Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
 
Occasional Poems
“I was a Stranger, and ye took me in”
 
An incident in St. Augustine, Florida

’NEATH skies that winter never knew
  The air was full of light and balm,
And warm and soft the Gulf wind blew
  Through orange bloom and groves of palm.
 
A stranger from the frozen North,        5
  Who sought the fount of health in vain,
Sank homeless on the alien earth,
  And breathed the languid air with pain.
 
God’s angel came! The tender shade
  Of pity made her blue eye dim;        10
Against her woman’s breast she laid
  The drooping, fainting head of him.
 
She bore him to a pleasant room,
  Flower-sweet and cool with salt sea air,
And watched beside his bed, for whom        15
  His far-off sisters might not care.
 
She fanned his feverish brow and smoothed
  Its lines of pain with tenderest touch.
With holy hymn and prayer she soothed
  The trembling soul that feared so much.        20
 
Through her the peace that passeth sight
  Came to him, as he lapsed away
As one whose troubled dreams of night
  Slide slowly into tranquil day.
 
The sweetness of the Land of Flowers        25
  Upon his lonely grave she laid:
The jasmine dropped its golden showers,
  The orange lent its bloom and shade.
 
And something whispered in her thought,
  More sweet than mortal voices be:        30
“The service thou for him hast wrought
  O daughter! hath been done for me.”

  1875.
 
 
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