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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Russia: Vol. XX.  1876–79.
 
Warsaw
The King’s Jewel
Phœbe Cary (1824–1871)
 
’T WAS a night to make the bravest
  Shrink from the tempest’s breath,
For the winter snows were bitter,
  And the winds were cruel as death.
 
All day on the roofs of Warsaw        5
  Had the white storm sifted down
Till it almost hid the humble huts
  Of the poor outside the town.
 
And it beat upon one low cottage
  With a sort of reckless spite,        10
As if to add to their wretchedness
  Who sat by its hearth that night;
 
Where Dorby, the Polish peasant,
  Took his pale wife by the hand,
And told her that when the morrow came        15
  They would have no home in the land.
 
No human hand would aid him
  With the rent that was due at morn;
And his cold, hard-hearted landlord
  Had spurned his prayers with scorn.        20
 
Then the poor man took his Bible,
  And read, while his eyes grew dim,
To see if any comfort
  Were written there for him;
 
When he suddenly heard a knocking        25
  On the casement, soft and light:
It was n’t the storm; but what else could be
  Abroad in such a night?
 
Then he went and opened the window,
  But for wonder scarce could speak,        30
As a bird flew in with a jewelled ring
  Held flashing in his beak.
 
“’T is the bird I trained,” said Dorby,
  “And that is the precious ring
That once I saw on the royal hand        35
  Of our good and gracious king.
 
“And if birds, as our lesson tells us,
  Once came with food to men,
Who knows,” said the foolish peasant,
  “But they might be sent again!”        40
 
So he hopefully went with the morning,
  And knocked at the palace gate,
And gave to the king the jewel
  They had searched for long and late.
 
And when he had heard the story        45
  Which the peasant had to tell,
He gave him a fruitful garden,
  And a home wherein to dwell.
 
And Dorby wrote o’er the doorway
  These words that all might see:        50
“Thou hast called on the Lord in trouble,
  And he hath delivered thee!”
 
 
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