A Little News Vender

Scarce 'bove a whisper—half a sound
Heard, causing me to hark,
To turn and see a baby face
Peering at me in the dark.

I bent my head with ready grace
With open ear and eye,
To learn what such a baby had
To say to passers by.

Above the clatter of the street
I caught the faint accent,
A little maiden vender's cry—
“The Post! The Times! a cent”—

And swift to strike a trade with me
As promptness could command,
Out from her tangled skirts came up,
A paper in her hand.

The wind was blowing merc'lessly,
And pitiless the snow,
In downy flakes was falling on
This little mite of woe.

“The Post! The Times! 'tis but a cent,”
She looked with eager eye
For sympathy and ready sale,
How could I fail to buy?

O! God, I thought must such be seen,
As this on such a night,
In this so rich a commonwealth,
So pitiful a sight?

Is bread so dear and life so cheap,
So circumstanced the strife
For food, that babes must barter off,
All that is worth in life?

For who can hope these peddling maids
Could once escape the price,
Backed up and forced by all street laws
Legitimate to vice.

No Communist to blame the rich,
Am I, though sad the sight,
But O! I know somewhere is wrong
And somewhere is the right.

God pity all the pitiful,
And send from door to door,
Him whom thou wouldst to minister
To the deserving poor.
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