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THE STRANGER AND HIS FRIEND. - James Alontgomery
"Ye have done it unto me." - Matt. XXV. 40.
A POOR wayfaring man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief,
That I could never answer, “ Nay:”
I had not power to ask his name,
Whither he went, or whence he came;
Yet was there something in his eye
That won my love, I knew not why.
Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
He entered; — not a word he spake;
Just perishing, for want of bread:
I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
- but gave me part again;
Mine was an angel's portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
That crust was manna to my taste.
I spied him where a fountain burst
Clear from the rock; his strength was gone;
The heedless water mocked his thirst;
He heard it, saw it hurrying on:
I ran to raise the sufferer up;
Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,
Dipt, and returned it running o'er;
I drank, and never thirsted more.
'Twas night; the floods were out; it blew
A winter hurricane aloof;
I heard his voice abroad, and flew
To bid him welcome to my roof;
THE STRANGER AND HIS FRIEND.
1 warmed, I clothed, 1 cheered my guest,
Laid him on my own couch to rest;
Then made the hearth my bed, and seemed
In Eden's garden, while I dreamed.
Stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death,
I found him by the highway side ;
I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
Revived his spirit, and supplied
Wine, oil, refreshment; he was healed;
I had myself a wound concealed;
But from that hour forgot the smart,
And Peace bound up my broken heart.
In prison I saw him next, condemned
To meet a traitor's doom at morn;
The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
And honored him 'midst shame and scorn :
My friendship's utmost zeal to try,
He asked, if I for him would die;
The flesh was weak, my blood ran chil',
But the free spirit cried, “I will."
Then in a moment to my view
The stranger darted from disguise ;
The tokens in his hands I knew,
My Saviour stood before mine eyes;
He spake; and my poor name he named.
“Of me thou hast not been ashamed;
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto me.
LEGEND OF ST. JODOCUS. — Translated from the German.
In trial of his servant's truth,
One day came begging, as a youth
Of humble mien, in garments poor,
The Lord, to St. Jodocus' door.
“Give to him,” St. Jodocus said ;
"Open, good steward, thy store of bread.”
“Here's but one loaf, my master, see,
Left for our dog, and thee, and me.”
“Yet give to him," the abbot cried,
“For us the Lord will still provide.”
The sullen butler said no more,
But cut the loaf in pieces four.
"One for the abbot, one for me,
One for our dog, and one for thee,”
Unkindly to the youth he said,
And handed him his share of bread..
Again, in semblance yet more poor,
The Lord came to our abbot's door;
“Give, still,” the good Jodocus said,
“Give him my little share of bread;
For us the good God still will care."
And now he gives the abbot's share.
A hungered came the Lord again,
Nor asked he the third tiine in vain;
“Give now, O steward, thy little bit —
God will provide." —He yielded it.
More destitute and blind and lame,
The Lord yet for the fourth time came;
“Give,” said Jodocus, “ give again;
Doth not the dog's piece still remain ?
For He who doth the ravens feed
Will not forget us in our need."
The steward gives, the beggar goes;
Then through the air a clear voice rose :
" Thou true disciple of thy Lord,
Great is thy faith, - take thy reward ;
As thou believedst it should be,
So shall it happen unto thee."
The steward went to the
Lo! onward toward the nearest shore
Four heavy-laden ships are borne,
With bread and fruit and wine and corn.
He to the strand runs joyfully,
And there no sailor can he see ;
But to the shore a white wave rolled,
On which these words were traced in gold :
“Four ships are sent with large supply,
By Him who hears the raven's cry;
He sends them to the abbot good,
Who, this day, four times gave Him food.
“One, for the good man's self is sent ;
Another for his dog is meant;
One for the steward is coming in ;
One for the Sender's needy kin.”
ELIZABETH AND THE ROSES. — From the German.
Know you not the stately dame ?
From Wurtburg's castled height she came,
And in her basket brings she store
To satisfy the hungry poor.
The pages and the courtiers high
Marked the expense with grudging eye;
And e'en the Landgrave's kitchen folk
In murmurs their displeasure spoke.
Artfully told in Ludwig's ear,
The lady's charities appear
A weighty evil, as through her
His household's rights endangered were.
And he forbade, with cruel mind,
Such pleasure to his lady kind;
Asking, in scorn, if it were meet
A princess should a beggar greet.
Long to her lord's stern will she bowed,
Till upward to the castle loud
The starving shrieked in their despair;
No longer then would she forbear.
Her maid she beckoned stealthily
To find for her the hidden key;
Then filled her basket running o'er,
And glided from the gate once more.
One of the mischief-loving train
Of courtiers spied her, nor in vain;
Straight to the knight he made his way,
The gentle lady to betray.