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 ‘I asked thee not,’ the Pontiff spake,
“O stranger; but if need be thine,
I bid thee welcome, for the sake
Of Him who is thy Lord and mine.”
A grave, calm face the stranger raised,
Like His who on Gennesaret trod,
Or His on whom the Chaldeans gazed,
Whose form was as the Son of God.
‘Know'st thou,’ he said, ‘thy gift of old?’
And in the hand he lifted up
The Pontiff marvelled to behold
Once more his mother's silver cup.
“Thy prayers and alms have risen, and bloom
Sweetly among the flowers of heaven.
I am The Wonderful, through whom
Whate'er thou askest shall be given.”
He spake and vanished. Gregory fell
With his twelve guests in mute accord
Prone on their faces, knowing well
Their eyes of flesh had seen the Lord,
The old-time legend is not vain;
Nor vain thy art, Verona's Paul,
Telling it o'er and o'er again
On gray Vicenza's frescoed wall.
Still wheresoever pity shares
Its bread with sorrow, want, and sin,
And love the beggar's feast prepares,
The uninvited Guest comes in.
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