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    II.   Table of Contents     THE VESTAL VIRGIN.

Bibb, Eloise

- III.


Why ring those bells? what was that cry?
The night winds bear it as they sigh;
What is this crushing, maddening scene?
What do those flames of fire mean?
They surge above Gerarda's home,
Through attic, cellar, halls, they roam,
Like some terrific ghost of night,
Who longs from earth to take his flight.

Gerarda stands amid the fire,
That leaps above with mad desire,
And rings her hands in silent grief,
She fears for her there's no relief.
But now she hears a joyous shout,
A breathless silence from without,
That tells her God has heard her prayer,
And sent a noble hero there.

And here he comes, this gallant knight,
Her heart rejoices at the sight,
For 'tis Neville, with aspect grave.
Who risked his life, his love to save.
And all have perished now but she,
Her husband and her family.
Mid tears and sobs she breathes a prayer,
For loved ones who are buried there.

Neiville has brushed her tears away,
Together silently they pray
And bless the Lord with thankful prayer
For all his watchfulness and care.
"Gerarda, love," he whispers now,
Implanting kisses on her brow,
"This earth will be heaven to me,
For all my life, I'll share with thee."

    II.   Table of Contents     THE VESTAL VIRGIN.