West London [Sonnet] by Matthew Arnold

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.”

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