Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE STRANGER'S ALMS, by HENRY ABBEY



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THE STRANGER'S ALMS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: In lyons, on the mart of that french town
Last Line: For the two beggars in the market-place.
Subject(s): Begging & Beggars; Charity; Singing & Singers; Philanthropy; Songs


IN Lyons, on the mart of that French town,
Years since, a woman leading a fair child,
Craved a small alms of one, who, walking down
The thoroughfare, caught the child's glance and smiled
To see, behind its eyes, a noble soul;
He paused, but found he had no coin to dole.

His guardian angel warned him not to lose
This chance of pearl to do another good;
So, as he waited, sorry to refuse
The asked-for penny, there aside he stood,
And with his hat held, as by limb the nest,
He covered his kind face and sung his best.

The sky was blue above, and all the lane
Of commerce, where the singer stood, was filled,
And many paused, and listening, paused again
To hear the voice that through and through them thrilled.
I think the guardian angel helped along
The cry for pity, woven in a song.

The hat of its stamped brood was emptied soon
Into the woman's lap, who drenched with tears
Her kiss upon the hand of help; 'twas noon,
And noon in her glad heart drove forth her fears.
The singer, pleased, passed on and softly tho't
"Men will not know by whom this deed was wrought."

But when at night he came upon the stage,
Cheer after cheer went up from that wide throng,
And flowers rained on him; naught could assuage
The tumult of the welcome save the song
That he had sweetly sung, with covered face,
For the two beggars in the market-place.





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