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Essays, Sketches and Illustrations of bygone Sussex

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116                               BYGONE SUSSEX.
What shall she do to save her husband's home ?
The scene of homely smiles and homely tears ;
His home and hers, which now, alas, she fears The rushing blaze will whelm in fiery foam. Alone she stands—no hand is there to aid;
Yet, though the earth be fire, the heavens are blue;
Though men are false and fail, the saints are true And love to help when earnest prayer is made.
She prays unto Bartholomew the Saint,
And girds the house with but a slender thread Her hands a-tremble and her soul in dread ;
Then to her chamber, with her heart all faint.
Again she calls unto the Saint for aid—
The fire scarce touched the faith-protected cot, Though on it breathed the flames all red and hot,
And e'en Cecilia's faithful heart dismayed,
(That selfsame hour the sailor husband brave Knelt at the shrine of St. Bartholomew, With waxen taper, sign of worship true,
And gratitude for safety from the wrave.)
Houses on either side in ruins lay—
Cecilia's house untouched, save that the fire Had reached the pinnacles, and in its ire
Balked of a victim burned them half away.
Amazed men saw the house unburned stand,
Guarded and saved but by Faith's slender thread ; Great was the marvel that the wonder bred
When Helyas came back to his native strand.
The age of miracles has long gone by ;
We smile at marvels told in monkish books, Yet drag them forth from out their dusty nooks,
For Love, and Faith, and Duty never die.
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