Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
Eudoxia. First Picture
O SWEETEST my sister, my sister that sits in the sun,
Her lap full of jewels, and roses in showers on her hair;
Soft smiling and counting her riches up slow, one by one,
Cool-browed, shaking dew from her garlands--those garlands so fair,
Many gasp, climb, snatch, struggle, and die for--her every-day wear!
O beauteous my sister, turn downwards those mild eyes of thine,
Lest they stab with their smiling, and blister or scorch where they shine.
Young sister who never yet sat for an hour in the cold,
Whose cheek scarcely feels half the roses that throng to caress,
Whose light hands hold loosely these jewels and silver and gold,
Remember thou those in the world who forever on press
In perils and watchings, and hunger and nakedness,
While thou sit'st content in the sunlight that round thee doth shine.
Take heed! these have long borne their burthen--now lift thou up thine.
Be meek--as befits one whose cup to the brim is love-crowned,
While others in dry dust drop empty--What, what canst thou know
Of the wild human tide that goes sweeping eternally round
The isle where thou sit'st pure and calm as a statue of snow,
Around which good thoughts like kind angels continually go?
Be pitiful. Whose eyes once turned from the angels to shine
Upon publicans, sinners? O sister, 't will not pollute thine.
Who, even-eyed, looks on His children, the black and the fair,
The loved and the unloved, the tempted, untempted--marks all,
And metes--not as man metes? If thou with weak tender hand dare
To take up His balances--say where His justice should fall,
Far better be Magdalen dead at the gate of thy hall--
Dead, sinning, and loving, and contrite, and pardoned, to shine
Midst he saints high in heaven, than thou, angel sister of mine!
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(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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