Adelaide Anne Procter

(30 October 1825 – 2 February 1864 / London)

The Requital


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.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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