The Blind Girl Of Castel-Cuille. (From The Gascon of Jasmin)

At the foot of the mountain height
Where is perched Castel Cuille,
When the apple, the plum, and the almond tree
In the plain below were growing white,
This is the song one might perceive
On a Wednesday morn of Saint Joseph's Eve:

'The roads should blossom, the roads should bloom,
So fair a bride shall leave her home!
Should blossom and bloom with garlands gay,
So fair a bride shall pass to-day!'

This old Te Deum, rustic rites attending,
Seemed from the clouds descending;
When lo! a merry company
Of rosy village girls, clean as the eye,
Each one with her attendant swain,
Came to the cliff, all singing the same strain;
Resembling there, so near unto the sky,
Rejoicing angels, that kind Heaven has sent
For their delight and our encouragement.
Together blending,
And soon descending
The narrow sweep
Of the hillside steep,
They wind aslant
Towards Saint Amant,
Through leafy alleys
Of verdurous valleys
With merry sallies
Singing their chant:

'The roads should blossom, the roads should bloom,
So fair a bride shall leave her home!
Should blossom and bloom with garlands gay,
So fair a bride shall pass to-day!

It is Baptiste, and his affianced maiden,
With garlands for the bridal laden!

The sky was blue; without one cloud of gloom,
The sun of March was shining brightly,
And to the air the freshening wind gave lightly
Its breathings of perfume.

When one beholds the dusky hedges blossom,
A rustic bridal, oh! how sweet it is!
To sounds of joyous melodies,
That touch with tenderness the trembling bosom,
A band of maidens
Gayly frolicking,
A band of youngsters
Wildly rollicking!
Kissing,
Caressing,
With fingers pressing,
Till in the veriest
Madness of mirth, as they dance,
They retreat and advance,
Trying whose laugh shall be loudest and merriest;
While the bride, with roguish eyes,
Sporting with them, now escapes and cries:
'Those who catch me
Married verily
This year shall be!'

And all pursue with eager haste,
And all attain what they pursue,
And touch her pretty apron fresh and new,
And the linen kirtle round her waist.

Meanwhile, whence comes it that among
These youthful maidens fresh and fair,
So joyous, with such laughing air,
Baptiste stands sighing, with silent tongue?
And yet the bride is fair and young!
Is it Saint Joseph would say to us all,
That love, o'er-hasty, precedeth a fall?
O no! for a maiden frail, I trow,
Never bore so lofty a brow!
What lovers! they give not a single caress!
To see them so careless and cold to-day,
These are grand people, one would say.
What ails Baptiste? what grief doth him oppress?

It is, that half-way up the hill,
In yon cottage, by whose walls
Stand the cart-house and the stalls,
Dwelleth the blind orphan still,
Daughter of a veteran old;
And you must know, one year ago,
That Margaret, the young and tender,
Was the village pride and splendor,
And Baptiste her lover bold.
Love, the deceiver, them ensnared;
For them the altar was prepared;
But alas! the summer's blight,
The dread disease that none can stay,
The pestilence that walks by night,
Took the young bride's sight away.

All at the father's stern command was changed;
Their peace was gone, but not their love estranged.
Wearied at home, erelong the lover fled;
Returned but three short days ago,
The golden chain they round him throw,
He is enticed, and onward led
To marry Angela, and yet
Is thinking ever of Margaret.

Then suddenly a maiden cried,
'Anna, Theresa, Mary, Kate!
Here comes the cripple Jane!' And by a fountain's side
A woman, bent and gray with years,
Under the mulberry-trees appears,
And all towards her run, as fleet
As had they wings upon their feet.

It is that Jane, the cripple Jane,
Is a soothsayer, wary and kind.
She telleth fortunes, and none complain.
She promises one a village swain,
Another a happy wedding-day,
And the bride a lovely boy straightway.
All comes to pass as she avers;
She never deceives, she never errs.

But for this once the village seer
Wears a countenance severe,
And from beneath her eyebrows thin and white
Her two eyes flash like cannons bright
Aimed at the bridegroom in waistcoat blue,
Who, like a statue, stands in view;
Changing color as well he might,
When the beldame wrinkled and gray
Takes th
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was an American poet and educator whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. more…

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"The Blind Girl Of Castel-Cuille. (From The Gascon of Jasmin)" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 17 Nov. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/18822/the-blind-girl-of-castel-cuille.--(from-the-gascon-of-jasmin)>.

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