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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

May Kendall b. 1861

A Legend

AY, an old story, yet it might

Have truth in it—who knows?

Of the heroine’s breaking down one night

Jnst ere the curtain rose.

And suddenly, when fear and doubt

Had shaken every heart,

There stepped an unknown actress out

To take the heroine’s part.

But oh the magic of her face,

And oh the songs she sung,

And oh the rapture in the place,

And oh the flowers they flung!

But she never stooped: they lay all night

As when she turned away

And left them—and the saddest light

Shone in her eyes of gray.

She gave a smile in glancing round,

And sighed, one fancied, then—

But never they knew where she was bound,

Or saw her face again.

But the old prompter, gray and frail,

They heard him murmur low:

“It only could be Meg Coverdale,

Died thirty years ago,

“In that old part who took the town;

And she was fair, as fair

As when they shut the coffin down

On the gleam of her golden hair;

“And it was n’t hard to understand

How a lass so fair as she

Could never rest in the Promised Land

Where none but angels be.”