Behold, I stand at the door and knock

Who standeth at the gate?—A woman old,
A widow from the husband of her love:
“O Lady, stay; this wind is piercing cold,
Oh look at the keen frosty moon above;
I have no home, am hungry, feeble, poor:”—
“I'm really very sorry, but I can
Do nothing for you, there's the clergyman,”—
The Lady said, and shivering closed the door.

Who standeth at the gate?—Way-worn and pale,
A grey-haired man asks charity again:
“Kind Lady, I have journeyed far, and fail
Thro' weariness; for I have begged in vain
Some shelter, and can find no lodging-place:”—
She answered: “There's the Workhouse very near,
Go, for they'll certainly receive you there:”—
Then shut the door against his pleading face.

Who standeth at the gate?—a stunted child,
Her sunk eyes sharpened with precocious care:
“O Lady, save me from a home defiled,
From shameful sights and sounds that taint the air.
Take pity on me, teach me something good;”—
“For shame, why don't you work instead of cry?—
I keep no young impostors here, not I;”—
She slammed the door, indignant where she stood.

Who standeth at the gate, and will be heard?—
Arise, O woman, from thy comforts now:
Go forth again to speak the careless word,
The cruel word unjust, with hardened brow.
But Who is This, That standeth not to pray
As once, but terrible to judge thy sin?
This, Whom thou wouldst not succour, nor take in,
Nor teach, but leave to perish by the way?—

“Thou didst it not unto the least of these,
And in them hast not done it unto Me.
Thou wast as a princess, rich and at ease,
Now sit in dust and howl for poverty.
Three times I stood beseeching at thy gate,
Three times I came to bless thy soul and save:
But now I come to judge for what I gave,
And now at length thy sorrow is too late.”

Gianni my friend and I both strove to excel,
But, missing better, settled down in well.
Both fail, indeed; but not alike we fail—
My forte being Venus' face, and his a dragon's tail.
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