Successful Recitations eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 540 pages of information about Successful Recitations.

        Then a voice within his breast
        Whispered, audible and clear,
        As if to the outward ear: 
        “Do thy duty; that is best;
        Leave unto thy Lord the rest!”

        Straightway to his feet he started,
        And, with longing look intent
        On the Blessed Vision bent,
        Slowly from his cell departed,
        Slowly on his errand went.

        At the gate the poor were waiting,
        Looking through the iron grating,
        With that terror in the eye
        That is only seen in those
        Who amid their wants and woes
        Hear the sound of doors that close
        And of feet that pass them by;
        Grown familiar with disfavour,
        Grown familiar with the savour
        Of the bread by which men die! 
        But to-day, they know not why,
        Like the gate of Paradise
        Seemed the convent gate to rise,
        Like a sacrament divine
        Seemed to them the bread and wine. 
        In his heart the Monk was praying,
        Thinking of the homeless poor,
        What they suffer and endure;
        What we see not, what we see;
        And the inward voice was saying: 
        “Whatsoever thing thou doest
        To the least of Mine and lowest
        That thou doest unto Me.”

        Unto Me!  But had the Vision
        Come to him in beggar’s clothing,
        Come a mendicant imploring,
        Would he then have knelt adoring,
        Or have listened with derision
        And have turned away with loathing?

        Thus his conscience put the question,
        Full of troublesome suggestion,
        As at length, with hurried pace,
        Toward his cell he turned his face,
        And beheld the convent bright
        With a supernatural light,
        Like a luminous cloud expanding
        Over floor and wall and ceiling.

        But he paused with awe-struck feeling
        At the threshold of his door;
        For the Vision still was standing
        As he left it there before,
        When the convent bell appalling,
        From its belfry calling, calling,
        Summoned him to feed the poor. 
        Through the long hour intervening
        It had waited his return,
        And he felt his bosom burn,
        Comprehending all the meaning,
        When the Blessed Vision said: 
        “Hadst thou stayed I must have fled!”

THE BELL OF ATRI.

BY HENRY W. LONGFELLOW.

    At Atri in Abruzzo, a small town
    Of ancient Roman date, but scant renown,
    One of those little places that have run
    Half up the hill, beneath a blazing sun,
    And then sat down to rest, as if to say,

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Successful Recitations from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.