Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Musings in Maoriland

Only a Miserable Wretch

page break

Only a Miserable Wretch.

They took me from the loathsome den,
   And marched me down the street;
My heart was nearly bursting then,
  As 'gainst my side it beat.
Contemptuous glances followed me,
  And some one near me said,
"Only a miserable wretch
  Unto the court-house led".

   "Only a miserable wretch!"—
 I hung my head in shame;
Oh, they that bring the curse on us
  Are always first to blame.
The heartless words rang through my brain
  With quick and sharp report;

page 130

My woman's nature shrank with pain
  Down the street to the court.

"Only a miserable wretch"—
  I turned and gazed behind;
My long-forgotten girlhood passed
  Before my wandering mind.
Electric thought spanned wasted years
  And leaped the fierce, wide foam,
'Till girlish smiles replaced my tears
  Within the dear old home.

My heart, with an elastic bound,
  Flung off its weight of sin,
For happiness shone all around
  And peace reigned queen within.
The dross was severed from the gold
  In childhood's pure retort,
And I was free and far away
  From constables and court.

The primroses were opening up
  Their petals on the meads,
And offering to the sun's first ray
  Their dewy crystal beads;

page 131

And where the perfumed lilac swung,
  The thrush sang clear and sweet,
And in the world there seemed no room
  For sorrow or deceit.

The moss-rose nestling on the sill,
  Peeped at me through the pane;
I fancied that the linnet's trill
  Was "Welcome home again!"
I felt my mother's warm caress—
  The blissful dream was short,
For waking to my wretchedness,
  I stood before the Court.

"Only a miserable wretch,"
  I knew not where I stood;
Despair, remorse, and misery,
  Stirred up my wildest blood:
I cursed the world, I cursed my fate;
  Oh man! we are your thralls;
All eyes are filled with scorn or hate,
  When once a woman falls.

It was not thus with Him who raised
  Magdalen from the ground,

page 132

The preachers now who bear His name
  Are seldom near us found.
O, Master! though the world be cold,
  In Thee we'll find support;
The lost ones can regain Thy fold
  Up the road to Thy Court.