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Matthew Arnold (1822–88). The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867. 1909.

New Poems, 1867

West London

[First published 1867.]

CROUCH’D on the pavement close by Belgrave Square

A tramp I saw, ill, moody, and tongue-tied;

A babe was in her arms, and at her side

A girl; their clothes were rags, their feet were bare.

Some labouring men, whose work lay somewhere there,

Pass’d opposite; she touch’d her girl, who hied

Across, and begg’d, and came back satisfied.

The rich she had let pass with frozen stare.

Thought I: Above her state this spirit towers;

She will not ask of aliens, but of friends,

Of sharers in a common human fate.

She turns from that cold succour, which attends

The unknown little from the unknowing great,

And points us to a better time than ours.