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Her heart a little sacred shrine,

Where all the virtues meet; And holy hope and faith divine

Had claimed it for their seat.

She loved to raise her fragrant bower

Of wild and rustic taste, And there she screened each favorite flower

From every ruder blast.

And not a shrub or plant was there

But did some moral yield; For wisdom, by a father's care,

Was found in every field.

The trees, whose foliage fell away,

And with the summer died, He thought an image of decay

Might lecture human pride.

While fair, perennial greens that stood,

And braved the wintry blast,
As types of the fair mind he viewed

Which shall forever last.

He taught her that the gaudiest flowers

Were seldom fragrant found,
But, wasted soon their little powers,

Dropped useless on the ground;

While the sweet-scented rose shall last,

And still retain its power,
When life's imperfect day is past,

And beauty's shorter hour.
And here the virgin loved to lead

Her inoffensive day;
And here she oft retired to read,

And oft retired to pray.

Embowered, she graced the woodland shades,

From courts and cities far, The pride of Caledonian maids,

The peerless northern star.

As shines that bright and lucid star,

The glory of the night, When, beaming through the cloudless air,

She sheds her silver light,

So Birtha shone! But, when she spoke,

The muse herself was heard, As on the ravished air she broke,

And thus her prayer preferred :

“O bless thy Birtha, Power Supreme,

In whom I live and move,
And bless me most by blessing him

Whom more than life I love."

She starts to hear a stranger's voice,

And, with a modest grace,
She lifts her meek eye in surprise,

And sees a stranger's face :

The stranger lost in transport stood,

Bereft of voice and power;
While she with equal wonder viewed

Sir Eldred of the Bower.

The virgin blush which spreads her cheek

With nature's purest dye, And all those dazzling beams which break

Like morning from her eye

He viewed them all, and as he viewed,

Drank deeply of delight;
And still his raptured eye pursued,

And feasted on the sight.

With silent wonder long they gazed,

And neither silence broke; At length the smothered passion blazed;

Enamored Eldred spoke :

“O sacred virtue, heavenly power!

Thy wondrous force I feel : I gaze, I tremble, I adore,

Yet die my love to tell.

“My scorn has oft the dart repelled

Which guileful beauty threw;
But goodness heard, and grace beheld,

Must every heart subdue.”

Quick on the ground her eyes were cast,

And now as quickly raised : Just then her father haply passed,

On whom she trembling gazed.

Good Ardolph's eye his Birtha meets

With glances of delight;
And thus with courteous speech he greets

The young and graceful knight :

“O gallant youth, whoe'er thou art,

Right welcome to this place ! There's something rises at my heart

Which says I've seen that face.”

“ Thou generous knight,” the youth rejoined,

“ Though little known to fame, I trust I bear a grateful mind

Sir Eldred is my name."

“ Sir Eldred?” Ardolph loud exclaimed,

“Renowned for worth and power? For valor and for virtue famed,

Sir Eldred of the Bower?

“ Now make me grateful, righteous Heaven,

As thou art good to me,
Since to my aged eyes 'tis given

Sir Eldred's son to see!”

Then Ardolph caught him by the hand,

And gazed upon his face,
And to his aged bosom strained,

With many a kind embrace.

Again he viewed him o'er and o'er,

And doubted still the truth,
And asked what he had asked before,

Then thus addressed the youth:

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“ The daughter of a neighboring knight

Did my fond heart engage;
And ne'er did Heaven the virtues write

Upon a fairer page.

His bosom felt an equal wound,

Nor sighed we long in vain;
One summer's sun beheld us bound

In Hymen's holy chain.

“Thou wast Sir Eldred's only child,

Thy father's darling joy;
On me a lovely daughter smiled,

On me a blooming boy.

“But man has woes, has clouds of care,

That dim his star of life-
My arms received the little pair,

The earth's cold breast, my wife.

“Forgive, thou gentle knight, forgive ;

Fond, foolish tears will How;
One day like mine thy heart may heave,

And mourn its lot of wo.

“But grant, kind Heaven ! thou ne'er may'st know

The pangs I now impart, Nor ever feel the parting blow

That rives a husband's heart.

“Beside the blooming banks of Tay

My angel's ashes sleep;
And wherefore should her Ardolph stay,

Except to watch and weep?

I bore my beauteous babes away,

With many a gushing tear;
I left the blooming banks of Tay,

And brought my darlings here.

“I watched my little household cares,

And formed their growing youth, And fondly trained their infant years

To piety and truth.”

“ Thy blooming Birtha here 1 see,

Sir Eldred straight rejoined ; “ But why thy son is not with thee,

Resolve my doubting mind.”

When Birtha did the question hear,

She sighed, but could not speak; And many a soft and silent tear

Strayed down her damask cheek.

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