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We met a young, barefooted child,
And she begged loud and bold;
I asked her what she did abroad
When the wind it blew so cold.
She said her father was at home,
And he lay sick abed;
And therefore was it she was sent
Abroad to beg for bread.
We saw a woman sitting down
Upon a stone to rest;
She had a baby at her back,
And another at her breast.
I asked her why she loitered there,
When the night-wind was so chill;
She turned her head and bade the child,
That screamed behind, be still.
She told us that her husband served,
A soldier, far away,
And therefore to her parish she
Was begging back her way.
I turned me to the rich man then,
For silently stood he ; —
“You asked me why the poor complain,
And these have answered thee.”
CoME, my little Robert, near, –
Fie! what filthy hands are here!—
Who that e'er could understand
The rare structure of a hand,
With its branching fingers fine,
Work itself of hands divine,
Strong yet delicately knit,
For ten thousand uses fit,
Overlaid with so clear skin
You may see the blood within,
And the curious palm disposed
In such lines some have supposed
You may read the fortunes there
By the figures that appear, –
Who this hand would choose to cover
With a crust of dirt all over,
Till it looked in hue and shape
Like the forefoot of an ape 2
Man or boy, that works or plays
In the fields or the highways,
May, without offence or hurt,
From the soil contract a dirt,
Which the next clear spring or river
Washes out and out forever;
But to cherish stains impure,
Soil deliberate to endure,
On the skin to fix a stain
Till it works into the grain,
Argues a degenerate mind,
Sordid, slothful, ill-inclined,
Wanting in that self-respect
Which does virtue best protect.
Virtue next to godliness,
Easiest, cheapest, needfullest duty,
To the body health and beauty,
Who that’s human would refuse it,
When a little water does it?
O SAY what is that thing called light, Which I must ne'er enjoy
What are the blessings of thy sight? O, tell your poor blind boy!
You talk of wondrous things you see,
You say the sun shines bright;
I feel him warm, but how can he
Or make it day or night?
My day or night myself I make,
Whene'er I sleep or play;
And could I ever keep awake,
With me 't were always day.
With heavy sighs I often hear
You mourn my hapless woe;
But sure with patience I can bear
A loss I ne'er can know.
Then let not what I cannot have
My cheer of mind destroy;
Whilst thus I sing, I am a king,
Although a poor blind boy.
THE LAME BROTHER... — Miss Lamè.
My parents sleep both in one grave;
My only friend’s a brother,
The dearest things upon the earth
We are to one another.
A fine, stout boy I knew him once,
With active form and limb;
Whene'er he leaped, or jumped, or ran,
O, I was proud of him
He leaped too far, he got a hurt,
He now does limping go;
When I think on his active days,
My heart is full of woe.
He leans on me, when we to school
Do every morning walk;
I cheer him on his weary way, -
He loves to hear my talk,
The theme of which is mostly this,
What things he once could do;
He listens pleased, -then sadly says,
“Sister, I lean on you!”
Then I reply, “Indeed you re not
Scarce any weight at all, -
And let us now still younger years
To memory recall.
Led by your little elder hand,
I learned to walk alone;
Careful you used to be of me,
My little brother John.
“How often, when my young feet tired,
You’ve carried me a mile, —
And still together we can sit,
And rest a little while.
“For our kind master never minds,
If we’re the very last;
He bids us never tire ourselves
With walking on too fast.”
A BALLAD. TRANSLATED FROM HERDER, BY MARY Howit T.
AMONG green, pleasant meadows,
All in a grove so wild,
Was set a marble image
Of the Virgin and the child.
Here, oft, on summer evenings,
A lovely boy would rove,
To play beside the image
That sanctified the grove.
Oft sat his mother by him,
Among the shadows dim,
And told how the Lord Jesus
Was once a child like him.