"He that giveth to the poor, lendeth to the Lord."
The night-wind comes in sudden squalls:
The ruddy fire-light starts and falls
Fantastically on the walls.
The bare trees all their branches wave;
The frantic wind doth howl and rave,
Like prairie-wolf above a grave.
The moon looks out; but cold and pale,
And seeming scar'd at this wild gale
Draws o'er her pallid face a veil.
In vain I turn the poet's page--
In vain consult some ancient sage--
I hear alone the tempest rage.
The shutters tug at hinge and bar--
The windows clash with frosty jar--
The child creeps closer to "Papa."
And now, I almost start aghast,
The clamor rises thick and fast,
Surely a troop of fiends drove past!
That last shock shook the oaken door.
Sounding like billows on the shore,
On such a night God shield the poor!
God shield the poor to-night, who stay
In piteous homes! who, if they pray,
Ask thee, oh God! for bread and day!
Think! think! ye men who daily wear
"Purple and linen"--ye whose hair
Flings perfume on the temper'd air.
Think! think! I say, aye! start and think
That many tremble on death's brink--
Dying for want of meat and drink.
When tatter'd poor folk meet your eyes,
Think, friend, like Christian, in this wise,
Each one is Christ hid in disguise.
Then when you hear the tempest's roar
That thunders at your carvéd door,
Know that, it knocketh for the poor.