Chastened by grief, Ben Horad holier grew,
And, uncomplaining, toiled from day to day.
His sad, sweet smile his loving flock well knew,
His kindly voice their sorrows charmed away;
Yet, though he bowed before his Master's will,
His heart was sad, for he was human still.

By night or day, wherever he might stray,
Through bustling city streets or lonely lane,
One form he ever saw-a maiden gay;
One voice he heard-a soft, melodious strain:
And oh! the loneliness, to see and hear,
Yet lack the tender touch of one so dear!

Long as he read into the silent night,
The winking stars soft peeping in his room,
While at his hand the dreamy, lambent light
Just lit his book and left all else in gloom.
His study walls evanished, and in mist
He saw the maid whose dead lips once he kissed:

Yet dead no more, but his dear spirit wife.
And still in heaven she sang the same glad strain
She would have sung on earth had not her life
Been given to him that he might live again,
And as she sang he wept: “Ah! woe is me,
Who robbed her of her sweet futurity.”

There came a day when on the Rabbi's ears
Fell the low moans of one in mortal pain.
Slowly they died, as though dissolved in tears,
While a weak infant's wail took up the strain.
Sadly Ben Horad smiled, and raised his head:
“She has been spared that agony,” he said.

Then all his sorrow died; but not for long,
For soon again the spirit voice he heard,
Crooning all day a little cradle song,
With happiness and love in every word.
And as she sang he wept: “Ah! woe is me,
Who robbed her of her sweet maternity.”

Once more he heard her moans, and once again
Heard the young mother crooning o'er her child.
And then came no more sorrow in the strain,
Which had there been might him have reconciled,
But as she sang he wept: “Ah! woe is me,
Who robbed her of her sweet maturity.”

And still he read the Talmud, day and night,
And still the years slipped by on noiseless wing.
Then one day as he studied, lo! the sprite,
Till then long silent, recommenced to sing.
He sighed: “To-day she feasts her eldest boy,
And I have robbed my darling of this joy.”

Again was silence, and again there fell
Upon the Rabbi's ears the sweet refrain,
With the glad tumult of a marriage bell,
Now rising like a bird, now low again.
“Her daughter weds,” he said. “Ah! woe is me,
Who robbed her of her sweet maternity.”

Year after year he lived, and children died
Of age, whom he had dandled, until he,
Worn with his grief, for death's oblivion sighed;
But still he heard the same sweet melody,
And could not die until the singing ceased,
For by her life had his life been increased.

Long flashed the lamp upon the sacred page,
Long peeped the star-worlds through the orioled pane,
Long nightly sat the white-haired, saintly sage
And listened till at last the happy strain
Died into discord. “God be thanked,” he said-
Next day they found him, smiling now-but dead.