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The Story Of Gladys
by [?]

“Nay, not a dream,” she murmured, looking out
To where the light upon the waters lay,
A golden pathway leading to the sun,
“Dear love the wakening is, this life we live
Is but a dream.” Then with a sudden hope
He would have caught her hands, but no, she clasped
Them o’er the snowy muslin on her breast,
And on her heart like drops of crimson blood,
There lay the almond blossoms, bitter, sweet;
And far away her pure eyes looked adown
That shining path across the summer sea,
“Nay, life a long dream is, a sleep that lasts
Until we waken in the land of love.”
But though thus calmly did she speak to him,
When he had gone to hide his breaking heart
As best he might, to bravely bide his time,
And do his life work as she bade him do,
Then all her lonely haunts echoed this cry,
This cry of deeper anguish–“Oh, my heart!”

Why did I pray for one more summer bright,
The outward world but held me in time past;
Now, life and love have added links of might,
A chain that fetters me, that holds me fast;
I will, I will obey, but oh, my heart!

My life was like some little mountain spring
By slight waves stirred till some deep overflow
Swift breaks its peace, then with its risen king
Down to the mighty deep it needs must go;
Thus did I follow love, but oh, my heart!

For dear love sought me, claimed me for his own,
And called me with his voice so strong, so low,
I followed unto bliss, thou hapless one,
I did bethink me of my cruel vow,
The vow I will obey, but oh, my heart!

And through the long, still nights this cry was hers,
As on her couch she lay till dreary dawn,
Her large eyes dark with horror looking out
Upon the pitchy darkness unafraid.
And as the breathings of the new spring breeze,
Soft sights of sad complaint, to autumn’s storms
That hold the burdened sorrow of a year,
Was this, her sigh of, “oh, the happy world!”
To this despairing cry of, “oh, my heart!”
And as the year’s late winds leave pale and chill
The earth, so did this weary cry of hers
So oft repeated leave her lips like snow.
And oft the lonely midnight heard her moan
Of hopes foregone, that women hold most dear.

“No little ones to ever cling to me
In closest love, look on me through his eyes
And call me mother, bless me with his smile.”
Then low in tearful prayer her voice would sound
Despairing, wailing, through the lonely room,
The silent turret chamber steep and high,
“Thou maiden mother, Mary, knows my heart,
Thou who didst love and suffer, look on me,
Oh, pity me, sweet mother of the Christ!”

Then would the passion of her woe die out
In dreary calm, and as a chidden child
Who cries himself to rest, sobs in his sleep,
So pitifully would sound the latest words–
“I will, I will be patient, and obey.”
But all the long days’ silent anguish, all
These secret trysts she kept alone with pain
Wore her meek face, till like a spirit’s looked
It, gleaming white from out her shadowy hair,
And so the last day came, the day of doom,
The dreaded day when she should leave the world.

But He who holdeth little useless birds
In His protecting care, looked tenderly
Upon this patient soul, so sorely tried.
This sweet soul purified by all its pain,
For on this day, so fair a morn, it seemed
A heavenly peace sunk down to this sad earth
From gate ajar, the bright and pearly gate
Swung widely open for an angel guest.
A faithful servant climbed the winding stair,
Sent by her eager father with the dawn
To rouse her, tell her that the hour had come
When she to save his name should leave the world.
And as the woman stood beside the couch
She said, “Sweet soul, she talks out in her sleep.”
For there she lay with closed eyes murmuring low,
With mournful brow and sad lips, “oh, dear love.”
Then cried out with a sob, “’tis not a dream.”
Then spake of blood-red blossoms, bitter, sweet,
And with her white lips sighing this, she sunk
Into what seemed to be a dreamless sleep.

And as the loving servant weeping stood,
Loath to awake her to her evil doom,
She opened her large violet eyes, and gazed
Upon the morning sunlight stealing in;
The clear light trembling, growing on the wall,
And as she looked, her eyes grew like the eyes
Of blessed angels looking on their Lord.
And high toward Heaven she lifted up her hands,
Then clasped them in content upon her breast,
And cried out in a glad voice, “oh, my heart!”
And with such glory lighting up her face,
As if the flood of joy had filled her heart,
And overrun her lips with blissful smiles
She left the world, and saved her sire from shame.