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Poem by Richard Monckton Milnes

London Churches

I STOOD, one Sunday morning,
Before a large church door,
The congregation gathered
And carriages a score, --
From one out stepped a lady
I oft had seen before.

Her hand was on a prayer-book,
And held a vinaigrette;
The sign of man's redemption
Clear on the book was set, --
But above the Cross there glistened
A golden Coronet.

For her the obsequious beadle
The inner door flung wide,
Lightly, as up a ball-room,
Her footsteps seemed to glide, --
There might be good thoughts in her
For all her evil pride.

But after her a woman
Peeped wistfully within,
On whose wan face was graven
Life's hardest discipline, --
The trace of the sad trinity
Of weakness, pain, and sin.

The few free-seats were crowded
Where she could rest and pray;
With her worn garb contrasted
Each side in fair array, --
"God's house holds no poor sinners,"
She sighed, and crept away. 

Richard Monckton Milnes

Richard Monckton Milnes's other poems:
  1. The Subterranean River, At Cong
  2. Switzerland and Italy
  3. To the Moon of the South
  4. Valentia
  5. Sir Walter Scott at the Tomb of the Stuarts in St Peter's

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