seeks anew35
His quite cell ; there to review,36
In pensive thought, those glories bright37
Which had a moment charm’d his sight.38
He starts !  for, marvellous to tell39
The Christ is still within his cell ;40
And not less glorious than before,41
But glorious infinitely more.42
With mingled awe and rapture gazed43
The monk ; yet in his heart amazed44
That One whom he had seem’d to slight45
Preferring to His presence bright46
A homely duty—thus should deign47
To wait and gladden him again.48
Nay, wonder not,” the Presence said49
Because thou wentest forth, I stay’d ;50
Hadst thou remain’d t’ enjoy the sight,51
I would have taken instant flight !”52