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The House of Clay

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik 1826 (Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire) – 1887 (Shortlands, London)



THERE was a house, a house of clay,
  Wherein the inmate sat all day,
  Merry and poor;
  For Hope sat with her, heart to heart,
  Fond and kind, fond and kind,
  Vowing he never would depart, --
  Till all at once he changed his mind:
  "Sweetheart, good by!" He slipped away
  And shut the door.
 But Love came past, and, looking in,
 With smile that pierced like sunbeam thin
  Through wall, roof, floor,
 Stood in the midst of that poor room,
  Grand and fair, grand and fair,
 Making a glory out of gloom: --
  Till at the window mocked cruel Care:
 Love sighed; "All lose, and nothing win?" --
  He shut the door.
 Then o'er the close-barred house of clay
 Kind clematis and woodbine gay
  Crept more and more;
 And bees hummed merrily outside,
  Loud and strong, loud and strong,
 The inner silentness to hide,
  The patient silence all day long;
 Till evening touched with finger gray
  The bolted door.
 Most like, the next step passing by
 Will be the Angel's, whose calm eye
  Marks rich, marks poor:
 Who, fearing not, at any gate
  Stands and calls, stands and calls;
 At which the inmate opens straight, --
  Whom, ere the crumbling clay-house falls,
 He takes in kind arms silently,
  And shuts the door.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

Dinah Maria Craik (; born Dinah Maria Mulock, also often credited as Miss Mulock or Mrs. Craik) was an English novelist and poet. She is best remembered for her novel John Halifax, Gentleman, which presents the mid-Victorian ideals of English middle-class life.  more…

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