|line||In that delightful land which is washed by the Delaware waters,|
Guarding in sylvan shades the name of Penn the apostle,
Stands on the banks of its beautiful stream the city he founded.
|1255||There all the air is balm, and the peach is the emblem of beauty,|
And the streets still re-echo the names of the trees of the forest,
As if they fain would appease the Dryads whose haunts they molested.
There from the troubled sea had Evangeline landed, an exile,
Finding among the children of Penn a home and a country.
|1260||There old René Leblanc had died; and when he departed,|
Saw at his side only one of all his hundred descendants.
Something at least there was in the friendly streets of the city,
Something that spake to her heart, and made her no longer a stranger;
And her ear was pleased with the Thee and Thou of the Quakers,
|1265||For it recalled the past, the old Acadian country,|
Where all men were equal, and all were brothers and sisters.
So, when the fruitless search, the disappointed endeavor,
Ended, to recommence no more upon earth, uncomplaining,
Thither, as leaves to the light, were turned her thoughts and her footsteps.
|1270||As from the mountain's top the rainy mists of the morning|
Roll away, and afar we behold the landscape below us,
Sun-illumined, with shining rivers and cities and hamlets,
So fell the mists from her mind, and she saw the world far below her,
Dark no longer, but all illumined with love; and the pathway
|1275||Which she had climbed so far, lying smooth and fair in the distance.|
Gabriel was not forgotten. Within her heart was his image,
Clothed in the beauty of love and youth, as last she beheld him,
Only more beautiful made by his death-like silence and absence.
Into her thoughts of him time entered not, for it was not.
|1280||Over him years had no power; he was not changed, but transfigured;|
He had become to her heart as one who is dead, and not absent;
Patience and abnegation of self, and devotion to others,
This was the lesson a life of trial and sorrow had taught her.
So was her love diffused, but, like to some odorous spices,
|1285||Suffered no waste nor loss, though filling the air with aroma.|
Other hope had she none, nor wish in life, but to follow
Meekly, with reverent steps, the sacred feet of her Saviour.
Thus many years she lived as a Sister of Mercy, frequenting
Lonely and wretched roofs in the crowded lanes of the city,
|1290||Where distress and want concealed themselves from the sunlight,|
Where disease and sorrow in garrets languished neglected.
Night after night, when the world was asleep, as the watchman repeated
Loud, through the gusty streets, that all was well in the city,
High at some lonely window he saw the light of her taper.
|1295||Day after day, in the gray of the dawn, as slow through the suburbs|
Plodded the German farmer, with flowers and fruits for the market.
Met he that meek, pale face, returning home from its watchings.