BESIDE the church-door, aweary and alone, 

A blind woman sat on the cold door-stone. 

The wind was bitter, the snow fell fast, 

And a mocking voice in the fitful blast 

Seemed ever to echo her moaning cry, 

As she begged for alms of the passers by: 

"Have pity on me, have pity, I pray; 

My back is bent and my head is gray,"

The bells were ringing the hour of prayer, 

And many good people were gathering there, 

But covered with furs and mantle warm, 

They hurried past through the wintry storm.

Some were hoping their souls to save,

And some were thinking of death and the grave;

And, alas! They had no time to heed

The poor soul asking for charity's need.

And some were blooming with beauty's grace, 

Closely muffled in veils of lace; 

They saw not the sorrow nor heard the moan 

Of her who sat on the cold door stone.

At last came one of noble name, 

By the city counted the wealthiest dame, 

And her pearls that o'er her neck were strung 

She proudly these to the beggar flung.

Then followed a maiden young and fair,

Adorned with clusters of golden hair;

But her dress was thin and scanty and worn 

Not even the beggar seemed more forlorn;

With a tearful look, and a pitiful sigh,

She whispered soft, "No jewels have I,

But I give you my prayers, good friend," said she, 

"And surely I know God listens to me."

On her poor, weak hand, so shrunken and small, 

The blind woman felt a teardrop fall, 

Then kissed it, and said to the weeping girl 

"It is you that have given the purest pearl." 

 Jennie A. Harmon.