Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
The Requital
Adelaide Anne Procter (1825–64)
LOUD roared the tempest,
  Fast fell the sleet;
A little Child Angel
  Passed down the street,
With trailing pinions        5
  And weary feet.
The moon was hidden;
  No stars were bright;
So she could not shelter
  In heaven that night,        10
For the Angels’ ladders
  Are rays of light.
She beat her wings
  At each windowpane,
And pleaded for shelter,        15
  But all in vain;—
“Listen,” they said,
  “To the pelting rain!”
She sobb’d, as the laughter
  And mirth grew higher,        20
“Give me rest and shelter
  Beside your fire,
And I will give you
  Your heart’s desire.”
The dreamer sat watching        25
  His embers gleam,
While his heart was floating
  Down hope’s bright stream;
…So he wove her wailing
  Into his dream.        30
The worker toil’d on,
  For his time was brief;
The mourner was nursing
  Her own pale grief;
They heard not the promise        35
  That brought relief.
But fiercer the tempest
  Rose than before,
When the Angel paus’d
  At a humble door,        40
And ask’d for shelter
  And help once more.
A weary woman,
  Pale, worn, and thin,
With the brand upon her        45
  Of want and sin,
Heard the Child Angel
  And took her in:
Took her in gently,
  And did her best        50
To dry her pinions;
  And made her rest
With tender pity
  Upon her breast.
When the eastern morning        55
  Grew bright and red,
Up the first sunbeam
  The Angel fled;
Having kiss’d the woman
  And left her—dead.        60


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