Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO A SISTER OF CHARITY, by EDWIN GEORGE ALEXANDER

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TO A SISTER OF CHARITY, by                
First Line: Bewitching devotee / thy shapeless garments cannot hide the / grace
Last Line: Its solemn vow.
Subject(s): Lust

Thy shapeless garments cannot hide the grace
And faultless symmetry
Of thy fair form and vigil-chastened face.
Thine eyes serene and pure
Look out with glance demure
Upon the world whose pleasures thou hast tried,
And turned away
With heart unsatisfied
To fast and pray.

I count it grievous sin
Such lips should pout within a cloistered nook,
And cruel discipline
Disturb thy maiden dreams with bead and book.
Thou shouldst have been a wife,
And crowned some noble life
With love's bright garland of immortal flowers;
Such loveliness as thine
In beauty's silken bowers
Was meant to shine.

Though thou hast left the woes,
The sudden shocks, and sharper griefs of earth
Outside the sacred close
Whose arches shudder at the sound of mirth,
I fancy, now and then,
Sweet visions come again,
And tender voices whisper in thy cell
Love-laden rhymes
That made thy bosom swell
In former times.

It is a cruel creed
That bids thy heart cast off all human ties;
A selfish world has need
Of gentle counsels and sweet sympathies.
He whose handmaid thou art,
When here, lived not apart
From hearts and homes, but shared our joys and ills,
And so must thou,
If thy young heart fulfils
Its solemn vow.

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