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CCCXVII

ELIJAH AT SAREPTA

See Note

Lo, cast at random on the wild sea sand

A child low wailing lies;

Around, with eye forlorn and feeble hand,

Scarce heeding its faint cries,

The widow'd mother in the wilderness

Gathers dry boughs, their last sad meal to dress.

But who is this that comes with mantle rude

And vigil-wasted air,

Who to the famish'd cries, 'Come give me food,

I with thy child would share?'

She bounteous gives: but hard he seems of heart,

Who of such scanty store would crave a part.

255

Haply the child his little hand holds forth,

That all his own may be.--

Nay, simple one, thy mother's faith is worth

Healing and life to thee.

That handful given, for years ensures thee bread:

That drop of oil shall raise thee from the dead.

For in yon haggard form He begs unseen,

To Whom for life we kneel:

One little cake He asks with lowly mien,

Who blesses every meal.

Lavish for Him, ye poor, your children's store,

So shall your cruse for many a day run o'er.

And thou, dear child, though hungering, give glad way

To JESUS in His need:

So thy blest mother at the awful day

Thy name in Heaven may read;

So by His touch for ever may'st thou live,

Who asks our alms, and lends a heart to give.

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