The Thought of the Little Brother

MATTHEW, Mark, Luke, and John,
Bless the bed that I lie on.
Matthew’s clothes shine like the sun ;
He guards me well and he is one.
Mark is two, and Luke is three,
And dear St. John smiles down on me.
(Brother Berthold that cannot rest,
For the cross of thorns pierced in his breast,
Walks all night with haggard eyes
And “ Lord have mercy, mercy! ” cries.)
Crimson and blue and green have they,
But I must go in stuff of gray ;
Blue and green and red and gold,
Their warm robes shut me from the cold.
They all bend over and talk and sing,
And I can tell them everything.
Brother Benedictus says
A good child should be filled with praise
From morning-song till even-song,
And holy dreams the whole night long.
For if you dream of Jesus, then
You will be blessed among men.
So at night I shut my eyes
When the dear Lord walks in Paradise,
Saying " Christ, Christ, Christ! ” to bring him near.
If he were little, would he hear ?
And would his mother tell him nay
If I should ask him out to play ?
If I could dream of Jesus, then
I should be blessèd among men !
Butthe thorn has a flower by the old gray wall,
Ursyne throws me her scarlet ball,
The blind priest says,Did an apple fall ? ”
I cannot dream of Christ at all!
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
Bless the bed that I lie on.
Once Mark leaned down to me and smiled :
“ The Child Christ dreamed such dreams, dear child ! ”
Brother Benedictus says
There is no life save only praise;
He says the poppies red as flame
Grew so to mind me of my shame.
“ It was thy thought that had Him die,
Thyself unborn did crucify.”
And then I cannot help but cry —
That let the dear Lord Jesus die.
But Luke has a garment all of red.
He hugged and kissed me, and he said,
“ He loves not that his child should weep,
Sleep, little Brother,” — and I sleep.
Once Ursyne on a cloth of blue
Must stitch, as all girl children do.
She pricked her finger, and the thread
That was so white was turned to red.
The mother would not let her cry,
Nor break the thread and lay it by: —
For Christ will love thy work,” she said,
“ And bless it where the blood was shed.”
(Out in the cold Brother Berthold
Walks through the night, so haggard and old ;
If a cock should crow I should hear him call, —
“ Peter and Paul — pray for us all —
Pray for us all! ”)
Brother Benedictus says
That if we walk the paths of praise
We may meet angels there ! I know
For my own self that this is so.
To-day I lost my ball, and where
My eyes might search it was not there;
But since we should give praise for all,
I praised God that I lost my ball.
And then a lovely angel came,
With long green wings and locks of flame.
Out of the grass where I’d searched an hour
He plucked it like a scarlet flower;
And then I kissed him, and his wings
Drooped round me like dear living things.
Brother Berthold is best of all.
He planted brambles by the wall ;
He scourged himself, and every stone
In his dark cell had blood thereon ;
He blinded his own eyes, to know
If he might not see visions so.
I told him all those blessèd things, —
The ball, the kiss, the darling wings.
He cried aloud. “ Child, child,” said he,
“Would those great wings might comfort me!”
(Out in the cold Brother Berthold
Walks all night so haggard and old.
He beats his breast, with sightless eyes,
And “ Mercy, mercy, mercy ! ” cries.)
Brother Benedictus says
There is no life save only praise ;
And there is not a child too young
To serve Him with a golden tongue.
Be we man or beast or clod,
Praise God — praise God !
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
Bless the bed that I lie on.
Blue and green and red and gold,
Their warm robes shut me from the cold.
Peter and Paul, pray for us all!
'T teas a bough of ripe quinces hung over the wall!
Mark is two, and Luke is three ;
John had a rose, but he gave it to me!
Ursyne ’s got a gown o’ gray
They let her into the court to play,
(Let me dream of Christ I pray)
I picked her a quince to eat to-day.
Anna Hempstead Branch.