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VI. The Betrothal

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892). The Poetical Works in Four Volumes. 1892.

Narrative and Legendary Poems

Mabel Martin
VI. The Betrothal

HAD then God heard her? Had He sent

His angel down? In flesh and blood,

Before her Esek Harden stood!

He laid his hand upon her arm:

“Dear Mabel, this no more shall be;

Who scoffs at you must scoff at me.

“You know rough Esek Harden well;

And if he seems no suitor gay,

And if his hair is touched with gray,

“The maiden grown shall never find

His heart less warm than when she smiled,

Upon his knees, a little child!”

Her tears of grief were tears of joy,

As, folded in his strong embrace,

She looked in Esek Harden’s face.

“O truest friend of all!” she said,

“God bless you for your kindly thought,

And make me worthy of my lot!”

He led her forth, and, blent in one,

Beside their happy pathway ran

The shadows of the maid and man.

He led her through his dewy fields,

To where the swinging lanterns glowed,

And through the doors the huskers showed.

“Good friends and neighbors!” Esek said,

“I ’m weary of this lonely life;

In Mabel see my chosen wife!

“She greets you kindly, one and all;

The past is past, and all offence

Falls harmless from her innocence.

“Henceforth she stands no more alone;

You know what Esek Harden is;—

He brooks no wrong to him or his.

“Now let the merriest tales be told,

And let the sweetest songs be sung

That ever made the old heart young!

“For now the lost has found a home;

And a lone hearth shall brighter burn,

As all the household joys return!”

Oh, pleasantly the harvest-moon,

Between the shadow of the mows,

Looked on them through the great elm-boughs!

On Mabel’s curls of golden hair,

On Esek’s shaggy strength it fell;

And the wind whispered, “It is well!”