The Requital

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LOUD roared the tempest,  
 Fast fell the sleet;  
A little Child Angel  
 Passed down the street,  
With trailing pinions  
 And weary feet.  

The moon was hidden;  
 No stars were bright;  
So she could not shelter  
 In heaven that night,
For the Angels’ ladders  
 Are rays of light.  

She beat her wings  
 At each windowpane,  
And pleaded for shelter,
 But all in vain;—  
“Listen,” they said,  
 “To the pelting rain!”  

She sobb’d, as the laughter  
 And mirth grew higher,
“Give me rest and shelter  
 Beside your fire,  
And I will give you  
 Your heart’s desire.”  

The dreamer sat watching
 His embers gleam,  
While his heart was floating  
 Down hope’s bright stream;  
…So he wove her wailing  
 Into his dream.

The worker toil’d on,  
 For his time was brief;  
The mourner was nursing  
 Her own pale grief;  
They heard not the promise
 That brought relief.  

But fiercer the tempest  
 Rose than before,  
When the Angel paus’d  
 At a humble door,
And ask’d for shelter  
 And help once more.  

A weary woman,  
 Pale, worn, and thin,  
With the brand upon her
 Of want and sin,  
Heard the Child Angel  
 And took her in:  

Took her in gently,  
 And did her best
To dry her pinions;  
 And made her rest  
With tender pity  
 Upon her breast.  

When the eastern morning
 Grew bright and red,  
Up the first sunbeam  
 The Angel fled;  
Having kiss’d the woman  
 And left her—dead.

© Adelaide Anne Procter