The Cottage Maid.

A poem by Patrick Bronte

Aloft on the brow of a mountain,
And hard by a clear running fountain,
In neat little cot,
Content with her lot,
Retired, there lives a sweet maiden.

Her father is dead, and her brother,
And now she alone with her mother
Will spin on her wheel,
And sew, knit, and reel,
And cheerfully work for their living.

To gossip she never will roam,
She loves, and she stays at, her home,
Unless when a neighbour
In sickness does labour,
Then, kindly, she pays her a visit.

With Bible she stands by her bed,
And when some blest passage is read,
In prayer and in praises
Her sweet voice she raises
To Him who for sinners once died.

Well versed in her Bible is she,
Her language is artless and free,
Imparting pure joy,
That never can cloy,
And smoothing the pillow of death.

To novels and plays not inclined,
Nor aught that can sully her mind;
Temptations may shower,
Unmoved as a tower,
She quenches the fiery arrows.

She dresses as plain as the lily
That modestly glows in the valley,
And never will go
To play, dance or show,
She calls them the engines of Satan.

With tears in her eyes she oft says,
"Away with your dances and plays!
The ills that perplex
The half of our sex
Are owing to you, Satan's engines."

Released from her daily employment,
Intent upon solid enjoyment,
Her time she won't idle,
But reads in her Bible,
And books that divinely enlighten.

Whilst others at wake, dance, and play
Chide life's restless moments away,
And ruin their souls,
In pleasure she rolls,
The foretaste of heavenly joys.

Her soul is refined by her Lord,
She shines in the truths of His Word:
Each Christian grace
Shines full in her face,
And heightens the glow of her charms.

One day as I passed o'er the mountain,
She sung by a clear crystal fountain
(Nor knew I was near);
Her notes charmed my ear,
As thus she melodiously chanted:

"Oh! when shall we see our dear Jesus?
His presence from poverty frees us,
And bright from His face
The rays of His grace
Beam, purging transgression for ever.

"Oh! when shall we see our dear Jesus?
His presence from sorrow will ease us,
When up to the sky
With angels we fly
Then farewell all sorrow for ever!

"Come quickly! come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Thy presence alone can appease us;
For aye on Thy breast
Believers shall rest,
Where blest they shall praise Thee for ever."

Oh, had you but seen this sweet maiden!
She smiled like the flowers of Eden,
And raised to the skies
Her fond beaming eyes,
And sighed to be with her Redeemer

While thus she stood heavenly musing,
And sometimes her Bible perusing,
Came over the way,
All silvered with grey,
A crippled and aged poor woman.

Her visage was sallow and thin,
Through her rags peeped her sunburnt skin;
With sorrow oppressed,
She held to her breast
An infant, all pallid with hunger.

Half breathless by climbing the mountain,
She tremblingly stood by the fountain,
And begged that our maid
Would lend her some aid,
And pity both her and her infant.

Our maiden had nought but her earning
Her heart with soft pity was yearning;
She drooped like a lily
Bedewed in the valley,
Whilst tears fell in pearly showers.

With air unaffected and winning,
To cover them, of her own spinning
Her apron of blue,
Though handsome and new,
She gave, and led them to her cottage.

All peace, my dear maiden, be thine:
Your manners and looks are divine;
On earth you shall rest,
In heaven be blest,
And shine like an angel for ever.

More blest than the king on the throne
Is he who shall call you his own!
The ruby, with you
Compared, fades to blue
Its price is but dust on the balance.

Religion makes beauty enchanting,
And even where beauty is wanting,
The temper and mind,
Will shine through the veil with sweet lustre.

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