Thomas Wade

(1805-1875 / England)

The Net-Braiders - Poem by Thomas Wade

Within a low-thatch'd hut, built in a lane
Whose narrow pathway tends toward the ocean,
A solitude which, save of some rude swain
Or fisherman, doth scarce know human motion, --
Or of some silent poet to the main
Straying, to offer infinite devotion
To God in the free universe, -- there dwelt
Two women old, to whom small store was dealt

Of the world's mis-named good, mother and child,
Both aged and mateless. These two life sustain'd
By braiding fishing-nets; and so beguil'd
Time and their cares, and little e'er complain'd
Of Fate or Providence: resign'd and mild,
Whilst day by day, for years, their hour-glass rain'd
Its trickling sand, to track the wing of Time,
They toil'd in peace: and much there was sublime

In their obscure contentment: of mankind
They little knew, or reck'd; but for their being
They bless'd their Maker, with a simple mind;
And in the constant gaze of his all-seeing
Eye, to his poorest creatures never blind,
Deeming they dwelt, they bore their sorrows fleeing,
Glad still to live, but not afraid to die,
In calm expectance of Eternity.

And since I first did greet those braiders poor,
If ever I behold fair women's cheeks
Sin-pale in stately mansions, where the door
Is shut to all but Pride, my cleft heart seeks
For refuge in my thoughts, -- which then explore
That pathway lone near which the wild sea breaks:
And to Imagination's humble eyes
That hut, with all its want, is Paradise.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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