The World from the Sidewalk
In the glare of the fitful lamp,And marked the tread of the million feet
In their quaintly musical tramp?As the surging throng move to and fro,
'Tis a pleasant sight, I ween,To mark the figures that come and go
In the ever changing scene:
Where the sinner treads with the publican proud,
And the priest in his gloomy cowl,And Dives walks in the motley crowd,
With Lazarus cheek by jowl;And the daughter of toil, with her fresh, young heart,
As pure as her spotless name,Keeps step with the women that make their mart
In the haunts of sin and shame.
"How gaily steps the country lass
In the midst of the city's ills,As freshly pure as the daisied grass
That grows on her native hills;And the beggar, too, with his hungry eye,
And his sad wan face and crutch,Gives a blessing the same to the passer by,
An' he gives him little or much.
When night has beaten the world's tattoo,
And in dusky armor light,Is treading, with echoless footsteps, through
The gloom of the silent night,How many of thse shall be daintily fed,
And will sink to slumbers sweet,Yet many shall go to a sleepless bed,
And never a crumb to eat!
Ah, me! when the hours go joyfully by,
How little we stop to heedOur brothers and sisters' despairing cry,
In their woe and their bitter need!Yet, such a world as the angels sought
This world or ours we'd call,If the brotherly love that the Father taught
Were felt by each for all.
Yet a few short years, and this motley throng
Will all have passed away,And the rich and the poor, and the old and young.
Will be undistinguished clay:And lips that laugh and lips that moan
Will in silence alike be sealed,And some will be under a stately stone,
And some the Potter's Field.
But the sun will be shining just as bright,
And so will the silver moon,And just such a crowd will be here at night,
And just such a crowd at noon:And men will be wicked and women will sin,
As ever since Adam's fall,With the same old world to labor in,
And the same God over all.