158. Ethelwald

{276} (From St. Bede's Metrical
History of St. Cuthbert.)

    BETWEEN two comrades dear,
        Zealous and true as they,
Thou, prudent Ethelwald, didst bear
        In that high home the sway.

    A man, who ne'er, 'tis said,
        Would of his graces tell,
Or with what arms he triumphèd
        Over the Dragon fell.

    So down to us hath come
        A memorable word,
Which in unguarded season from
        His blessed lips was heard. {277}

    It chanced, that, as the Saint
        Drank in with faithful ear
Of Angel tones the whispers faint,
        Thus spoke a brother dear:

    "Oh, why so many a pause,
        Thwarting thy words' full stream,
Till her dark line Oblivion draws
        Across the broken theme?"

    He answered: "Till thou seal
        To sounds of earth thine ear,
Sweet friend, be sure thou ne'er shalt feel
        Angelic voices near."

    But then the hermit blest
        A sudden change came o'er;
He shudders, sobs, and smites his breast,
        Is mute, then speaks once more:

    "Oh, by the Name Most High,
        What I have now let fall,
Hush, till I lay me down to die,
        And go the way of all!" {278}

    Thus did a Saint in fear
        His gifts celestial hide;
Thus did an Angel standing near
        Proclaim them far and wide.


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