Tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 328 pages of information about Tales.
“Brought me to shame.”—­Oh! yes, I know it all —
What cutting blast! and he can scarcely crawl: 
He freezes as he moves—­he dies! if he should fall: 
With cruel fierceness drives this icy sleet —
And must a Christian perish in the street,
In sight of Christians?—­There! at last, he lies; —
Nor unsupported can he ever rise: 
He cannot live.”  “But is he fit to die?” —
Here Susan softly mutter’d a reply,
Look’d round the room—­said something of its state,
Dives the rich, and Lazarus at his gate;
And then aloud—­“In pity do behold
The man affrighten’d, weeping, trembling, cold: 
Oh! how those flakes of snow their entrance win
Through the poor rags, and keep the frost within. 
His very heart seems frozen as he goes,
Leading that starved companion of his woes: 
He tried to pray—­his lips, I saw them move,
And he so turn’d his piteous looks above;
But the fierce wind the willing heart opposed,
And, ere he spoke, the lips in misery closed: 
Poor suffering object! yes, for ease you pray’d,
And God will hear—­He only, I’m afraid.” 
   “Peace!  Susan, peace! pain ever follows sin.” —
“Ah! then,” thought Susan, “when will ours begin? 
When reach’d his home, to what a cheerless fire
And chilling bed will those cold limbs retire! 
Yet ragged, wretched as it is, that bed
Takes half the space of his contracted shed;
I saw the thorns beside the narrow grate,
With straw collected in a putrid state: 
There will he, kneeling, strive the fire to raise,
And that will warm him, rather than the blaze: 
The sullen, smoky blaze, that cannot last
One moment after his attempt is past;
And I so warmly and so purely laid,
To sink to rest—­indeed, I am afraid.” 
“Know you his conduct?”—­“Yes, indeed I know,
And how he wanders in the wind and snow;
Safe in our rooms the threat’ning storm we hear,
But he feels strongly what we faintly fear.” 
“Wilful was rich, and he the storm defied;
Wilful is poor, and must the storm abide,”
Said the stern Lady; “’tis in vain to feel;
Go and prepare the chicken for our meal.” 
   Susan her task reluctantly began,
And utter’d as she went—­“The poor old man!”
But while her soft and ever-yielding heart
Made strong protest against her lady’s part,
The lady’s self began to think it wrong
To feel so wrathful and resent so long. 
   “No more the wretch would she receive again,
No more behold him—­but she would sustain;
Great his offence, and evil was his mind —
But he had suffer’d, and she would be kind: 
She spurn’d such baseness, and she found within
A fair acquittal from so foul a sin;
Yet she too err’d, and must of Heaven expect
To be rejected, him should she reject.” 
   Susan was summon’d—­“I’m about to do
A foolish act, in part seduced by you;
Go to the creature—­say that I intend,
Foe to his sins, to be his sorrow’s friend: 
Project Gutenberg
Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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