Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
Catherine Kinrade
By Thomas Edward Brown (1830–1897)
          [A poor Manxwoman, mother of four base-born children, sundry times (1713–1720) dragged through the sea for punishment by order of Thomas Wilson, Bishop of Sodor and Man.]

NONE spake when Wilson stood before
The throne—
And He that sat thereon
Spake not; and all the presence-floor
Burnt deep with blushes, as the angels cast        5
Their faces downwards. Then at last,
Awe-stricken, he was ’ware
How on the emerald stair
A woman sat, divinely clothed in white,
And at her knees four cherubs bright,        10
That laid
Their heads within her lap. Then, trembling, he essay’d
To speak:—‘Christ’s mother, pity me!’
Then answered she:—
‘Sir, I am Catherine Kinrade.’        15
Even so—the poor dull brain,
Drench’d in unhallow’d fire,
It had no vigour to restrain—
God’s image trodden in the mire
Of impious wrongs—whom last he saw        20
Gazing with animal awe
Before his harsh tribunal, proved unchaste,
Incorrigible, woman’s form defaced
To uttermost ruin by no fault of hers—
So gave her to the torturers;        25
And now—some vital spring adjusted,
Some faculty that rusted
Cleansed to legitimate use—
Some undeveloped action stirr’d, some juice
Of God’s distilling dropt into the core        30
Of all her life—no more
In that dark grave entomb’d,
Her soul had bloom’d
To perfect woman—swift celestial growth
That mocks our temporal sloth—        35
To perfect woman—woman made to honour,
With all the glory of her youth upon her.
And from her lips and from her eyes there flow’d
A smile that lit all heaven; the angels smiled;
God smiled, if that were smile beneath the state that glow’d        40
Soft purple—and a voice:—‘Be reconciled!’
So to his side the children crept,
And Catherine kiss’d him, and he wept.
Then said a seraph:—‘Lo! he is forgiven.’
And for a space again there was no voice in Heaven.        45

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