Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BEGGAR-MAN, by LUCY AIKEN

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THE BEGGAR-MAN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Around the fire, one winter night
Last Line: More glad than they had done before.
Alternate Author Name(s): Aikin, Lucy

Around the fire, one winter night,
The farmer's rosy children sat;
The faggot lent its blazing light,
And jokes went round, and careless chat.

When, hark! a gentle hand they hear
Low tapping at the bolted door;
And thus to gain their willing ear,
A feeble voice was heard t' implore: --

"Cold blows the blast across the moor:
The sleet drives hissing in the wind:
Yon toilsome mountain lies before;
A dreary treeless waste behind.

"My eyes are weak and dim with age;
No road, no path, can I descry;
And these poor rags ill stand the rage
Of such a keen inclement sky.

"So faint I am -- these tottering feet
No more my feeble frame can bear;
My sinking heart forgets to beat,
And drifting snows my tomb prepare.

"Open your hospitable door:
And shield me from the biting blast;
Cold, cold it blows across the moor
The weary moor that I have pass'd!"

With hasty step the farmer ran,
And close beside the fire they place
The poor half-frozen beggar-man,
With shaking limbs and pallid face.

The little children flocking came,
And warm'd his stiffening hands in theirs;
And busily the good old dame
A comfortable mess prepares.

Their kindness cheer'd his drooping soul;
And slowly down his wrinkled cheek
The big round tears were seen to roll,
And told the thanks he could not speak.

The children, too, began to sigh,
And all their merry chat was o'er;
And yet they felt, they knew not why,
More glad than they had done before.

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