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Cassandra Southwick
by [?]

I thought of Paul and Silas, within Philippi’s cell,
And how from Peter’s sleeping limbs the prison
shackles fell,
Till I seemed to hear the trailing of an angel’s
robe of white,
And to feel a blessed presence invisible to sight.

Bless the Lord for all his mercies!–for the peace
and love I felt,
Like dew of Hermon’s holy hill, upon my spirit
When “Get behind me, Satan!” was the language
of my heart,
And I felt the Evil Tempter with all his doubts

Slow broke the gray cold morning; again the sunshine
Flecked with the shade of bar and grate within
my lonely cell;
The hoar-frost melted on the wall, and upward
from the street
Came careless laugh and idle word, and tread of
passing feet.

At length the heavy bolts fell back, my door was
open cast,
And slowly at the sheriff’s side, up the long street
I passed;
I heard the murmur round me, and felt, but dared
not see,
How, from every door and window, the people
gazed on me.

And doubt and fear fell on me, shame burned upon
my cheek,
Swam earth and sky around me, my trembling
limbs grew weak:
“O Lord! support thy handmaid; and from her
soul cast out
The fear of man, which brings a snare, the weakness
and the doubt.”

Then the dreary shadows scattered, like a cloud in
morning’s breeze,
And a low deep voice within me seemed whispering
words like these:
“Though thy earth be as the iron, and thy heaven
a brazen wall,
Trust still His loving-kindness whose power is over

We paused at length, where at my feet the sunlit
waters broke
On glaring reach of shining beach, and shingly
wall of rock;
The merchant-ships lay idly there, in hard clear
lines on high,
Tracing with rope and slender spar their network
on the sky.

And there were ancient citizens, cloak-wrapped
and grave and cold,
And grim and stout sea-captains with faces bronzed
and old,
And on his horse, with Rawson, his cruel clerk at
Sat dark and haughty Endicott, the ruler of the

And poisoning with his evil words the ruler’s ready
The priest leaned o’er his saddle, with laugh and
scoff and jeer;
It stirred my soul, and from my lips the seal of
silence broke,
As if through woman’s weakness a warning spirit

I cried, “The Lord rebuke thee, thou smiter of the
Thou robber of the righteous, thou trampler of
the weak!
Go light the dark, cold hearth-stones,–go turn
the prison lock
Of the poor hearts thou hast hunted, thou wolf
amid the flock!”

Dark lowered the brows of Endicott, and with a
deeper red
O’er Rawson’s wine-empurpled cheek the flush of
anger spread;
“Good people,” quoth the white-lipped priest,
“heed not her words so wild,
Her Master speaks within her,–the Devil owns
his child!”

But gray heads shook, and young brows knit, the
while the sheriff read
That law the wicked rulers against the poor have
Who to their house of Rimmon and idol priesthood
No bended knee of worship, nor gainful offering.

Then to the stout sea-captains the sheriff, turning,
“Which of ye, worthy seamen, will take this
Quaker maid?
In the Isle of fair Barbadoes, or on Virginia’s
You may hold her at a higher price than Indian
girl or Moor.”

Grim and silent stood the captains; and when
again he cried,
“Speak out, my worthy seamen!”–no voice, no
sign replied;
But I felt a hard hand press my own, and kind
words met my ear,–
“God bless thee, and preserve thee, my gentle girl
and dear!”