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    JUDITH.   Table of Contents     THE RELEASE.

Menken, Adah Isaacs
Infelicia

- INFELICIA.
- WORKING AND WAITING.


WORKING AND WAITING.

Suggested by Carl Muller's Cast of the Seamstress, at the Dussledorf Gallery.

I.


LOOK on that form, once it for the sculptor!
Look on that cheek, where the roses have died!
Working and waiting have robbed from the artist
All that his marble could show for its pride.
Statue-like sitting
Alone, in the fitting
And wind-haunted shadows that people her hearth.
God protect all of us--
God shelter all of us
From the reproach of such scenes upon earth!

II.


All the day long, and through the cold midnight,
Still the hot needle she wearily plies.
Haggard and white as the ghost of a Spurned One,
Sewing white robes for the Chosen One's eyes--
Lost in her sorrow,
But for the morrow
Phantom-like speaking in every stitch--
God protect all of us--
God shelter all of us
From the Curse, born with each sigh for the Rich!
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III.


Low burns the lamp. Fly swifter, thou needle--
Swifter, thou asp for the breast of the poor!
Else the pale light will be stolen by Pity,
Ere of the vital part thou hast made sure.
Dying, yet living:
All the world's giving
Barely the life that runs out with her thread.
God protect all of us--
God shelter all of us
From her last glance, as she follows the Dead!

IV.


What if the morning finds her still bearing
All the soul's load of a merciless lot!
Fate will not lighten a grain of the burden
While the poor bearer by man is forgot.
Sewing and sighing!
Sewing and dying!
What to such life is a day or two more?
God protect all of us--
God shelter all of us
From the new day's lease of woe to the Poor!

V.


Hasten, ye winds! and yield her the mercy
Lying in sleep on your purified breath;
Yield her the mercy, enfolding a blessing,
Yield her the mercy whose signet is Death.
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In her toil stopping,
See her work dropping--
Fate, thou art merciful! Life, thou art done!
God protect all of us--
God shelter all of us
From the heart breaking, and yet living on!

VI.


Winds that have sainted her, tell ye the story
Of the young life by the needle that bled;
Making its bridge over Death's soundless waters
Out of a saying and soul-cutting thread.
Over it going.
All the world knowing!
Thousands have trod it, foot-bleeding, before!
God protect all of us--
God shelter all of us,
Should she look back from the Opposite Shore!
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    JUDITH.   Table of Contents     THE RELEASE.