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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Introductory to Southern States

“I Was a Stranger, and Ye Took Me in”

By John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)

’NEATH skies that winter never knew

The air was full of light and balm,

And warm and soft the Gulf wind blew

Through orange bloom and groves of palm.

A stranger from the frozen North,

Who sought the fount of health in vain,

Sank homeless on the alien earth,

And breathed the languid air with pain.

God’s angel came! The tender shade

Of pity made her blue eye dim;

Against her woman’s breast she laid

The drooping, fainting head of him.

She bore him to a pleasant room,

Flower-sweet and cool with salt sea air,

And watched beside his bed, for whom

His far-off sisters might not care.

She fanned his feverish brow and smoothed

Its lines of pain with tenderest touch.

With holy hymn and prayer she soothed

The trembling soul that feared so much.

Through her the peace that passeth sight

Came to him, as he lapsed away,

As one whose troubled dreams of night

Slide slowly into tranquil day.

The sweetness of the Land of Flowers

Upon his lonely grave she laid:

The jasmine dropped its golden showers,

The orange lent its bloom and shade.

And something whispered in her thought,

More sweet than mortal voices be:

“The service thou for him hast wrought,

O daughter! hath been done for me.”