BETA

The White CrusadeItaly 1860.

And the earth helped the woman.”
Rev. xii. 16.

Long, long the foot of pride1
Trode down the human heart from hour to
hour
2
With iron heel, and ever on the side3
Of tyrants there was power.4
Till seventy summers back,5
A Cry went up by night to God for food ;6
A raven’s cry, a lion’s, on the track7
Of rapine and of blood ;8
And Freedom at the sound9
Stirred where she lay within her grave for
dead,
10
And rose up from the earth, and gazed around11
Like one disquieted.12
As one that hath been dead13
Four days, she rose up from her grave, she
woke
14
Bound round with grave-clothes, hands, and
feet, and head ;
15
Yet when she rose she spoke :16
Like Lazarus from the tomb17
She rose, and stood upright ; like him awhile18
She walked with men, yet on her cheek no bloom,19
And on her lip no smile.20
As one that sleeping, shakes21
Beneath a ghastly slumber coil, will seem22
To wake at dead of night, yet only wakes23
Into a fearful dream.24
She woke into a world25
Of wreck and ruin ; winds and waves that
roared,
26
Men’s hearts that failed, and goodliest treasures
hurled
27
To monsters overboard.28
They called her, but she shrank ;29
She stretched her hands to bless, and, lo ! a
stain
30
Of blood upon each palm ! She groaned, and
sank
31
Into her grave again.32
Yet ’mid the tumult fierce33
That gathered as she fell, was faintly heard34
From fainting lips—a blessing or a curse35
And yet a treasured word ;36
And still from land to land37
A whisper grew, and still a murmur sped38
By look, by sign, by pressure of the hand,39
The maiden is not dead,”40
And some would watch for hours41
Beside her tomb, -until they seemed to hear42
Beneath the winter’s ice, the summer’s flowers43
A breathing low and clear.44

*****

The nations spake : “ But who45
Shall roll away this heavy stone by day46
And night, close sealed and watched ?”
came, and lo !
47
The stone was rolled away !48
And clothed in raiment white49
From head to feet, was seated on the stone50
A Shining Form, that earth had given to light51
Without a travail-groan.52
No blood on brow or palm,53
Or on her robe, but in her steadfast eye,54
And on her lips, a summons clear and calm :55
Who loves, knows how to die.”56
She hath a smile for foes,57
A smile for friends ; and yet her breast is
bare,
58
And bare her feet, and on the way she goes59
Lies the red burning share.60
She wakes, perchance to show61
Of wounds received in houses of her friends,
—to weep,
62
Like Rachel, o’er her sons brought forth in woe,63
Yet nevermore to sleep !64