First, there's the entrance, narrow, and so small,
The hat-stand seems to fill the tiny hall;
That staircase, too, has such an awkward bend,
The carpet rucks, and rises up on end!
Then, all the rooms are cramped and close together;
And there's a musty smell in rainy weather.
Yes, and it makes the daily work go hard
To have the only tap across a yard.
These creaking doors, these draughts, this battered paint,
Would try, I think, the temper of a saint,
How often had I railed against these things,
With envies, and with bitter murmurings
For spacious rooms, and sunny garden plots!
Until one day,
Washing the breakfast dishes, so I think,
I paused a moment in my work to pray;
And then and there
All life seemed suddenly made new and fair;
For, like the Psalmist's dove among the pots
(Those endless pots, that filled the tiny sink!),
My spirit found her wings.
"Lord" (thus I prayed), "it matters not at all
That my poor home is ill-arranged and small:
I, not the house, am straitened; Lord, 'tis I!
Enlarge my foolish heart, that by-and-by
I may look up with such a radiant face
Thou shalt have glory even in this place.
And when I trip, or stumble unawares
In carrying water up these awkward stairs,
Then keep me sweet, and teach me day by day
To tread with patience Thy appointed way.
As for the house . . . . Lord, let it be my part
To walk within it with a perfect heart."