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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Via Crucis (1906). III. A Bruised Reed

William Hall (1838– )

A REED, torn rudely from its native bed,

Where murmuring streams its living verdure fed,

Bruised, broken, marred, upon the miry bank

Lies—’mid the rotting herbage, fetid, dank—

Neglect and useless, till some master hand

Repair, touch, tune it for high service grand;

Breathe through the tremulous stem some plaintive air,

And wake the memories long dormant there.

Once more it whispers of the winds, the waves,

The purling brook—its sister reeds that laves;

Drinks the clear shine, the cool refreshing shower;

For nesting warblers furnishes a bower.

The impressions from its life-experience brought

Into its fibrous texture are inwrought

So deep, the smooth cylindric walls vibrate

With tender memories dear and delicate.

But still the sweetest, most entrancing notes

On eve’s calm air it rapturously floats,

Potent to assuage and soothe pain, grief, and care,

Were learned in the dark hour of its supreme despair.