Page:Mistral - Mirèio. A Provençal poem.djvu/254

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[Canto XII.

An oaken door, with carvings rich and rare,
Gift of the pious people of Beaucaire,
Closes the holy precinct. And yet surely
That which defends is not the portal purely,—
Is not the circling rampart; but the grace
Descending from the azure depths of apace.

So to the chapel bare they the sick child,
While up the winding stair the folk defiled;
And, as a white-robed priest threw wide the door,
They, entering, fell on the dusty floor,
As falls full-bearded barley when a squall
Hath smitten it, and worshipped one and all.

"O lovely Saints! O friendly Saints!" they said,
"O Saints of God, pity this poor young maid!"
"Pity her!" sobbed the mother. "I will bring,
When she is well, so fair an offering!
My flower-carved cross, my golden ring!" she cried,
"And tell the tale through town and country-side!"

"O Saints," groaned Ramoun, stumbling in the gloom,
While shook his aged head, "be kind, and come!
Look on this little one! She is my treasure!
She is my plover! Pretty beyond measure,
And good and meet for life! Send my old bones
To dung the mallows, but save her!" he moans.