Poems and Prose Remains, Vol II

An Incident


Arthur Hugh Clough

’TWAS on a sunny summer day
    I trod a mighty city’s street,
And when I started on my way
    My heart was full of fancies sweet;
But soon, as nothing could be seen,
But countenances sharp and keen,
Nought heard or seen around but told
Of something bought or something sold,
And none that seemed to think or care
That any save himself was there,—

Full soon my heart began to sink
    With a strange shame and inward pain,
For I was sad within to think
    Of this absorbing love of gain,
And various thoughts my bosom tost;
When suddenly my path there crossed,
Locked hand in hand with one another,
A little maiden and her brother—
A little maiden, and she wore
Around her waist a pinafore.

And hand in hand along the street
    This pretty pair did softly go,
And as they went, their little feet
    Moved in short even steps and slow
It was a sight to see and bless,
That little sister’s tenderness;
One hand a tidy basket bore
Of flowers and fruit—a chosen store,
Such as kind friends oft send to others—
And one was fastened in her brother’s.

It was a voice of meaning sweet,
    And spake amid that scene of strife
Of home and homely duties meet,
    And charities of daily life;
And often, should my spirit fail,
And under cold strange glances quail,
’Mid busy shops and busier throng,
That speed upon their ways along
The thick and crowded thoroughfare,
I’ll call to mind that little pair.

Poems and Prose Remains vol II - Contents

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