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Howells, Stops of Various Quills, 1895 057 large a.jpg



ITHIN a poor man's squalid home I stood:
The one bare chamber, where his work-worn wife
Above the stove and wash-tub passed her life,
Next the sty where they slept with all their brood.

But I saw not that sunless, breathless lair,
The chamber's sagging roof and reeking floor;
The smeared walls, broken sash, and battered door;
The foulness and forlornness everywhere.

I saw a great house with the portals wide
Upon a banquet room, and, from without,
The guests descending in a brilliant line
By the stair's statued niches, and beside
The loveliest of the gemmed and silken rout
The poor man's landlord leading down to dine.

Howells, Stops of Various Quills, 1895 001 large f.jpg