A First Series of Hymns and Songs/Descriptive Songs/The Beggar-Man

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30. The Beggar-Man.

Around the fire, one wintry night,
The farmer's rosy children sat,
The faggot lent its blazing light,
And jokes went round and careless chat.
When, hark! a gentle hand they hear,
Low tapping at the bolted door;
And, thus to gain their willing ear,
A feeble voice was heard to implore:

"Cold blows the blast across the moor,
The sleet drives hissing in the wind,
Yon toilsome mountain lies before,
A dreary treeless waste behind.
Open your hospitable door,
And shield me from the biting blast;
Cold, cold it blows across the moor,
The weary moor that I have past!"

With hasty steps the farmer ran,
And close beside the fire they place
The poor half-frozen beggar-man,
With shaking limbs and pallid face.
The little children flocking came,
And warm'd his stiffening hands in theirs;
And busily the good old dame
A comfortable mess prepares.

Their kindness cheer'd his drooping soul;
And slowly down his wrinkled cheek
The big round tear was seen to roll.
And told the thanks he could not speak.
The children too began to sigh,
And all their merry chat was o'er;
And yet they felt, they knew not why,
More glad than they had done before.

Lucy Aikin.