The Widow’s Mite

It is the fruit of waking hours
  When others are asleep,
When moaning round the low thatched roof
  The winds of winter creep.

It is the fruit of summer days
  Past in a gloomy room,
When others are abroad to taste
  The pleasant morning bloom.

’Tis given from a scanty store
  And missed while it is given:
’Tis given—for the claims of earth
  Are less than those of heaven.

Few save the poor feel for the poor,
  The rich know not how hard
It is to be of needful food
  And needful rest debarred.

Their paths are paths of plenteousness;
  They sleep on silk and down,
And never think how heavily
  The weary head lies down.

They know not of the scanty meal
  With small pale faces round;
No fire upon the cold, damp hearth,
  When snow is on the ground.

They never by their window sit,
  And see the gay pass by;
Yet take their weary work again,
  Though with a mournful eye.

The rich, they give—they miss it not—
  A blessing cannot be
Like that which rests, thou widowed one,
  Upon thy gift and thee!
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Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Letitia Elizabeth Landon was an English poet. Born 14th August 1802 at 25 Hans Place, Chelsea, she lived through the most productive period of her life nearby, at No.22. A precocious child with a natural gift for poetry, she was driven by the financial needs of her family to become a professional writer and thus a target for malicious gossip (although her three children by William Jerdan were successfully hidden from the public). In 1838, she married George Maclean, governor of Cape Coast Castle on the Gold Coast, whence she travelled, only to die a few months later (15th October) of a fatal heart condition. Behind her post-Romantic style of sentimentality lie preoccupations with art, decay and loss that give her poetry its characteristic intensity and in this vein she attempted to reinterpret some of the great male texts from a woman’s perspective. Her originality rapidly led to her being one of the most read authors of her day and her influence, commencing with Tennyson in England and Poe in America, was long-lasting. However, Victorian attitudes led to her poetry being misrepresented and she became excluded from the canon of English literature, where she belongs. more…

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"The Widow’s Mite" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 4 Apr. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/52535/the-widow’s-mite>.

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