Rich and Poor by Ellen M. H. Gates

MY dear little girl, with the flowers in your hair,
Stop singing a moment, and look over there;
While you are so safe in the sheltering fold,
With treasures of silver, and treasures of gold,
Just a few steps away, in a dark, narrow street,
With no pure, cooling drink, and no morsel to eat,
A poor girl is dying, no older than you;
Her lips were as red, and her eyes were as blue,
Her step was as light, and her song was as sweet,
And the heart in her bosom as merrily beat.

But now she is dying, so lonely and poor,
For famine and fever crept in at the door.
While you were so gay, in your beautiful dress,
With music and laughter, and friends to caress,
From the dawn to the end of the weariful day,
She was always at work, with no moment for play.
She saw you sometimes, but you seemed like a star
That gleamed in the distance, so dim and afar.
And often she wondered if God up above
Remembered the poor girl, in pity and love.
Ah, yes, He remembered, ’mid harpings and hymns,
And loud alleluias, and waving of wings,
He heard in His heaven the sound of her tears,
And called her away while the sun of her years
Was yet in the east; now, she never will need
From you any more a compassionate deed.
Nay, some time, perhaps, from her home in the skies,
She will look back to see you with tears in your eyes,
For sooner or later we quiver with pain,
And down on us all drops the sorrowful rain.
She never will need you; but many bereft,
Hungry, and heart-sore, and homeless are left.
You can, if you will, from the place where you stand,
Reach downward to help them; the touch of your hand,
The price of one jewel, the gift of a flower,
May waken within them, with magical power,
A hope that was dying. O, don’t be afraid
The poor and the desolate spirit to aid.
The burdens are heavy that some one must bear,
You dear little girl with the flowers in your hair.

Two women and a group of children offer food to a girl

RICH AND POOR.