I Was A Stranger, And Ye Took Me In

'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,
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;
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
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.

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
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
'The service thou for him hast wrought
O daughter! hath been done for me.'

by John Greenleaf Whittier

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