Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
III. Adversity
London Churches
Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton (1809–1885)
I STOOD, one Sunday morning,
Before a large church door,
The congregation gathered,
And carriages a score,—
From one out stepped a lady        5
I oft had seen before.
Her hand was on a prayer-book,
And held a vinaigrette;
The sign of man’s redemption
Clear on the book was set,—        10
But above the cross there glistened
A golden Coronet.
For her the obsequious beadle
The inner door flung wide;
Lightly, as up a ball-room,        15
Her footsteps seemed to glide,—
There might be good thoughts in her,
For all her evil pride.
But after her a woman
Peeped wistfully within,        20
On whose wan face was graven
Life’s hardest discipline,—
The trace of the sad trinity
Of weakness, pain, and sin.
The few free-seats were crowded        25
Where she could rest and pray;
With her worn garb contrasted
Each side in fair array,—
“God’s house holds no poor sinners,”
She sighed, and crept away.        30

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