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BENEDETTA MINELLI: THE SISTER OF MERCY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Is it then so? - good friends, who sit and sigh
Last Line: Te deum laudamus. Now, -- 't is all repose.
Alternate Author Name(s): Mulock, Dinah Maria
Subject(s): Nuns

IS it then so? -- Good friends, who sit and sigh
While I lie smiling, are my life's sands run?
Will my next matins, hymned beyond the sun,
Mingle with those of saints and martyrs high?

Shall I with these my gray hairs turned to gold,
My aged limbs new clad in garments white,
Stand all transfigured in the angels' sight,
Singing triumphantly that moan of old, --

Thy will be done? It was done. O my God,
Thou know'st, when over grief's tempestuous sea
My broken-winged soul fled home to Thee,
I writhed, but never murmured at Thy rod.

It fell upon me, stern at first, then soft
As parent's kisses, till the wound was healed;
And I went forth a laborer in Thy field: --
They best can bind who have been bruised oft.

And Thou wert pitiful. I came heart-sore,
And drank Thy cup because earth's cups ran dry:
Thou slew'st me not for that impiety,
But madest the draught so sweet, I thirst no more.

I came for silence, heavy rest, or death:
Thou gavest instead life, peace, and holy toil:
My sighing lips from sorrow didst assoil,
And fill with righteous thankfulness each breath.

Therefore I praise Thee that Thou shuttest Thine ears
Unto my misery: didst Thy will, not mine:
That to this length of days Thy hand divine,
My feet from falling kept, mine eyes from tears.

Sisters, draw near. Hear my last words serene:
When I was young I walked in mine own ways,
Worshipped -- not God: sought not alone His praise;
So he cut down my gourd while it was green.

And then He o'er me threw His holy shade,
That though no other mortal plants might grow,
Mocking the beauty that was long laid low,
I dwelt in peace, and His commands obeyed.

I thank Him for all joy and for all pain:
For healed pangs, for years of calm content:
For blessedness of spending and being spent
In His high service where all loss is gain.

I bless Him for my life and for my death;
But most, that in my death my life is crowned,
Since I see there, with angels gathering round,
My angel. Ay, love, thou hast kept thy faith,

I mine. The golden portals will not close
Like those of earth, between us. Reach thy hand!
No miserere, sisters. Chant out grand
Te Deum laudamus. Now, -- 't is all repose.

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