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W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.

The Daughter of Herodias

Lucy Hooper (1816–1841)

MOTHER! I bring thy gift,

Take from my hand the dreaded boon—I pray

Take it, the still pale sorrow of the face

Hath left upon my soul its living trace,

Never to pass away;

Since from these lips one word of idle breath

Blanched that calm face—oh! mother, this is death.

What is it that I see

From all the pure and settled features gleaming?

Reproach! reproach! My dreams are strange and wild;

Mother, hadst thou no pity on thy child?

Lo! a celestial smile seems softly beaming

On the hushed lips—my mother, canst thou brook

Longer upon thy victim’s face to look?

Alas! at yestermorn

My heart was light and to the viol’s sound

I gaily danced, while crowned with summer flowers,

And swiftly by me sped the flying hours,

And all was joy around:

Not death! Oh, mother, could I say thee nay?

Take from thy daughter’s hand thy boon away!

Take it, my heart is sad,

And the pure forehead hath an icy chill—

I dare not touch it, for avenging Heaven

Hath shuddering visions to my fancy given,

And the pale face appals me, cold and still,

With the closed lips—oh, tell me, could I know

That the pale features of the dead were so?

I may not turn away

From the charmed brow, and I have heard his name

Even as a prophet by his people spoken—

And that high brow, in death bears seal and token

Of one whose words were flame:

Oh! Holy teacher, couldst thou rise and live,

Would not these hushed lips whisper, “I forgive?”

Away with lute and harp,

With the glad heart for ever and the dance,

Never again shall tabret sound for me;

Oh! fearful mother! I have brought to thee

The silent dead with his rebuking glance,

And the crushed heart of one, to whom are given

Wild dreams of judgment and offended Heaven!