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Aletheia1(when I was a girl)
2One Sunday offered me an
3But for it I must part with all I had;
4I, of the bargain, was extremely glad.
5Then being so directed from above,
6She, smiling, asked me if I could her love.
7I, seeing her so far transcend all other,
8And more resplendent than her radiant
9Said I with her would gladly live and die.
10Celestial Love the true love’s knot did tie;
11Reciprocally promising ne’er to depart,
She4took possession of my
13In earnest of her love she gave a kiss,
14Saying she would lead me to eternal bliss;
15So should I shun the paths of endless
16And have an innocent soul still free from terror.
17She bid me fear no trouble in my
18For love would crown me with immortal glory.
19Thus innocently I passed my youthful days,
20Seeing more and more of her
21Thus, being puffed up with prosperity,
22The world in every star I thought to
23And oft I did my virgin guide entreat,
24To make my happiness on earth complete,
25That Peace (that stately dame) she would invite
26To dwell with us, to
27For then, I said, that Joy would follow after:
28Get but the mother, and you have the daughter.
triumviri11might I once
30I should esteem this world a trifling
31My fair directress, smiling, then did say,
32That those two jolly ladies would not stay
33Long in a place, nor were they as they seemed:
34As all that
glisters14is not gold esteemed,
35There’s no true peace, nor joy, below the sun;
36Nor can we know it till this life is done.
37Nay more, being at the
Parcae’s15house of late,
38Turning the volumes of the book of fate
39To see what might advance th’Eternal’s glory,
hap’d17to cast an eye on my sad story,
41And by my destiny she saw my life,
42At which she sighed: both infant,
maid18, and wife
43Would be involved and filled with inward trouble,
44But yet as
brittle19as the tenderest bubble,
45And looking further on from page to page,
46She found I would live a tedious
47But yet to comfort me in my sad story,
48My troubles all would end in endless glory.
49Therefore she did advise, for my relief,
50A modest matron to allay my grief,
51One not so
brave21but of as ample
52And noble birth (the daughter of the
53Who doth defend the faithful with her shield
54And makes them still victorious in the field);
55Patience her name, who said she would invite
56Her sister Hope to further my delight.
57I said of those two damsels I had been told,
58But yet I thought till I grew sick or old
59Their sad and tedious stories would deject
sprightly24soul; them I did not
61Truth, sighing said, not many days would go,
Ere26I would wish for those I slighted so,
63But all her counsel was to me in vain,
64For I invited home that gallant train:
65Peace in a purple
fanes29, cities, you might there behold;
67Which cast a luster to my wondering eye;
68Joy, in an
vesture31like the sky,
69Studded with gems, which dazzled so my sight,
70That now (methought) my pearl was not so bright
was wont32, but looked both dim and sad.
72Thus of my guests I was extremely glad.
73Peace sweetly smiled; Joy, giggling, laughed outright,
74And thus in mirth we passed the time till night.
75Then tired with laughing, we went all to bed,
76But by the morn my cheerful guests were fled;
77And none but Sorrow left, tearing her hair,
78And Fear who, trembling, askéd for Despair.
79My blesséd guide, seeing me in tears
80And with such woeful company involved,
81Asked me if Patience I did yet desire.
82I said without her I should soon expire.
83At last she came, with slow and modest pace;
84Wiping the the tears from my pale,
85She told me many a sad and dismal story,
86Which ever ended in the sufferer’s glory.
sure35washed the films from off my sight,
88For now I found my pearl was far more bright,
89Than all the gems I ever yet did view;
90Behold the power of
91I laid my pearl close to my trembling breast,
92And on an
anchor37laid my head to rest,
93That Hope (in love to me) before had
94Me to sustain; that fair and blessed maid,
95Whom fair Aletheia brought to take my part,
96To sway the
factions39in my troubled heart;
them40charge, ever to hold in awe
98Sorrow and Fear, and never to withdraw
99Their best assistance, to keep out Despair,
100Who with her cursed associates would
101Me to afflict, which would me much affright,
102’Cause the black
brood of Acheron and Night42
103Would also come, who only were addicted
add43afflictions to the most afflicted.
105Just as she spake, in came that horrid
106Which caused a trembling throughout every vein
107Of my sad heart; down fell I in a
brave damsel46raised me from the ground,
109Who just then came triumphant from the field;
110Then, with her bright impenetrable shield,
111She all those hellish monsters did oppose
112(Thus was I safe delivered from my foes);
113Then, leaving Hope and Patience by my side,
114Commanding them both with me to abide,
115Counselling me to follow my fair guide,
116Who would, through all the trouble of my story,
117Lead me at last to everlasting glory.
118Thus have I lived a sad and weary life,
119Thirteen a maid, and thirty three a wife.
120All I found true my Alethie did speak,
121But yet (ay me!) the
bubble47will not break.