TO A DESTINED NUN.

FROM THE DUTCH OF J. P. HASEBROEK.

Bereft of youth, though young; confined, yet free;
Howewer lovely, loving— nor beloved;
Pious, not virtuous; saint, yet disapproved;
What can a cloisters desert offer thee?
What made you shave the ringlets from this brow,
Beauty did form to kiss thy snowy neck?
If gold and silk were fond thy limbs to deck,
Why does a woollen garb disgrace them now?

Thou thornless Rose, bethink thee, was it well
To shun the shade of this delightful bower?
The zephyr did not meekly fan thy flower,
But had a claim to its luxurious smell.
Thou’rt earthly — and desir’st the peace of heaven?
Thou’rt human — and expect’st celestial bliss?
A sinner. — and pretend’st to holiness?
A christian — and thou deem’st such pride forgiven?

Thou ask’st a dungeon, and thou sigh’st for rest?
O There are many longing for repose,
And then there is a grave for thee and those,
But— when it pleases Him, who knows the best!
Do not commit as black a suicide;
Nor do despise mankind! Continual strife
Must be the only scope of human live —
And thou, thou fliest thy cowardice to hide!

Once thou wert loved; thou didst not love again:
No sprightly brook of living water, thou!
But stagnant lake, disdaining on  to flow,
To drench the banks or mingle with the main.
Thou art devoted to thyself, wilt take
No notice of the rest and hid’st thy beauty;
And still thou deem’st such avarice a duty!
Was it not giv’n thee for anothers sake?

„Thou hast regret and sorrows?” from our birth,
We have them all. If dusky cells should hold
Each suffering sheep of this unhappy fold,
We were to make a cloister of our earth.
Our name is fellow-sufferers till our death.
Those walls bestow no comfort; do not feign!
The token of thine order sooth’s no pain;
It decks thy heart, but still ’t will break beneath.

„Thou bow’st in resignation.” Don’t deceive
Thyself, for such repentance has no worth!
Since thou hast lost the love, the hope of earth,
Thou lov’st the Lord but to forget thy grief.
Thy tears are not agreeable to God,
Thy thoughts not sacred, for the world is there:
Before this altar if thou stoop’st for pray’r,
Beware! thou doest profane the sacred spot.

O, Pray’rs are heav’nly, godly! but the Lord
Destilled not all the surplice here to wear.
To waste our life in one fanatic pray’r:
„MAN, WORK AND PRAY!” commands His sacred word.
E’en the chaste Seraphs, crown’d with heav’nly light,
Are ministers, who at His voice obey,
And as they sing his mighty glory, they
Perform his will, not resting day and night.

„Thour’t virtuous?” Virtue shows itself in STRIFE!
He, whom on earth no victor’s wreath was given,
Partakes not of th’ immortal palm of heaven!
He needs no rest who idled al! his life.
Look, look upon thy Bridegroom! sore not He
The cross, you bow at, to his trial place?
„Whoe’er” — He said — „is worthy of my grace
Takes up his cross and follows after me.”

„Thou could’st afford nor good, nor bliss, nor mirth?”
Shortsighted! do you know the Lords decree
Or to what task th’ Almighty destined thee,
A being, harmless as thou art, on earth?
Oh, Latent virtue bears the richest fruit!
The balmy dew, calm Night weeps o’er the flower,
Is far more sweet than many a heavy shower
To all the lovely daughters of the wood.

„However, thou art happy?” Say not so!
Thy Faith is dead, for it is buried here;
Thy Love is nothing, for it does not cheer;
Thy Hope a lie; thou sow’st not — s halt thou mow?
Thy Piety is but a selfish scheme;
Thou art but cruel, though they call thee holy;
Thy worship is a fancy and a folly;
And, oh! how shalt thou waken from thy dream?

Humanity ’s our duty, first of all!
„The Christ entreats tbat we should love each other:
Why, thou wert call’d to be a spouse, a mother…
How, bigot! didst thou answer to that call?
Thou wipest no tear, thou sharest no smile; by thee
No head was e’er upheld with tender care;
Thou didst not comfort, didst not shelter; there
Exist for thee nor thanks nor sympathy.

One day!… Whose blessing shall avert the doom?
The sacred garb must from thy limbs be torn;
The saint attire, in fancied virtue worn,
Falls down, at thy revival from the tomb.
Hadst thou reliev’d a single poor’s distress,
Or clad one orphan as good nature bade thee,
Bright Seraph’s wings would gently overshade thee…
But now! thou hast thy shame and nakedness!

Do not persist! turn to the world again!
For acts of love to God must pay thy debt;
If pangs and sorrows gather o’er thy head.
Such will protect and set thee free from pain.
Let Earth take back its worship; it was given
Thee with thy veil, and leaves thee with thy dress;
The Lord rejects fictitious holiness;
Love hallows Earth; Love only opens Heaven!


Ingezonden op: 19 July 2001