Musings in Maoriland
Only a Miserable Wretch
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;
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;
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,
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.